torsdag 1 augusti 2013

On Manning, Obama and the promise to strengthen whistleblowers

This, by now quite well-known, video showing an Apache helicopter gunning down civilians (among them children, a TV-crew from Reuters and by-passers trying to help the wounded) was one of the over 700 000 files released by Wikileaks in 2010. The files shed light over the US invasion in Iraq and the American administrations foreign relations. The files were handed over to Wikileaks by whistleblower, private Bradley Manning. And what was the result of this revelation? Did the soldiers, killing civilians, get a just sentence for their deeds? Did the US administration face consequenses? No, no, no. No, it was private Manning who faced the consequenses for revealing their deeds. Now, he is found guilty on 19 charges of espionage (but not on "Aiding the enemy" which would mean death penalty). He is still awaiting his sentence, which could add up to 136 years. In his election manifesto, president Barack Obama stated that:
"Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government".
Yeah, mr President. I don't know about your ethical standards, but in my world "strengthen whistleblowers" means everything but kidnapping them, torturing them, threatening to kill them and locking them up for the rest of their lives.

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