Obama’s Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Manning as Bait

Obama has sanctified himself at Manning’s expense & insured Chelsea’s destruction

The malady, common among political leaders who commit heartless crimes while craving popular adulation as heroes and misunderstood saints, is ‘Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ (PMSP).

PMSP best explains the pathologic drive of politicians and policy makers who inflict relentless, systematic mass destruction and then intervene in a most theatrical manner to save a few victims - thus drawing gratitude from the victim and public support for their ‘humanitarian intervention’ - ignorant of their fundamental role in creating the mayhem in the first place.

The actions of the outgoing President Barack Obama in the last three days of his administration present an example of PMSP on the domestic front.

Throughout his eight years as President of the United States, Obama exhibited many symptoms of PMSP - both abroad and in the US. For his cynical crimes, he was awarded the ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ among other honors.

PMSP - The Abuser as Savior

Each of Obama’s relentless military interventions, including Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and especially Syria, were characterized by the deliberate and total destruction of the means of normal civilized social existence for defenseless civilians - the bombing of homes, factories, markets, weddings, funerals, schools, hospitals - leading to the deaths of many thousands and the uprooting of millions into desperate flight. In each case, Obama would proclaim that he was saving the victims from imminent genocide by an abusive ruler or ethnic group. He would rush in to provide a few baskets of relief and a few blankets to some bedraggled survivors of his own bombing campaigns and bask in the glowing praise of mass media propagandists and fellow imperialists. Choreographed applause and adulation would seem to follow America’s First Black President everywhere.

Obama’s bombs, arms and mercenaries drove hundreds of thousands of families into the streets, into the mountains and most horrifically onto rickety, overloaded boats on the seas. In each series of destruction and chaos, he would calculate the point at which his ‘humanitarian intervention’ would most effectively reflect on his heroism.

He destroyed the entire nation of Libya, shredded its institutions and infrastructure, bombed its cities and villages, even deliberately sending a deadly missile into the home sheltering a half dozen of President Muammar Gadaffi’s small grandchildren and finally ended up with the public death by torture of the wounded Libyan president sodomized by stakes documented in a imperial-pornographic snuff film that should have revolted the entire world. That the main victims of Obama’s ‘liberation of Libya’ were hundreds of thousands of black Libyan citizens and sub-Saharan African workers did little to detract from his public persona as the first ‘African American’ world hero. The capsized boatloads of fleeing black Libyans and the bloated bodies washing ashore on the beaches of Spain and Italy were never linked to the criminal policies of our Nobel Prize recipient! He even urged Europe to accept the miserable refugees fleeing his war - in a gesture of supreme PMSP. He could do no wrong. This serial political killer had an unquenchable thirst for sympathy and admiration - and a wholly corrupt propaganda machine to polish his halo.

Obama’s PMSP and Chelsea Manning

In his last few days in power, Obama turned his ‘heroic and humanitarian’ attention to individual American victims of grotesque injustice in our bloated and racist prison system - just to prove that the great man could ’set up’ and then save individuals as well as nations.

The cold, calculus of the Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy President finally focused on the fragile form of the imprisoned and tortured Chelsea Manning - hero to millions and condemned traitor to the empire’s ruling elite. For eight years, Barack Obama pursued the arrest, torture, kangaroo court-martial, virtual life sentencing and prison mistreatment of the US soldier who had dared to expose large-scale war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and release thousands of damning documents of systematic political war crime hidden from her compatriots. She released videos of US pilots playing ‘execution games’ against a crowd of defenseless Iraqi civilians, including children, as well as equally egregious war crimes elsewhere.

Obama and his fellow war criminals were furious at Manning’s revelations - and approved of her sentence of 35 years, some of which had been served before her conviction in solitary confinement, often stripped naked - in a condition described by the United Nations as torture and inhumane treatment. After her conviction, she was harassed and driven to multiple attempts to take her life.

After seven years of brutal and degrading treatment, spanning almost the entire Obama Administration, the condition of the frail transgender soldier-hero, almost a martyr to truth and justice, her supporters and the world community were desperate with concern for her safety, survival and sanity. At this point, and in the last three days of his administration on January 17, 2017, Obama ‘commuted Manning’s sentence’ but left it to the incoming Trump Administration to free her five months later in May.

Instead of celebrating the liberation and vindication of the hero Chelsea Manning in May, the media drowned out the plight of the frail tortured whistleblower with its loud tributes to the mercy and heroism of the serial abuser - Barack Obama.


In his last days, Obama played the ‘Merciful Pasha’ commuting Manning’s virtual life sentence - which he still justified. Obama did so in a way that literally begged the incoming rabidly reactionary regime of Donald Trump to rescind the commutation or at least impose such levels of torture and pressure on Manning that her very survival and sanity in prison up to her scheduled release in May will be in grave jeopardy.

The most virulent militarists in the US Congress, including the war criminal John McCain, are howling for Manning’s head. While they will torture Manning during the next 5 months behind thick prison walls, the press will compare the vindictive Trump with the benevolent Obama. This is a cynical ’set-up’ for our hero, Chelsea Manning to be driven to suicide by Trump while her ultimate persecutor, the ’saintly’ Barack Obama will ’shine’ for having issue the belated commutation. Obama could easily have released Manning earlier and spared her this mortal danger - but he chose to tie the poor prisoner to a stake - under the blood-lusting noses of our most sadistic militarists - and invite their public display of savagery.

In one very self-glorifying pronouncement, three days before leaving office, Obama has sanctified himself at Manning’s expense and insured Chelsea’s destruction. This is virtuosic Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy by a true master!

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Professor James Petras, Newsbud contributing analyst and author, is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. Dr. Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. You can visit his website here.

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  1. Thank you, Dr. Petras. Beautifully, beautifully put. Absolutely skins the last vestige of whatever cloth the fake president was wearing as emperor; a role he never stopped playing. And so, gone now, back into nothing. The 5 months Manning must endure is as I feared and as you wrote it…torture…while those that flew the Apache gloat and piss on the bodies of the dead, lauded as hero.
    Trump says he doesn’t mind Torture.
    The King is dead. Long live the King.
    What barstards of men must these be.

    • victor friese says:

      Please stop calling him Chelsea until we confirm from him that that is what he wants to be called. I think the trangender thing was just a psyop to slander him.

  2. Ralph Davis says:

    The strange irony, even here in this piece well intended as insight to neurotic motives by psychopath’s political jousting, is the distracting emphasis of importance, once again, in lost detailing of explicitly what Manning’s self-sacrificial act divulged about US official behaviors and the consequences of continued diversion from same.

    Even here is repeated disinformation, however possibly unintentional, resulting the seeming habitual tendency to divert away from substance to circus. There’s malignancy festering both US foreign policy that most, even here, have yet to acknowledge. It’s presumable that change of the guard at the State Department would flush the perps clear of the policy bowl, but that, too, is an illusion since the criminal matrix supporting these psychopaths is officially, deeply covert and extra-governmental in a strict sense.

    So while this is technically true: ‘He destroyed the entire nation of Libya, shredded its institutions and infrastructure, bombed its cities and villages, …..etc, did little to detract from his public persona as the first ‘African American’ world hero.’, ..it suggests that Obama was primary to this initiative, and there’s much evidence that’s not the case. THAT is the danger of dismissing the devil in Manning’s exposed detail because the disease of malevolence and deception is metastasized far beyond the passive-aggressive errand-boy-psycho-frontman that better defines Obama, in my view.

    As a result we’re left with the sense that the dust is largely settled as regards the syndrome illustrated in Manning’s revelations, now largely forgotten, save for the emotionally wrenching atrocity video of aerial murder by uniformed, secondary psychopaths. The less sensational revelation of the state of State and their corrupt counterparts guarantees the successive repetitions of the self-same events whose legacy extends centuries back, always in shadows, always disregarded until it manifests again and attention’s diverted with new angles of intrigue.

    Sibel knows who, how and why and she’s desperate to help us see the true depths of depravity of our political culture implicit in Gladio B. And while Dr. Petras’ ‘‘Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ (PMSP)” may describe an actual component of this farce, in context to what we should be realizing in terms of actual substance of the nature and availing structure of the very atrocities that compelled Manning to act, ..is it’s omnipresence, it’s shape-shifting guises, and the endless parade of parasitic practitioners that extends malignant strands into the very core of our institutional economy and social psyche.

    One source of insight that tears open the infection is the work of ‘George Webb’, the open-source journalist who’s put his ass completely on the line in weaving his complex tale of viral political opportunism of the most depraved kind. It should not be missed by anyone with conscience and stomach to match. No link provided, find it yourself if you haven’t as yet.
    It would seem that Dr. Petras has something quite fundamental in this mess yet to discover and understand and contextualize, ..as do we all.

    Don’t neglect it.

  3. Tour De Force, Dr. Petras.

    Amazing, as people express valid concerns about the incoming administration of President Trump, how absolutely immune people are to the verified and horrendous crimes of Obama, Clinton, et al.

  4. Whatever Obama’s self-serving reasons, there is some hope now Chelsea will be released. I am not grateful to Obama for a commutation for a sentence that should never have been delivered on a case that should never have seen a court.

    The creep could have released her immediately. Slimey to the end. I would think they would be treating Chelsea like a Queen so that when she is released she will appear the picture of health so disproving any war criminal accusations. But then again, They have proven themselves time and again that they are mental and moral midgets. Rat cunning is not the same as intelligence. Yes, they probably hung her out as bait for Trump to make a mess of and further enrage the caring the world that fell asleep for eight years.

    I read the open letter from Chelsea Manning and have to wonder at the excuse making for Obama in it. So yes, I do wonder about what exactly has been done. to her. The Susan Lindauer case suggests they are not opposed to chemical lobotomy.

    I think Newsbud readers are aware of the reason why she is in jail, for exposing war crimes. We also expected that to be dealt with the same way the DNC emails content was dealt with, and all the other crimes against humanity. ie. Accusations pointing in the exact opposite direction and hyper distraction techniques.

    For a powerful cabal, their m.o. is actually quite desperate and pathetic. Thanks to people like Sibel, it is also transparently predictable. They’ve thrown the kitchen sink of evil acts at us and yet, we’re all still here and they’re still pathetic. Only thing left to throw is the actual sink itself – then that would be their end too. At best, they’ll have no plebs to torment. At worst, they’ll be as dead as the rest of us.

    If only the new President had a single brain cell and a moral code. But here’s a worthy question – what the hell is wrong with people that they have this need for a Messiah? How can you not trust your entire govt. on the one hand and on the other, expect one person to go up against them and fix it?
    Why do adults still want Mummy or Daddy to fix the world for them?

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