Alan Moore Backs Leaker Bradley Manning

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Alan Moore has the imprisoned WikiLeaks collaborator’s back, saying in a statement:

With any legitimate trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning still being at an unspecified date in the future, it would seem that what is presently on trial here is Western culture itself. When the persecution of an individual who has exposed an evil is pursued so ruthlessly and yet the evil itself is studiedly ignored, all of us know that there is something very wrong with the way that our society is conducting itself. And if we do not protest in the strongest terms about what is being done in our name, then we become complicit.

There is no third option. Bradley Manning and others like him everywhere are vital to our continued moral health and well-being as a people, and unless we offer them our full support in their often dire and isolated circumstances, it is we, as a people, who will end up the losers.

This isn’t particularly surprising. Alan Moore is not, shall we say, particularly inclined to place his faith in institutions*, so this sort of suspicion seems fairly natural. I agree with Yglesias that Manning shouldn’t be in solitary confinement, and I do wonder if the clock is ticking on his constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial. But I’m not particularly sympathetic to the idea that trying Manning and sending him to jail for a long time is unjust or a way of distracting ourselves from the rot of Western culture. Some good things, among them the Arab Spring, may have their roots in material Manning disclosed, but it remains to be seen what the full impact of those leaks will — or won’t — be. Unlike Moore, I’m comfortable with many, though by no means all of the ground rules and conventions that make up our society, so I don’t really think we should determine Manning’s treatment by the justice of the end results of his actions.

*Proposition for debate: Alan Moore is the inverse of Frank Miller.