Bradley Manning: “Gay Hero” Or Fabulous Traitor?

UK human rights activist Peter Tatchell is no stranger to controversy and he’s certainly taken on admirable causes, but is his praise of alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning one of them?

Speaking today, Mr Tatchell said that the soldier was “inspired by his commitment to human rights” and had attended gay Pride marches and campaigned against bans on out gay troops and same-sex marriage.

Describing Mr Manning as a “humanist and a man with a conscience”, Mr Tatchell said he had allegedly been driven to release the files because he “became disillusioned with his country’s foreign and military policy [and believed] it was betraying the US ideals of democracy and human rights”.

“It is only (allegedly) thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents,” Mr Tatchell said.

Hearing Tatchell say it, you’d think that Manning acted heroically and in direct defiance of DADT when some question the actual effect of Manning’s alleged leaking and whether Wikileaks simply used Manning as a pawn. Army Court-Martial Defense Attorney David Coombs also disagreed with our harsh characterization of Manning’s new prison and made Manning’s imprisonment sound quite nice actually.

Unlike at Quantico, PFC Manning cell has a large window that provides adequate natural light. His cell also has a desk, a bed, and a toilet. The cell is approximately 80 square feet. He is provided with a normal mattress, sheets and a pillow. None of his clothing is taken away from him at night. PFC Manning is able to have all of his personal items in his cell, which include his clothing, his legal materials, books and letters from family and friends. He is also able to have a pen and paper at all times in his cell, and is able to write whenever he chooses.

Coombs also says there’s juice, treadmills, movie rentals, and visitation hours. Is this any way to treat a man Obama has already declared guilty?

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  • GayGOP

    I’m going with traitor who was treated too kindly at his last location for imprisonment.

  • Tanner Vale

    From what I understand, Wikileaks has prided itself on not leaking anything actually compromising to national security. If Wikileaks is as big now as everyone tells me it is, then it’s a giant step forward in terms of transparency of government. Privatized, unsolicited transparency, but still.

    I think what Manning did was…explicitly illegal, but that a lot of good may come out of what he did. Lock him up for thirty years, then let him out and give him a medal or something.

  • David Gervais

    I think the reason so many people around the world are so angry is the most of the time the world looks to the US for examples of a fair and honest justice system. Keeping Manning incarcerated without trial is contrary the most elementary principles of justice in any civilized country. The roots of the US legal system go back to the Magna Carta of 1215, which gave us all the legal principle of habeas corpus.

    The legal maxim “Justice delayed, is justice denied.” is based on the Magna Carta and has been reinforced over the years by William Penn, William Gladstone and Chief Justice Warren Burger.

    Add to that, keeping Manning nearly incommunicado in conditions that the US would not tolerate if one of their citizens were incarcerated in another country just adds to the injury.

    As often happens, the US will do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else. I think that Manning will have his trial.

    Until then, we don’t have enough evidence to have a real opinion about what he did (or didn’t) do.

  • Jamie

    @GayGOP: As a member of the GOP, you’d be uniquely qualified to tell us all about being a traitor, wouldn’t you? Or is that too far over your head to understand?

  • Travis


  • Zack

    Traitor. He only gets press on gay sites because he young and kinda cute

  • Jeffree

    Until Manning goes to trial and a verdict says otherwise, his “crimes” are still in the “alleged” category.

  • Mike

    What he’s alleged to have done has nothing to do with his being gay. However, his being stripped naked and made to stand at attention while in prison awaiting trial might be somewhat related…

    The government at one point had a chance to bring charges, present evidence, and give him his day in court. They’ve blown that chance and justice now requires that the charges be dropped.

    If you don’t support the eighth amendment, then don’t pretend like you love America.

  • Riker

    I’m a proud gay Republican, and even I acknowledge that his previous imprisonment conditions amounted to cruel and unusual pre-trial punishment.

    I also think he’s going to walk. The evidence is weak enough that I think they’ll be able to create a reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds.

    If he is guilty, then by all means convict and throw the book at him. However, in situations where a suspect is imprisoned and denied bail, the trial really should have been expedited. Forcing him to suffer for months and months when they already have all the evidence is against the basic principles of the founding fathers.

  • dharmapupil

    Meanwhile, actual FBI agents who have taken documents of the highest classifications and leaked them to foreign governments are given retirements with full pensions and benefits.
    And the man who published the name of a CIA agent (Nowak), exposing her to assassination and the high-level aide to VP Cheney (Libby)get book deals and not a hair ruffled or a rumor of prosecution for treason.
    The actual documents Manning is accused of leaking are only of the lowest secret classification (Confidential)and were out of date at the time he (allegedly) took them.
    My vote is he’s a Patriot, upholding the Bill of Rights.

  • Jeffree

    @Riker: I’m very glad to see you back & to read what you have to say. Hope to hear more from you here in the “New Queerty.”

    Whether Manning is G, B, or T matters little to me, but I think his case should be judged on evidence—not speculation, not hearsay, not innuendo.

    Be well.

  • Samual

    I believe Bradley Manning is hero, so everybody deserve learning the truth instead of listening to lies or injustice cover-up. Free Bradley Manning…

  • ChrisC

    Guilty or not, still a hero. Thanks to him, people have been held accountable and honest.

  • Brutus

    Damn, Manning lives better than your typical New Yorker.

  • Red Meat

    Only time will tell if he ends up a hero or not. It looks like he is on the path of heroism.

  • Philo

    He is gay.
    He is a hero.

    Both are true.

    People in the fix of Fox News need to grow up.

  • Rainfish

    Much greater and far more significant leaks about US war policies have been lmade public throughout history. Daniel Ellsberg’s involvement with the unauthorized release of “The Pentagon Papers”, springs to mind, which exposed numerous dangerous US lies during the Vietnam Conflict.

    “They revealed that the government had knowledge, early on, that the war could most likely not be won, and that continuing the war would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed the government had lied to Congress and the public.

    On June 17, 2010, Ellsberg was interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on the Democracy Now! program regarding the parallels between his actions in releasing the Pentagon Papers and those of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested by the U.S. Military in Kuwait after allegedly providing to the WikiLeaks web site a classified video showing U.S. military helicopter gunships strafing and killing Iraqis alleged to be civilians, including two Reuters journalists.

    Manning reportedly claims to have provided WikiLeaks with secret videos of additional massacres of alleged civilians in Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified State Department cables. Ellsberg has said that he fears for Manning and for Julian Assange, as he feared for himself after the initial publication of the Pentagon Papers. WikiLeaks initially said it had not received the cables, but did plan to post the video of an attack that may have killed 140 Afghani civilians in the village of Garani. Ellsberg expressed hope that either Assange or President Obama would post the video, and expressed his strong support for Assange and Manning, who he called “two new heroes of mine”. (source Wikipedia – Daniel Ellsberg)


    CBS Reporter, David Martin writes in his online article, “WikiLeaks Vs. the Pentagon Papers”, that:

    …”The Wikileaks documents represent a low level view of the Afghan war – reports, sometimes accurate, sometimes not, filed from the field that made their way up the chain of command. The Pentagon Papers were a high level view of the Vietnam War – an account of decisions and policies made in Washington.

    More fundamentally, the Wikileaks documents do not radically alter our understanding of the war. They document what we’ve known for years – not enough troops, too many civilian casualties, a corrupt and inefficient Afghan government and an uncertain ally in Pakistan. The Pentagon Papers revealed that much of what the public had been told about the war in Vietnam was flat wrong and in many cases deliberately so.

    The Pentagon Papers took the blinders off. The Wikileaks documents are more like a microscopic view of the day in day out grind of the war in Afghanistan.

    I would add to that one other difference: the Pentagon Papers produced one of the great Supreme Court cases when the Nixon Administration tried unsuccessfully to stop publication. The Obama administration has given no indication it intends to attempt something similar with Wikileaks, which is based overseas and probably beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.”

    ~ for the entire article, go to:

    ———My Take On It:

    Whatever Manning’s motives may have been, so far there has never been any hint of his betraying national security secrets in exchange for cash or sex, or to punish the United States, unlike the infamous Walker case which involved selling secret submarine technology to the Russians, as well as many other cases involving trading sexual favors with foreign spies. Keep in mind, the US marine embassy guard who let his Russian girlfriend in at night to bug the American embassy in Moscow. Was he deluded or was he an active traitor? Of course, ideology can also be a motivating factor such as in the Rosenberg case — we’re talking about giving away nuclear weapons secrets there — clearly a case of overtly supporting the war efforts of a country hostile to the United States and directly endangering millions of American citizens.

    Manning’s personal political activism may have led him astray and, if guilty, he might justifiably be punished for dereliction of duty and/or unauthorized possession of confidential communications…but, traitor…really?. Hmmmmm…maybe not so much. There are far, far better examples of that in American history. I tend to believe that Manning’s alleged “crimes” maybe be closer in nature to Daniel Ellsberg’s. But how does protecting one’s own country from the lies and self-serving machinations of corrupt people in power in the federal government fall into the same category as the Walkers and the Rosenberg’s illegal acts? A public trial is necessary to sort out both the motivation and what real crimes are involved; not just politically perceived embarrassments, but what actual, tangible damage has been done to national security — if any.

    ~ Bud Evans

  • Lvng1tor


  • Caroline West

    @Philo: “People in the fix of Fox news need to grow up.”

    Really? That’s funny, because, despite the opportunity, I’ve never seen anyone on Fox News go after this traitor because he’s gay, only because he committed acts of treason. It’s only the gay community who’s come to his defense, simply because you have your sexuality in common with him. If he were an old, unnatractive heterosexual, you’d be defending him no more than you would have defending Ethel & Julius Rosenberg for selling nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Oh, but that’s right: People like you believe that the US goverment’s intel info should in fact be the WORLD’s info, so that we can all live in one big happy utopia. Get back to me on that as soon as Muslims stop striving for the death of all gays and westerners.

  • Lefty

    Gay hero.

  • Shannon1981

    Bradley is a hero. And I think the Gay GOPers need to lay off the Fox News Kool Aid. Maybe now that your Glenn Beck fix has been taken away you’ll be more sensible…

  • VictorG

    Bradley Manning is innocent until proven guilty, whatever his motivation was. It was wrong of Obama to say he was guilty, but Obama has done so many things wrong, that it has almost lost its shock effect. And, BTW, there are no such things as proud gay Republicans, there are only haters, including self-haters.

  • Eric83

    This man exposed the lies, crimes and illegal murder taking place at the hands of the US military. The awful people he exposed are the ones that should be behind bars. and @Caroline you are a moron. I would support this man for what he did regardless of his sexuality. Shut your ignorant mouth and go trolling on another site.

  • HomoDude

    Such useful idiots.

    This guy who told the truth about government lies that have killed thousands is a “traitor.”

    But the big banks and crooks who funded the two major political parties and destroyed the economy for personal gain are just “successful businessmen.”

    Some of you idiots will be chanting “USA! USA!” right up to the point that you’re “liqudated for national security.”

  • Ned_Flaherty

    Here’s what EVERYBODY so far doesn’t know:

    1. Whether Manning is pleading guilty or innocent
    2. What Manning did (if anything)
    3. What the evidence proves (if anything)
    4. What the damages are (if any)
    5. Why he did what he did (if he did anything at all)
    6. Whether the year of inhumane detainment without a trial, and nearly a year without charges, throws the case out on a technicality (as it often does)

    It’s important for everyone from the President on down to stop declaring guilt, innocence, etc. without the facts, and let’s just see exactly what unfolds at the trial.

  • robert in NYC

    No 4, Jamie…I agree. How can any gay man or woman in good conscience persistently vote for and support financially a party that clearly does not want us to have full equality or any equality for that matter when it supports hate legislation which is what DOMA is all about, among other things. A majority of GOPers in the House didn’t want DADT overturned and now they’re trying to defend DOMA? How hateful and treacherous is that and to think that some of our own people in the Log Cabin want to see a republican in the White House as well as both houses by the GOP. Its beyond sick. They’re delusional if they think they can change their party from within. Not going to happen. They’re the biggest traitors of all.

  • delurker

    I vote hero!

  • gregger

    @Riker: You’re talking about civilian rights. When you enlist in the military of the US you become near property and do not enjoy the rights and privileges that civilians, whom you are protecting, enjoy. They can just stick him in front of a military tribunal call him guilty and lock him up for the rest of his life.

    I’m not endorsing the situation but I’m seeing so many Monday morning quarter-backs who really have no experience with military justice yammering on. Military personnel are subject to different laws than we are.

    BTW, “proud gay Republican?” I do not agree with the Democratic party on a great deal of garbage but to align myself with the liars who have attempted to over-ride votes on same-sex marriage, keep DADT alive, and to reinforce DoMA is truly reprehensible.

  • HomoDude

    Could someone point me to the clause in the Constitution that permits “military justice?”

    Didn’t think so. Because it doesn’t exist.

  • DavyJones

    @HomoDude: How about Article 1 Section 8; which give the Exeutive Branch the power to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces”.

    And members of the military sign a contract wherein the agree to limitations of their civil rights; and agree to uphold the UCMJ during their service.

    I’d agree we don’t have the whole story about how involved he was in this; but going under the assumption that he did intentionally and knowingly leak classified information; he’s a traitor by definition. Arguements that he did this in the sprit of revealing the atrocities of the US military are undercut by the sheer volume of the release. tens of thousands of documents; many of which had little to nothing to do with the ‘war crimes’ supposedly uncovered.

    It’s not up to Manning what should and should not be classified, the military has a chain of command for a reason, and if a serviceman doesn’t like something they report to the next higher in line, and appeals to the higher, and so on and so forth…

    As for his treatment, seems pretty standard by all (reasonable) accounts. Even the post awhile ago about how terrible his treatment was seemed to make a huge deal out of him being given “contradictory orders” (“face left”, “face right”, “sit”, “stand”..etc) and most of it seemed pretty benign; stupid not he guards part; yes, but benign none the less. He surely went through much worse during basic. Further, I would imagine he is in solitary for his own safety. Putting him in general confinement with a bunch of servicemen who think he’s a traitor really would be paramount to torture….

    As has been pointed out; him being gay has nothing to do with his {alleged} crime; and shouldn’t be the huge point that the gay community seems to be making it…

  • Ned_Flaherty

    @Gregger: You wrote that “Military personnel are subject to different laws than we are.” That’s not so. The laws for military and civilian citizens actually are basically the same. It’s the justice systems themselves — civilian vs. military — that are drastically different.

    THE LAW. The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) is basically a synthesis of all civilian laws, but shortened, summarized, and simplified for worldwide military use. For infractions such as theft, controlled substances, passing bad checks, assault, extortion, arson, murder, spying, and rape, the Code has roughly the same effect on military personnel as other laws have on civilians. The Code also adds regulations for the military environment such as absence, desertion, malingering, insubordination, and mutiny. The UCMJ originally prohibited sexual relations between consenting adults, but that was invalidated by rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, and by the U.S. Armed Forces Court of Appeals in 2004. Since then, there’s nothing very surprising about military law vs. civilian law.

    THE SYSTEM. Some of the important rights accorded to an accused civilian often disappear under military justice. The UCMJ regulations for judges, juries, evidence, and testimony do not require the fairness, independence, objectivity, and proof that civilians take for granted. For example, there’s no guarantee of a speedy trial (e.g., PFC Bradley Manning). With the accuser — the military — providing the judges, juries, prosecuting attorneys, and defending attorneys, it’s easy to see how an accused person could be doomed from the start. Bisexuals, lesbians, and gays have been coerced to confess to crimes never committed, and then discharged, all based on anonymous, written testimony from witnesses who were never identified or cross-examined. No civilian court allows such unfairness.

    THE PERSONNEL. The UCMJ does affect full-time military personnel, but it applies only to some members (not all members) in groups such as military students, military-associated civilians, military retirees, and retired reservists.

  • Aussie Col

    Hero; no doubt about it.

  • robert in NYC

    So what about Scooter Libby who was let off the hook by Bush for exposing an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame, a treasonous act if ever there were. Why should Bradley Manning be treated far more harshly than Libby? Its not as if he lied about anything, whereas, Libby did at the outset. How many servicemen and women died as a direct result of of Bradley’s leak I’d like to know?

  • declanto

    And where oh, where is Julian Assange? Just asking.

  • ousslander

    @declanto: He’s living it up with his super rich pals at a country side estate.

  • draft dodger76

    He’s a fcking traitor! He committed treason and should be hung by his balls. He’s not a gay hero; he’s just a military fck-up. I hope he dies or loses his mind in solitary confinement, that dirtbag POS!

  • Jeffree

    @draft dodger 76: In whatever country you live in, things may be different, but until the evidence is reviewed, Manning is innocent until proven guilty. You should question your definition of “traitor” as well.

    p.s. “hanging” someone “by the balls” may be considered justice in your country, but it’s still unconstitutional here.

    Rumor has it that your wife’s birthday is soon to arrive. Perhaps a snappy new headscarf & Burqa will cheer her up? Teal is all the rage these days in Saudi Vogue, and Yemen is leaning that way too. Pastels are sooo 2004, so don’t go there again, ok?

Comments are closed.