Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Bradley Manning guilty of espionage? Really?

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I don’t understand quite how Manning is guilty of espionage. He was not in the employ of any foreign government or group, he was not finding secret information for nefarious purposes. He indeed released the data (through Wikileaks) to the public, so the public would know. He’s a classic whistleblower, leaking information the government very much wishes he had kept secret. But by no means could he be considered a spy. But of course, the actual charges are irrelevant. The government simply wants to hurt Manning, hurt him bad (and did anything ever happen to the officer(s) who were responsible for the illegal treatment he suffered?), and it would have accused him of anything that carried a harsh penalty. That’s how Obama operates: make an example to stop others from informing the public. Obama’s slogan: “The public MUST NOT KNOW what we are doing.” Hell, even the groups with which we’re at war, the groups whose members we are killing via drone strikes, must be kept secret from the public. The US has become something alien.

Juan Cole points out 10 positive outcomes of Manning’s revelations:

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

4. He revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

6. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2013 at 9:17 am

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