GENEVA, Switzerland – U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning has been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Manning, an international hero since he was identified as the whistleblower who exposed the killing of two unarmed Reuters journalists in Iraq, was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to help end the Iraq War and exposing atrocities by American soldiers.
Manning was nominated by Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, a Northern Ireland peace activist who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, among others.
A former intelligence analyst, Manning is currently on trial for his disclosure of secret files that were posted on Wikileaks.
Those files allegedly included gunsite video footage of helicopter assaults that killed two unarmed Reuters journalists and injured several children on a street in Baghdad.
Around the world, Manning is hailed as a heroic peacemaker who exposed war crimes and a military cover-up but the United States government is trying to make sure that he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
Manning pleaded guilty to ten charges in February and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on those counts, but pleaded not guilty to 12 more serious charges, including “aiding the enemy.”
P.J. Crowley, a retired Air Force colonel and former State Department spokesman who resigned after making comments critical of the Obama administration’s treatment of Manning, said that the administration’s pursuit of the “aiding the enemy” charge “is eroding the credibility of the U.S. justice system.”
“Manning has admitted guilt to a series of charges and has accepted potential punishment of up to 20 years in prison — I believe that is an adequate judicial judgment that reinforces the importance of protecting classified information,” Crowley said on the “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev” show. “I happen to oppose what the government is doing now in terms of pursuing the charge of aiding the enemy.”
The seven-week trial is in its final days, with closing arguments set to begin tomorrow.
The Sean MacBride Peace Prize is named in honor of the Irish statesman who served as chairman of the International Peace Bureau from 1968-1974 and its president from 1974-1985. It was first presented in 1992 to current Irish President Michael D. Higgins for his work as a human rights lawyer.
In addition to the Peace Prize, Nobel Prizes also include awards for contributions to medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.
A sixth award, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, was created by the Swedish central bank in 1968 in memory of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
The winners are usually announced in October and the awards are always presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, while the other Nobel Prizes are presented at ceremonies in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
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