By Rady Ananda
As the nation readies itself for its annual celebration of freedom, the modern U.S. government seeking to severely punish hero whistleblower, Bradley Manning, rested its case prosecuting him for 21 charges, including ‘aiding the enemy’ which carries a life sentence. The court martial is being held at Fort Meade in Maryland and is expected to end in August.
Top image: In this June 5, 2013 photo Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after the third day of his court martial. In June 2010, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested for giving WikiLeaks more than 700,000 classified battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video clips while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Here’s a brief overview of his case:
* “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.” ABC News
* Leaked battle footage, entitled Collateral Murder by Wikileaks, proved that military officials lied about the slaughter of noncombatants in Iraq, two of whom worked for Reuters. (Below is the short version – 17 mins – of the footage; or watch the full 40 minutes):
* Leaked diplomatic cables document how the world’s most powerful government imposes its violent and ecocidal will on weaker nations, and continuously seeks to hide its crimes from public scrutiny.
* 40 years ago, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked a multi-volume Dept. of Defense report on US-Vietnam relations from 1945-1967 totaling over 7,000 pages. Not only was Ellsberg not imprisoned, but the Supreme Court allowed The Pentagon Papers to be lawfully published. Wash. Post Also see the documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America.
* The petite gay man suffered mophobe abuse since early adolescence, and particularly after entering the military. Biographers have exposed myriad details about Manning’s sexual proclivities, which will likely sway public opinion against him.
* The difference between Manning and Ellsberg (and Snowden, too) is that Manning was never an “insider”, was not college educated, and was not groomed for success within the intelligence world. He was a poor boy from a dysfunctional family who happened to gain access to the documents and videos he leaked.
* Like Ellsberg and Snowden, Manning claims he leaked the documents in the hope of stopping the egregious actions being taken by the military. “He told a military judge in February he leaked the war logs to document ‘the true costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ including the deaths of two Reuters employees killed in a U.S. helicopter attack. Manning said the diplomatic cables revealed secret pacts and deceit he thought should be exposed.” ABC News
* Manning was exposed by Adrian Lamo, who posed as his friend. In early June, Lamo admitted in court that he had been “diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including Asperger’s, major depression and general anxiety. He takes medications to assist living with these conditions, and admitted to periods in which his use of the drugs had effected his memory; he has previously told the media that he has struggled periodically with painkiller addiction.” Guardian
* The ‘aiding the enemy’ charge requires the government to “substantiate beyond the shadow of a doubt the idea that Manning provided intelligence to WikiLeaks with the knowledge that it would be seen online by an enemy of the United States, namely al-Qaeda.” RT.com
* The government also presented, in agreement with the defense, evidences that Osama bin Laden was in possession of Afghanistan battlefield reports leaked by Manning at the time of his death…. Despite 14 days of testimony [from 80 witnesses] over five weeks, experts said the prosecution struggled to prove Manning acted with malicious intent to aid the enemy. RT.com
* “By the grace of God the enemy’s interests are today spread all over the place,” Adam Gadahn, a spokesman for the terrorist group, said in a 2011 al-Qaida propaganda video. The video specifically referred to material available on the WikiLeaks website. Courier Press
* Manning “has already pleaded guilty to reduced charges on seven of eight espionage counts and two computer fraud counts. For those charges, along with a guilty plea for violating a military rule against storing information, Manning would spend no less than 20 years in prison.” RT.com
Free Speech on Trial – How You Can Help
“The US military has refused to release transcripts of Bradley Manning’s trial. In addition, they’ve denied press passes to 270 out of the 350 media organizations that applied. Without public transcripts or a press pass, it’s virtually impossible for media organizations to accurately cover the trial and for the public to know what the government is doing in its name.”
The Bradley Manning Support Network has raised $1.2 million for his defense, spokesperson Nathan Fuller told COTO Report, and continues to seek funds on Manning’s behalf. It is providing daily coverage of the trial. Recommended:
- 5 reasons to attend Army whistleblower Bradley Manning’s trial
- Bradley’s own 10,000 words
- Presentation by Bradley’s attorney David Coombs, transcript and video
- Nobel Laureates salute Bradley Manning
Attend the court martial Now thru mid-Aug (est.) Fort Meade, MD
Carpool to Fort Meade Now thru mid-Aug (est.) Washington DC, Baltimore
International Call to Action July 27 Worldwide