On June 3, the first day of Bradley Manning’s show trial, the editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange wrote, “The government has prepared for a good show. The trial is to proceed for twelve straight weeks: a fully choreographed extravaganza, with a 141-strong cast of prosecution witnesses. The defense was denied permission to call all but a handful of witnesses. Three weeks ago, in closed session, the court actually held a rehearsal. Even experts on military law have called this unprecedented.”
Manning’s supposed crime is that he shared informations about war-crimes with Wikileaks, an act that Assange calls, “Conspiracy to commit journalism.” Assange continues, by writing the government “argues that Bradley Manning communicated ‘indirectly’ with al-Qaeda, a formally declared US ‘enemy’, and therefore that Bradley Manning communicated with ‘the enemy’… 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.”
During a February 28 hearing, Manning made a statement explaining his actions, and plead guilty to 10 of the 22 charges, saying, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.”
All in all, Manning’s crime is that he is a whistle-blower of government war-crimes. Knowing that war-crimes have been committed, and that members of the military were killing civilians, at times doing so intentionally, it should come as no surprise that the CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes. NBC News reports that, “About one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as ‘other militants’… The ‘other militants’ label was used when the CIA could not determine the affiliation of those killed.” This has prompted questions about how the agency could conclude those killed were a threat to U.S. national security. Thus far, no one in the government has any good answers to these questions.