Bradley Manning: Nobody likes a grass and other views on the celebrity leaker
BRADLEY Manning has been found guilty of betraying his colleagues in the US Army and the people they fight for by leaking thousands of classified documents. He has been convicted of espionage and 20 charges of all but not of aiding the enemy.
…if our secrets are entrusted to the likes of Bradley Manning, best we not keep too many of them…
The “aiding the enemy” charge was always weak, since Obama doesn’t seem to think we’re at war with anybody. Manning isn’t really a “whistleblower,” though, since he didn’t even know what was in a lot of the stuff he turned over to Wikileaks, and when he did know, it was often stuff like troops’ personal information.
The most damning piece of news he got out was that we entrust secrets to idiots like him. I’m sure they’ll do better with your healthcare information. . . .
The trial itself should never have taken place. The military should have accepted Manning’s admission of guilt last February. In my opinion, he had already served long enough, and suffered sufficiently under brutal conditions, to pay for violating his trust as a soldier in military intelligence. But the military might still have exacted a few more years of confinement in a plea bargain. Instead, they sought to stage a show trial. The case they made that Manning had aided the enemy—replete with doctored quotations from emails—would have made Roger Ailes blush. But perhaps they knew what they were doing all along. By focusing attention on the truly horrific charge, they convinced the judge to support a charge that was merely god awful.
Last Saturday Brother Ivo witnessed a demonstration outside St Martin-in-the-Fields: a collection of single, hand-lettered placards proclaimed FREE BRADLEY MANNING.Sometimes the message was delivered in anagram form as protesters mixed themselves up chatting to their friends, going for coffee, taking comfort breaks etc.Then they held an impromptu meeting as whether they should re-assemble next week to re-write the backs of their placards to protest FREE SHAKIL AFRIDI or FREE YOUCEF NARDARKHANI. You will be shocked to learn that Brother Ivo made the last part up – that just isn’t going to happen.
Why the protesters thought Bradley Manning might be imprisoned in the National Portrait Gallery is beyond Brother Ivo, but these deep-cover security operatives can be devious coves, so it is probably just as well to think outside the box and get away from Grosvenor Square from time to time.
Master Manning is an unfortunate young twerp seduced by juvenile idealism and the lure of cult celebrity status into betraying his nation’s secrets. He handed over data in the form of some 700,000 classified documents to be published indiscriminately and unread by another narcisist, Julian Assange (who probably, by now, wishes he were incarcerated in the National Portrait Gallery).Both assert that their actions served some greater good, though neither could possibly have read or evaluated that which they cheerfully turned over to friend and foe alike. Who knows what was contained therein?It could be anything: it could even be something the US mainstream media really doesn’t want to be published – like ‘Where was Barack Obama and what was he doing for 24 hours whilst his ambassador and his staff were being murdered in Benghazi?’
Masters Manning and Assange did not and could not assess either the risks of disclosure or make any informed judgement about who might be harmed by it. They do not have a clue whose security might be compromised by the information they released un-read. It is this perfect disregard for the consequences of their actions that removes such behaviour from the sphere of the moral protest. It is as reckless in its way as loosing off a volley of shots into a school building. Both actions are utterly reckless as to whether others may be killed or injured in consequence.
Above all, everyone knows that Richard Nixon was evil and had to go when he was implicated in bugging a single room in the Watergate complex. Hillary Clinton started her legal career on the investigation of that crime, yet now it appears the President Obama is collecting data on everyone who uses a telephone or the social media, and moreover his associates appear to have used the Inland Revenue Services to target groups who opposed him.
Libertarians point out that this is malfeasance on a scale of which the hapless Nixon could only have dreamed. Yet somehow there is a simultaneous dislike of such actions coupled with an inability to conceive of holding the executive branch responsible to account. There is scarcely a connection between the policies and the politician. That is where celebrity politics leads.
Anorak’s view is simpler, harking back to the advice my older cousin gave me in the school playground: whatever the rights and wrongs, “nobody likes a grass.”