Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Aiding the enemy"

Alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning has been charged with "aiding the enemy".

Contrary to Wikileaks' spin, the US is not alleging that they are "the enemy"; instead the allegation is that Manning passed information "by indirect means", that is, by making it available to Wikileaks, who published and propagated it to all. But think about that for a moment: what it means is that providing any information to a media organisation to allow the government's actions to be uncovered and criticised is a death penalty offence in the US - because in a globalised world, "the enemy" reads the same internet we do.

If allowed to stand, this is a massive expansion of state power. Fortunately, I can't see it succeeding. Even if they manage to get a charge of indirect aid to fly, in order to be prove it the US government would have to show not just that "the enemy" was aided by Manning's leak, but that he intended this to occur. And given the background to this leak, I really don't think that's likely.