News Release

Prosecuting Manning for WikiLeaks: “Killing the Messenger”


Glenn Greenwald writes today: “The U.S. Army yesterday announced that it has filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning, the Private accused of being the source for hundreds of thousands of documents (as well as [the video ‘Collateral Murder’]) published over the last year by WikiLeaks. Most of the charges add little to the ones already filed, but the most serious new charge is for ‘aiding the enemy,’ a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.”

Manning is alleged to have stated last year, prior to the uprisings now embroiling the Mideast: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public. … Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.”

Rowley, whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine’s people of the year in 2002 along with Enron and WorldCom whistleblowers Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper. She said today: “The charging of Bradley Manning with (somehow indirectly but intentionally) ‘aiding the enemy’ is consistent with the Department of Justice’s legal motion filed January 11 of this year in the Jeffrey Sterling case that asserted that leaking is worse than spying for a foreign enemy: ‘The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures, however, may be viewed as more pernicious than the typical espionage case where a spy sells classified information for money.’

“None of the four actual identified real spies of the last three decades (CIA agents Ivan Nicholson and Aldrich Ames and FBI agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen) who sold United States national security information to the Soviet Union and Russia, ultimately faced the death penalty. These actual CIA and FBI agents’ spying for the Soviets did far greater damage to the U.S. than the mere embarrassment allegedly caused by Manning but they did not face the death penalty. The info that Hanssen and Aldrich Ames sold, led to the identification and execution of double agents by the USSR. But in fact Robert Hanssen’s wife even got to keep her portion of his FBI pension.

“If leaking to the public to expose governmental illegality and/or war crimes is considered worse than spying for a foreign country, the question then arises: ‘Who IS the enemy?’ Is it us?”

Rowley recently co-wrote a piece titled “OMB Orders Government Agencies to Monitor Disgruntled Employees — What’s Next?

Note to producers: The song “You are the Domestic Enemy,” which features a voice mix with Noam Chomsky, may be appropriate as a lead in.

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is featured in a recent Panorama segment on German TV. See in English

He said today: “After the U.S. Army abuses at Abu Ghraib became public in April 2004, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba led the first (and only honest) investigation. In May 2004 he completed a report that was extremely critical of the Army; it was leaked to the press. For Taguba, this was not career enhancing.

“Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ridiculed Taguba, and eventually got him fired. And then-CENTCOM commander, Gen. John Abizaid, chided Taguba and warned him that both he and his report would be investigated. At that point, Taguba told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, ‘I’d been in the Army 32 years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.’

“Taguba has publicly condemned prisoner abuse and called for the prosecution of those responsible. He has written, ‘There is no longer any doubt that the current [Bush] administration committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.’

“Sadly, the behavior of the top Army brass since then gives support to Taguba’s comparison of the U.S. Army to the Mafia — except that the Army has been much more heavy-handed. The stakes are high. There is the distinct smell of war crimes.

“Reprisal attacks on Iraqi cities like Fallujah, using white phosphorous and depleted uranium weapons; orders to look the other way as detainees continue to be tortured by Iraqi security forces; drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan that kill unarmed civilians, euphemistically dismissed as ‘collateral damage;’ reports showing that the Afghanistan occupation is doomed if Pakistan cannot be muscled to cooperate, and that not even billions of dollars are able to create the muscle the U.S. needs — there is much to hide.

“The mainstream media can, and has, ignored Taguba, but the WikiLeaks disclosures are not as easily covered up. Solution? Kill the Messenger.

“It appears that Army Private Bradley Manning has done what Daniel Ellsberg did in exposing government secrets showing the duplicity of the White House and the U.S. Army regarding Vietnam. And apparently Manning has done it in precisely the way that Dan and others of the Truth-Telling Coalition recommended in September 2004. The duplicity and abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan needed to be exposed in a timely way with official DOCUMENTS, leaving no doubt as to their authenticity. Many believe that Manning should be accorded honors heavier than the cumulative weight of the ten rows of ribbons, badges, and medals weighing down the left breast of Gen. David ‘they-burn-their-own-children-to-give-us-a-bad-name’ Petraeus.

“And if the generals in charge of our can’t-win-a-war-no-more Army were not embarrassed enough already, they now have to swallow Defense Secretary Gates’s ‘opinion’ (by way of a quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur) that anyone who ‘advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia … should “have his head examined.”‘

“What better time to Kill the Messenger — the alleged source of the WikiLeaks documents! How better to demonstrate the punishment (tantamount to torture) that one should expect, should s/he be tempted to follow Manning’s example. How better to divert attention from the damning substance of the WikiLeaks documents, and focus attention instead on the supposed sins of releasing classified material. And how better to divert attention from the awkward fact that the documents remain classified mostly to prevent embarrassment to the U.S. Army, and NOT to safeguard national security.

“The Army has been unable to make a credible claim that anything but reputations have actually been hurt. It is a travesty — a Mafia-style — of justice. We owe a debt of gratitude to whomever did take the risk of exposing this duplicity and abuse.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167