Make Real News!

100K Challenge!

$41,828 raised so farEND DATE: October 3   
Every dollar you donate will be matched until we reach our 100K goal!
  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Chris Hedges On Bradley Manning Being Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison


    Chris Hedges speaks to The Real News in an exclusive interview responding to Wikileaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning being sentenced to 35 years in prison -   August 22, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook


    TRNN is a rare source of objective facts, analysis and commentary, not available in mainstream news. - Robert
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig , spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years. He has written nine books, including "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" (2009), "I Don't Believe in Atheists" (2008) and the best-selling "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" (2008). His book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. 

    Transcript

    Chris Hedges On Bradley Manning Being Sentenced to 35 Years in PrisonOSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: On Wednesday, August 21, 25-year-old Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act. The Real News spoke to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges about the sentence.

    CHRIS HEDGES, JOURNALIST AND WRITER: Although it was less than I thought the judge was going to throw at him, my gut reaction was quite emotional. I mean, I was quite upset. And I think that that's because this is part of a larger process by which any attempt to shine a light on the inner workings of power is not only being shut down, but those with a conscience who attempt to inform the wider public of, in the case of Manning, crimes that have been committed, war crimes, have become in this society criminals.

    The whole moral and legal system has been inverted, and you have a criminal class, whether that's on Wall Street, whether that's running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether that's running our offshore penal colonies and torture centers, whether that is the use of electronic surveillance to sweep up all of the communications of most Americans--we are seeing all of the traditional checks by which we are able to thwart government tyranny ripped down.

    And so I look at what happened to today is a kind of process, and a very depressing process, whereby not only civil liberties are shredded, but finally any capacity for the investigation and uncovering of the abuse of power is effectively thwarted. So, yeah, it's part of a larger picture. I felt heartbroken for him personally, but I think on some level also heartbroken for the rest of the country.

    Well, I mean, these sentences are ridiculous. I mean, I covered the war in Bosnia, and, you know, one knows from the history of Bosnia that when Princip assassinated Ferdinand, the archduke, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife, he received a 20-year sentence.

    We have just gone crazy within this prison system, whether it's for drug offenses, whether it is for, you know, purportedly espionage, the use, the misuse of the Espionage Act to go after whistleblowers, and these people are locked up for staggering amounts of time. So as a former reporter for The New York Times, as someone who was published top-secret information--and let's remember that everything that Manning disclosed was never classified as top-secret. It was all secret. Four to five million people had access to it. It's a very low-level form of intelligence information. This has a kind of--you know, more than a chilling effect, but essentially throws any kind of journalistic activity into the deep freeze. It becomes impossible to investigate the security and surveillance state, number one because they can trace all communications, so they know who would be talking to reporters. And number two, the consequences, as we have seen with Manning and as we are seeing with Snowden and as we will see if they ever get their hands on Julian Assange, which they seem intent to do or would like to do, are just now so severe that it thwarts the traditional mechanism by which the fourth estate, the press, was once able to investigate power and shine a light onto the inner workings of power. All of that has been shut down, in essence. It's all gone dark.

    Defense strategy was clear from the beginning, and that was to plead with the court. Now, let's remember the defense's hands were tied. They couldn't present much of the information to the court because it was technically classified. They were not allowed to use as a defense Manning's right under international law, and I think even under the U.S. military code, to expose war crimes, I mean, in fact his duty to expose war crimes. All of that was denied to the Manning defense team. And so in essence their hands were tied. And Coombs, who, you know, I have great respect for, essentially went down, I think, probably the only route that he thought he could go down, and that was to plead. And we saw that with his opening statement. We saw that with Manning's own statement of remorse. I think it's sort of tragic in a way that Manning was forced into this position, because in my mind he is a political prisoner. In my mind, what he carried out is an act of conscience. And yet that defense was never--or that possibility of that kind of defense was never offered to him by Judge Lind.

    Well, Obama has used the Espionage Act now, if we count Snowden, seven times against whistleblowers, people who have uncovered fraud, war crimes, abuse, government malfeasance, and given that information to the wider public through the press. Kiriakou, the former CIA agent is now serving a 30-year sentence in a Pennsylvanian prison. And that is a misuse of the Espionage Act, which is the equivalent of our foreign secrets act. It's designed to be used against people who give people information to groups that are classified as the enemy. Between 1917, when it was written, and 2009 when Obama took office, it was used three times against whistleblowers, including against Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Obama, of course, now has more than doubled that.

    And that has become the mechanism by which they have essentially shut down any kind of press investigation into the inner workings of power. And so, again, you know, using the Espionage Act to go after Manning is part of that wider campaign to make it impossible for those of us on the outside to understand what authority is doing and not more importantly the abuse of authority.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Breaking Down the Scottish Independence Vote by Class Lines
    Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels
    Historic Climate Change Protests Only Days Away
    Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana
    Coalition to Fight the Islamic State Unlikely to Succeed
    Upsurge in Voter Participation and Scare-Campaigns As Scots Head To The Polls
    Are Combat Troops on Their Way to Iraq?
    Media Failing to Provide Substantive Debate on ISIS
    Interpret or Change the World?
    Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence
    What Drives U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Israel?
    The Federal Reserve Makes "Effort" to Rein in Big Banks
    An American Fascism - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (5/8)
    Breakthroughs Unlikely at Upcoming UN Climate Summit
    The Untold History of The Star Spangled Banner
    What Drives Obama's Foreign Policy?
    Israel Facing Major Economic Consequences for 50 Day War on Gaza
    FBI Targets Minority Communities in Mortgage Fraud Investigations
    Obama's 'Moderate' Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found
    "The State Targeted the Panthers Because We Were Socialists, Not Because We Were Armed" - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (4/8)
    Democrats Have Options to Pursue Campaign Finance Reform
    The Bennis Plan: Here Is a Real Strategy for Dealing with ISIS
    Baltimore Cop Says Some Officers Are a Threat to the Communities They Serve
    The World Made A Much More Dangerous Place by the U.S. Since 9/11
    American Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS
    Obama's Syria Plan Will Strengthen IS and Warlordism
    ISIS Wants the US Drawn into a Ground War
    New Iraqi Government Will Abide by U.S. Regional Goals
    COINTELPRO, Attack on the Panthers - Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself (3/8)
    Federal Reserve Data Shows Growing Wealth Gap Based on Race

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting