In the wake of Tuesday’s verdict against Pfc. Bradley Manning that now threatens to put him in prison for the rest of his life, a petition urging the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway to award this year’s award to the 25-year-old whistleblower is gaining widespread public traction.
RootsAction.org, the advocacy group behind the petition, says that the online petition has now swelled to nearly 100,000 signatures and plans are underway for the group’s director, journalist and activist Norman Solomon, to visit Oslo in order to hand-deliver the petition to the committee.
The message of the petition is simple. Directed to the Nobel committee itself, it reads: “I urge you to award the Peace Prize to Bradley Manning.”
In an op-ed in USA Today on Wednesday, Solomon championed Manning by writing,
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Manning was officially nominated for the prize earlier this year by Mairead Maguire, the Nobel laureate from Ireland, who said that she could “think of no one more deserving” than Manning. “His incredible disclosure of secret documents to Wikileaks helped end the Iraq War, and may have helped prevent further conflicts elsewhere,” she said.
Agreeing with Solomon’s estimations and citing past abuses as well as ongoing military crises—like the current civil war in Syria—Maguire argues that Manning’s decision to expose the manner in which the US conducts its foreign policy has had far-reaching implications for peace, saying:
In addition to having signatories of the petition add their name and where they live, they are also encouraged to offer brief thoughts on why they believe Manning is deserving of the prize. With many thousands to choose from, here is a sample of those voices: