Friday, March 15, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #99 - Part 4

Update: Bradley Manning

Hopefully, you remember Bradley Manning. He's the Army private being court-martialed for crimes up to and including “aiding the enemy” for daring to be a whistleblower and revealing, via WikiLeaks, the truth about US foreign policy and particularly what the US was doing in Iraq. He is being court-martialed after being held in solitary confinement for over a year in what appears to have been a futile attempt to break him to force him to provide testimony that could be used against Julian Assange, the director of WikiLeaks. I should do and I have been meaning to do a thorough update on his case and situation, and I still should, but this brief update will have to do for now.

Manning has plead guilty to 10 of the least serious of the 22 charges filed against him. All of those 10 involve unauthorized disclosure of some document or group of documents, each document or group being a separate charge. In effect, he has acknowledged what everyone already assumed: He was the source for WikiLeaks. He is pleading not guilty to the other charges, including not only "aiding the enemy," but violations of the Espionage Act, and various accusations of having "stolen" the documents in question - which is a rather silly charge since these are computer files and he took copies; the originals are right where they always were.

Seemingly in exchange for his plea, the judge in charge of the court-martial, one Col. Denise Lind, allowed Manning to read into the record a 35-page statement explaining in detail his actions and reasons for them. Unlike what that might make you think, a 35-page statement, this was no rambling manifesto à la the Unibomber, it was a tight chronology of his career as a soldier and what he learned which caused him to become a whistleblower - in the course of which he noted that he had offered the material to the Washington Post and the New York Times, and neither one was interested.

[A link to the statement is below.]

One other update on this: For the third year in a row, Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I can't give him that, but I can give him my Hero Award, which is given to people who in some way, big or small, just do the right thing.


Link to Bradley Manning's statement:

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