Courtroom action is adjourned until next Monday, June 10, giving us a chance to pause and take a good look at what this court-martial is really all about: the leaks themselves. Too often, the content of the leaks—thousands of stories of individual lives destroyed or damaged by war—gets subsumed in the drama surrounding the leaks—Manning, Assange, Wikileaks and their travails. Michael Arria at Vice Motherboard has an excellent analysis of this tendency to overlook the leaks’ content, including a good brisk run-down of some of the major leaks, lest we forget.
In Slate, Ryan Gallagher efficiently lists ten significant revelations in Slate while Alex Kane in Mondoweiss focuses on what Manning’s documents have taught us about Washington’s relations with Israel and Palestine. The Nation has run excellent analyses of the leaks about US policy towards Haiti—how the State Department, for example, lobbied on behalf of garment-making corporations to keep the minimum wage down in Haiti, poorest country in the Americas. Corporate influence on US foreign policy will not surprise anyone, but it is richly instructive to read primary sources on how, for instance, Big Pharma gets the US State Department to eagerly do its bidding. (Ask yourself: does anyone in your extended family benefit when Washington tries to export our godawful intellectual property regime for meds to other countries? Didn’t think so.)
Many journalists, authors and advocates have made thrilling use of the material Manning declassified. I’m thinking of the splendid new book Useful Enemies by David Keen, all about the counterintuitive dynamics of modern warfare. Or Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett’s controversial (and I think, quite excellent) new book, Going to Tehran, which finds much dreary evidence in the leaks that the Obama administration never made any good faith effort to open diplomatic relations with Iran. And the leaks have fueled the first-rate reporting of Jeremy Scahill, The Nation’s own national security correspondent and author of the new hit Dirty Wars (the film of which opens this weekend in New York):