Bradley Manning Is Guilty of “Aiding the Enemy” – If the Enemy Is Democracy

Bradley Manning US ArmyOf all the charges against Bradley Manning, the most pernicious — and revealing — is “aiding the enemy.”

A blogger at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, raised a pair of big questions that now loom over the courtroom at Fort Meade and over the entire country:

*  “Would it aid the enemy, for example, to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government?”

*  “In that case, who is aiding the enemy — the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant hazard. And culpability must stay turned on its head.

That’s why accountability was upside-down when the U.S. Army prosecutor laid out the government’s case against Bradley Manning in an opening statement: “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy — material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk.”

If so, those fellow soldiers have all been notably lucky; the Pentagon has admitted that none died as a result of Manning’s leaks in 2010. But many of his fellow soldiers lost their limbs or their lives in U.S. warfare made possible by the kind of lies that the U.S. government is now prosecuting Bradley Manning for exposing.

In the real world, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, prosecution for leaks is extremely slanted. “Let’s apply the government’s theory in the Manning case to one of the most revered journalists in Washington: Bob Woodward, who has become one of America’s richest reporters, if not the richest, by obtaining and publishing classified information far more sensitive than anything WikiLeaks has ever published,” Greenwald wrote in January.

He noted that “one of Woodward’s most enthusiastic readers was Osama bin Laden,” as a 2011 video from al-Qaeda made clear. And Greenwald added that “the same Bob Woodward book [Obama’s Wars] that Osama bin Laden obviously read and urged everyone else to read disclosed numerous vital national security secrets far more sensitive than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking. Doesn’t that necessarily mean that top-level government officials who served as Woodward’s sources, and the author himself, aided and abetted al-Qaida?”

But the prosecution of Manning is about carefully limiting the information that reaches the governed. Officials who run U.S. foreign policy choose exactly what classified info to dole out to the public. They leak like self-serving sieves to mainline journalists such as Woodward, who has divulged plenty of “Top Secret” information — a category of classification higher than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking.

While pick-and-choose secrecy is serving Washington’s top war-makers, the treatment of U.S. citizens is akin to the classic description of how to propagate mushrooms: keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit.

In effect, for top managers of the warfare state, “the enemy” is democracy.

Let’s pursue the inquiry put forward by columnist Amy Davidson early this year. If it is aiding the enemy “to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government,” then in reality “who is aiding the enemy — the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

Candid answers to such questions are not only inadmissible in the military courtroom where Bradley Manning is on trial. Candor is also excluded from the national venues where the warfare state preens itself as virtue’s paragon.

Yet ongoing actions of the U.S. government have hugely boosted the propaganda impact and recruiting momentum of forces that Washington publicly describes as “the enemy.” Policies under the Bush and Obama administrations — in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and beyond, with hovering drones, missile strikes and night raids, at prisons such as Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo and secret rendition torture sites — have “aided the enemy” on a scale so enormous that it makes the alleged (and fictitious) aid to named enemies from Manning’s leaks infinitesimal in comparison.

Blaming the humanist PFC messenger for “aiding the enemy” is an exercise in self-exculpation by an administration that cannot face up to its own vast war crimes.

While prosecuting Bradley Manning, the prosecution may name al-Qaeda, indigenous Iraqi forces, the Taliban or whoever. But the unnamed “enemy” — the real adversary that the Pentagon and the Obama White House are so eager to quash — is the incessant striving for democracy that requires informed consent of the governed.

The forces that top U.S. officials routinely denounce as “the enemy” will never threaten the power of the USA’s dominant corporate-military elites. But the unnamed “enemy” aided by Bradley Manning’s courageous actions — the people at the grassroots who can bring democracy to life beyond rhetoric — are a real potential threat to that power.

Accusations of aid and comfort to the enemy were profuse after Martin Luther King Jr. moved forward to expose the Johnson administration’s deceptions and the U.S. military’s atrocities. Most profoundly, with his courageous stand against the war in Vietnam, King earned his Nobel Peace Prize during the years after he won it in 1964.

Bradley Manning may never win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he surely deserves it. Close to 60,000 people have already signed a petition urging the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the prize to Manning. To become a signer, click here.

Also, you can preview a kindred project on the “I Am Bradley Manning” site, where a just-released short video — the first stage of a longer film due out soon — features Daniel Ellsberg, Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Phil Donahue, Alice Walker, Peter Sarsgaard, Wallace Shawn, Russell Brand, Moby, Tom Morello, Michael Ratner, Molly Crabapple, Davey D, Tim DeChristopher, Josh Stieber, Lt. Dan Choi, Hakim Green, Matt Taibbi, Chris Hedges, Allan Nairn, Leslie Cagan, Ahdaf Soueif and Jeff Madrick.

From many walks of life, our messages will become louder and clearer as Bradley Manning’s trial continues. He is guilty of “aiding the enemy” only if the enemy is democracy.


Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

Norman Solomon

Co-Founder at RootsAction
Norman Solomon is the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of

12 Comments on "Bradley Manning Is Guilty of “Aiding the Enemy” – If the Enemy Is Democracy"

  1. Simon Valentine | Jun 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

    ah where’s the CIA when you need a good ‘ol “simple criteria match”

    the simple man assumes “X” therefore “Y”
    where “X” is a range of action within a tolerance variable “crime”
    and “Y” is a range of crime within a tolerance variable “action”

    e.g. if BM has done X then Y


    “if a then b”
    is secretly
    “if a then b then c”
    where c is “locate a”
    and top secretly
    “if a then b then c then d”
    where d is “prevent c from [public] illegal activity”

    section d file 82 states: notice “a” is not necessarily object typed, yet as a [human] the
    tendency is to anthropomorphize e.g. “find BM” and then “perform Y”. it is often the case that one knows logically that X has occurred yet while human involvement is illegal, involving human involvement is secret.

    and so you see, secrets are illegal.

    …or maybe that’s just ‘my’ hyper-secret document agenda-in-a-brief…

    • Simon Valentine | Jun 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm |

      notice the tendency for variable sheer with such simple (and now may as well come to say wrong) existence’s, facts, fact of the matter, analysis, etc.

      as a rather Cartesian coordinate system, the day to day goings on of man and woman alike are as much as that as they belie reality or truth. which such dimensional locking as may throw exceptions as-if oracular knowledge to the attuned and attenuated, it is the case i am quite aware of an alternative formulation as “system”. it is as if a quantum to such a classic as documenting section d file 82, a system which continues to become its own obsolescence, inadequacy, failure, self-reprisal, guilt-making, et cetera.

      observe literature concerting Genus Problem and Graph Embedding. especially the latter as concerns the ineffible (the lies using) “life”, “the universe”, “everything”, “physics”, “truth”, etc. i.e. “CAN ANY GRAPH BE EMBEDDED IN 3D SPACE AS PHYSICS SETS IT FORTH TO BE”.

      if you cannot find any, ask me and i’ll ad hoc it. yes, more than likely it does not exist (the literature i mean).

    • BuzzCoastin | Jun 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm |

      on the other hand:

      The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

      The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

      The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

      • Simon Valentine | Jun 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

        yeah my phone’s with Verizon
        what a new horizon
        if it’s not crime it’s honest crime?
        >.< *doink*

  2. DeepCough | Jun 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

    All warfare is deception because the Truth is your greatest enemy.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Jun 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

    the newest point I’ve seen circulating about this
    is that nothing happened because of the leaks
    which is true
    nothing revealed in the leaks changed anything
    except to reveal that Uncle Homeland is a murderous pig
    which everyone already knew

    the fact that there were no dire consequences and
    no heads rolled except Manning’s
    surely indicates that all this trail hoopla is farce

    • It’s sent a clear message about having a conscience though.

      • BuzzCoastin | Jun 6, 2013 at 1:40 am |

        yes, to a certain extent it did
        but nothing’s quite that simple
        every service has a disservice
        this disservice is much larger than the service
        allowing Uncle Homeland’s Murdering Band
        to operate without restraint and with impunity
        now Wee the Sheeple know
        that everyone knows what UH is doing in our name
        and Wee haven’t even so much as bitch slapped him
        let alone thrown Them in prison for malfeasance

Comments are closed.