Why isn’t credibility
of government’s key
Pfc. Bradley Manning in his military uniform. Click image to enlarge.
THE SENTENCING PHASE of the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning concluded its tenth day on Wednesday, with an emotional statement by the accused.
“I want to start off with an apology,” Manning said. “I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I ‘m sorry that they hurt the United States.”
Manning, 26, has been convicted on charges that could mean he will spend the rest of his life in prison if the judge imposes the maximum sentences.
During the sentencing phase, his defense has focused a great deal on Manning’s mental health during the time he served in Iraq.
Bur, they are focusing on the wrong place.
It is the mental health of the government’s chief witness, Adrian Lamo that should be the defense’s focus.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD.
LAMO CONFESSED as long ago as 2011 on Australian television to being mentally ill. His credibility is definitely questionable. This issue has not (yet) been raised in Manning’s defense.
Coverage of the trial has been best on the web site Firedoglake.com which is live-blogging the case.
The website Firedoglake, which is providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Bradley Manning trial. Click image to enlarge.
Kevin Gosztola at Firedoglake, updated this theme on Wednesday, recounting the testimony given by defense witnesses.
“Cpt. Michael Worsley, a clinical psychiatrist expert and doctor that Bradley Manning had sessions with in Iraq, testified as defense witness,” Gosztola wrote at mid-morning.
“Worsley conducted sessions where he diagnosed Bradley Manning as still having anxiety disorder and a personality disorder.”
Later, Gosztola reported:
“The government referenced Bradley Manning’s chats with Adrian Lamo during its cross-examination of Captain (Dr.) Michael Worsley, psychologist. The government asked Dr. Worsley about Bradley Manning describing his “fellow soldiers” as “ignorant rednecks” in the chats with Lamo.”
Why is the focus on Manning’s mental health, but not Lamo’s?
I first blogged about this July 19 in Judge’s ruling could send Bradley manning to prison forever where you can see the video of the Australian TV show in which Lamo admitted he was in a mental institution just weeks before the chats with Manning that are so central to the government’s case.
(I have made it available here again in case you missed it the first time)
It is dismal that so little attention is being paid to this aspect of the case that has profound implications for the free flow of information in our society and the ability of the media to expose government wrongdoing.
Most media reports on Wednesday also focused on Manning’s mental health.
The Washington Post, for which the story is local (Ft. Meade is not far from D.C.) had an update headlined: Army ignored Manning’s deteriorating mental health, defense attorney says. Julie Tate wrote:
Wednesday’s story in the Washington Post focuses on Manning’s mental health. Click image to enlarge.
“Pfc. Bradley Manning was experiencing an intense personal crisis and deteriorating mental health in the months he was leaking large amounts of classified data to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, and he should not have been kept in a war zone, his attorney argued at a court-martial Tuesday.”
In Wednesday’s national edition on Page A14, The New York Times also focused on Manning’s mental state during his tour in Iraq, but with a more positive spin.
In Manning Played Vital Role in Iraq Despite Erratic Behavior, Supervisor Says Charlie Savage writes:
“A former leader of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Army intelligence unit in Iraq allowed him to keep working with classified information despite recurring concerns about his mental health because the unit was understaffed and Private Manning was playing an irreplaceable role in analyzing insurgent threats.”
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday also reported on Manning’s mental state in Psychologist testifies Manning was isolated and ignored in Iraq Richard A. Serrano writes:
“A military psychologist testified Wednesday that while he was counseling Army Pfc. Bradley Manning for a gender identity disorder and a series of outbursts in Iraq, he rarely if ever received any input from the soldier’s chain of command even as the intelligence analyst was leaking large amounts of classified U.S. government material to the WikiLeaks organization.”
With a totally different – but also significant – take on developments, NBC News has reported in Bradley Manning should get Nobel Peace Prize, says rights group that an American group has collected over 100,000 signatures urging the Norwegian Nobel committee to give this year’s Peace Prize to Manning.
“Recognizing Manning, the head of the RootsAction group said, would also help repair the Nobel panel’s reputation after it chose President Barack Obama for the Peace Prize in 2009, only a few months into his first term of office,” NBC reports.
Indeed, I agree.
But of more immediate concern is the apparent lack of a serious attempt by Manning’s defense to discredit the testimony of a key witness in his trial.
Perhaps it is too late, but the sentencing hearing continues today.
Watch a condensed version of the video “Forgotten Man” here.
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