As I was interviewed by Al Jazeera English and Russian Television this week--and the domestic MSM and alternative media barely mention, if at all, that Bradley Manning is being arraigned today--I have to wonder why we don't give a damn.
He is widely described as a whistleblower, including by Pentagon Papers whistleblower patriarch Daniel Ellsberg.
As a whistleblower attorney, what he allegedly did is the very definition of
any disclosure of information by an employee . . . which the employee . . . reasonably believes evidences--a violation of any law.5 U.S.C. s 2303(b)(8)(A)(i)-(ii).
I haven't heard many (any, actually) claims that the "Collateral Murder" video doesn't evidnece war crimes.
The video disclosure alone is of immense public value, as evidenced by the Oscar-nominated documentary on it, Incident in New Baghdad, and other films in the works.
What we mainly seem to be bickering about is the forum (WikiLeaks) in which Manning is alleged to have made his disclosure.
To support Bradley Manning, we would actually have to look ourselves in the mirror and honestly grapple with the difficult reality he did:
i investigated to find the truth . . . but there was a point where i was a part of something . . . i was actively involved in something that i was completely against.
MYTH: He didn''t complain up the chain of command.
i immediately took that information and ran to the officer to explain what was going on . . . he didn't want to hear any of it . . . he told me to shut up.MYTH: He endangered lives.
FACT: To date, the government has made no allegation that any U.S. soldier, citizen, ally, or informant has been physically injured as a result of the revelations.
MYTH: He endangered U.S. foreign relations
FACT: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called their effect on U.S. foreign relations "fairly modest."
MYTH: He leaked documents indiscriminately.
FACT: He had access to "Sensitive Compartmented Information" (SCI)--the highest level of classification--but none of the released documents were SCI or "Top Secret." About half the documents he is accused of leaking were completely unclassified. The other half were low-level documents marked simply "Confidential" or "Secret." Manning clearly had access to a much larger number of documents at a much more sensitive classification levels than what were leaked.
While most of us avert our eyes from the legal lynching of Bradley Manning, maybe we should bear in mind some pretty profound words coming from this kid:
i feel connected to everybody . . . like they were distant family . . . apathy is far worse . . . Elie Wiesel summed it up pretty well for me . . . I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy. . . i think i've been traumatized too much by reality, to care about consequences of shattering the fantasy.MANNING:
GUILTY BEING TOO HUMAN
GUILTY OF CHOOSING CONSCIENCE OVER CAREER (AND LIKELY HIS FREEDOM)
GUILTY OF SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
GUILTY OF EXPOSING WAR CRIMES
GUILTY OF EMBARRASSING THE U.S.
UPDATE: Manning has deferred his plea and has deferred a choice of whether to be tried by a military jury or a military judge alone.