Today is the first day of the Bradley Manning trial and already the US military is coming out with guns a-blazing. They are suggesting that Manning wasn’t so much interested in the cause of free information and positive ethics as in “aiding the enemy.”
Captain Joe Morrow, lead prosecutor in the five-member military prosecution team, says that it can prove that Manning, in sending the leaked documents to WikiLeaks, knew the documents would end up in the hands of the enemy.
Any individual with the power of reason should instantly wonder by which means the government knows Manning knew the documents would fall into enemy hands, to say nothing of whether the information contained therein would be useful. Are they still using mind-readers at the CIA and Army ingelligence? Is the military still staring goats to death, using astral projection and various other psychic methods to penetrate the minds of the enemy?
Manning’s lead defense lawyer David Coombs, calling the prosecutors’ bluff, is asking for the government to produce the evidence. ”We haven’t seen any evidence that the government has provided by discovery that supports any knowledge that the information would be obtained by the enemy,” he said.
What happens to Manning in that courtroom is of prime importance to free information in America. If the government can convict Manning on the Article 104 count (aiding the enemy), even though Manning passed the leaks onto a third party (WikiLeaks), it will have established the Orwellian judicial precedent that any information leaked by an individual to a publication is tantamount to treason, a capital offense. In other words, if someone were to leak documents to D&T, for instance, and we were to publish those documents, the whistleblower will have committed treason and could be executed for it.
This mentality is a direct threat to the very essence of democracy—or what little democracy is left in a world dominated by various immense complexes, whether military, business or corporate press.
As the ACLU so aptly defined the article 104 charge’s absurdity: “The key to the government’s case is this simple claim: that posting intelligence information to the internet aids Al Qaeda because Al Qaeda has access to the internet.”
Indeed. Here is to hoping they lose and Manning is freed for trying to uphold the highest virtues of America.