Bradley Manning is guilty of ‘aiding the enemy’ — if the enemy is democracy

Bradley Manning performed a public service, and for that, he’s being prosecuted as if he were a spy. Norman Solomon:

Of all the charges against Bradley Manning, the most pernicious — and revealing — is “aiding the enemy.”

A blogger at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, raised a pair of big questions that now loom over the courtroom at Fort Meade and over the entire country:

* “Would it aid the enemy, for example, to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government?”

* “In that case, who is aiding the enemy — the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant hazard. And culpability must stay turned on its head.

That’s why accountability was upside-down when the U.S. Army prosecutor laid out the government’s case against Bradley Manning in an opening statement: “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy — material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk.”

If so, those fellow soldiers have all been notably lucky; the Pentagon has admitted that none died as a result of Manning’s leaks in 2010. But many of his fellow soldiers lost their limbs or their lives in U.S. warfare made possible by the kind of lies that the U.S. government is now prosecuting Bradley Manning for exposing.

In the real world, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, prosecution for leaks is extremely slanted. “Let’s apply the government’s theory in the Manning case to one of the most revered journalists in Washington: Bob Woodward, who has become one of America’s richest reporters, if not the richest, by obtaining and publishing classified information far more sensitive than anything WikiLeaks has ever published,” Greenwald wrote in January.

He noted that “one of Woodward’s most enthusiastic readers was Osama bin Laden,” as a 2011 video from al-Qaeda made clear. And Greenwald added that “the same Bob Woodward book [Obama’s Wars] that Osama bin Laden obviously read and urged everyone else to read disclosed numerous vital national security secrets far more sensitive than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking. Doesn’t that necessarily mean that top-level government officials who served as Woodward’s sources, and the author himself, aided and abetted al-Qaida?”

But the prosecution of Manning is about carefully limiting the information that reaches the governed. Officials who run U.S. foreign policy choose exactly what classified info to dole out to the public. They leak like self-serving sieves to mainline journalists such as Woodward, who has divulged plenty of “Top Secret” information — a category of classification higher than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking.

While pick-and-choose secrecy is serving Washington’s top war-makers, the treatment of U.S. citizens is akin to the classic description of how to propagate mushrooms: keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit.

In effect, for top managers of the warfare state, “the enemy” is democracy.

H/t Maryland Injury Lawyers, Price Benowitz LLP.

6 thoughts on “Bradley Manning is guilty of ‘aiding the enemy’ — if the enemy is democracy

  1. It just gets worse and worse. Susan Rice will replace Tom Donilon. Like Cheney and McCain, Rice never saw a country that she didn’t want to invade. Rice is a warmonger, an interventionist, a practiced liar, and a darling of the neo-con crowd. Anyone who claims to be a Liberal or a Progressive and supports Rice in any way is actually fronting for the 1%. Obama’s choice of Rice is one more sop to the Clintonites and other Demcratic neo-cons who hated Donilon’s guts. Why? Because Donilon didn’t want to destroy Libya as Hillary and the neo-cons demanded. He refused to support Hillary and the neo-cons in their demand for a civil war in Syria to bring Assad down. And so on. He is not an interventionist. Unfortunately, now that Rice has Obama’s ear Manning will probably spend the rest of his days in prison. That’s better than the hanging that Hillary had planned for him though. Free Manning!!

  2. I suppose it’s nearly useless to post this here, but does nobody among you Manning fetishists care to acknowledge that he broke the frigging law, which he agreed to obey when he agreed to serve his country and which he knowingly, intentionally violated. That’s the end of it. He didn’t even expose anything that resulted in trials or convictions or spreading knowledge of events that anybody didn’t already know about — the only legal action he expedited and precipitated was against himself.
    He smuggled classified materials. Anybody who does that gets the same treatment. To ignore that is to be intentionally obtuse.

  3. PFC Manning downloaded over a million pages – several hundred thousand documents most of which were multi-page – off the SIPRNET and within a matter of days had turned them over to Wikileaks. If, as appears to be the case, no operational information was included, great, that’s good news. But it doesn’t absolve Manning of wrong doing. The SIPRNET can be used to send operational information. That’s another way of saying it includes information that puts the lives of American soldiers at risk if revealed to our enemies. For all the concern you all seem to have for Manning where is your concern for all the other PFC Manning’s out there? All of those young kids who enlisted to serve their country, or because it was family tradition or for the money. Don’t they count? Don’t they get any concern?
    Frankly it’s a miracle he didn’t release any operational information. But he couldn’t possibly have vetted it meaning he couldn’t possibly have known if he was releasing such.

  4. Ah, the disinformation squad seems to be monitoring mentions of Manning. Where are you folks stationed? Private sector or part of the military cointel?

  5. Ron: thank you for your brilliant insight. You really a true intellectual. Pro tip: next time you comment try to make an actual argument.
    Susie: you’re absolutely right. So as far as the dozen or so documents actually detailing war crimes he’s good to go. And the other couple hundred thousand? I still want to hear the justification for acting in a manner that could have put all those other PFC’s at risk. Manning is the only one who counts?

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