The Associated Press reported yesterday, in an unusual move, that a military judge cleared the way for a member of the team that raided Osama bin Laden's compound to testify at the trial of an Army private charged in a massive leak of U.S. secrets to the WikiLeaks website.
Do you hear the train bells chiming? Pfc. Bradley Manning is being railroaded in one of the most atrocious ways possible.
Unless you have been in a cave for the last three years, you've heard of Pfc. Bradley Manning. In case you don't know, Bradley Edward Manning is a United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the website WikiLeaks.
According to the AP, "Prosecutors say the witness, presumably a Navy SEAL, collected digital evidence showing that the al-Qaida leader requested and received from an associate some of the documents Manning has acknowledged sending to WikiLeaks."
Manning was wishfully thinking that he would be as successful as David was when he defeated Goliath, but I am sure as he sat for over three-years in solitary confinement, sensory deprivation and lack of freedom to boot, he has learned a valuable lesson and one he won't soon forget.
His lesson: first amendment rights are damned, especially when you are in the armed services and want to tell the truth.
Instead of being given a medal of honor for exposing fraud--otherwise being called classified information--in an all too American way it is easier to ask for Manning's head on a platter.
The government charged Manning under the information clause (section e) of the Espionage Act, which requires prosecutors to prove that Bradley had "reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."
Prosecutors then tried to lower the burden to remove that "reason to believe" requirement, but Judge Lind denied that motion, retaining the burden of proof and ruling that had the government could've charged differently.
Manning's counsel, attorney David Coombs, contests the government's argument that Bradley willfully harmed the U.S.
Bradley has made clear that he released information to expose "bloodlust" in America's wars and "backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity" in its diplomacy. Manning was referring to the State Department.
"I believed that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States; however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations," said Manning.
Drawing from Manning's experience, sharing the truth is rewarded with the potential of life in prison.
I shutter at the comments from those that suggest Manning should be hung or tried for high treason.
It was his duty as an American to share the misinformation the Armed Service's was maintaining.
The line of thinking that has Manning facing the rest of his life in prison begs a serious question: what about the government officials whose lies were exposed by Manning's purge of information?
Oh, that's right, he was helping the enemy by exposing that information.
What Manning and WikiLeaks shared was journalism in its purest form, plain and simple. What follows is a dog and pony show where Bradley will likely pay with his life.
There are times when ones service to their country men go beyond killing the enemy and completing a mission. Speaking truth to power, no matter how much it hurts, helps us advance in righteous ways.
Only those in power don't want to hear the truth and a young man's life hangs in the balance as a proximate result his trying to do the right thing.
I hear the train bells a blaring. The railroading is coming soon.