8 February 2011

One man's country estate is another man's solitary confinement cell

As Private Bradley Manning languishes in solitary confinement at Quantico military base, the show ponies who have made their names on the backs of others, have been out in force to support the darling of the luvvies, the phony but oh-so-chic, Julian Assange.

As young Manning sits in isolation for 23 hours a day, ignored by the man he helped become more than just another blogger, largely ignored by the Jemima Khans' and the Bianca Jaggers' of this world, how must he feel about the way he has been forgotten, while Assange, the so-called antiestablishment warrior and so-called anti-war warrior strolls around the country estate of a former Captain in an army notorious for its human rights abuses in illegal or immoral wars.

Don't get me wrong, I support Wikileaks - but Wikileaks, despite what Assange would have you think, is not about Assange - it's larger than that. That is why I have criticized our Prime Minister for labeling his acts "illegal" criticized on the basis that government and the judicial system are, and must seen to be - separate from each other. It is not for a politician to decide what is illegal - it is for the courts.

This whole affair has now turned into a celebrity circus in which every B Grade celebrity or political has been, must be seen to support Assange - a man who leaks information while complaining about his own lack of privacy. A man with as many faces as he has mobile phones.

Certainly the action of the Swedish government appears suspicious, and questions should be asked - but they should be asked for the right reasons, and asked with an open mind.

Julian Assange is charismatic, fashionable and well connected - while Bradley Manning, the man mostly ignored by the cocktail circuit and legal fee fund raisers, is an unfashionable Private.

Freedom of speech is a noble concept that I full endorse, but with it comes responsibility - and equality. If you support Assange, then at least equal moral and financial support should be given to Manning.

We have seen the famous and fashionable chant and carry signs outside British courtrooms - will we now see them chant and carry signs outside Quantico military base?


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