The faux trial of Bradley Manning is almost over. Closing arguments ended on Friday July 26, nearly two full months after the trial began on June 3.
Defense lawyer David E. Coombs said in his closing arguments that Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who acted out of conscience and is “willing to accept the price” for it. This was in stark contrast to lead prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein’s portrayal of Manning as a “gleeful, grinning traitor” who for some reason also hates the American flag.
Fein quotes Manning as having typed, “Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack,” during an online chat with convicted computer hacker Adrian Lamo, to try to show that Manning knew he would harm diplomats by releasing the material.
Before hearing the closing arguments, Judge Col. Lind refused to dismiss theft charges against Manning after the defense said prosecutors hadn’t proven the allegations. She instead revised some of the theft charges to more accurately describe what was allegedly stolen. The defense asked for a mistrial, Lind refused to grant it.
Jason Ditz of Antiwar.com reports, “The extent to which Fein’s rhetoric has gone off the rails is bound to harm the case in the eyes of the average American, though with Judge Col. Lind giving the prosecution literally anything and everything it wants, it is unlikely to change the foregone conclusion of a guilty verdict in the shaky military court system.”
Pentagon Papers leaker, Daniel Ellsberg and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange held a conference call on July 26, with Assange saying Manning is a patriot responsible for “the most influential leak in history.”
Ellsberg said, “If the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge is permitted to stand, this case will forever change the ability of journalists to reveal the most important crimes of the state.” He also pointed out that President Obama has charged twice as many people (8) under the Espionage Act as all previous presidents. Daniel Politi reports, “Prior to Obama’s administration only three people who leaked information had been charged under the 1917 statute that was never really intended for leakers.”
I can’t claim to know President Obama’s intentions, but I can speculate. He wants to make an example out of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden in an attempt to intimidate anyone else from committing the greatest crime of all… disobedience to The State!