Statement from Noam Chomsky about Bradley Manning’s sentence

chomskyThere’s a famous statement that military justice is to justice as military music is to music.

Manning should be praised for letting citizens know what their government is doing in secret.  There are plenty of lawbreakers who are immune.  Those who launched the invasion of Iraq, for example.  Or the “decider” who runs Obama’s global terror campaign. No shortage, but they are powerful, therefore immune.

States and other power systems naturally try to protect themselves from scrutiny.  Of course, the pretext is “security.” But that is what is always claimed, whatever the actual reasons, and being completely predictable, the claim carries no information, even in the technical sense.  It’s necessary to evaluate the claim.  Study of released secret documents reveals that the security claimed is commonly security of power from scrutiny by the domestic population.  What Manning released should also be evaluated by this criterion.  I have seen no credible evidence that there was a damage to authentic security – and it would be a hollow claim by the Obama administration anyway, because, like others, it does not assign a high priority to authentic security and often acts to damage it.  What is unusual about Obama is the near fanaticism of his obsession with security of state power from exposure.  As you know, he has tried to prosecute more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, and the majority of appeals to the disgraceful Espionage Act of 1917 are by Obama. Only part of his ferocious assault on civil rights, the one part of his presidency that I found really surprising.