First Three Days of Manning’s Court Martial
In his opening statement, Bradley Manning’s civilian attorney, David Coombs,’ described Bradley’s attitude toward his work as an Army intelligence analyst: “Bradley worked as hard as possible to save human lives,” and, “Bradley needed to do something to make a difference in this world.” In Bradley’s intelligence analysis work, Coombs said Bradley learned that the Sig Act Database is a “diary of day-to-day activity.” Coombs said that Bradley was motivated to leak some of the Sig Act Database because he felt “the American public should know what is happening in the day-to-day basic operations of asymmetric warfare.”
In his opening statement, the prosecuting attorney stated that during the raid of Osama Bin Laden, it was found that the “Afghan Sig Data was given to Osama Bin Laden by
another member of Al Qaeda.” This seems to be the big evidence on which the prosecution rests its case that Bradley “aided the enemy,” a charge which can bring life in prison. Here I defer to Julian Assange, who spells Bradley’s situation out very clearly in his article titled “On the First Day of the Bradley Manning Trial.”
The government argues that Bradley Manning communicated with a media organisation, WikiLeaks, who communicated to the public. It also argues that al-Qaeda is a member of the public. Hence, it argues that Bradley Manning communicated “indirectly” with al-Qaeda, a formally declared US “enemy”, and therefore that Bradley Manning communicated with “the enemy”.
But what about “aiding” in that most serious charge, “aiding the enemy”? Don’t forget that this is a show trial. The court has banned any evidence of intent. The court has banned any evidence of the outcome, the lack of harm, the lack of any victim. It has ruled that the government doesn’t need to show that any “aiding” occurred and the prosecution doesn’t claim it did. The judge has stated that it is enough for the prosecution to show that al-Qaeda, like the rest of the world, reads WikiLeaks.
Throughout the first and most of the second day of the trial, all but one of the witnesses taking the stand were members of the military and in some way associated with intelligence analysis. Most noteworthy of the types of questions put to these people were the questions regarding whether Bradley ever expressed any anti-American sentiment or any comments regarding terrorism. The witnesses unfailingly said that Bradley never expressed any opposition to the United States or any interest in terrorism.
On the second day of the trial, Adrian Lamo took the stand and testified about the six days of computer chats he had with Bradley. David Coombs quoted some of the things Bradley said to Adrian in their chats: “He told you about his life and upbringing….He didn’t have anyone to talk to….He didn’t have anyone to trust…..He was bothered that no one seemed to care.” As Bradley shared what he thought was confidential information with Lamo regarding his leak of documents to Wikileaks, he said “God only knows what happens next. Hopefully discussions, debates, reforms.” David Coombs summarized Bradley’s attitude, as communicated to Lamo: “Hoping people will change if they see the information.” Coombs also shared how Lamo questioned Bradley: “Why not just sell the information?” Bradley responded, “It belongs in the public domain.”
On the eve of the first day of Bradley Manning’s court martial, I attended a panel discussion including Micheal Ratner, attorney for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Ratner said, “Because the US government wants to make people like Bradley Manning extinct, our support for him is crucial, since we want to see others do the same and also to see Bradley get out of jail. Ratner also stated that as Americans, we need to say to Obama: “Stop doing the things that are requiring secrecy in order for them to be continued.”
The awful truths Obama is keeping from the American public include the most egregious crimes known to humankind: torture and murder of innocent civilians. As a conscientious member of the human race, I want to stand up for courageous truth-tellers such as Bradley and hold the true criminals accountable. Even though many people say Bradley’s fate has already been determined because of all the decisions made against his side in the pre-trial hearings, the fact is that Judge Denise Lind has not yet given a verdict. I believe that if the American and international public speaks out loudly enough for the cause of human rights and justice, Bradley could yet go free and the true criminals can be brought to court. Regardless of the outcome, if you are a member of the human race, Bradley’s court martial is worthy of your attention. Stay posted! Also, see http://www.democracynow.
An article which explains some of the incredibly shocking things revealed in the documents Bradley released can be seen on the Bradley Manning Support Network Website here: http://www.bradleymanning.