Alleged 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: