By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
As homosexual Army soldier Bradley Manning’s treason trial continues at Fort Meade, Maryland, the support he has received from Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been curiously ignored by the major media, now touting Paul as someone who could win the January 3 Iowa Republican Caucuses. Paul has called Manning, a crossdresser with acknowledged mental problems, a “hero” and “patriot” for stealing government secrets and providing them to WikiLeaks.
Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, is charged with one of the most spectacular and damaging leaks of classified information in this country’s history. The death penalty has been strangely ruled out in his case, but he could still face life in prison.
Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the “irresponsible posting of stolen classified documents by WikiLeaks puts lives at risk and gives adversaries valuable information.”
The Ron Paul 2012 website shows a young Ron Paul in a military uniform and as someone who would pursue a “pro-America foreign policy.” It says, “As an Air Force veteran, Ron Paul believes national defense is the single most important responsibility the Constitution entrusts to the federal government.”
It says nothing about the Congressman’s support for accused Army traitor Bradley Manning.
However, speaking at a campaign rally, Paul said that while Manning may have “technically” broken the law against releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, he did so for the purpose of exposing the “horrible things” being carried out by the U.S. Government.
Referring to Manning’s detention before trial, Paul said, “Should he be locked up and imprisoned?” Manning should be seen as a “political hero” and “true patriot who reveals what’s going on,” Paul said.
The Bradley Manning Support Network published an article saying that Paul believes that Manning is a “whistleblower” and his actions “are essential to the country.”
There is no evidence that Manning, who flaunted his homosexuality in the Army, in violation of the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, was a member of a communist or leftist group. But his supporters come predominantly from the far-left. His backers include the Movement for a Democratic Society, a group of former Weather Underground members and radicals that includes Obama associate and terrorist Bill Ayers.
The Advisory Board of the Bradley Manning Support Network includes Robert Meeropol, whose parents, communists Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were convicted of violating the Espionage Act and executed for giving the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Meeropol says “it is an honor to join a Board that includes Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, as well as Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, and filmmaker Michael Moore, among others, but also because I believe it is imperative for as many people as possible to raise their voices in support of Manning.”
On October 28, speaking in Iowa, Paul praised WikiLeaks for providing secret information about the conduct of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Moscow-funded Russia Today (RT) propaganda channel features a Paul speech in which the Congressman offered “his support to whistleblowers, applauding WikiLeaks in particular for exposing political fallacies.”
In another broadcast, Paul attacked “state secrecy” and praised WikiLeaks for revealing “spying and meddling” by the U.S. Government.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who says he publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct, is currently facing deportation from Britain on sex crimes charges.
Vice President Joseph Biden has said about Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks disclosures, “I would argue it’s closer to being a high-tech terrorist than the Pentagon Papers.”
In a New Yorker article, “Manning, Assange, and the Espionage Act,” Raffi Khatchadourian said that Manning “appears to have broken a very clearly defined set of laws.” And First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told National Public Radio that while media organizations which publicized the WikiLeaks material will not face prosecution, Assange himself could be prosecuted by the U.S. Government under the Espionage Act.
More than a year ago, Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act. He also wants Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate WikiLeaks a foreign terrorist organization.
The evidence introduced this week at Manning’s pretrial hearing appears to prove that Manning and Assange worked together, a development that should make it easier for the Obama Department of Justice to prosecute Assange for conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act.
In a Daily Caller article, “Why conservatives must adopt Ron Paul’s foreign policy,” Jack Hunter writes that Paul is asking the “basic questions that Americans desperately need to ask” about U.S. foreign policy. But Hunter, the official Ron Paul 2012 campaign blogger, didn’t address or explain Paul’s support for Manning.
The Ron Paul website insists that the candidate supports an American intelligence community that deals with “legitimate threats” but doesn’t explain how this is compatible with a system whereby “whistleblowers” like Manning decide on their own what classified information the government should be able to keep.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.