With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Juan Cole: Bradley Manning in a World of Cheneys, Hadithas, and NSA Domestic Surveillance

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and the director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. His latest book, "Engaging the Muslim World," is just out in a revised paperback edition from Palgrave Macmillan.

The sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison came because he leaked government documents, mostly with a low level of classification that probably shouldn’t have been classified in the first place. Some of the leaked documents showed the US government or other governments behaving badly, in ways the American people had a right to know about. . Do we really want our government opposing a rise in the minimum wage in Haiti, or supporting Big Oil against green energy, or supporting unlabelled genetically modified crops or expensive US pharmaceuticals in markets where people are poor? Shouldn’t we know what our government’s policies are?

The sentence given Manning was much harsher than that he would have received in democratic countries. And the government took us another step down the road to authoritarian government by convicting him on espionage charges, confusing leaking with spying for the enemy. If the government could have, it would have convicted him of aiding al-Qaeda (yes), but the judge laughed that one out of court....

Read entire article at Informed Comment