There is no doubt the former soldier broke the law, but he didn’t sign up to ‘abandon his moral conscience’ and the leaks need to be put in context, Kevin Gosztola, author of Truth and Consequences the US against Bradley Manning, told RT.
RT: Kevin, it looks like Manning has got supporters all
over the world, do you think it has the potential of growing,
this support for him, if he does get a heavy sentence?
Kevin Gosztola: Well, we don’t know what he’s going to be sentenced yet, so I wouldn’t put it in that way. I would suggest that as people follow the trial over the course of this entire summer as its going to last, that there will be more exposure of his story that more around the world will be introduced to what he did, his act, and it will resonate with people.
RT: The prosecution is playing on the dangers of leaked
information getting into Al Qaeda’s hands, what he did was leak
sensitive information, highly classified information. How
dangerous was that leak to US security?
KG: I haven’t seen any proof that it was dangerous to US security yet, nor do I expect to see it. For two reasons, one if they do present any proof, it will be behind closed doors during the trail as it will be classified information, but also from listening to Bradley Manning’s lawyer David Coombs speak, he has said that what he been given shows that for the most part there wasn’t any sort of damage. He’s gotten evidence back that said there was something but they are not sure, their looking into it and there’s nothing conclusive that Bradley Manning did harm national security.
RT: But never the less he did leak information and he
signed up as a soldier not to do that, so he should be punished
KG: Well, he signed up to be a soldier who followed the
rule of law, who abided by the constitution, I don’t think he
signed up to abandon his moral conscience and within the military
what he saw in the collateral murder video deeply disturbed him,
this Apache helicopter attack in 2007 in Baghdad in Iraq. He also
was aware that opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki were
being turned over to Iraqi federal police and tortured and that
deeply bothered him, his role in that. So I think nobody expected
that this soldier would abandon that, so I think the question
becomes how much punishment should he endure? There’s no question
that he violated the law, but the larger question here with this
trial is what sort of punishment does he deserve for violating
the law, given that there has been such a great benefit because
of the release of information.
RT: As you say it’s going to be a lengthy trial so we’re going to find out about that punishment much later on. Briefly you’re the co-author of the book Truth and Consequences the US against Bradley Manning, did you face any hindrance from US authorities when doing your research?
KG: I haven’t had any sort of persecution but what I would
say is there is really little access to court records so that’s a
limit on my ability to do reporting and then also I would share
that because his audio statement was leaked, the statement he
made on February 28th, there was a higher ranking military
officer who did scold the press and said that if it happened
again everyone in the media center would feel the heat.