Alleged Wikileaks source, Bradley Manning, faces the death penalty

Bradley_manningAlleged Wikileaks source US Private Brad­ley Man­ning is now charged with “aid­ing the enemy”, amongst a bewil­der­ing array of 22 new charges.  This is appar­ently a cap­ital offence, although the US mil­it­ary has cosily said that they wouldn’t push for this bar­baric sentence.

So just life without the hope of parole then.….

Put­ting aide the minor ques­tion of whether the USA should even be entitled to call itself a mod­ern demo­cracy when it still has the death pen­alty on its books, let’s just remind ourselves of what Man­ning is alleged to have revealed: the “Col­lat­eral Murder” mil­it­ary shoot-up, where inno­cent chil­dren, civil­ians and journ­al­ists were gunned down by US forces in a par­tic­u­larly nasty snuff video game that was then delib­er­ately covered up by the Pentagon for years; many other hein­ous war crimes and records of daily bru­tal­ity in Afgh­anistan and Iraq; and an “embar­rass de richesses” of dip­lo­matic cables.

I think “embar­rass” is the key word here, on so many levels, and goes a long way to explain­ing the USA’s des­per­a­tion to des­troy Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, by any means necessary.

But the phrase from the list of charges against the hap­less Man­ning that leaps out at me is “aid­ing the enemy”.  If — and it’s still a big legal if — Man­ning was indeed the source of all this cru­cial inform­a­tion, whom was he actu­ally aiding?

Inform­a­tion that has appeared on Wikileaks over the last few years has been eclectic, inter­na­tional and very much in the pub­lic interest.  It’s covered such nas­ties as Trafigura, the BNP, Sci­ento­logy, Cli­mateg­ate, Guantanamo, the Aus­tralian inter­net black­list, Sarah Palin, and much more.

It’s cer­tainly not just restric­ted to the inform­a­tion that hit the head­lines last year about the US hege­mony.  How­ever, there is no doubt that it was the release of the Afghan, Iraq and dip­lo­matic files that stirred up this par­tic­u­larly unpleas­ant hor­nets’ nest.

As global cit­izens I would sug­gest that we have every right to know what is done in our name. But, hav­ing said that, accord­ing to these new charges against poor Brad­ley Man­ning, the bene­fi­ciar­ies of Wikileaks — ie all of us -  have now become the enemy.

When did we, the people, the global cit­izenry, become the enemy?  It seems that our esteemed rulers are at last show­ing their true colours.…

On that note, do have a look at this video of former MI6 chief, Sir Richard Dear­love, speak­ing recently at the Cam­bridge Union Soci­ety.  An inter­est­ing per­spect­ive on the Brit­ish Establishment’s line on Wikileaks and Julian Assange:

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