Exposing War Crimes Is Not Espionage

Bradley Manning

 AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Bradley Manning was cleared of “aiding the enemy,” but found guilty of 20 counts, six under the Espionage Act, for leaking documents and video to WikiLeaks (including video of US military officers killing Reuters journalists in Iraq).

Here’s a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

“While the ‘aiding the enemy’ charges (on which Manning was rightly acquitted) received the most attention from the mainstream media, the Espionage Act itself is a discredited relic of the WWI era, created as a tool to suppress political dissent and antiwar activism, and it is outrageous that the government chose to invoke it in the first place against Manning. Government employees who blow the whistle on war crimes, other abuses and government incompetence should be protected under the First Amendment.

“We now live in a country where someone who exposes war crimes can be sentenced to life even if not found guilty of aiding the enemy, while those responsible for the war crimes remain free. If the government equates being a whistleblower with espionage or aiding the enemy, what is the future of journalism in this country?  What is the future of the First Amendment?

“Manning’s treatment, prosecution, and sentencing have one purpose: to silence potential whistleblowers and the media as well. One of the main targets has been our clients, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, for publishing the leaks. Given the U.S. government’s treatment of Manning, Assange should be granted asylum in his home country of Australia and given the protections all journalists and publishers deserve.

“We stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning and call for the government to take heed and end its assault on the First Amendment.”

Lest we forget, here’s the video of US soldiers killing journalists and civilians in Iraq.

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