Earlier today, Bradley Manning entered pleas on his several charges in military court, as part of the process towards his court martial in June. He admitted to being the source of the cables Wikileaks released, & the video of U.S. military pilots in Iraq killing civilians, pleading guilty on those counts. He also plead not guilty on the ridiculous charge of “aiding the enemy”, which if convicted of would have him caged for life.
Yes, him. Not the war criminals, unfortunately.
Included in his plea was a statement explaining his reasoning for releasing the information. Contrary to the beliefs of his detractors, it did not consist of desire to help Teh Terrorists!! or fulfill pseudo-scientific assumptions made by some in the media that amount to “gays are crazy”. Instead, it was the clearly understandable motive of having witnessed wrongs & seen what he thought of as opportunity to at least spark conversation about righting them:
I believe that if the general public … had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general.
Between the swaggering, thoughtless bloodshed, the violation of many people who just want to be left alone like we do due to paranoia about just what threats there are & total ignorance as to their source, the contradictions inherent in empire & how it approaches the rest of the world…I think the role is quite clear, and it has about as much to do with a sane definition of “defense” as gravity on the surface of Mars has to do with cheese.
Sad to say, the conversation Manning sought to start really has yet to get off the ground, at least as far as I can tell. Questioning of why the actions done in our names are undertaken in the first place, since so much of it is far removed from a common citizen’s understanding, has been headed off in favor of the usual pattern of maximal bickering over minimal significance. In the mean time, arms manufacturers want their money, congressfolk want their pork & ironic application of Keynesian economics, capital wants their managed trade & the hidden fist within it, and the rulers overall want tribalism to take advantage of, as nothing stirs passions quite like claiming there are dragons to slay around every corner.
Oh, wait…that’s why.
One more thing from Manning’s statement: Wikileaks wasn’t even the first organization he contacted about the info. Both the Washington Post and the NY Times blew him off prior. I wonder what the folks in the offices as the stories came out saying “wow, that Wikileaks has quite the sources!” are thinking about that one…