Decision a sad day for America,
and serious blow to free press
Pfc. Bradley Manning in his military uniform. Click image to enlarge.
IN WHAT CAN only be described as a dismal day for American jurisprudence, the presiding military judge in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning has refused to drop the most serious charge he is facing.
In Ft. Meade, Md., Col. Denise Lind allowed the government to press its case that Manning “aided and abetted” the enemy.
If he is found guilty, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
She did not have to do it. It is a travesty.
Watch a video below the fold.
MANNING HAS ADMITTED that he leaked thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, whose publisher, Julian Assange, an Australian, posted them on to the internet.
Protesters demand freedom for the young man who leaked thousands of secret U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks. Click to enlarge.
The US government, particularly then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was aghast. “The sky is falling” she virtually screamed on every television network in sight.
Well, the sky did not fall.
The only known consequences of all this secret government data being revealed to the public have been unarguably good. Assange has taken credit, with some credibility, for the documents sparking the overthrow of the dictator of Tunisia in a revolution that ultimately led to the Arab Spring.
But the Obama administration, which has been one of the most ferocious anti-press freedom presidencies in modern history, is determined to throw everything it can at Manning – and every other government whistleblower it can get its hands on, like Edward Snowden
This is a blot on Obama’s otherwise superlative record.
The Guardian newspaper in the U.K., which has been following the trial more closely than almost any American media outlet, Thursday reported in Bradley Manning trial judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge:
“The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole.
“The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has lead to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.”
Julian Assange, ‘prisoner’ in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, published Manning’s documents on WikiLeaks.
IT HAS ALREADY HAD serious consequences for journalism in America. We can never know how many sources have not come forward for fear of being persecuted. And, therefore, it is unknowable how many stories of major public importance have gone unreported.
This is a sad day for the U.S., the American people and the freedom of the press in the self-described bastion of free speech.
The best recounting of the Manning case ironically came from Australia. In a documentary broadcast two years ago by Australia’s ABC television, the integrity of the government’s key witness Adrian Lamo, was seriously called into question.
Nothing has appeared in the American press, that I can find, that even comes close.
Watch the abbreviated version of the documentary below.
The judge is expected to deliver her verdict on all 21 counts pursued by the government, as well as the 10 lesser offences admitted by Manning, possibly as early as next week.
Watch the condensed version of the Australian television documentary on the Bradley Manning case below.
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