Manning is a whistle-blower, not a traitor

Thanks again for giving proper coverage to the Trial of the Century ("Manning trial begins at Fort Meade," June 4). As a Pfc. Bradley Manning supporter, I am biased, but the court martial has attracted interest around the world. On Monday as the court martial began, I was outside the main gate to Fort Meade with other Manning supporters.

In an opening statement, an Army prosecutor stated that Mr. Manning knew that the documents he released "would endanger fellow U.S. soldiers." Such poppycock astonishes me, but the U.S. government wants more from Private Manning than just a pound of flesh. He pleaded guilty to releasing documents to WikiLeaks, yet the government wants to convict him of two ridiculous charges — aiding the enemy and violation of the Espionage Act — and imprison him for the rest of his life. It should not surprise anyone that Manning supporters were not permitted to wear "TRUTH" tee shirts at the court martial.

As a good citizen, this whistle-blower wanted to alert the world to atrocities committed by U.S. troops and the U.S government's working relationship with numerous dictatorial regimes. This government misbehavior should not be covered up. Imagine how much better it would be if human rights violations and government malfeasance were exposed on a regular basis. Of course, our government wants to cover up its bad behavior. But Bradley Manning has a conscience, and he would not tolerate the cover-up.

It is important to note that Mr. Manning swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which means he had a responsibility and duty to disobey unlawful orders. Out of this responsibility, he gained the courage, like Daniel Ellsberg did some 40 years before, to expose the dirtiness of war and occupation. As a U.S. citizen, I am deeply indebted to Bradley Manning and will vigorously work for his eventual release from prison.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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