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Ear to the Ground

‘Gay Inc.’s Appalling Silence on Bradley Manning

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Posted on Feb 23, 2013
Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)

“Why is it that all of the big gay non-profits, from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—‘Gay Inc.’—have failed to utter a word of support for Private Bradley Manning, let alone really campaign for him?” asks Andy Thayer at CounterPunch.

Instead of mining the LGBT community for personal fame and fortune, as a number of “air-head celebrities” do when they express their support for gay rights, Manning, who became one of the nation’s most prominent homosexuals after he was apprehended and jailed for allegedly passing confidential documents to WikiLeaks more than three years ago, has “actually done something to support social justice.”

Among those actions are the following: He exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaked documents that helped kick off the Arab Spring and exposed the Obama administration’s support for the 2009 military coup in Honduras (an event that made it the murder capital of the world).

But when Manning was stripped naked in a cell for “days on end … where were the protests from the gay human rights groups?” Thayer asks.

“If a homophobe had so much as broken Chaz Bono’s finger nail,” he says, “rest assured that GLAAD, NGLTF and HRC would have been on the case. But why the silence about Manning?”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Andy Thayer at CounterPunch:

It’s political cowardice.  A failure to take on “difficult” political subjects, particularly when doing so might bite the (Democratic Party) hands that feed them.  This same failure of political courage is why gay NGOs routinely fail to take on powerful anti-gay forces like the Mormon Church and Catholic Church leaderships, frequently allied with powerful local and national Democratic politicians, even when these religious leaders are pushing discriminatory referenda like Prop 8.  Even when such failure spells defeat for gay rights (unlike back in the day when Harvey Milk, et al., took on Anita Bryant and the Briggs Amendment, and won).

It’s why they take a pass on opposing pink-washing of apartheid in Israel, when they’re not directly participating in it, while the Obama administration funds Israel to the tune of a record $3 billion a year.  And while they may whine about budget cuts that hit AIDS funding and other social services, you won’t hear them denouncing the Obama administration’s military spending (equal to the rest of the world’s combined), let alone its wars from Yemen to North Africa to Afghanistan that drive it.

Bradley Manning’s great sin, in the view of the gay NGOs, was in exposing not just the depravity of the Bush administration’s foreign policy, but Barack Obama’s as well.  The fact that it is Obama’s Justice Department that is prosecuting Manning makes it so much the worse. That his Justice Department has prosecuted more whistle-blowers than the combined total of every President who preceded him is a particular embarrassment.

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