Chelsea Manning – 'A threat to the establishment’
US whistleblower and former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning announced she will be running for a seat in a Senate for the state of Maryland. Following her statement, some members in the Democratic Party, including the head of its leading think tank, accused the Kremlin of being behind Manning’s decision and that Moscow is again trying to subvert American democracy.
RT:What do you make of the claims that the Kremlin is behind this run for the Senate seat?
Arvin Vohra: I am running for that same senate seat, and even I’m the first who admit it – such a claim is nonsensical. Chelsea Manning is an American hero. This is the person who brought forth what was going on in Guantanamo Bay, the horrible abuses. This is the person that brought the information for the famous ‘Collateral Murder’ video that showed what the US military was actually doing. This is somebody who has been reporting to the American people what the US government has been hiding from the American people. Manning is an absolute hero to the American people… If the Russian government has a bunch of American heroes sitting around like that, I encourage them to please send more of them our way.
RT:What would be the motivation for influential Democrats to be spreading sorts of conspiracy theories such as this?
AV: There is a good chance that Manning will embrace some of the anti-establishment views that they are afraid of. I don’t know all of her policies… Maybe she is opposed to foreign wars; maybe she wants to shut down the military base and bring the troops home; maybe she opposes the NSA wireless wiretapping. There could be a million things that she supports that the establishment, that Democrats don’t like. If that is the case then she is a threat. Now they have an actual person registered as a Democrat saying the things that Democrats will not usually say in a state in which they are very established. Maryland is basically a very, very Democratic state, and this is somebody who has the name power, has the public support, has a star recognition, it is somebody that the American people, including her opponents like me, could have just the highest respect and honor. So she is at threat to the establishment, she is at threat to the status quo, and of course they’re going to do every silly dirty trick they can to try to suggest that she is not a real candidate.
RT: In today’s climate, the way that US-Russia relations are evolving, are Americans likely to believe this sort of thing.
AV: I imagine probably a few people will, but I think the vast majority of the people will see her acts of heroism. They watched the collateral murder video. They’ll see the information about Guantanamo Bay that she shared that was published by the New York Times... That really shed light on the horrific atrocities being committed by the US government against non-military, non-combatants that are just prisoned there without trial.
When people see the amazing good that she’s done, when they see the great work that she’s done, I think they are going to side with her; they are going to side against the Democratic Party establishment. They are going to say: “Here is somebody that we can look up to. Here is somebody that we can trust. Here is somebody that is an American hero that is going to fight some of these establishment policies.”
RT:What would Russia even really stand to gain by encouraging Manning to run for the Senate?
AV: Unless Russia has become an American crony capitalist state – which I don’t think it has – here is nothing for Russia to gain. There are many things, however, for established interest to gain from keeping an anti-establishment candidate out. For example, there are so many established interests in Maryland and in Washington DC, who get unfair privileges from the government, who get huge subsidies from the government, who get all kinds of regulatory benefits. They are used to getting those from because they are well-connected with the Democratic Party establishment.
Someone like Chelsea Manning could turn that on its head. She can turn that around. It is one of the reasons that I am so excited to be in the same race; that is one of the reasons so many people in America are so excited to see a true American hero, really stepping up and standing up to the establishment. And we know she can do it, because she’s already done it. She’s already put her own freedom and safety on the line to fight for the American people. Even though I am running against her, even though I have some different policies, that is someone I can respect.