American soldier Bradley Manning is back in the news as the long slow process laughingly called "justice" continues. Manning is viewed by some as an arch enemy of the USA and a traitor but for others he is a hero who deserves thanks rather than imprisonment or death.
The allegations against Manning date back to 2009 and 2010 when he was working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. The data available to him was arguably top-secret but rather than jeopardising troops as claimed by some in the USA his revelations showed that some in the US military were abusing their power.
A careless disregard for life was shown in one viedo as US military personnel in a chopper let lose a barrage of bullets on civilians in Iraq, after wrongly identifying a target. The public outcry that followed had to have some positive effects on operations in foreign lands. It also led to questions about the radicalisation of Muslims by western military through such destructive acts of violence.
The Baltimore Sun reporting on Manning's time in court Monday said:
An Army prosecutor told a military judge Monday that Pfc. Bradley Manning drew on his military training to harvest hundreds of thousands of classified documents from military computers and dump them on the Internet, where he knew their release would endanger fellow U.S. soldiers.
According to a report in the Guardian terrorists were using downloaded information from Manning to wage their terrible war on the west:
In the course of pre-trial hearings, military prosecutors have outlined the basic skeleton of their case against Manning. They will seek to show that Osama bin Laden personally instructed an aide to download elements of WikiLeaks, including the Afghan war logs, on to digital storage devices so that he could read them.The court will hear – either in person at a secret session of the trial, or in an affidavit – from an anonymous witness called only "John Doe", who is believed to be one of the 22 US Navy Seals who killed Bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The witness will testify that he retrieved from the compound th
The above however proves little unless you believe that all members of the military always act honestly at all times and are never corrupt. As we all know they are not. Nonetheless if Bin Laden did use such information he will have also used reports and information gleaned from the Internet via sources such as Fox News, BBC News and CNN. Are the prosecutors suggesting a clampdown on Internet freedoms and the freedom of the press?
Manning was responsible for many of the wikileaks cables which Julian Assange published and both men are viewed by many, especially the authorities in the USA, as the enemy.
Monday Capt. Joe Morrow, one of five prosecutors said the information released "has great value to our adversaries and, in particular, our enemies" and that Manning "used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved." He may chose to believe that but others will not.
Without people like Bradley Manning, who are prepared to break ranks and stand up and be counted, military abuse continues. The US government should be happy that Manning released this information into the media allowing their armed forces to improve. If they are not the conclusion has to be that military abuse of civilians in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan is with the approval of the US administration.
If that is the case they should be ashamed. Having invaded countries, acting as warmongers, the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan were prettied up to sound nothing like a foreign military invasion. If killing civilians and alienating the people was the objective the mission statements were lies. If the US administration wants to keep people in the dark about military abuse it has blood on its hands. It may be a different US administration and President now but as yet both have failed to offer Bradley Manning justice. After more than three years locked away, and at times abused, Manning has yet to be tried.
You can read the full report on day one at the pre-trial hearing at the Baltimore Sun here.
News from Bradley Manning support website:
New Trial Timeline:
The judge laid out a tentative timeline for the remaining proceedings, again extending the trial timeline. This follows a long pattern of unreasonable trial delays whereby Bradley Manning has been in prison over 700 days. It will have been over two years before he reaches the actual court martial.