Sacrifice of Bradley Manning's liberty will not have been made in vain - Commentators - Voices - The Independent

History will damn the persecutors of Bradley Manning. Big powers who hide crimes away from their own people – while claiming to act in their name, of course – fear few more than those determined to hold them to account. No wonder Manning was subjected to what the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, described as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment: left languishing in solitary confinement for months, regularly stripped naked, forced to sleep without darkness, deprived of any right to privacy. An example had to be made of a soldier who helped strip away the humanitarian pretences of US power, and revealed a far uglier reality. Although it is Julian Assange – hiding from sex allegations in London's Ecuadorian Embassy – who has dominated the WikiLeaks story, Manning is the real martyr of the story. One of the videos released gave an insight into the horror of the US-led war in Iraq: an Apache helicopter shooting dead 11 Iraqis in a Baghdad suburb, none of whom returned fire. Among the dead was a 22-year-old Reuters' photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen; two children were brutally wounded. The crew laughed as they massacred: the video was one striking example of how occupati