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Bradley Manning is about to go on trial in a military tribunal for "aiding the enemy" in his alleged role supplying to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of classified documents which were subsequently leaked by the WikiLeaks web site.
Manning has been held in military detention for the last two years even though for much of that time he was not charged with any crime. The military finally decided (presumably at the urging of the Obama administration) to bestow on him the spurious charge of "aiding the enemy". If convicted he could face life imprisonment.
Of late there have been pre-trial hearings at Fort Meade, Maryland with the government and Manning's defense team presenting briefings to army Colonel Denise Lind, the judge in charge of the upcoming trial as to what evidence would or would not be allowed to be presented to the military jury.
The defense lawyers, who had the opportunity to review "damage assessments," argued the leaks have shown to cause little actual harm to national security and should be allowed to be used as evidence. The governments argument is Manning violated the rules and the consequences of the violations are irrelevant.
Last week Lind ruled the defense could not present evidence contending "little actual harm" came from the leak of secret government documents and is not relevant to determining Manning's guilt or innocence.
But Jesselyn Radack, the Director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, an advocate group for whistleblowers said, "I don't know if it's that huge a blow. Under the law, it must be shown that the defendant had the intent to harm the United States or a foreign nation. While it would have been nice to show that nothing happened, I think the defense will be able to show that he had no intent to harm the United States."
From here, Radack's assessment is right on the money. If there is to be justice for Bradley Manning it is clear he never had intent to harm the United States.
If wrongdoing was being committed and he was witness to it, it was his moral duty to reveal it. The crime would have been if he had seen it and not reported it he would have been complicit in covering it up.
Like Daniel Ellsberg, the government whistleblower of the "Pentagon Papers", who revealed the government's lies on the Viet Nam war and was thoroughly exonerated from any wrongdoing, the same justice should occur for Bradley Manning.
Though some rabid right wing nuts would prefer to see Manning executed as a traitor for "aiding the enemy" with his alleged leaking of documents to WikiLeaks, Manning's conviction would be a supreme injustice showing the U.S. moral decay and decline into an all powerful national security state, a global hegemon interested in hiding the truth, exercising military dominance and secrecy at any cost.
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