Bradley Manning: Another Day in the USA, Another Political Prisoner

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Bradley Manning is a US political prisoner, not the first or the last. The Obama administration is just as craven, vicious, and fearful of the truth and the American people as any of its predecessors. As the Obama administration has assumed the tradition of making new political prisoners we must expand the tradition of corresponding with, supporting and educating our communities, and working toward amnesty for all US political prisoners.

Bradley Manning: Another Day in the U.S.A.:, Another Political Prisoner

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Another day in the USA, another political prisoner.

This week a military judge pronounced US Army Private Bradley Manning guilty of espionage and other offenses. Private Manning admitted turning over 700,000 diplomatic cables and other documents, including a video of bloodthirsty US troops murdering a dozen or so innocent Iraqis for the crime of meeting on a street corner, to Wikileaks, a legitimate international press organization with a track record of exposing corporate and government wrongdoing on six continents. Manning testified in open court that he did this because he believed that the American people and the peoples of the world had a right to know what was being done in their names, and in some cases, what was being done to them.

The military judge acquitted Manning on the most serious charge the Obama administration levied against him, “aiding the enemy,” which carries a potential death penalty. Manning, who has already suffered more than two years in solitary confinement, now faces entombment in the federal gulag for two, three or four decades, under conditions which amount to torture in any civilized jurisdiction on earth. His kangaroo court martial is not yet over. Prosecutors will next produce fanciful evidence of the harm caused by his so-called “espionage,” in order to secure the longest possible sentence under the harshest imaginable.

But “espionage” is the act of spying for an alien interest such as a competing greedy corporation, or a foreign power. Private Manning acted transparently in the public interest. The documents he released expose a vast abyss of treachery, lies, high crimes and murders committed by US civilian and military officials. Clearly the Obama administration, just like all its predecessors, is deadly intent on covering up past crimes, committing new ones on their foundation, and handing off the ability to do the same to its corporate and governmental successors.

Bradley Manning is probably President Obama's premiere political prisoner. He is the unwilling and undeserving captive of the planet's foremost police, prison and surveillance state, in the tradition of Mumia Abu Jamal, of Jamil Al Amin, of Leonard Peltier, of Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, of the Cuban Five, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz and many, many others. Current US political prisoners run the gamut from old Black Panthers and Puerto Rican independistas under hatches for decades to newly framed environmentalists, government whistleblowers and persons exposing dangerous and inhumane practices in agriculture and food processing.

Like the rest of the US ruling class, the Obama administration fears the truth, fears justice and above all, fears the American people. They won't let a single political prisoner go, and are determined to bury alive as many new ones as it takes to continue their crime spree. Even now, in state and federal prisons across the country, what used to be called common criminals are being converted to political prisoners, as they are confined to solitary for years at a time for possession of what benighted prison administrators deem to be radical political literature, or mere names, like those of Huey Newton or George Jackson. Thus the last shreds of the prison state's supposed legitimacy are crumbling before our eyes..

If the Obama administration's job is to make more political prisoners, then our tasks are equally clear. We must educate our churches, workplaces and communities about them, to organize local and national campaigns to correspond with and support them, and to demand amnesty and freedom for US political prisoners. A good place to start is the Jericho Movement at

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)