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Moore writes: "People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods - the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep - and in just a year's time! When anyone asks me, 'Who started Occupy Wall Street?' sometimes I say 'Goldman Sachs' or 'Chase' but mostly I just say, 'Bradley Manning.'"

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)



A Movement

By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog

18 December 11

 

t's Saturday night and I didn't want the day to end before I sent out this note to you.

One year ago today (December 17th), Mohamed Bouazizi, a man who had a simple produce stand in Tunisia, set himself on fire to protest his government's repression. His singular sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled Tunisia's dictator and launched revolts in regimes across the Middle East.

Three months ago today, Occupy Wall Street began with a takeover of New York's Zuccotti Park. This movement against the greed of corporate America and its banks - and the money that now controls most of our democratic institutions - has quickly spread to hundreds of towns and cities across America. The majority of Americans now agree that a nation where 400 billionaires have more wealth than 160 million Americans combined is not the country they want America to be. The 99% are rising up against the 1% - and now there is no turning back.

Twenty-four years ago today, U.S. Army Spc. Bradley Manning was born. He has now spent 570 days in a military prison without a trial - simply because he allegedly blew the whistle on the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. He exposed what the Pentagon and the Bush administration did in creating this evil and he did so by allegedly leaking documents and footage to Wikileaks. Many of these documents dealt not only with Iraq but with how we prop up dictators around the world and how our corporations exploit the poor on this planet. (There were even cables with crazy stuff on them, like one detailing Bush's State Department trying to stop a government minister in another country from holding a screening of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.')

The Wikileaks trove was a fascinating look into how the United States conducts its business - and clearly those who don't want the world to know how we do things in places like, say, Tunisia, were not happy with Bradley Manning.

Mohamed Bouazizi was being treated poorly by government officials because all he wanted to do was set up a cart and sell fruit and vegetables on the street. But local police kept harassing him and trying to stop him. He, like most Tunisians, knew how corrupt their government was. But when Wikileaks published cables from the U.S. ambassador in Tunis confirming the corruption - cables that were published just a week or so before Mohamed set himself on fire - well, that was it for the Tunisian people, and all hell broke loose.

People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods - the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep - and in just a year's time! When anyone asks me, "Who started Occupy Wall Street?" sometimes I say "Goldman Sachs" or "Chase" but mostly I just say, "Bradley Manning." It was his courageous action that was the tipping point - and it was not surprising when the dictator of Tunisia censored all news of the Wikileaks documents Manning had allegedly supplied. But the internet took Manning's gift and spread it throughout Tunisia, a young man set himself on fire and the Arab Spring that led eventually to Zuccotti Park has a young, gay soldier in the United States Army to thank.

And that is why I want to honor Bradley Manning on this, his 24th birthday, and ask the millions of you reading this to join with me in demanding his immediate release. He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he's received in over eighteen months of imprisonment. If anything, this young man deserves a friggin' medal. He did what great Americans have always done - he took a bold stand against injustice and he did it without stopping for a minute to consider the consequences for himself.

The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.

The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war - and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.

But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.

I know, I know, c'mon Mike - it's the holiday season, there's presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We've done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for.

 

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+98 # Barbara K 2011-12-18 12:23
I'm so glad this war is ended. But the Bush gang who lied us into the war still roam free and some continue to lie (like Rove) to get their own way. I hope that they get to spend a good long time in prison. Gitmo should have room for them. Right now the wrong person is in prison.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!!
 
 
+3 # RLF 2011-12-19 03:50
I can think of some more deserving of solitary and prison...and they all worked in the Bush administration. ..Obama, the pansy, didn't want to prosecute anyone for lying to start a war...but the Rethugs will prosecute for lying about getting a blow job.

NEVER VOTE FOR RETHUGS OR PANSY ASS DEMOCRATS!
 
 
+84 # charsjcca 2011-12-18 12:28
Great. He is paying the ultimate price. When he is a civilian I wonder if he can be elected to our Congress. We would need him there.
 
 
+41 # Erdajean 2011-12-18 14:58
Let us hope and pray that someday soon this incredibly brave young man will BE a civilian -- and a live one, at that. But that is not going to come "naturally," by any act of Government.
I have ZERO faith in what now passes for the U.S. Government to do the RIGHT thing, ever again. Or not until the people take it back and clean out the death and evil decay that accumulates in Washington, day by day.
If something or someone serves the good of the people, and the earth, it is immediately under attack. Evil has prevailed so long, the demons feel entitled! Bradley Manning now suffers for all of us. But that won't last for long.
How long can everything good and decent stand as hostage to the trash of the earth?
 
 
+70 # fredboy 2011-12-18 12:59
Truth is the mortal enemy of tyranny. That is why Bradley Manning is imprisoned.

In the eyes of the military/corpor ate world, he--not those who strafed and killed innocent civilians from a helicopter gunship--is the bad guy.
 
 
+46 # pgobrien 2011-12-18 13:05
It's painful to see how our own country and government are behaving this way toward people accused of a crime or wrong-doing and not convicted of ANYthing. Guilt by accusation -- that is not the American system of law and jurisprudence, but it's what we have now on far too many occasions. Even once would be too much, but it happens often these days, and it's distressing in the extreme. How far we have fallen.
 
 
+55 # DurangoKid 2011-12-18 13:05
If Bradley Manning is indeed a catalyst for the Occupy movement, the elites will never forgive him for it. Keep in mind that military justice is different from civilian courts. The standards of proof are different and the severity of the punishments are different. Without some outside intervention, expect Manning to spend much of the remainder of his life in prison. And by outside intervention, I don't mean protesters with placards. Nothing short of the president or congress can get him off the hook. Manning has exposed the ugly side of the war on terror and that will not be tolerated. Nothing is more dangerous to an establishment of lies than the truth. Those who bear the truth must be made an example of.
 
 
-117 # cypress72 2011-12-18 13:16
Mr. Moore: Until your renounce your position as part of the 1% and redistribute your vast fortune, all your posts ring hollow as we envision you returning to your opulent lifestyle far from the OWS crowds and a critical media.
 
 
+44 # pgobrien 2011-12-18 14:34
He has addressed that, takes pains to return his fair share to the many who make him successful, and he does donate much. Don't be such a cynic.
 
 
+29 # pbbrodie 2011-12-18 18:28
Don't fall into the trap of believing that those who have worked hard and honestly for what they have don't deserve it, especially when they pay their fair share!
 
 
+34 # bugbuster 2011-12-18 18:59
This contributor shares a misconception with many we have heard from recently. I for one do not begrudge anyone money--even lots of it--that they have earned from their work. The people I regard as the undeserving 1% are those whose income is unearned, that is, capital gains. I object to their unearned income because it is taxed at 15%, an insult to those who pay over 30% on the meager income they got for doing the work that earned the big bucks for the undeserving.
 
 
+13 # RLF 2011-12-19 03:54
And GE not paying anything because of lobbied in tax breaks that my one-man-band business doesn't get. I pay more taxes than GE and I am by official tabs, the working poor without health insurance...Sha me on this country!
 
 
+5 # Pwportman 2011-12-19 14:42
While Mr. Moore may be a part of the 99% in terms of his income and possibly not having to deal with the same issues that the people in the 1% have to deal with on a daily basis, however you have to admit that he is indeed right. Stop hating him for what he has busted his ass for. Instead what we need to do as a country is stop being lazy and relying upon a president for change. We NEED to unite as one country and take over and control multiple issues. We do not exercise our rights granted to us under our constitution, and therefore somebody such as Manning should not be punished for trying to stop injustices. We as a nation have no choice but to take back control, not only to stop the injustices but to turn around our economy. You want jobs back? for fairer taxes to be paid by big corporations and millionaires? Then stand up, united together, against those companies who feel that their pockets need to get deeper while the rest of us get poorer. Demand for a fairer tax rate for the 99% and demand for a Federal Statute that does NOT allow labor exporting and demands that these jobs be brought back to the U.S. for the benefit of the American people. We also need to get the garbage out of our government and just about completely rebuild the entire thing.

"WE THE PEOPLE" need to boycott properly and take back control of the choices that are made. Stop relying on one person to do it all... United We Stand... Divided We Fall
 
 
+48 # cvm79 2011-12-18 13:38
He must have agonized over his decision to do the morally right thing even though he knew it was illegal. I admire his courage.
 
 
+54 # pbjammin 2011-12-18 13:42
I have spent some time wondering what Bradley Manning or whoever it was, was thinking when he made the decision to do what was morally right, but what is considered treason by his government. Were his hands shaking? Did he somehow think that a higher "good" would be served? Did he think that that that higher "good" would somehow save him when the time came? I ache for him, because he will be the government's symbol-they won't back down, despite our pleas. But it is our duty to plead for him, because he is paying with his life for our liberty, our freedom, our way of life in America.
 
 
+48 # daveapostles 2011-12-18 13:58
Best wishes from over here in the UK. I've referred this to people that I know in the US. Add Blair to the list of the reprehensible.
 
 
+27 # krispykremeyum 2011-12-18 15:39
Thank You...Hopefully the UK and other populations of the world realize we Americans are diverse and not solely a bunch of ignorant, foaming at the mouth, gun barrel licking, butt heads.
 
 
+1 # Doubter 2011-12-19 18:23
But you must admit we have more than our share of those....?
 
 
+50 # sandyboy 2011-12-18 14:04
Yes, Michael, it WAS Bradley Manning, and the bastards will never forgive him for it. And not all of us get it - how 'bout that woman how counter-protest ed those who came out in support of him with her sign saying, "Don't leak classified information, stupid", or words to that effect? Cables just found in an Iraq trash heap talk about US soldiers slitting throats, killing toddlers and an old man in a wheelchair, yet they go free while BM has been in jail near 2 years before he even got to "trial"(sic). Obama - a LAWYER - declared him guilty months ago. God bless America? God help us all.
 
 
+36 # DaveM 2011-12-18 14:39
How about if they let Mr. Manning out and fill that cell with Mr. Bush? As Commander in Chief, he is responsible for the actions of those under his command. And we know all too well how many war crimes were committed during a nine year illegal war in Iraq.
 
 
+27 # sandyboy 2011-12-18 14:49
Cypress 72, I could be wrong but I seem to recall Mr Moore was called about this before and that he is NOT hugely rich and uses most of his $ to reinvest in his films; also I think there was a story recently where he helped a bunch of poor folks financially in some way? Regret I don't have full details, but maybe another poster can fill in?
 
 
+20 # AMLLLLL 2011-12-18 18:11
sandyboy, you are correct. Michael started a foundation that does nothing but help people, and he paid $1million in taxes from his first film. He walks the walk; if only there were more like him!
 
 
-25 # markhalfmoon 2011-12-18 14:57
Perhaps what Bradley Manning did was brave and heroic, but "hero" has become the cheapest word in America. With bravery and heroism comes risk. If one feels so strongly about fighting what they think is unjust that they are willing to take that risk, they are accepting the fact that they may end up paying a penalty and being martyred for their cause. That is the sacrifice that makes one a true hero.

Manning signed a nondisclosure agreement. In doing so he swore to "an individual responsibility to safeguard classified information." He broke that contract. A contract made with a military institution charged with the security of his country. He would or should have known that a huge organization of paranoid belligerent people trained to kill as its primary business, would be unhappy with one of its own sworn and trusted members exposing information and activities it absolutely doesn't want anyone outside of it to know.

Is it really a surprise to anyone that there are laws against doing such a thing that most military organizations, even the Mafia and street gangs execute members for? Of course the Army will come down on him with its full weight and seek the maximum penalty allowable.
 
 
+5 # markhalfmoon 2011-12-18 15:36
But I think in this case, if found guilty Bradley Manning should be given a more reasonable sentence, mitigated by the fact of the Army's negligence or incompetence in not recognizing his unstable mental condition in granting him security clearance. After 19 months in detention and whatever it will be by the time the trial is over, he probably should be released with time served.

Being a hero comes with a price. Otherwise there is nothing heroic about your actions. If you don't want to pay the price, don't be a hero.
 
 
+12 # dorianb@fuse.net 2011-12-18 16:59
markhalfmoon: what you say is said with wisdom some posters have not considered. We feel so badly for Manning and hope he will be acquitted. Poor man but it is inspiring to know that someone today is brave enough to do the right thing.

"With bravery and heroism comes risk", as both you and the author stated.
 
 
+17 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-12-18 18:16
"Is it really a surprise to anyone that there are laws against doing such a thing that most military organizations, even the Mafia and street gangs execute members for?"

So we should follow the example of "the Mafia and street gangs"? just where is your head coming from?
 
 
+3 # markhalfmoon 2011-12-19 03:30
No, "we" should not follow the example of the Mafia and street gangs. But the fact is, that it is the Mafia and street gangs that follow the example of the Military.

In case you haven't noticed, the United Army is one of the most violent organizations in the history of the world. It's not a secret. They're proud of it. They brag about it.

If violence is measured by the ability and will to inflict the maximum amount of mortal pain and mental anguish to the greatest number of a targeted population of fellow human beings, the US Military measures up among the champions. Up there with the Schutzstaffel.

And I didn't say "we should follow the example of the Mafia and street gangs," I asked "Is it really a surprise to anyone that there are laws against doing such a thing?"
 
 
+18 # photonracer 2011-12-18 15:24
Mr Moore there are too many assumptions here. Young master Manning has not been PROVED beyond reasonable doubt of this guilt. He IS automatically considered guilty by a military tribunal.
We the people cannot peacefully get this poor soul released without a presidential pardon. Our congress is sold out to the 1% and the idiots (not necessarily a separate group) who think war, violence and dominion are the only answers. They will not help in his release. I state here and now John MCCain, John Kyle, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, George W Bush and many others should hang as traitors based on the same logic that will convict Manning. I will gladly noose the rope and pull the handle until I collapse from fatigue. Sometimes old fashioned "western" justice is the answer. Rise up, resist these traitors. Remove the MCCains, Joun Kyles, Eric Cantors, Mitch Mcconnols and John Boehners with force if necessary. The OWS is a start but not enough. "We must hang together or surely we will hang separately!" paraphrase Ben Franklin. We need to hang the real traitors and soon.
 
 
+14 # Barbara K 2011-12-18 16:23
It is something that we cannot rest about until they get these crooks out of our government. It seems that it is okay for a Legislator of some kind or a former Presidential partner in crime can continue their crimes while the citizens of this country would be arrested for the same crimes. Being on the Taxpayer Dime should hold them to a higher standard. It seems they never stop living off us. I wish some Attorney General would come forward and arrest the lot of them. You have them pretty well nailed as to who they are.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!!
 
 
+14 # dorianb@fuse.net 2011-12-18 17:18
Obama could pardom him but he's less committed to the needs and suffering of people than to his need to please big money contributers. Plus, he's too busy campaigning to care about Maybe, just maybe he would get back some of his lost supporters if he did something for no other reason than it's the RIGHT thing to do for a change.
 
 
0 # Doubter 2011-12-19 18:32
Before they get US, fellow Guantanamo bait.
 
 
+22 # Yakpsyche 2011-12-18 16:03
Thanks for the input Mr. Moore. I regret to inform you, however, that if you think Specialist Manning is receiving "un-American" treatment then you have failed to notice that what he and the Occupy movement are protesting is that this is what America has become. Holding your idealistic ideas, is unfortunately just what the propaganda masters want you to do. So long as we continue to presume that America is really democratic, free, fair, and so on, we can continue to be lulled into quiescence with promises of action on employment, prosperity, gay rights, etc. As long as we fail to see that these ideals are already gone we will continue to be unwilling to really commit ourselves, as in the joke about the chicken donating eggs while the pig is committed in giving bacon to the farmer's breakfast. But commit ourself we must if we are to bring about genuine change.
 
 
+32 # futhark 2011-12-18 16:31
What were the Nuremberg trials all about, if American Marines can get a free pass for murdering Iraqis, including the aged and children, in their own homes in Haditha?

Why aren't American war criminals, especially those at the very top, being investigated and prosecuted? What happened to "justice for all"? Why did my father spend 5 years risking his life in the U.S. military during World War II to make the world safe for murderous military machines? Why are American citizens being detained in solitary confinement for telling the truth to an Administration that has openly committed itself to transparency in government? Who will answer these questions?
 
 
+18 # dorianb@fuse.net 2011-12-18 17:26
Fathark: Ask OBAMA why he is not concerned and paying attention to this soldier. If he were concerned about anything but politics as usual he would PARDON him now!Only OBAMA can answer these quesions.
 
 
-18 # dorianb@fuse.net 2011-12-18 17:31
Futhark, you have your history mixed up again. The Nuremberg trials cannot be compared with Haditha. Why are you so angry? Are you back on the subject of Israel? Try to chill out a little.
 
 
+8 # historywriter 2011-12-18 18:37
yeah, but "we" won. Only the losers pay in a war--at least, so they think.
 
 
+6 # unitedwestand 2011-12-18 22:21
What Pres. Obama may personally believe and what he does may be in conflict. I think that Manning is a hero as are the Wikileaks people.
I think the people have a right to know what our government really does, but there are people in Congress, and I heard my local representative say, that it wasn't true that no harm has been proven from the leaks. Considering this was soon after some embarrassing stuff had been revealed regarding Israel, and he is Jewish and a big supporter, he was not happy with Wikileaks.
Hilary Clinton and others were not happy, and the military is not happy with the leaks. So I don't think the president is in a position to excuse everything discovered if Manning did provide the info. I believe as history often proves, Manning will get his accolades long after we are all gone. Heroes often suffer during their lifetimes. But some of us can still hold him close to our hearts and thank his bravery, and possibly his naivete.
 
 
+3 # Fight the Reich 2011-12-18 23:21
I hear ya, Futhark; And I wish like h_ll that someone somewhere had the power to prosecute the M.I.C. / Fourth Reich war criminals; But alas, just like Germany after the Reichstag Fire, the vast majority of U.S. Citizens were brainwashed into a stupor following 9-11, were played like a piano and literally handed the USA over to this Fourth Reich on a silver platter. The reason U.S. Chiefs have not been tried for their war crimes is because the Fourth Reich commanded those crimes and has complete control of our country's government that is still in denial. Cases of war crimes by U.S. Soldiers that came to light HAVE been prosecuted; Scape goats for the Fourth Reich Chiefs; Although there are many that haven't been prosecuted because the Reich was up to their necks in culpability in those cases. Hitler didn't prosecute his war criminals; It took the USA and UK to lead worldwide freedom patriots to defeat the Third Reich and convict many of their key war criminals; Not withstanding a number of valuable or rich Nazi war criminals brought safely to the USA in secrecy by Reich sympathizers in U.S. secret agencies. Ironically it is those very Third Reich sympathizers that patiently built the U.S. Fourth Reich that now has our government and country by the balls with meathooks. Now who will come and defeat them / save us?
 
 
+1 # Doubter 2011-12-19 18:43
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Niemöller
 
 
+9 # unitedwestand 2011-12-18 21:47
I don't know exactly where people are coming from when they want Michael to admit that since he has been so successful that he is one of the problems being the 1%.

First of all, there is nothing wrong in our capitalistic system of someone making great money for working hard, and having a talent. The problem is when those same people don't contribute to the system that has allowed them to make that great money. The deregulation of capitalism and the scrapping of the Glass-Steagall Act has created the 1% monster.

Michael has proven himself over and over and his intent, his generosity should not be questioned and I'm embarrassed for those that do.

A big thank you from me Mr. Moore for what you've done to support the 99%. It is a tough job and we really need you.

Happy Holidays to all!
 
 
+4 # Fight the Reich 2011-12-18 23:23
The front gate of Ft. Meade should be so freakin' Occupied that it would take a Batallion of Soldiers to keep it open. Troubled souls on the faces of such dear Soldiers would be a media coup for Truth and do more for our dear Soldiers and the Progressive Patriots than any reasonable wishful thinking I can think of.
 
 
+5 # sandyboy 2011-12-19 01:04
Once again I regret to see someone (photonracer) proposing violence on RSN, however unrealistically . But I can't agree with dorianb that futhark is wrong to compare Nuremberg with Haditha - are you saying "our" boys' warcrimes are somehow different to Nazis'? In Haditha it seems they didn't even have the lame excuse of just obeying orders - went apeshit just for the hell of it.
 
 
+11 # P-Mac 2011-12-19 03:28
I was at Fort Meade, along with 300 othr supported this weekend, for Bradley's trial. Hopefully, we will have thousands the next time. He deserves our support. A Veteran For Peace
 
 
+5 # Buddha 2011-12-19 08:49
After our Beloved Leader signs the latest Military Appropriations bill with that rider that allows the US military to detain US citizens apprehended on US soil indefinitely, without habeas corpus, simply for "suspicion" of "supporting" "terrorism", unfortunately Pfc Manning is going to be just the first American thrown into a hole for challenging the ruling class and its lies/narrative.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2011-12-19 17:46
[Quote} "He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he's received in over eighteen months of imprisonment."
Much as I hate to dispute a phrase by Mr. Moore, whom I respect very much, this treatment is ALL TOO AMERICAN, getting worse and more perceived as "Normal"!
 
 
0 # sandyboy 2011-12-20 04:37
You are so right, reiverpacific. Whole world getting more repressive and using "terror" as excuse for it.
 
 
0 # Skip955 2011-12-20 12:31
Please read Glenn Greenwalds excellent expose' "With Liberty and Justice for SOME. It reveals how our highly connected U.S.war criminals are not procsecuted, or if they are they are granted immunity. Even our President, has declined to have his justice dept. prosecute members of the Bush Administration for numerous crimes, including systemized torture
 

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