Whistle-blowers must be protected

I spent the International Week of Solidarity with Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Md., and attended the first two days of Manning's court martial. The government is determined to convict Manning of espionage for having put classified documents revealing cold-blooded killings of innocent Iraqi and Afghan civilians in the public domain, where they indeed belong.

In contrast, those implicated in these documents have not even been investigated. Without public support, the chance of Manning receiving justice is slim.

Our constitutional-lawyer-President Obama considers Manning's harsh treatment in solitary confinement appropriate and, long before the start of the trial, declared him guilty of all charges. Manning has, indeed, broken his military oath of enlistment and certain military regulations but he has remained loyal to the ideals of the U.S. Constitution and to humanism, which places human life above ill-defined "national interests."

In fact, within the confines of a corporate security state, there can be no justice for truth-tellers. Conscientious individuals blow the whistle on government's wrongdoings because the citizenry has allowed the media and democratic institutions to become dysfunctional and subservient to corporations.

They're our ears and eyes, our conscience, and we owe it to them and to ourselves to actively support them. It's time to stand up to government's fear-mongering and bullying and demand transparency and accountability. Otherwise, the courageous Bradley Mannings of the world will continue to be persecuted, and we will soon lose all ability to find out about, let alone have a say in, the conduct of our officials at home and abroad.

NILOOFAR SHAMBAYATI

Champaign

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