Whistleblowers are the Nation's Conscience

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

By Allie Fry

Before starting my internship with CODEPINK, I knew very little about Bradley Manning. What I did know about whistleblowing concerned the Stuebenville rape case.

Anonymous, a “hacktivist” group, was responsible for leaking the names of the Steubenville rapists, fueling necessary (and long overdue) national dialogue about rape culture. The rapists sexually assaulted a young girl and then proceeded to tweet, share photos, and create a video mocking and humiliating her. Anonymous also exposed the role the rapists’ football coach played in covering up their crime. The rapists and their co-conspirators essentially sealed their guilt via social media. Astonishingly, the rapists received a maximum of two years, and the high school renewed and extended their coach’s contract. Meanwhile, Deric Lostutter, after revealing himself as the hacker responsible for the leak, faces up to ten years in prison.

Lostutter, like Manning, should be lauded for his efforts to bring criminals to justice and combat a culture that fosters ignorance and apathy.  Instead, we bring these whistleblowers to trial and let the criminals go virtually unchallenged.

Bradley Manning exposed war crimes, such as the airstrike in Iraq that killed unarmed civilians, including two journalists. Manning’s heroic actions earned him ten months of solitary confinement in conditions the UN would categorize as torture. His trial, which began June 3, marks a crucial moment in U.S. history. Are we a nation that penalizes the individuals who are the very conscience of our country? Are we a nation obsessed with incarceration to support our prison-industrial complex? Or are we a nation that can recognize injustice and put war criminals and rapists behind bars instead of people with low socioeconomic status, people of color, and whistleblowers?

Manning has not endangered our safety but has challenged our ignorance-is-bliss attitude. So it seems a spectacular waste of time to bring Manning to trial while war criminals go free. While I will join CODEPINK in bearing witness to the brokenness of our justice system and showing solidarity with Manning, I am eager for the day when we will attend the trials of the war criminals that Manning exposed.

Allie Fry is a junior at Knox College studying Women and Gender Studies. She is interning in the CODEPINK DC office for the summer of 2013.

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