Somewhat old news by now, the two American hikers jailed in Iran on suspicion of being spies, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, were bailed out by the US-allied Omani government for $1 million. They were detained for two years and are now free.
In brief statements at the airport, Fattal said the two are “so happy” to be free, while Bauer added that “two years in prison is too long.” Bauer also said he hopes their release will bring “freedom for political prisoners in America and Iran.”
It is quite coincidental that convicted cop killer Troy Davis – whose case lacked any physical evidence and saw 7 of 9 accusing eye witnesses recant – was murdered by the American state justice system just as Fattal and Bauer were being released from Iranian prison. But as to Bauer’s statement, of course America has locked up a priority political prisoner. Former United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department Ann Wright:
Although Pfc. Bradley Manning has not yet been brought to trial, President Barack Obama has publicly declared that the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst “broke the law” by allegedly sending this restricted information to WikiLeaks.
Many civilians — and a surprising number of military personnel — are unaware that this system of classification is not grounded in any law passed by Congress. In fact, the entire edifice that allows the use of classification rests solely on the basis of executive orders that have been renewed and modified by various presidents. The ability to restrict information from the public is essentially an unchecked assertion of executive power.
…Instead of punishing and silencing alleged whistle-blowers like Manning for revealing uncomfortable truths, we should honor their courage to stand up for what’s right.
Manning has been in jail since May 2010, over a year, and has yet to face trial. Some of his time in prison has been in solitary confinement, and other treatment bordering on abuse. This is someone who is suspected of taking a political action to fight against a government policy of over-classification which primarily serves – and is intended to serve – for the cover-up of government abuse and misbehavior. Not a soul has been identified to have been put in danger as a result of what Manning allegedly leaked, and national security has in no measurable way been harmed. It is a victimless crime for the sake of transparency, freedom, and fighting corruption; for the sake of political goals. And the United States of America has imprisoned him for it as a political prisoner.
In tandem with the American media coverage of Fattal and Bauer were predictable implications of Iranian depravity and almost diabolical villainy. In the case of Manning, it is the reverse: Manning is the disturbed rogue officer with malicious intent, facing the United States government whose honorable intent has been disgraced by such disorder.
Shane Bauer was interviewed by Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio shortly before being arrested. Listen here.