FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

An Ode on Whistleblowers and Revolutionaries

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.

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
Brian Horejsi
Bears’ Lives Undervalued
Thomas Knapp
Lung Disease Outbreak: First Casualties of the War on Vaping?
Susie Day
Dear Guys Who Got Arrested for Throwing Water on NYPD Cops
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
Andrew Levine
Have They No Decency?
David Yearsley
Kind of Blue at 60
Ramzy Baroud
Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The War on Nature
Martha Rosenberg
Catch and Hang Live Chickens for Slaughter: $11 an Hour Possible!
Yoav Litvin
Israel Fears a Visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Neve Gordon
It’s No Wonder the Military likes Violent Video Games, They Can Help Train Civilians to Become Warriors
Susan Miller
That Debacle at the Border is Genocide
Ralph Nader
With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now
Victor Grossman
Warnings, Ancient and Modern
Meena Miriam Yust - Arshad Khan
The Microplastic Threat
Kavitha Muralidharan
‘Today We Seek Those Fish in Discovery Channel’
Louis Proyect
The Vanity Cinema of Quentin Tarantino
Bob Scofield
Tit For Tat: Baltimore Takes Another Hit, This Time From Uruguay
Nozomi Hayase
The Prosecution of Julian Assange Affects Us All
Ron Jacobs
People’s Music for the Soul
John Feffer
Is America Crazy?
Jonathan Power
Russia and China are Growing Closer Again
John W. Whitehead
Who Inflicts the Most Gun Violence in America? The U.S. Government and Its Police Forces
Justin Vest
ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South
Jill Richardson
Race is a Social Construct, But It Still Matters
Dean Baker
The NYT Gets the Story on Automation and Inequality Completely Wrong
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures
Gary Leupp
MSNBC and the Next Election: Racism is the Issue (and Don’t Talk about Socialism)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail