Ron Paul: Bradley Manning More Deserving of Nobel Peace Prize than President Obama
In an interview with US News and World Report, Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman and perennial libertarian presidential candidate, said that Manning, a 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst, has done more to promote peace than Obama.
“While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars,” Paul said. “It’s clear which individual has done more to promote peace.”
While President Obama famously won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize after just months in office for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” Manning has been nominated for the prestigious award each year since 2011. According to the Icelandic, Swedish and Turkish politicians who nominated him for the prize, the classified US military and diplomatic documents Manning leaked to the whistleblower website Wikileaks “pointed to a long history of corruption and war crimes” and “helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements.”
But to the United States government, Manning is an enemy of the state and has been treated as such. He has been imprisoned since May 2010, often held in solitary confinement conditions that mental health experts and civil liberties advocates liken to torture. Solitary confinement is banned under the Geneva Conventions as “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”
Manning’s treatment has been called ‘inhumane’ and ‘sadistic.’ The United Nations and International Red Cross have claimed it borders on torture.
Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges, admitting to passing military and diplomatic archives to Wikileaks to help inform the public about “what happens and why it happens” and to “spark a debate about foreign policy.”
“I take full responsibility,” Manning said before a military judge at Ft. Meade, Maryland in February.
Manning pleaded not guilty to an additional dozen charges, including “aiding the enemy,” which carries a possible life prison sentence. He could be sentenced to up to 20 years behind bars based on the charges he has admitted to. Manning’s court martial is scheduled to begin on June 3.
Among the material in the documents leaked by Manning are files detailing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, part of the so-called Iraq and Afghan War Logs, as well as documents proving that 150 innocent men were knowingly imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay.
The leaked files also detail US government cover-ups of child rape, torture, the massacre of civilians in countries against which the US has not declared hostilities, the killing of journalists, State Department spying on US allies and the UN and other offenses.