Jun 24, 2013
The trial of Private Bradley Manning is underway – although no one would know it, it’s been kept so much under wraps. Manning, a 25-year old, is accused of having sent 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks. Prosecuted for making public intelligence that could supposedly aid the enemy, this soldier could spend the rest of his life in prison.
In trying Manning, the government is sending a message to every soldier and every journalist that they will risk their lives if they expose crimes committed by the U.S. Army. Pure and simple, it’s a kind of terrorism – prosecuting one young soldier to scare off all the others.
Manning said he took these actions in order to denounce the crimes, abuses and corruption throughout the U.S. army in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Manning affair brings to mind the Pentagon Papers, which came out during the Viet Nam war. Daniel Ellsberg photocopied classified military documents and sent them to The New York Times, which published them. Some 7,000 pages of documents showed that the U.S. was losing the Viet Nam war because of its attacks on the Vietnamese population. They also showed that American leaders of that time lied to the population, just as Bush and Powell lied in 2003 at the start of the war against the Iraqi people.
Ellsberg was pursued for years by the American state. In 2011, however, when the papers were officially published, Ellsberg was celebrated as a kind of hero. Interviewed on the fate of Bradley Manning, Ellsberg declared that if Manning was responsible for what he was accused of, he was also a “hero.”