Democracy thrives on transparency. It shrivels, shrinks, becomes myopic and ill when kept in the dark.
Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been found guilty of espionage. His crime: making public what is done in secret. Showing the American people the torn guts, the exploded body parts and visceral reality of war done in America’s name.
Of the 22 charges facing him, Manning was found guilty of 20. He was, though, acquitted of the most serious charge – aiding the enemy. But if he didn’t aid the enemy ...then what damage, what crime, what offense did he commit other than attempt to enlighten the American people?
James Ball at the Guardian hits the nail on the head:
The prosecution of Manning was intended to send a signal. If nothing else, it has done that. It has shown that when faced with evidence of its own wrongdoing, the current US administration focuses on punishing the messenger. It shows the first amendment is easier to honour in the abstract than in reality. And it risks sending a message to nations that routinely imprison, assault or even kill journalists and activists, that when it comes to the crunch, the supposed leader of the free world is not much different.
Is this verdict the final straw of American democracy, the sad and wimpy swan song of an experiment in a type of governance that never really had the chance to grow? Or is this the beginning of our generation’s fight for a new world ... Manning the first of us to go all in for the cause.
Revolution is built on sacrifice. The ante just got upped.
For a deeper sense of Bradley’s valor, gall and significance, read Adbusters blog post on Manning written at the beginning of his trial.
At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.