Memo from Oslo: If Peace Is Prized, a Nobel for Bradley Manning

Norman Solomon, August 12, 2013

The headquarters of the Nobel Committee is in downtown Oslo on a street named after Henrik Ibsen, whose play "An Enemy of the People" has remained as current as dawn light falling on the Nobel building and then, hours later, on a Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley Manning’s trial enters a new stage – defense testimony in the sentencing phase.

Ibsen’s play tells of mendacity and greed in high places: dangerous threats to public health. You might call the protagonist a whistleblower. He’s a physician who can’t pretend that he hasn’t seen evidence; he rejects all the pleas and threats to stay quiet, to keep secret what the public has a right to know. He could be content to take an easy way, to let others suffer and die. But he refuses to just follow orders. He will save lives. There will be some dire consequences for him.

The respectable authorities know when they’ve had enough. Thought crimes can be trivial but are apt to become intolerable if they lead to active transgressions. In the last act, our hero recounts: "They insulted me and called me an enemy of the people." Ostracized and condemned, he offers final defiant words before the curtain comes down: "I have made a great discovery. … It is this, let me tell you – that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone."

Alone Bradley Manning will stand as a military judge proclaims a prison sentence.

As I write these words early Monday, sky is starting to lighten over Oslo. This afternoon I’ll carry several thousand pages of a petition – filled with the names of more than 100,000 signers, along with individual comments from tens of thousands of them – to an appointment with the Research Director of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The petition urges that Bradley Manning be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Like so many other people, the signers share the belief of Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire who wrote this summer: "I can think of no one more deserving."

Opening heart and mind to moral responsibility – seeing an opportunity to provide the crucial fuel of information for democracy and compassion – Bradley Manning lifted a shroud and illuminated terrible actions of the USA’s warfare state. He chose courage on behalf of humanity. He refused to just follow orders.

"If there’s one thing to learn from the last ten years, it’s that government secrecy and lies come at a very high price in blood and money," Bradley Manning biographer Chase Madar wrote. "And though information is powerless on its own, it is still a necessary precondition for any democratic state to function."

Bradley Manning recognized that necessary precondition. He took profound action to nurture its possibilities on behalf of democracy and peace.

No doubt a Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning is a very long longshot. After all, four years ago, the Nobel Committee gave that award to President Obama, while he was escalating the war in Afghanistan, and since then Obama’s dedication to perpetual war has become ever more clear.

Now, the Nobel Committee and its Peace Prize are in dire need of rehabilitation. In truth, the Nobel Peace Prize needs Bradley Manning much more than the other way around.

No one can doubt the sincere dedication of Bradley Manning to human rights and peace. But on Henrik Ibsen Street in Oslo, the office of the Nobel Committee is under a war cloud of its own making.

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books includeWar Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.




9 Responses to “Memo from Oslo: If Peace Is Prized, a Nobel for Bradley Manning”

  1. Bradley Manning sure deserves the Nobel Peace Prize more than Obama. I would love to see the Nobel committee rescind Obama's prize.

  2. I absolutely think so!. I was reading about how Finland became the top-performing Western nation in education, and the Finns:. . “full-service schools. They provide a daily hot meal for every student. They provide health and dental services. They offer guidance and psychological counselling, and access to a broader array of mental health and other services for students and families in need. None of these services is means-tested. Their availability to all reflects a deep societal commitment to the well-being of all children” . . . I think we should have something like that, too!.

  3. NSA is guilty of criminal ESPIONAGE, NOT MANNING, according to espionage act: "whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defence with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States..""gross negligence permits""document""to be removed from its proper place..or delivered..abstracted..punished by a fine of not more than $10,000, or by imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.""intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury or the United States..communicated, delivers, or transmits..document..punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty years.."

  4. gov admitted manning leaks didnt put anyone at risk. gov cant proove or point to anything manning leaked that could be used to injure anyone.
    manning leaks put no one at risk(exsept might put the crooks he exposed at risk of being fired/arrested/disliked).
    only criminals say exposeing/leaking evidence of crimes puts security at risk, because it put's criminals at risk of being fired or arrested.
    allowing criminals who spy on entire non-gov w/o their permit, overclassify gov docs, cover up gov misconduct, or murders who kill innocents, to go unpunished puts everyone at risk.
    manning wasnt negligent, wreckless or indiscriminate, he didnt leak all the info he could have leaked.

  5. us army subject schedule no. 27-1 is "the obligation to report all violations of the law of war"
    UCMJ: 894. Art. 94. Mutiny or sedition "..REFUSES..to..do his duty or creates..violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny..failure to supress or report mutiny..shall be punished..as..court martial.."
    it is a felony to attempt to use the classification system to hide a crime or protect the powerful from embarrassment. Such material remains unclassified after being stamped.
    Title18US Code contains the law.

  6. Executive order 13526 Sec.1.7.Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
    (a)In no case shall information be classified, continue to be
    maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
    (1)conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (2)prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    ..or prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.”
    REDUCING OVER-CLASSIFICATION ACT Public Law 111–258: SEC. 5. ..‘‘(G) in accordance with Executive Order No. 13526.." house and senate passed it, president signed into law October 7, 2010.

  7. corrupt gov says: if people know about our war crimes they wont like us, instead of not commiting war crimes to be liked lets just punish/kill whoever leaks them. punishing whistleblowers and letting the gov-paid murderers go free and not be fired, and covering up war crimes and gov corruption makes gov look way way worse than a few inevitable gov paid murderers.
    tyrants agisnt manning say other countries finding out about their war crimes "injured/harmed/damaged" them by causeing them to not be liked, and put them at risk of not being liked. no real danger of real injury=physcical injury. lieing pretending the word injured=being avoided. alkida now hates us even more beause us commited war crimes(now they finally admit alkida/taliban doesnt hate us for its freedom, it hates it for its war crimes(like alkida/taliban been saying all along), and spying on them doesnt prevent alkaida attacks, not murdering their families helps prevent alkida attacks against us)-thats a good thing to be disliked for commiting war crimes. anyone that critisizes corrupt gov members they charge with espionage beacuse their a risk it might "injure" us corrupt gov members by causeing people not to like us corrupt gov members.

  8. not exposeing and arresting murderes can result in them continueing their rampage. allowing overclassifcation can result in corruption being covered up, resulting in innocents being victimized, and wasteing $millions of tax dollars for extra security to protect overclassifed docs, wasteing $millions of tax dollars paying crooks to commit crimes, wasteing $millions of tax dollars paying crooks to illegal occupy a job they dont quailfy for.
    "regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published.."-constitution
    whistle blower law-cant legally get in trouble for reporting crime/gov-misconduct
    its gov's job to report and try to stop crime/gov-misconduct, and protect everyone=under the law=not letting some get away w the same type of misconduct you dont let others get away with, =no spying on everyone while baning every1 to spy on u

  9. The more information government gathers on people, the more power it has over them. The more government surveillance, the more intimidated Americans become.