Private Bradley Manning’s Verdict and the Government

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(KPLR) – In Tuesday's Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at how the alleged crimes of the young soldier, make it easier for the government to hide secrets:

The trouble for Bradley Manning started at Fort Leonard Wood. Openly gay and barely five feet tall, Manning was bullied mercilessly from all sides at Leonard Wood. But he refused to quit. He fought back. The army was going to discharge him, but changed its mind. Manning graduated basic training at Leonard Wood in 2008. He then went on to change history. He revealed army killings and foul-ups. Some called them war crimes. Uncle Sam called what he revealed, espionage. Manning was locked up in a solitary confinement cell, part of the time spent naked chained to a wall. And now Bradley Manning will spend the rest of his life in prison.

This is part of the reason why. It's video P.F.C Manning leaked to wiki leaks. It shows an American helicopter gunship in Iraq opening fire on what the pilot and gunner think are terrorists. They turn out to be a pair of journalists working for the Reuters news agency and a bunch of Iraqi civilians. Another video he leaked shows a U.S. drone in Afghanistan attacking suspected Taliban insurgents and instead killing over a dozen children. A sane country would have thanked manning for calling these screw-ups to our attention. The United States says he's guilty of espionage.

Manning didn't reveal operational secrets. He didn’t leak troop locations. He didn’t leak battle plans. He released information on mistakes, foul-ups, errors in the fog of war that got innocent people killed. A young soldier revealed in 1968 that U.S. Army troops had massacred hundreds of civilians in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai. In 1971, .a researcher named Daniel Ellsberg leaked the pentagon papers to the New York Times showing the government had lied about the Vietnam War from the very beginning. If it had happened today, the soldier who revealed the My Lai massacre and Daniel Ellsberg might both be in Guantanamo.

Bradley Manning's conviction means that almost any reporting on national security can now be called espionage.  It's why leaker Edward Snowden had to flee the United States for Russia, for god's sake. In the name of the war on terror, we've killed civilians and tortured people. And now it's a crime approaching treason to reveal those mistakes. That's wrong. That's unspeakable.

That is Un-American.

I'm Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.

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