from the the-lies-your-government-spreads dept
After more than four and a half hours of proceedings, the government wrapped up its closing argument in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier being prosecuted for disclosing information to WikiLeaks. Prosecutors called him an “anarchist,” a “hacker,” and a “traitor” before the argument was over.Really? All three claims are flat out ridiculous. From the very beginning Manning was quite clear in his motives, which were about making sure the American public was better informed. The bogus traitor claims have been mentioned before, and seem to have no basis in reality. But the anarchy one is a new one. As Kevin Gosztola explains:
Quoting chat logs between hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo and Manning, Major Ashden Fein said that he expected “worldwide anarchy” would occur after releasing the diplomatic cables and these were not the “words of a humanist but the words of an anarchist.” He also said he was a “hacker” and not a humanist.Of course, if you read the actual chat logs and put the statement back in context you realize it's not the words of an anarchist at all. That's just some boasting about how releasing these files will have a major impact. But, as he immediately explains in the following statements, his goal is to create change and stop the US government from lying. He notes that releasing these documents "might actually change something" in how the US goes about its business. He's not talking about anarchy, he's talking about actually having a representative government that doesn't lie and deceive all the time.
Of course, the big claim that the government is trying to make is that Manning knowingly "aided the enemy":
For the “aiding the enemy” charge, which if convicted could lead to maximum sentence of life in prison, Fein argued that Manning had deliberately transmitted the “Collateral Murder” video, certain State Department information and military incident reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.But how is revealing factual information about the US military screwing up and then trying to cover it up "aiding the enemy." It seems like, once again, that's only true if "the enemy" is the American public and you have information you want to hide from them. In fact, the government appears to argue that any release of information to the public can be seen as "aiding the enemy"
“The public included the enemy and he knew that as an intelligence analyst,” the government stated. The government added that this was not public data. It was US government information that Manning was trained to use.But, under that argument any journalist or any person who publishes anything that might make Al Qaeda happy is "aiding the enemy." That's crazy.
Manning's defense will give its closing argument on Friday, and then... we wait for the judge to decide.