A “WikiLeaks” graphic is displayed on a laptop. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The debate in the media, and in political circles over Edward Snowden—Right or Wrong—often doubles back on references to Pfc. Manning, who was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison on Wednesday. Too often (that is, most of the time), the value and import of the Manning/WikiLeaks disclosures are ignored or dismissed, just as Snowden’s NSA scoops are often derided as “nothing new.”
So for those who either suffer from memory loss or ignorance on this particular score, here is a partial accounting of some of the important revelations in the Manning leak, drawn from my book—with Kevin Gosztola—on the Manning case, Truth and Consequences (the e-book just now updated to include the trial, the verdict, this week’s sentencing and reactions).
The revelations below were compiled for the book in March 2011—many others followed, including the important Gitmo files (see my piece about them) in April 2011. Here is a New York Times take on just part of those Gitmo files: "What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal." So even this accounting below is far from complete.
And let’s not forget what started it all: the “Collateral Murder” video.
First, just a very partial list from “Cablegate” (keep in mind, this does not include many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):
• Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by the US. All part of giving US full rein in country against terrorists.
• Details on Vatican hiding big sex abuse cases in Ireland.
• US tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition.
• Egyptian torturers trained by FBI—although allegedly to teach the human rights issues.
• State Dept. memo: US-backed 2009 coup in Honduras was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
• Cables on Tunisia appear to help spark revolt in that country. The country’s ruling elite described as “The Family,” with Mafia-like skimming throughout the economy. The country’s first lady may have made massive profits off a private school.
• US knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting the government anyway, making it the pillar of its North Africa policy.
• Cables showed the UK promised in 2009 to protect US interests in the official Chilcot inquiry on the start of the Iraq war.