Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of providing an enormous stash of classified government documents to WikiLeaks for publication, deserves a Nobel Peace Prize more than President Barack Obama, according to former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
"While President Obama was starting and expanding unconstitutional wars overseas, Bradley Manning, whose actions have caused exactly zero deaths, was shining light on the truth behind these wars," the former Republican presidential contender told U.S. News. "It's clear which individual has done more to promote peace."
The WikiLeaks documents Manning allegedly leaked "pointed to a long history of corruption [and] war crimes" and "helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements," according to the Icelandic, Swedish and Tunisian politicians who nominated Manning.
A record 259 people were nominated this year for the prize, which will be awarded Oct. 11 after the five-person Norwegian Nobel Committee picks a winner. Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating female education, is considered a favorite.
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges related to the leak in February, which could result in a 20-year prison sentence, CBS News reported. He pleaded not guilty to 12 other charges, including "aiding the enemy," which carries a life sentence. His court martial is scheduled to begin June 3.
Since his arrest in May 2010, Manning has been kept from the public eye. His lawyers objected to the conditions of his solitary imprisonment, which for a time included being required to stand naked outside his cell for morning inspections, The New York Times reported.
Manning's imprisonment has attracted demonstrations by his anti-war supporters. Protesters routinely picket outside the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Va. An online petition to "save human rights whistleblower Bradley Manning" by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg has attracted almost 20,000 signatures.
Among the trove of documents Manning allegedly provided to WikiLeaks were thousands of State Department cables and a vast collection of information about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Julian Assange, the leader of WikiLeaks, has said that he doesn't know if Manning provided the documents, but that if he did "he is a hero." Assange is wanted for questioning about alleged sex crimes in Sweden and has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy since June 2012, when he lost a legal battle against extradition. Assange claims the Swedish bid for extradition is part of a U.S. plot to put him on trial alongside Manning.
The government was alerted to Manning's alleged actions by former hacker Adrian Lamo, who recorded online messages in which Manning claimed he spoke with Assange, according to Rolling Stone.
Prominent anti-war writer Glenn Greenwald, who currently blogs for The Guardian, also thinks Manning is more deserving of the award than Obama was.
"Bradley Manning epitomizes what the Nobel Peace Prize was supposed to reward, while Barack Obama is the antithesis of it," Greenwald told U.S. News. "Everything Manning did was geared toward ending war by mobilizing public opinion against it. Most of what Obama has done with his power has been geared toward escalating and continuing U.S. aggression."
Greenwald cited Obama's use of drone attacks that reportedly kill civilians, the president's so-called "kill list" and his continuation of the Afghanistan War. "By stark contrast, Manning risked his own liberty, really his life, to expose documents that he thought would expose the horrors of war and the serial deceit and corruption of the world's most powerful factions," said Greenwald.