WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A petition launched by an online U.S. rights group has collected more than 103,000 signatures backing convicted leaker Bradley Manning’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In a memo from RootsAction.org, group co-founder Norman Solomon writes, “No one can doubt the sincere dedication of Bradley Manning to human rights and peace. But on Henrik Ibsen Street in Oslo, the office of the Nobel Committee is under a war cloud of its own making.”
Earlier this month, Army Pfc. Manning, 25, was convicted of charges including espionage and theft of classified U.S. government data. Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 videos from Middle East battlefields and a series of private diplomatic cables. Manning leaked the information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
In the rights memo, Solomon argues that Manning’s nomination would highlight an important role played by whistleblowers in promoting global democracy and peace.
“Unless we can speak the truth, then peace-making becomes a hollow exercise of rhetoric rather than reality,” Solomon told reporters before handing over the 5,000-page document to the Nobel Institute. “Bradley Manning recognized that necessary precondition. He took profound action to nurture its possibilities on behalf of democracy and peace.”
Solomon also argues that Manning’s nomination would vindicate the Nobel committee of “the cloud [that] hovers over the Norweigan Nobel Committee” for its 2009 honor of President Barack Obama.
“No doubt a Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning is a very long longshot,” writes Solomon. “After all, four years ago, the Nobel Committee gave that award to President Obama, while he was escalating the war in Afghanistan, and since then Obama’s dedication to perpetual war has become ever more clear.”
“The Nobel Peace Prize at this point needs Bradley Manning more than Bradley Manning needs the Nobel Peace Prize because there is no question of the firm commitment of Bradley Manning to human rights and peace.”
According to its website, RootsAction.org is “an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing Americans who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.”