By Tim Collins
A military judge has ordered prosecutors to account for themselves after allegations of with holding evidence. The ruling came Monday during a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade.
Manning has repeatedly asked for the release of government documents regarding his case, only to be denied each request. Manning’s lawyers claim prosecutors have shirked their duty to share evidence helpful to the defense. Col. Denise Lind granted a defense motion requiring prosecutors to report on their efforts to meet that obligation.
She denied defense attorney David Coombs’ request to suspend the proceedings in the mean time. Coombs says the prosecution’s failures have affected Manning’s right to a fair trial.
Manning is being charged with aiding the enemy by giving hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables and war logs to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.
Manning has been in the fight of his life as the government has continually refused to make known the exact evidence that they hold against him. Government lawyers have done their best to hide behind the claim of national security concerns. The penalty for treason can be life imprisonment or under certain circumstances, death.
Many people have been vocal in their calls for the US government to release documents pertaining to the case. These voices include Julian Assange who is currently fighting extradition.
The entire proceedings have been carefully controlled by the government. Journalists have been told that laptops will not be permitted inside the court room. Some have viewed the idea as an attempt to censor the free press.
Manning, despite media attempts at character assassination, has been enjoying increased support. Supporters believe that Manning did the right thing. Most point to the fact that the US was able to carry out the “assassination” of Osama bin Laden, without any consequence.
“We have a right to know everything that goes on in a war,we pay taxes and part of it goes to the military. It’s time to get the corruption out of our government.” said one supporter.
Another said, “Since we finance the wars, we have a responsibility for what goes on in the wars.Patriotism demands that the war profiteers and the torturers and murderers of civilians be identified and prosecuted for their treason against the spirit of democracy and equality. The criminals who subvert our army for their own selfish interest must be prosecuted , or Bradley has given his sacrifice for nothing.”
Even as support for Manning grows, the media have all but tried and convicted the young private. Most mainstream media outlets view Manning as an enemy of the state, worthy of prison or even death. The media continues to demonize Manning and his supporters, even as accusations come to light that the government hasn’t done their best to provide Manning with a fair trial.
The media continues to spin things the way that the government tells them. Regardless of how you feel about Manning, every American deserves the right to a fair trial. Knee jerk reactions only aide the government in stripping individual rights from citizens.
As the Obama administration continues to leak classified information, there is no motion to prosecute the President or any of his staff. The double standard is astounding. Americans must remain focused on the real story, fair trials for Americans, not the leaks.
- Bradley Manning’s lawyer accuses prosecution of lying to the judge (rawstory.com)
- Bradley Manning Lawyer: US Trying to Prevent Fair Trial for Soldier (commondreams.org)