Home > Rights > Defense will begin its case in Manning trial this week

Defense will begin its case in Manning trial this week

July 7, 2013

raffaella_biscuso_Judge_hammerLast Tuesday (July 2, 2013) the prosecution rested it case in the PFC Manning trial. I briefly mentioned a half-year ago that charges should be dropped against PFC Manning. Sadly the current culture in DC has caused whistle-blowers to be seen as “enemies of the state”. Those of us who believe in a transparent and ethical government have supported Bradley Manning as a hero and true patriot. That may be a hard sell for the defense, since this trial is before a military judge and not by jury.

The prosecution took fourteen days to make its case. A good cliff-note summary of the prosecution so far is best summed up by and excerpt from this AP story:

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case against Pfc. Bradley Manning on Tuesday after presenting evidence from 80 witnesses, trying to prove the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst let military secrets fall into the hands of al-Qaida and its former leader Osama bin Laden.

The 25-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., is charged with 21 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a possible life sentence. To prove that charge, prosecutors must show Manning gave intelligence to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, knowing it would be published online and seen by an enemy of the United States.

Manning has acknowledged sending more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and State Department diplomatic cables, along with several battlefield video clips, to WikiLeaks while working in Baghdad from November 2009 through May 2010.

A key portion of the prosecution’s case has been the fact that documents released by Manning (via Wikileaks) were found during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound (where he was also killed). At the heart of this viewpoint is the view that all unethical and illegal activities of the US government and military must be kept secret so it does not “empower the enemy”.  The prosecution contends that al-Qaida has used the leaked documents to better plan attacks against the United States.

The problem with the prosecutions assertions is the assumption that unethical behavior from government and military officials is OK, as long done in the cause of ‘national security’. It also ignores the fact that American citizens have the right to know what the US government is doing on their behalf. I expect the defenses case to rely heavily upon the patriotic nature of PFC Manning’s actions by restoring some transparency in the ‘war on terror’. They will directly attack the prosecutions assumption that unethical government behavior is OK if done ‘for the right reasons’.

All I can hope is that the mainstream media will pay some attention to the case as the defense takes its turn in front of the judge. I highly doubt that will happen however. The mainstream media seems to have been turning against whistle-blowers almost as harshly as the Obama administration. If nothing else, maybe this case will have a judge that places the rights of the American citizens to know about government activities over the current trend of government hiding its unethical activities.

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  1. July 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm
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