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Bradley Manning Presented President with Transparency Award in Closed Door Ceremony


The official seal of the United States Department of Irony

No other image fit this story quite so well

In yet another EHMSNBC exclusive, and with great thanks to his attorney, David Coombs, we have been granted access to PFC Bradley Manning so as to ask him about his being chosen to present President Barack Obama an award for transparency.

We asked Coombs about the event when making our interview request. “Well, essentially they dragged Manning out of his dungeon, threw him in the back of a military transport and brought him to the White House to present the award. That was the alleged reason for the closed door ceremony, they said that Manning’s presence made the event top secret, and so the press was locked out.”

He was also apologetic about the form the interview had to take. “Unfortunately the press isn’t allowed to see the conditions under which he’s being held, so you’ll need to submit a short list of questions to me. No follow ups. Hopefully one day the world will change and a Democrat will re-take the White House.”

Since we couldn’t ask Manning follow-ups we decided to ask his attorney one, namely his thoughts on the award. “I have no idea what those dipsnorkels were thinking. I mean, first there’s the administration’s treatment of my client for releasing documents that were, let’s face it, nothing more than embarrassing. Then there was the fracas with the San Francisco Chronicle, where they threatened to exclude the paper from pressers for their coverage of protesters. Then the dust up with the Pleasanton Weekly over a barely negative observation concerning the First Lady’s treatment of pilots on Marine One, then most lately their banning of the Boston Herald from press pools on the grounds that their coverage of the president wasn’t fawning enough. You want to think that Bush’s evil twin would be good, instead he turns out to be even worse.”

Our first question for Manning was about his treatment prior to the ceremony. “Well, they threw a black hood over my head, tossed me in the back of a vehicle and drove me to the White House, I guess. I didn’t see anything until they took the hood off my head inside a bathroom and told me to wash up so that I would be fit to be seen in public. Until then I had no idea they had de-lousing facilities in the White House, though it seems logical enough in retrospect. I did get to wear clothes for the first time in months, so it wasn’t all bad.”

On the subject of the actual ceremony. “Well, before I was allowed into the office I was debriefed by David Axelrod, who told me that I was going to be subject to a rendition order if I said anything off-script. There were a bunch of people I didn’t recognize there, and they were all gushing about the president heading up the most open administration ever. I was kind of hoping they’d shut the fuck up after seeing me, but it didn’t work. This one woman began telling me how great it was that I was willing to set aside any grudges to praise the president for his commitment to freedom, It was a nightmare.”

On his actual speech. “Axelrod and White House lawyer Bob Bauer shoved this paper in my hands and told me to memorize it, because I was supposed to make it look spontaneous. It started with me being forced to say ‘I regret that I spilled so much vital national security information leading to the deaths of thousands of people, but this isn’t about me. I just want to say it’s terrific that people are recognizing that this is the most open and honest administration of all time. Why, I understand that last month your administration ordered the release of vital documents relating to how much coffee is being consumed in federal offices nationwide.’ There was more after that, but you get the idea. It was a sick joke.”

On the post ceremony. “Bob Bauer told me that I didn’t sound sincere enough, and that he was going to turn me over to the Defense Secretary Bob Gates so that he could ship my ass to Egypt to be tortured. The National Security Adviser (Tom Donilon) told him that we couldn’t do that anymore as the new government had suspended torturing until after the election, Axelrod stared at Donilon blankly and asked ‘What new government?’ Anyway, they grabbed me, threw the hood back over my head and tossed me into the corner of some room until I could be gathered and taken back to the Marine brig at Quantico.”

On any final thoughts about the whole situation. “It was like being lost in some alternate universe ruled by toxic irony. I mean, back in 2009 I was hoping that with the Democrats in charge we’d finally change. I mean the American left puts Daniel Ellsberg on a pedestal for the Pentagon Papers, so I figured that they’d be happy that American people were aware of what their government was up to. But things are as bad now as they were under Shrub, only now people are singing the president’s praises. When did Richard Nixon become the role model for all American presidents? And why are we working so hard to pretend otherwise?”

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