Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 5 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (7 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   4 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 3   Must Read 2   Supported 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 6/4/13

Become a Fan
  (16 fans)
Source: Wikileaks


As I type these lines, on June 3, 2013, Private First Class Bradley Edward Manning is being tried in a sequestered room at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the alleged crime of telling the truth. The court martial of the most prominent political prisoner in modern US history has now, finally, begun.

It has been three years. Bradley Manning, then 22 years old, was arrested in Baghdad on May 26, 2010. He was shipped to Kuwait, placed into a cage, and kept in the sweltering heat of Camp Arifjan.

"For me, I stopped keeping track," he told the court last November. "I didn't know whether night was day or day was night. And my world became very, very small. It became these cages... I remember thinking I'm going to die."

After protests from his lawyers, Bradley Manning was then transferred to a brig at a US Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA, where -- infamously -- he was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of his captors -- a formal finding by the UN. Isolated in a tiny cell for 23 out of 24 hours a day, he was deprived of his glasses, sleep, blankets and clothes, and prevented from exercising. All of this -- it has been determined by a military judge -- "punished" him before he had even stood trial.

"Brad's treatment at Quantico will forever be etched, I believe, in our nation's history, as a disgraceful moment in time" said his lawyer, David Coombs. "Not only was it stupid and counterproductive, it was criminal."

The United States was, in theory, a nation of laws. But it is no longer a nation of laws for Bradley Manning.

When the abuse of Bradley Manning became a scandal reaching all the way to the President of the United States and Hillary Clinton's spokesman resigned to register his dissent over Mr. Manning's treatment, an attempt was made to make the problem less visible. Bradley Manning was transferred to the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He has waited in prison for three years for a trial -- 986 days longer than the legal maximum -- because for three years the prosecution has dragged its feet and obstructed the court, denied the defense access to evidence and abused official secrecy. This is simply illegal -- all defendants are constitutionally entitled to a speedy trial -- but the transgression has been acknowledged and then overlooked.

Against all of this, it would be tempting to look on the eventual commencement of his trial as a mercy. But that is hard to do.

We no longer need to comprehend the "Kafkaesque" through the lens of fiction or allegory. It has left the pages and lives among us, stalking our best and brightest. It is fair to call what is happening to Bradley Manning a "show trial." Those invested in what is called the "US military justice system" feel obliged to defend what is going on, but the rest of us are free to describe this travesty for what it is. No serious commentator has any confidence in a benign outcome. The pretrial hearings have comprehensively eliminated any meaningful uncertainty, inflicting pre-emptive bans on every defense argument that had any chance of success.

Bradley Manning may not give evidence as to his stated intent (exposing war crimes and their context), nor may he present any witness or document that shows that no harm resulted from his actions. Imagine you were put on trial for murder. In Bradley Manning's court, you would be banned from showing that it was a matter of self-defence, because any argument or evidence as to intent is banned. You would not be able to show that the "victim" is, in fact, still alive, because that would be evidence as to the lack of harm.

But of course. Did you forget whose show it is?

The government has prepared for a good show. The trial is to proceed for 12 straight weeks: a fully choreographed extravaganza, with a 141-strong cast of prosecution witnesses. The defense was denied permission to call all but a handful of witnesses. Three weeks ago, in closed session, the court actually held a rehearsal. Even experts on military law have called this unprecedented.

Bradley Manning's conviction is already written into the script. The commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, Barack Obama, spoiled the plot for all of us when he pronounced Bradley Manning guilty two years ago. "He broke the law," President Obama stated, when asked on camera at a fundraiser about his position on Mr. Manning. In a civilized society, such a prejudicial statement alone would have resulted in a mistrial.

To convict Bradley Manning, it will be necessary for the US government to conceal crucial parts of his trial. Key portions of the trial are to be conducted in secrecy: 24 prosecution witnesses will give secret testimony in closed session, permitting the judge to claim that secret evidence justifies her decision. But closed justice is no justice at all.

What cannot be shrouded in secrecy will be hidden through obfuscation. The remote situation of the courtroom, the arbitrary and discretionary restrictions on access for journalists, and the deliberate complexity and scale of the case are all designed to drive fact-hungry reporters into the arms of official military PR men, who mill around the Fort Meade press room like over-eager sales assistants. The management of Bradley Manning's case will not stop at the limits of the courtroom. It has already been revealed that the Pentagon is closely monitoring press coverage and social media discussions on the case.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://wikileaks.ch/

OpEdNews.com is posting for Julian Assange for the foreseeable future.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website. He grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly and (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Full Video and Full Transcript of Julian Assange August 19th 2012 Speech Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy

Two Years of Cablegate as Bradley Manning Testifies for the First Time

Let's be very careful about who we call "traitor". Edward Snowden is one of us.

The Banality of "Don't Be Evil"

Julian Assange Addresses UN General Assembly (video)

Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

You better than anyone know whether Manning glibly... by Andrew Johnson on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2013 at 8:40:40 PM
Please help support freedom of the press and freed... by Notme Norme on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2013 at 4:03:23 AM
As I watched Wikileaks develop and the Bradley... by paulvcassidy on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 4:48:19 AM
Was Wikileaks used by the CIA as an Iraq exit stra... by paulvcassidy on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 4:48:54 AM