A US military judge on Tuesday found former US Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, but guilty of five espionage counts, and theft and computer fraud involving leaking 700,000 classified US military documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, making public a video of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen civilians, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.
Manning’s defence was that he sent the classified material to expose war crimes and to start a worldwide debate on US military and foreign policy.
The US government labelled Manning a traitor, while to hundreds of millions of people all over the world he is a hero.
The guilty verdicts are a warning to the other major US whistleblower, Snowden, if any is needed, that US imperialism is determined to make an example of him, to try to stop future leaks of criminal actions by the US government and military, by soldiers who have been sickened by the massacres.
So keen is the US to get its hands on Snowden that the US attorney general Holder has written a letter to the Russian authorities assuring them that Snowden, if they return him from Moscow airport, will not face the death penalty and that he will not be tortured.
Holder points out that in the US torture is illegal.
However, after the experience of prisoners being tortured daily in concentration camps in Guantanamo Bay, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and secret prisons all over the world, the US government is renowned as a serial breacher of its own constitution, as far as torture and basic rights are concerned.
Because of this, Holder had to put in writing a special assurance that Snowden will not be tortured if he surrenders, or is surrendered to the US by Russia. Everybody knows that Holder’s assurances are worthless!
In fact, Snowden’s father Lonnie has urged his son not to surrender and thanked President Vladimir Putin and Russia for helping his son.
He said FBI officials had previously asked him to fly to Moscow to see his son, but he had declined.
However, it is a matter of record that while Bradley Manning and Snowden have shown enormous courage and resolution by refusing to give way to US imperialism, Putin and the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy have treated Snowden as a problem that was dumped on them and which they would be delighted to get rid of, in order to have good relations with their US ‘partner’.
The Kremlin’s ‘rights advisor’ Mikhail Fedotov says the asylum request by Snowden in Russia has actually been to his country’s loss and placed it in a difficult situation.
‘Russia is the injured party in the Snowden saga. There is no national interest for us at all,’ Mikhail Fedotov said on Tuesday, adding that ‘Russia is in a very unenviable position,’ over the issue.
‘We cannot hand over someone who ran to the protection of our state. But on the other hand we do not want to ruin our relations with the United States, which is our partner on many international questions.’
Russia is still examining Snowden’s request for temporary asylum. He has been holed up at the transit area of Moscow international airport since his arrival there from Hong Kong on June 23.
Stalinism remains Stalinism and is counter-revolutionary through and through. It began with the theory of socialism in a single country. For it, making deals with imperialism was more important than being 100% on the side of the world revolution as were Lenin and Trotsky.
Now it has developed into the Russia First policy. Under this, Putin considers Snowden to be a problem, that is harming Russia’s national interest.
Meanwhile, the world revolution is rapidly developing and Manning and Snowden are playing their part in it.
The whole world must demand that Manning be freed and that Snowden is given unconditional asylum by Russia. However, the major strategic issue today is the building of the Fourth International in every country to lead the developing world socialist revolution to its victory!