Nominating Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize

Various politicians -- MPs and former MPs from Iceland and Tunisia, two Pirate Party MEPs from Sweden -- have nominated Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anyone can nominate anyone else for the prize, but this is a particularly good one, especially given the torture Manning faced for his brave efforts, and the ongoing persecution he is experiencing. As the nominating letter points out, Obama has already publicly announced his belief that Manning is guilty, which makes rather a mockery of a fair trial.

Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other democratic nations by the United States government in international dealings.

These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.

Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for more then 1000 days by the U.S. Government. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which expert worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.

Bradley Manning is nominated for a 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

(Image: Wikimedia Commons/Anubis3 - Public Domain)


  1. If he were to win it that might go a few inches towards balancing out the travesty of Obama owning one.

    1. The travesty of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize isn’t that he’s been so warlike since taking office; it’s that they gave it to him before he had done anything whatsoever to deserve it or undeserve it. I can’t imagine how anyone with a shred of dignity would accept it now. It has about as much gravitas as winning an episode of the Match Game.

        1.  Even if the Democrat who replaces them continues and expands the warmaking behaviour?

          This is truly a poorly thought out comment.

          Guess what? At some point, there will be an R in the White House again, and the whole ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ can start all over again.

  2. How is “most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq” true if withdrawing from Iraq was an Obama 2008 campaign promise?

    1. Well, Bush agreed to, Obama wanted to back out of the agreement and stay, but for a variety of reasons (wikileaks probably being one), the Iraqies would not let the USA stay. So he may well have had a part in it.

    2. Obama made lots of campaign promises, like protecting whistleblowers and ignoring medical marijuana dispensaries and becoming transparent.

      Besides that, we left Iraq – despite the wishes and actions of the Obama administration – according to the terms agreed upon by the Bush administration.  While the Obama administration was negotiating to keep troops in Iraq, some of the documents Manning released helped to make the Iraqis reject the idea.

      Of Manning, Bush, and Obama, our current President is the least responsible for the U.S. getting out of Iraq.

    1. It is true that several a-holes have captured and thereby contaminated the NPP. Giving one to Manning might help re-inject some honour to it. It would also add the bonus of discomfiting said a-holes by associating their ‘badge’ with one they’d presumably revile.

  3. The whole concept of an arms manufacturer (Nobel ) awarding a peace prize is ridiculous and orwellian to begin with. A better strategy therefore would be to forget the Nobel peace prize altogether and counter it with an alternative peace prize. Call it People’s Peace Prize or whatever, it would become instantly more relevant.

    1. It was his attempt at atonement.  Perhaps not enough for you, but hardly ridiculous or Orwellian.

    2.  @jackbird:disqus is exactly right; he endowed it out of remorse for the deaths caused by his work. That actually makes the prize more “relevant” (as you chose to put it) than one just set up by the pure & guiltless.

    3. What they said plus TNT has a few non-violent (e.g. commercial) uses as well.  I’d say Nobel was more of a “chemist” than an “arms manufacturer”.

      If you want to get your sense of self-righteousness up over a chemist look into Fritz Haber. Where Nobel was contrite about the wartime applications of his work Haber was a passionate advocate of chemical warfare.

      And without the Haber process there would probably be billions fewer human beings on earth because it allowed the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers and thus the agricultural revolution of the early and mid 20th century. This could be good or bad depending on your views of overpopulation and morality.

      1. You’re mistaken on the first point; Nobel did much more than invent one thing in his life. From wikipedia:

        Bofors’ most famous owner was Alfred Nobel, who owned the company from 1894 until his death in December 1896. Nobel played the key role in reshaping the former iron and steel producer to a modern cannon manufacturer and chemical industry participant.

        Not that that makes Tchoutoye’s dismissal sensible, just thought you’d like to know.

    4. Call it People’s Peace Prize or whatever, it would become instantly more relevant.

      I’m pretty sure that would end up going to Bob Mugabe, Kim Jong-un and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  4. I wonder if they would actively try to find out how Private Manning would like to be referred to re: pronouns, names, GID.

      1. There’s no real cause to presume that this site is “officially affiliated” with Manning. That’s just not how the internet works.

      2. Isn’t it a little reflexive to think that “Bradley Manning” is correct because “Bradley Manning dot org” said so? Especially considering, as @wysinwyg:disqus said, that there is no resume to presume (or assume) that said website is official. Is “” going to say something like “Private Manning uses the name ‘Breanna’ and the pronouns ‘she/her'”? I sure hope not; that’s not how consistency works.

  5. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations

    Ever since the original release, I seem to hear a lot more about Manning’s appalling treatment than any actual impact of his actions.  Certainly, Wikipedia at least suggests a rather lengthy list of of things that “helped motivate” the Arab Spring.  Has anything really changed subsequent to this “shedding of light”?


      I don’t know to what degree the release motivated the Arab Spring, but there were lots of scoops, lots of very embarrassing information about some of the most powerful people in the world. It’s certainly true that they had an impact on whether or not we would stay in Iraq.  And, contrary to Obama’s wishes, we did not.

      The only way they could have an impact is if people see the information and act on it.  For instance, if people decide not to give Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination in 2016 because they don’t want someone who ordered illegal spying on UN colleagues in the office, that could count as an impact. Or if she does get the nomination and the Republicans use that fact against her, that could certainly be an impact.  (I know it’s not likely, but hypothetically…)

      Lots of other scoops here:

    2.  Bear in mind that the media is downplaying any effect of his leaks wherever possible.  Even if it renders their narratives internally contradictory, e.g. “He’s the worst criminal in the history of the US for leaking data with absolutely no significance whatsoever.”

  6. Not every one can, this is actually a myth. The list is long but it is not everyone. According to statutes governing the prize, this is the list-
    1.Members of national assemblies and governments of states;2.Members of international courts;3.University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;4.Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;5.Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;6.Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1) and7.Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.About 3000 people are nominated every year, and the actual nominations are not put into an open archive until 50 years later. So people can claim they nominated someone, but the actual list is known by very few. It would not surprise me if Bradley Manning were among the 3000 or so people nominated though I doubt he was nominated by Kissinger or Obama.

  7. As the nominating letter points out, Obama has already publicly announced his belief that Manning is guilty, which makes rather a mockery of a fair trial.

    Nonsense. The executive branch is not the judicial branch. It would be a mockery of justice if Obama sent Manning to a “fair trial” when he wasn’t convinced of Manning’s guilt.

    Manning is being prosecuted for federal crimes. Obama is, by virtue of his office, the chief federal law enforcement officer. He’s the boss of the Justice Dept., and he’s the boss of the military prosecutor. When Obama says he thinks that Manning is guilty of crimes that Obama’s government is bringing against him, he’s not saying anything that the charging document hasn’t already said in his name.

    If Obama harbored any doubt whatsoever about Manning’s guilt, it would be absolutely unconscionable for prosecution to go forward. The only difference between this and some random guy being brought up on, say, federal kidnapping charges is that Obama has actually heard of Manning. 

    A prosecutor who went before a judge and said, “Well, judge, we don’t really know for sure if he’s guilty, but we figured we’d have a trial and let a jury suss it out” would be sanctioned within an inch of her life, and for good reason. So would anyone higher up the chain of command who knowingly let it happen. 

    The only way that critique of Obama makes any sense is if you know for a fact that Obama knows for a fact that Manning isn’t guilty. In which case I’m sure Manning’s lawyers would love to know about the exculpatory evidence you’ve found. Actually, come to think of it, so would the House Judiciary Committee, because that would be grounds for impeachment.

    1. If Obama harbored any doubt whatsoever about Manning’s guilt, it would be absolutely unconscionable for prosecution to go forward. The only difference between this and some random guy being brought up on, say, federal kidnapping charges is that Obama has actually heard of Manning.

      Must be quite the dream world you’re living in.  Here in the real USA we prosecute when we know the person is innocent.

    2. The White House disagrees with you.

      In response to the controversy created by Obama’s declaration of Manning’s guilt, the White House now says that the President merely was “making a general statement that did not go specifically to the charges against Manning: ‘The president was emphasizing that, in general, the unauthorized release of classified information is not a lawful act,’ [a White House spokesman said] Friday night. ‘He was not expressing a view as to the guilt or innocence of Pfc. Manning specifically’.”

      Even Nixon’s White House recognized that the President doesn’t get to say who is guilty when they haven’t been convicted of a crime.

      Jurors, already sequestered in the Los Angeles, were protected from the next day’s four-inch headlines by papering over the windows of the courthouse: “MANSON GUILTY, NIXON DECLARES.” And, it should be noted, these jurors were not in a directly subordinate relationship to the commander-in-chief, as any jurors in a possible Bradley Manning court-martial would be. Even so, the judge recognized that the influence of a direct statement of guilt by the President of the United States of America would corrupt any jury.

      1. Wait, now Obama isn’t declaring Manning guilty? Then what’s the problem? 

        But of course, that would hang on us pretending we don’t know the difference between a position (Manning is guilty) and some kind of imperial decree (Manning is hereby made guilty).

        You’re right: Obama can’t make Manning guilty by declaration, nor has he tried to. But he must not believe that prosecution is unwarranted, which means he cannot believe in Manning’s innocence. And there is absolutely nothing wrong, legally or otherwise, with saying so.

        Nixon v. Manson, you may recall, was a *slightly* different situation than what’s implied by your quote. Manson wasn’t up on federal charges (where Nixon’s opinion would have been germane). Manson himself deliberately held up the newspaper for the jury to see, and the judge allowed the trial to continue when the jurors themselves swore it wouldn’t affect their decisions. Minor details like that do tend to matter.

        As for the belief that the officers sitting on a jury will simply follow the implied instructions of their commander-in-chief (or that the judge will, or so forth), you either have it or you don’t. Much like the question of whether we already live in some kind of dystopian oligarchy controlled by shadowy forces and their puppet president, it’s not the kind of thing that really lends itself to debate.

        If one is starting from the position that Manning is innocent regardless of the outcome of a trial, then any trial is illegitimate, and any attempt at prosecution is itself evidence of a criminal conspiracy, and any statement to the effect that Manning is guilty or possibly guilty furthers that conspiracy. Again, if that’s where a person is coming from, I don’t think there’s any talking them out of it.

        1. The point of the flip-flop was that they realized that the President has no business announcing the guilt of someone who has yet to be tried.


          The impropriety of Obama’s public pre-trial declaration of Manning’s guilt (“He broke the law”) is both gross and manifest. How can Manning possibly expect to receive a fair hearing from military officers when their Commander-in-Chief has already decreed his guilt? Numerous commentators have noted how egregiously wrong was Obama’s condemnation. Michael Whitney wrote: “the President of the United States of America and a self-described Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or convicted for any crime.” BoingBoing’s Rob Beschizza interpreted Obama’s declaration of guilt this way: “Just so you know, jurors subordinate judging officers!” And Politico quoted legal experts explaining why Obama’s remarks are so obviously inappropriate.

          It may be that Obama spoke extemporaneously and without sufficient forethought, but it is — at best — reckless in the extreme for him to go around decreeing people guilty who have not been tried: especially members of the military who are under his command and who will be adjudged by other members of the military under his command. Moreover, as a self-proclaimed Constitutional Law professor, he ought to have an instinctive aversion when speaking as a public official to assuming someone’s guilt who has been convicted of nothing.

          From the Politico article mentioned…

          “The comment was not appropriate because it assumes that Manning is guilty,” Steven Aftergood, a classified information expert at the Federation of American Scientists, told POLITICO. “The president got carried away and misspoke. No one should mistake a charge for a conviction — especially the nation’s highest official.”
          Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice and military law expert, predicted that before the end of the day, the White House will have issued a corrective statement.
          “Commenting on Manning’s conditions of confinement is one thing — I would have strongly advised him to not comment about Manning’s guilt,” Fidell told POLITICO.

    3.  that is my recollection guilty of crimes…is what i remember ….while talking about being reassured that he was being treated lke any other accused…..I will search around and get back

      1.  What we here most times is ” I can not comment on an ongoing investigation”……have you heard that ?

  8. This is nonsense. Manning is not thoughtful advocate for peace. He is an unstable, unreliable person with a vendetta. Just because he was treated poorly doesn’t make him Mandela. What rubbish. Also, while I advocate open information and transparency, what he did was wrong. As a journalist of sorts, Doctorow should have realized that there was no custody of information, very little ethical introspective, and no responsibility taken when Manning’s transfer of info to Wikeaks occurred. Manning wanted revenge, and Wikileaks wanted fame and financial support. What the hell is noble about this sham of a process?

    1. You sound bitter.  What makes you assert that Manning had a “vendetta”?  Is it really so hard to believe that Manning made the leak in good faith even if he did not do so according to your rules (that I’m guessing you’re making up on the spot)?

      Or are you just jealous that Manning did more good in 5 minutes of file transfers than you’ve done in your entire life?

      Manning wanted revenge, and Wikileaks wanted fame and financial support.

      Revenge for what? You really seem to be cooking up some kind of yellow journalism bullshit. Even if it was true how would you know?

    2. Was what Daniel Ellsberg did, also wrong?  The Pentagon Papers were more severely classisfied than what Manning released.  Why is revealing the crimes of the people you work for “wrong?”

      What does one have to say to be a “thoughtful advocate for peace?”  Everything he said at his trial about why he did what he did struck me as quite thoughtful, indeed.  And brave.  He’s taken full responsibility for it.

      What has he said that implied that he wanted “fame and financial support?”

      Everything he said about why he did what he did is consistent to what he said when he didn’t know other people were listening.

      Seems pretty noble to me.

  9. I stopped respecting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 when Henry Kissinger got one.

    Want to honor Bradley Manning? Do it some other way.

  10. Dear aikinmoe and wysinwyg: Manning himself stated, originally, that he was dissatisfied with how he was being treated. He became so erratic that his superiors disabled the action bolt on his pistol. Also, he had no idea what he was turning over to WikiLeaks, except for a few notable items, including the killing of journalists from US helicopters. He also didn’t use the whistleblower option that military members have access through, via Congressman or woman. He wanted revenge. Conversely, anyone put in military prison lockdown will certainly be forthcoming with an apologetic attitude. And now he has guidance from legal help. You’re seeing the end narrative. Therefore, I say that nominating Manning for the Nobel is hogwash. He was irresponsible and negligent, and he did no such thing as a heroic act.

    1. You can attack hypothetical motives he may or may not have had for doing what he did. But you can’t deny that many of the actions he exposed were shameful and not worthy of a country that is supposed to stand for freedom and accountability of government to the people.

      Look at it this way perhaps:

      If you only keep operational, security-related secrets, you can rightly complain that someone wrongfully made them public, and I suppose it may be appropriate but irrelevant to speculate on their bad motives.

      But if you have secrets that are kept not for any valid security reason but to conceal your own bad conduct, then I say: you run the risk of being found out, and you DON’T GET TO WHINE ABOUT IT.

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