With the “revelation” that the US National Security Agency is spying on millions of Americans for shits and giggles, liberals and conservatives alike are infuriated over the overstepping of executive power. I put “revelation” in quotes, because everything the NSA has been doing was functionally spelled out in the Patriot Act, which we’ve somehow managed to reauthorize three times.
Although a military judge found Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, the guilty verdicts on other charges revealed this week will leave him languishing in military jail for up to 130 years. This is the sacrifice he has paid for exposing the truth about US war crimes in Iraq, including this infamous massacre: www.collateralmurder.com - a harrowing gun-sight view of an Apache helicopter slaughtering a couple of armed men and a much larger group of civilians on a Baghdad street in July, 2007.
There is no doubt that the severity of the government response to Bradley deliberately seeks to intimidate future whistleblowers. What does the future hold for those who expose injustices committed by their government, in their name?
"Contrary to widespread panic, massive leaks of classified material tend to enhance national security as the new information can prevent the kind of reckless, poorly-informed decisions that have squandered so much blood and money, from Southeast Asia to Iraq" says Chase Madar, author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower.
He argues that there is absolutely no evidence to show that any US soldier or civilian has been harmed by the information that Bradley Manning leaked. It is remarkable that the same people who are incredibly tight-lipped when it comes to civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are suddenly consumed with moral concern over possible lives lost thanks to Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. "We have seen thousands of people killed in real wars from the government's reckless actions", says Chase.
The US’s main problem is, in fact, "a cult of extreme levels of dystopian secrecy. Washington classified 92 million documents in 2011. To put things in perspective, what Bradley Manning leaked is less than 1% of that."
Looking to the long-term effect of this case on civil liberties, government secrecy and investigative journalism, Chase calls the verdict this week a "very bad thing for journalism" as it will "encourage the US government to use the espionage act of 1917 as a weapon against domestic leakers and whistleblowers". That will, in turn, have a chilling effect on a great deal of essential journalism; journalism that has relied on illicit leaks of classified information for decades and decades (just think of the Pentagon papers, Watergate and drone strike program).
The Passion of Bradley Manning by Chase Madar tells the story behind the Wikileaks whistleblower, revealing who Bradley Manning is and why he commited the largest security breach in American history. Read his
At the beginning of the year we published another twelve titles in our seventh edition of The Radical Thinkers series including works by Alain Badiou, Willhelm Reich, Max Horkheimer, Simon Critchley and Ludwig Feuerbach. A fortnightly series of events introducing this latest set was held at the ICA in London, with the help of Peter Hallward, Stella Sandford, Esther Leslie, Federico Campagna and Nina Power. Through passionate discussions which took theory to a public forum outside of the academy, the events aimed to make clear why these writers should be read today. Verso believe that the writers in this series are just as accessible as most of those who are presented to us as 'public intellectuals' or 'popular philosophers' - yet they are far more pertinent and thought provoking.
This past week, McDonalds invited outrage when, as part of a newly-launched website designed to help minimum-wage employees plan their budget, they posted a laughably unrealistic sample monthly budget.
Though the budget offered much to be upset about, the crowning offense was the suggestion that workers hold two near full-time, minimum-wage jobs to meet their basic living expenses. Not only does this underscore the growing divide between the minimum-wage and a living wage, but it brings to light another glaring fallacy of the sample budget: with many struggling to find one full-time job, who can manage to find two? Jane McAlevey, author of Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell), joined Dawn Rasmussen and Sylvia Allegretto on HuffPo Live to discuss the both the problems with the McDonalds sample budget and the alarming rise of part-time employment when so many are desperate for full-time work.
Visit the Huffington Post to see the video and read the full comments.