Leaked secrets

The issue of national security interest, as opposed to the right to know is an extremely emotive affair.

Editorial June 04, 2013
Bradley Manning. PHOTO: AFP

The trial of US army intelligence analyst, the diminutive, bespectacled Bradley Manning, 25, is one that will be watched closely from around the world. Manning has already admitted that while posted in Iraq, he had passed on thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website, Wikileaks, founded by Julian Assange, who currently remains a virtual prisoner at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. It is said that the US is also keen to try Assange in a case involving the largest-ever leakage of military information in its history.

The case, being heard at the heavily secured Fort Meade military installation in Maryland, raises some very delicate questions, pitching the issue of military security — which all nations do indeed consider vital — against the right of the people to know the truth. The leaked papers did indeed give us a startling insight into the world of US foreign policy and revealed a great deal about how it is shaped. Manning’s lawyer says that the young man was confused and wished to put the truth before the American people, including the killing of civilians by troops. The prosecution says, he delivered information straight into the hands of al Qaeda, jeopardising security.

The affair, of course, divides people, not only in the US but also around the world. The issue of national security interests, as opposed to the right to know, is an extremely emotive affair. The decision of The New York Times and the Guardian to publish the leaks also, in some ways, upset the age-old concept of media ethics. Manning’s supporters are already claiming he will not receive a fair trial. They have been pointing to steps taken by the US military, such as being forced to turn their ‘truth’ t-shirts inside out before entering the court to follow proceedings. It will have to be seen which way things go. But the whole matter has certainly thrown light on just how covertly and secretly states act, telling quite a different story to people while acting in a completely different fashion. The Wikileaks controversy has brought this out into the public and exposed a great deal that the US would have preferred never be known. This can surely not be a bad thing for the world in the long term.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2013.

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Falcon | 8 years ago | Reply

@Anon: Fully agree with your views. Manning's commitment to his nation and humanity in general is respectable above all else.

Anon | 8 years ago | Reply

@unbeliever: You have obviously not been following this case at all. He wasnt some idiot who came across documents and decided to publish them. He went through a great number of these documents, and had several personal experiences that led him to believe that the public had a right to know what the US govt was up to. This is the entire point of Freedom of Speech, the ability to question those in power. As far as the security ramifications are concerned, the US govt, in all this time, has been unable to name a single security incident that was caused by the leaked cables. I'd also be interested to know which concept of media-ethics the NY Times and the Washington Post upset as claimed in the article. The one where they, for once, published a story not directly sanctioned by the state machinery? Manning very obviously acted out of conscience. His oath and loyalty is to his nation, to his people, and to his own ethics, not to a government that repeatedly lies to cover up its actions!

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