Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

The courageous Bradley Manning has done more for peace than the celebrated Peace Laureate currently in office, which is why a group called RootsAction is calling for the Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize to America’s political prisoner:

The Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Three members of Parliament in Iceland have nominated Bradley Manning and laid out the case:

“Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.”

Few have done more.  A number of previous peace laureates have done far less.

So, I urge everyone to sign this petition. With enough people taking part, maybe we could convince the Nobel Committee to award the peace prize to someone who has risked everything for peace.

In an article published by the Bradley Manning Support Network, I wrote about Manning’s outsized influence. Simply put, Manning has been an enormous catalyst of change and proved that an individual who stands up for what he believes in can effect change in the world:

So, while one cannot fully credit Manning and Wikileaks for the Arab Spring, there were fundamental to its strength and ultimate success. Additionally, the Arab Spring’s strength and success served as inspiration for the widespread protests of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Scientists might stand on the shoulders of giants, but modern revolutionaries apparently stand on the shoulders of a 110-pound Army specialist. Some might write about how Wikileaks is changing journalism, but in reality without Manning and his trove of classified information, Julian Assange and his outfit would have a lot less to leak.

So, Manning’s leak might have started revolutions in the Middle East, inspired a social movement in the United States, and changing the journalism itself, but could it have ended a war as well? Paterson asserts that the account of atrocities in the Iraq Wars Logs is what finally pushed Iraqi legislators to grow a spine and refuse granting immunity to American troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts. This refusal was the “deal breaker” that finally led to the Third End of War in Iraq (Obama’s second). If that is the case, then Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination is well-deserved.

Myself, I wrote the letter below, echoing the same points the Icelandic parliament raised:

Subject: Bradley Manning ended the Iraq War

Dear Nobel Committee,

Bradley Manning was able to do what 10 years of antiwar activism and two presidential elections could not do: end a war.

There is some evidence that the information revealed by Wikileaks (whose ultimate source is Manning) is what finally galvanized the Iraqi parliamentarians to push back against the American occupation, leaving the President Barack Obama no choice but to withdraw troops from Iraq.

As a former Marine and Iraq War veteran (2006-2007), I am grateful that Manning ended that injustice.

— Jayel Aheram

So, what are you waiting for?

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