THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
In which I praise a Guardian journalist
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Barackading the Manning

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison – live updates | World news | theguardian.com.

The Guardian suddenly seems to be my newspaper. Soon I will have to take back all those Guardian reader and Guardianista jibes over the years. Or perhaps not. At the moment it's doing a good job of covering the civil liberties crisis in America and the British state's toadying complicity. 

For example, it's reporting the swingeing sentence on whistle-blower Bradley Manning. I think the ACLU best sums up my own opinion on the subject;
...a legal system that doesn't distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it's also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Icelandic MP associated with Wikileaks, makes the killer point though;
...no-one has been held accountable for the criminality exposed in the documents for which Manning is standing trial - except him.
As modern statists continue to replace the rule of law with the rule of men that's not exactly surprising. Those walking free committed their crimes in the service of the state so of course they will not be prosecuted.

If the rule of law applied; if there was a brave prosecutor to say "Be you never so high, the law is above you" then the story would be different, but that's not the reality of the post 9/11 West. Manning's punishment is not for any harm he may have done to intelligence assets, but for letting the supposed owners of the state in question - the American people - know what it was doing in their name. So much for accountability.

Stories such as this that give the lie to the statists' deliberate blurring of the distinction between people, nation and state. Any notion that "the state is us" is ridiculous. It's a massive power centre that is supposed to be accountable to us, but which lashes out violently at any of its people naieve enough to behave as if that's true. Recently, the British state has even been caught boasting to the American state about how unaccountable its agents are. 

I suspect there has also been a pretty good (and incredibly hypocritical, given the American state's usual posture on sexual diversity) attempt to smear him. He has been made out to be a social cripple, a sexual deviant and a general nut job. This is what any of us can expect if we incur the wrath of the servants who think they are our masters. Is it any wonder I erupt when purveyors of horrific tosh emerge from behind the skirting boards to tell us these gangsters have "far more moral legitimacy" than private citizens?

Bradley Manning is a good servant of the American people. He was a bad servant of the American state. He knew the risks he took in blowing the whistle and he blew it anyway. Don't let a state that tells you - when it suits its purpose - that your colour, creed or sexual orientation are irrelevant then use sexual and other smears to mask the courage of what he did.

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