You know, of course, that the Manning affair isn't just about Manning. It's about Assange. From the Bradley Manning support website, which live-blogged his guilty plea:
He’d wanted to try to talk to Politico about sharing documents with them, but he was stranded in Maryland when a blizzard hit. He then turned to WikiLeaks.
He said he had many conversations in anonymous, secure chat rooms with someone who called him/herself ‘Nathaniel,’ whom Bradley believed to be someone who worked for WikiLeaks, namely Julian Assange or Daniel Domscheit-Berg. He said that he would occasionally propose certain documents to ‘Nathaniel,’ but that “no one from [WikiLeaks] pressured” him to give more information.
offers good coverage of the case. I find myself sympathizing with the sentiments expressed in this comment:
Bradley Manning is a true American hero. Thousands of soldiers consider themselves heroes just for enlisting and taking a tour overseas, claiming they are protecting Americans when really they are running our name through the mud and murdering thousands of foreigns civilians in an illegal war. Bradley Manning actually earned his "hero" status but doing what was right. He did not "aid the enemy" unless the American people are the enemy because he gave us the knowledge of what was actually going on over there. Good luck man. We are praying for you. My children will know your name.
Meanwhile, here's Adrian "Judas" Lamo
, explaining himself for the Guardian's readership:
At the time of our conversations, Bradley Manning was 22 years of age – my own age when I made the choice to surrender to federal authorities. He was curious; I hope he still is.
I'm sure he's curious as to how much the feds are paying Lamo. Glenn Greenwald offers the necessary corrective to Lamo's bullshit:
This is all consistent with what Manning is purported to have said in the chat logs with the government snitch who pretended to be a journalist and a pastor in order to assure him of confidentiality but then instead reported him. In those chats, Manning explained that he was leaking because he wanted the world to know what he had learned: "I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." When asked by the informant why he did not sell the documents to a foreign government for profit - something he obviously could have done with ease - Manning replied that he wanted the information to be publicly known in order to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms". He described how he became deeply disillusioned with the Iraq War he had once thought noble, and this caused him to re-examine all of his prior assumptions about the US government. And he extensively narrated how he had learned of serious abuse and illegality while serving in the war - including detaining Iraqi citizens guilty of nothing other than criticizing the Malaki government - but was ignored when he brought those abuses to his superiors.
Manning is absolutely right when he said today that the documents he leaked "are some of the most significant documents of our time". They revealed a multitude of previously secret crimes and acts of deceit and corruption by the world's most powerful factions. Journalists and even some government officials have repeatedly concluded that any actual national security harm from his leaks is minimal if it exists at all. To this day, the documents Manning just admitted having leaked play a prominent role in the ability of journalists around the world to inform their readers about vital events. The leaks led to all sorts of journalism awards for WikiLeaks. Without question, Manning's leaks produced more significant international news scoops in 2010 than those of every media outlet on the planet combined.
This was all achieved because a then-22-year-old Army Private knowingly risked his liberty in order to inform the world about what he learned. He endured treatment which the top UN torture investigator deemed "cruel and inhuman", and he now faces decades in prison if not life. He knew exactly what he was risking, what he was likely subjecting himself to. But he made the choice to do it anyway because of the good he believed he could achieve, because of the evil that he believed needed urgently to be exposed and combated, and because of his conviction that only leaks enable the public to learn the truth about the bad acts their governments are doing in secret.
Heroism is a slippery and ambiguous concept. But whatever it means, it is embodied by Bradley Manning and the acts which he unflinchingly acknowledged today he chose to undertake.
Sorry to print such a lengthy quote, but those words deserve your consideration. Odd, isn't it? The same right-wingers who claim to despise governmental over-reach never criticize the cruel and inhuman punishment inflicted on this young prisoner of conscience.