Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bradley Manning

Read Bradley Manning's statement (link) on facing 35-years in military prison.

Bradley Manning could not have worked within the system for change. The system is inherently corrupt. Militarism feeds itself first. The US military undermines democracy at home & abroad.

Manning's leaks exposed assorted terrible crimes. The government summarized its prosecution claiming Bradley Manning was a self-aggrandizing traitor, though he tried to keep his actions confidential. Security might still be searching for an unknown whistleblower if not for disingenuous ex-con Adrian Lamo.

The 2001 anthrax attacks (link) killed five people, and may have been the work of a highly decorated U.S. Defense Department employee, but subsequent investigations were bungled & inconclusive, with inexcusable destruction of key evidence (the Ames anthrax archive). Meanwhile, blame was directed at Iraq, and fueled arguments for the US invasion (link) (link). Since then, many billions of dollars were spent on biowarfare-related operations. A Wall Street Journal article of 15 Oct 2001 (non-subscribers can read it here) discussed a state-sponsored anthrax threat. The WSJ article claimed "The leading supplier suspect has to be Iraq."  This whole affair is now powerfully ignored.  Why?  The leading supplier suspect is the USA (specifically, USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD). Perhaps a rogue operative, perhaps not; we may never know. But the implications are profound. And as FBI budgets balloon, we're treated to admissions in the recent Bulger trial of systemic corruption in Boston's FBI office. In summary: this is an alarmingly broken system, where unprosecuted responsibility for unexamined grave problems goes far beyond Brad Manning.

Let's be crystal clear: Manning was a very junior, rather unstable person. Only a broken ill-conceived system would place this guy in a sensitive analytic position, with access to highly classified & secret data. Manning did not sell information. We can assume, however, that America's enemies & competitors would like to study confidential materials; we must assume they now access our data.

There is no doubt that Manning provided a huge service by  drawing attention to lax security. Efforts to punish Manning should instead be directed toward reform & revision of data collection & data handling procedures. 

... &  Let's Work for World Peace.