Utterances.net edited by Jalel Harchaoui.
Print Button
RSS Button

How to help the mainstream public remain indifferent to the government's treatment of whistleblower
Private Manning: Punished Before Trial
by Jalel Harchaoui.
War hero and great 20th-century mathematician Alan Turing was gay. He was pushed to suicide by the British government.
Private Manning: Punished Before Trial

Bradley Manning.

One of the great mathematicians of the 20th century, Alan Turing, was gay. During WWII, Turing helped his fellow British citizens by deciphering encryption codes used by the Nazis. Turing saved a substantial number of human beings from Third Reich attacks. His work, in a crucial manner, also paved the way for the advent of modern computing.

After the war, British law on sodomy (still in place then) was obviously enforced selectively by the government. At the time, the counterespionage bigwigs decided that there was a higher chance a subject privy to national secrets betraying the nation-state and helping the Soviets if said subject was queer (being so, the theory went, was proof of a ‘progressive’ penchant).

Therefore, in the early 1950s, the British government saw it fit to coerce Turing into undergoing chemical castration. The nation-state would be much much safer that way.

The chemical treatment tortured the mathematician and war hero, until he eventually committed suicide on 07-Jun-54 by ingesting cyanide.

Earlier this year, as Turing’s hundredth birthday was approaching, David Cameron’s right-wing government was asked by GLBT activist associations whether the nation-state would consider issuing an apology to Turing’s family or pardoning him posthumously for his sexual preference. Cameron’s right-wing government said “no": Turing violated British law at the time. So no pardon, no apology, no regrets.

Earlier this year, Tory treasurer, Peter Cruddas, was caught on camera offering access to the British cabinet for a ~£250k bribe per request. Premier Cameron did acknowledge that such practices were “unacceptable”. He knows when to draw a line.

Very few people are disturbed by the fact that the current right-wing government of the UK condones Turing’s treatment. (A government is never wrong, obviously, by definition.)

Once that is remembered the parallel with American Bradley Manning becomes easy to notice. The soldier’s #1 crime was to try and protect his fellow human beings from the underground workings of a powerful, opaque government machine. As opposed to Scooter Libby, Manning divulged no details pertaining to ongoing negotiations or undercover operations. The cables weren’t deemed damning because they divulged information to the enemy. They were deemed criminal because they divulged to the civilian population what their government was up to. Governments consider this intolerable, especially as clandestine violence is being escalated with a view, going forward, of pursuing such extrajudicial activities on a permanent basis. For instance, all unarmed civilians murdered must be reported as ‘militants’ in the official Afghanistan statistics, etc. A good way of managing public opinion.

Consistently inhumane treatment has been carried out upon Manning over the last two and a half years (forced to remain naked; in solitary confinement; humiliation; trial delayed purposely; harassment; etc.). It is important that that play well in Peoria. That is why the soldier’s #2 crime—tacitly, of course—is his homosexuality. Mentions of the latter have been recurrent in the mass media (why not the color of his eyes, whether he’s left-handed, his favorite dish, etc.), enabling large blocks of the population, those defining themselves as prudent, to accept with impeccable tranquility the lingering torture Manning has been subjected to. The implicit rationale is, “Those people are weird to begin with; they shouldn’t be in the army; they are inherently incapable of patriotism; they gotta reap just what they sow; this unattractive punk had it coming.”

A whistle-blower is willing to face the due process of the law. But this? This is anything but. This is just medieval force—nothing to do with even martial law. What we’ve been witnessing is simply the U.S. government trying to crush one isolated individual as efficaciously as possible prior to trial without having him die. And everybody knows that. His sexual orientation comes in quite handy for the purpose of controlling the population during the pre-trial torture years. Same playbook as with Turing, but much more subtle, more refined.

~ Jalel Harchaoui.