"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 Bradley Manning (especially since he is now, finally, on trial). Sometimes both are hailed or denounced equally. Other times distinctions are drawn. In any event, too often (that is, most of the time), the value and import of the Manning/WikiLeaks disclosures are ignored or dismissed, much as Snowden’s NSA scoops now derided as “nothing new.”
At this point, I don’t expect much more than this, but it was shocking to see Josh Marshall, the much-respected founder/editor/publisher of Talking Points Memo (years ago I wrote a couple pieces for them and conducted book forums), in endorsing prosecution of Snowden and Manning, also make this claim about the Manning/WikiLeaks docs: they revealed only “a couple clear cases of wrongdoing.”
So for Josh, and so many others, 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 book has just been updated this month but the revelations below all came before March 2011—many others followed.
First, just a very partial list from “Cablegate” (excluding many other bombshells that caused a stir in smaller nations abroad):
* The United States pressured the European Union to accept GM—genetic modification, that is.
* The Yemeni president lied to his own people, claiming his military carried out air strikes on militants actually done by the United States. All part of giving the United States full rein in country against terrorists.
* The United States tried to get Spain to curb its probes of Gitmo torture and rendition.
* Egyptian torturers trained by the 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.
* The United States 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.
* Washington was misled by our own diplomats on Russia-Georgia showdown.
* Extremely important historical document finally released in full: Ambassador April Glaspie’s cable from Iraq in 1990 on meeting with Saddam Hussein before Kuwait invasion.