Investigative Journalism that is as
Radical as Reality Itself.

An Ode on Whistleblowers and Revolutionaries

by

May 27th marked exactly four years of prison time for whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

Four years for releasing documents disclosing torture and abuse by US and allied forces: rape, whippings, electric drills used on body parts, waterboarding, beatings, murder. Four years for disclosing previously unreported civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan – deaths that number in the tens of thousands. Four years for pulling back the fog of war and exposing US wars abroad for what they are – not the clean, surgical, tactical operations that we hear about on the news but dirty, bloody, and filled with the bodies of innumerable civilian victims: the bodies of men, women, and children who did nothing more than appear in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the ‘wrong’ skin color and the ‘wrong’ god. Manning exposed the great lie: we aren’t fighting terrorism in order to make us safer; we are fighting The Other in order to keep the powerful in power by inciting the people to fear each other.

For that, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The courage of this young, heroic woman who exposed The Empire for a moment and revealed the ugly truth that lies beneath the glittery exterior of Oz must quickly be made an example of. When Manning spoke during her trial, she recounted the first time she viewed what is now known as the Collateral Murder Video, a video which shows Americans in a US Apache helicopter shooting and killing 11 individuals in Baghdad in 2007 who do not return fire. The dead included two Reuters employees, journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver Saeed Chmagh. When a van arrives and a man jumps out to help the wounded, the helicopter opens fire on it, wounding two children inside. When Reuters called for an investigation in 2007, they were ignored and no charges were filed. Manning stated,

“They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life, and referred to them as quote-unquote “dead bastards,” and congratulated each other on their ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.”

In war, we dehumanize our enemies so as to make it easier for us to kill when, deep down, we know it to be an abomination. And of course, The Empire encourages this. When we can so easily be turned against our brothers and sisters, so much so that we will kill on command, the power-elite are truly in control. Once we see the evil of our actions – of actions done in our name – and sunlight is cast upon the dark truths, we threaten the grip that the elite and powerful hold over us. Manning’s leaks did just that. And so she, too must be dehumanized. She too must appear as an ant – an insignificant pest standing in the face of Goliath. The government and the mainstream media thus endeavored to strip Manning of her heroism and integrity. Instead of portraying a careful and logical woman exposing war criminals, she was labeled as arrogant, irrational, impulsive; a “mad homosexual” who was lashing out after years of ridicule. And finally, fear was stoked; invoking cries of “terrorist” and “aiding the enemy”, allegations that aim to turn the people against someone who should serve as a paragon of virtue and revolutionary action. Someone who exposed the rampant greed and disregard for human life that fuels US hegemony and imperialism. Someone who stood in the face of the oligarchy and was unwavering.

Now, as Manning begins her 5th year in prison for exposing atrocities that were carried out in the name of the United States of America, no US war criminal sits with her. The very same people in our government who authorize and carry out torture against prisoners indefinitely detained in Guantanamo Prison and any number of our black sites around the globe, the same people who authorize and carry out bombings and drone strikes against civilians abroad and even US citizens (children like Abdulrahman al-Awlaki), the same people who surveil its own population, who have perpetuated a war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and who have authorized military involvement in an estimated 60% of the world’s nations – those people are free men. This Alice in Wonderland world that we live in is no fairy tale, it is a house of horrors.

And yet today, I don’t want to harp on what is wrong with the world but instead, I want to focus and give credence to what is right and good. In spite of the seemingly all-powerful oligarchy we live under, so many have decided to risk their jobs, their lives, their family security and their names to expose the lies and abuses of the elite. John Kiriakou sits in prison today – the only person ever jailed in connection to the US torture program. And yet, his crime was exposing the US use of waterboarding in interrogations. Edward Snowden may not be imprisoned in a cell, but he may be forever unable to return to his homeland. Exiled in Russia for exposing mass surveillance by the NSA on US citizens, Snowden is now on the run from the US government – cut off from his family and friends and unable to regain a life of normalcy for what may be the rest of his life. Thomas Drake, a whistleblower who exposed the NSA program “Trailblazer” in the early 2000′s that violated the privacy of US citizens, a leak that inspired Snowden, lost his job, money, time, and reputation fighting the espionage charges against him. These people and others fought. If we remember their fight, if we support them with marches, picketing, and protesting, if we join voices with them – then they did not lose. Calling attention to the lies and deceits of our government is important. It is of equal importance that we give praise and recognition when people expose those lies even at great personal risk. This is my thank you to Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg, and all other whistleblowers, truth-tellers, revolutionaries, and all those fearless in the face of Goliath. Thank you.

Alyssa Rohricht maintains The Black Cat Revolution and can be reached at aprohricht@msn.com.

Alyssa Röhricht maintains The Black Cat Revolution and can be reached at aprohricht@msn.com.

July 07, 2015
ANDRE VLTCHEK
In Ecuador, Fight for Mankind; In Greece, Fight for Greece!
Binoy Kampmark
Warrior Economist: the Varoufakis Legacy
Shamus Cooke
Unions Must Act Now to Survive Supreme Court Deathblow
Dave Lindorff
The Greek People Have Voted ‘No!’ to Austerity and Economic Blackmail
Mateo Pimentel
The Pope’s Letter: Neoliberalism and Fukushima
Raouf Halaby
Beware Those Who Speak With Forked Tongues
Ron Jacobs
The Grateful Dead: The Ship of the Sun Bids Farewell
Jonathan Cook
Hasbara Industry: Why Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat
Rev. William Alberts
Charleston: a Reality Check on Racism in America
Ellen Brown
A Franciscan Alternative: the People’s Pope and a People’s Bank?
Colin Todhunter
The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist
John Wight
Who Will Join With Greece?
W. T. Whitney
Colombia’s Fensuagro Union is Revolutionary, Persecuted, and Undaunted
Mel Gurtov
Keep It in the Ground, Obama
July 06, 2015
MICHAEL HUDSON
Greece Rejects the Troika
Steve Hendricks
Will FIFA’s World Cup Sexism Ever Die?
Binoy Kampmark
Oxi in Greece
Gareth Porter
How US Spin on Access to Iranian Sites has Distorted the Issue
Peter Bach
ISIL and Ramadan in the Rag
Paul Craig Roberts
A Rebuke to EU-Imposed Austerity
Robert Hunziker
Looking Inside Fukushima Prefecture
Quincy Saul
The View from Mount Olympus
ADRIENNE PINE, RICHARD JOHNSTON, FIONA WILMOT, et al.
Seven Reasons to Scrap the USA’s $1 Billion Aid Package to Central America
Norman Pollack
Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices
David Macaray
Could Justice Scalia Be the One to Rescue Labor?
Linn Washington Jr.
Storm Smashes Chris Christie’s Presidential Candidacy
Benjamin Willis
US and Cuba: What Remains to be Done?
Robert David Steele
The National Military Strategy: Dishonest Platitudes
Joan Roelofs
Whatever Happened to Eastern European Communism?
Weekend Edition
July 3-5, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World
Jason Hirthler
Going Off-Script in St. Petersburg
Rob Urie
Greece and Global Class War
DIMITRIS KONSTANTAKOPOULOS
The Future of Greece Without Illusions
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites
David Rosen
White Skin Crisis
Jerry Lembcke
Nobody Spat on American GIs!
Stavros Mavroudeas
The Greek Referendum and the Tasks of the Left
Andrew Levine
Dumping on Dixie Again
Richard Pithouse
Charleston (It’s Not Over)
Arun Gupta
What Does It Mean to Call Dylann Roof a “Terrorist”?
Michael Welton
The Tragedy of Harper’s Canada
Brendan McQuade
The Right Wing Resurgence and the Problem of Terrorism
Chris Floyd
Heritage and Hokum in Rebel Banner Row
Victor Rodriguez
Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.
John Halle
Four Thoughts on the Sanders Insurgency