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COMMENTARY: Sentencing whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, a queer perspective

On the morning of Aug. 21, Judge Denise Lind sentenced Army whistleblower and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Chelsea Manning to 35 years behind bars for carrying out the moral and legal duty of exposing crimes and wrongdoing. This sentencing is the culmination of a three-year show trial and marks a dark day in LGBT history.

Manning’s opponents like to claim that her actions harmed U.S. interests when what they actually mean is she harmed the ability of the government and power elite to preserve secrets that would demonstrate the ugly reality of U.S. foreign policy. To date, the government has been unable to prove that a single person was harmed by these leaks.

Notably absent from the rhetoric of Manning’s critics has been any call for government accountability or even the acknowledgment of the contents of the revelations, including but not limited to an official policy to ignore torture in Iraq (a violation of international law); the cover up of child abuse by U.S. contractors in Afghanistan; Guantanamo prison’s detention of mostly innocent people and low-level operatives; lies by the Bush and Obama administrations related to civilian deaths in the war on terror; the training of Egyptian torturers by the FBI; the authorization of the theft of the UN Secretary General’s DNA by the State Department; and a video of an Apache helicopter committing three distinct instances of war crimes in Iraq.

What’s also left out of the official narrative is that Manning had reported injustice through the correct military channels prior to leaking the information to Wikileaks, but had been ignored.

It is widely thought that the treatment of Manning serves to send a message to would-be whistleblowers and independent journalists. The war on truth tellers under the Obama administration has been unprecedented.

Read the full commentary in Gay San Diego, a SDGLN media partner, HERE.