Bradley Manning and Government’s Cheating Heart

Bradley ManningPfc. Bradley Manning. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)Yesterday, a senior State Department official testifying at Bradley Manning’s sentencing hearing said that Manning’s leaks of classified documents to WikiLeaks had a “chilling effect” on U.S. foreign relations.

Much of the Manning case comes down to one simple fact: The U.S government got caught spying on innocent civilians and diplomats both inside the United States and outside the United States.

And now, they’re going to metaphorically “shoot the messenger” by sending the guy who spilled the beans, Bradley Manning, to prison.

Think about that for a second.

Isn’t this approach that the federal government is taking in the Manning case like a shoplifter saying his big problem is that he got caught red-handed? Or like a cheating husband saying that his marital relationship has been harmed because he was caught in bed with another woman?

Rather than owning up, and accepting responsibility for its actions, our government is playing a game of “pass the blame” that’s designed to divert our attention from its own misdeeds.

And to make matters worse, the mainstream media has fallen hook, line and sinker for the government’s attempt to shift blame from itself onto Bradley Manning.

Rather than questioning the government’s real motives in the Manning case, and discussing the actual context of Manning’s document leaks, our media has been vilifying Manning since the day he was arrested.

Jeremy Scahill said it best last week, when he attacked the mainstream media’s coverage of the Manning trial.

Speaking on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, Scahill said that, “When those in power want to gin up support for a war, they know who to call in the powerful media outlets. When they want to tamp down any public awareness of an issue, they know how to make it a non-story…there has been more coverage of the indictment of that Real Housewives lady and her husband than there has been of Bradley Manning. This is the state of media in this country right now, and it is just devastating that we don’t have a media culture that says this trial should have been gavel-to-gavel coverage.”

Let’s revisit the details of what the mainstream media has missed over the course of the Bradley Manning trial.

They’ve missed the fact that Manning’s leaks revealed that U.S defense contractors were complicit in child trafficking in Afghanistan.

According to the leaked documents, DynCorp, a giant defense contracting firm that makes almost $2 billion per year in revenue from taxpayers’ dollars, threw a party for Afghan security recruits using boys purchased from child traffickers for entertainment.

The mainstream media also missed the appalling revelations from The Guantanamo Files, which describe how some detainees at the military prison were arrested based on what the New York Times described as “highly subjective evidence.”

In one case, poor farmers were captured after they were allegedly seen wearing a style of watch or jacket that was the same style as those worn by Al Qaeda terrorists.

Yet those innocent farmers may still be in Guantanamo among the 80 some prisoners who have already been cleared for release.

And the mainstream media also missed reports that U.S. military officials deliberately withheld information about the killings of two Reuters staff members and a dozen innocent civilians in Baghdad on July 12, 2007.

It was the release of video footage of that attack that ignited the firestorm over WikiLeaks, and started our government’s efforts to hunt down Bradley Manning.

The bottom-line here is that while the U.S government is using Bradley Manning as a scapegoat for its own less-than-desirable actions, the mainstream media is letting them get away with it, by not doing their jobs, and not reporting on the real significance.

Within the next week or so, Bradley Manning will likely be given a very lengthy prison sentence.

Fortunately, there’s still time for the mainstream media to wake up, and report on the real significance of Manning’s actions.

We’ll all be watching and listening.