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Galindez reports: "Coombs sought to dispute what prosecutors said a day earlier, that Manning was a traitor whose only mission was to seek fame and notoriety."

Defense Attorney David Coombs argues a motion in front of Judge Denise Lind. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)
Defense Attorney David Coombs argues a motion in front of Judge Denise Lind. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)


Defense: Bradley Manning Sought Reform

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

26 July 13

 

RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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efense Attorney David Coombs argued that Bradley Manning had no "evil intent" as was argued by the Army yesterday.

Coombs: "Is Pfc. Manning somebody who is a traitor, who has no loyalty to this country, or the flag, and wanted to systematically harvest and download as much information as possible for his true employer, WikiLeaks?

"Is that what the evidence shows, or is he a young, naïve, good intentioned soldier whose humanist beliefs were central to his decision, whose sole focus was 'Maybe I just can make a difference, maybe make a change?'"

Which side's version is the truth?

Coombs went on to argue that Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who wanted to bring to light the troubling things he saw in Iraq, and who is willing to pay the price for giving documents to WikiLeaks.

Coombs sought to dispute what prosecutors said a day earlier, that Manning was a traitor whose only mission was to seek fame and notoriety.

"He's not seeking attention. He is saying he's willing to accept the price" for what he has done, Coombs said.

Coombs accused the prosecution of cherry-picking Manning's chats with convicted computer hacker Adrian Lamo and blogger Lauren McNamara to make their case. He urged the judge to read all of the chats to put things in context.

For example, Coombs said, the prosecution cited a line Manning wrote to Lamo: "If you had unprecedented access to classified networks, 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for eight-plus months, what would you do?"

Coombs pointed out that Manning also wrote, "Hypothetical question: If you had free reign over classified networks over a long period of time, if you saw incredible things, awful things, things that belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington D.C., what would you do?"

Coombs showed three snippets of video from a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack that Manning leaked, showing troops firing on a small crowd of men on a Baghdad sidewalk and killing at least nine men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. Coombs said the loss of civilian lives shocked and horrified the young soldier.

"You have to look at that from the point of view of a guy who cared about human life," Coombs said.

Coombs has said Manning was troubled by what he saw in the war – and at the same time was struggling as a gay man in the era of "Don't ask, don't tell." Those struggles made him want to do something to make a difference, and he hoped revealing what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomacy would inspire debate and reform in American foreign and military policy.

Actual Knowledge

The Army claims that Pfc. Manning's training gave him special knowledge that the enemy would use any information on the internet. Coombs argued that so would a truck driver.

Under the prosecution's logic, any soldier saying anything to the media that makes its way to the Internet that is read by the enemy could be charged with aiding the enemy.

Manning's verdict will have implications for future leak cases.

The Army's rebuttal of Coombs's closing argument will happen this afternoon, followed by the start of the judge's deliberations.


Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+30 # Jack Gibson 2013-07-26 22:03
How many times do I have to say that the U.S. government and military, as well as the entire country, are going completely insane?! I can just imagine what the prosecution's rebuttal of the defense's closing arguments will be: More lies upon lies in order to do whatever it takes to "discredit" the defense's truth. I hope and pray that the judge will recognize these extreme, habitual lies; but I don't hold my breath that she will. The U.S. military lives by lies. Soldiers lie to themselves that breaking into presumed-guilty -without-due-pr ocess-of-law peoples' homes and mass-murdering men, women and children, and even sometimes raping young virgin girls, is "justified". The higher-ups lie all the time to trainees, convincing them that the widespread evils and war crimes that the military is perpetrating are "legitimate", "legal" warfare tactics. When soldiers blow the whistle on these war crimes and other evils, the U.S. military lies and claims they're "traitors" and must be, if not executed, imprisoned for their entire lives, or an extreme portion of their lives. The lies are constant and unending, and the entire U.S. military system is certainly not about truth and justice. Thus, not only could Bradley Manning not possibly get a fair trial, he cannot possibly receive a fair sentence, except by the "standards" of evil liars and mass-murderers, and their apologists. I feel so truly sorry for Bradley, because he will undoubtedly receive the most god-awful sentence possible.
 
 
+6 # Malcolm 2013-07-27 10:36
Lies. So true. I can assert that I was lied to before ever signing my enlistment contract. They lie with zero sense of shame, or morality.
 
 
+10 # tedrey 2013-07-27 05:15
The most important thing to take away from the court martial at this point is that the U.S. military structure is neither legitimate, nor honorable, nor good for our country. It endangers, rather than protects, both our security and our liberties. When the chips are down in the near future, we must not give it any respect or obedience as an institution. There are, however, many good and brave men within it who could be of immeasurable help to decency and freedom if they wised up to what they are being used for. Remember that also.
 
 
+7 # jwb110 2013-07-27 10:15
Quoting tedrey:
The most important thing to take away from the court martial at this point is that the U.S. military structure is neither legitimate, nor honorable, nor good for our country. It endangers, rather than protects, both our security and our liberties. When the chips are down in the near future, we must not give it any respect or obedience as an institution. There are, however, many good and brave men within it who could be of immeasurable help to decency and freedom if they wised up to what they are being used for. Remember that also.

Quoting tedrey:
The most important thing to take away from the court martial at this point is that the U.S. military structure is neither legitimate, nor honorable, nor good for our country. It endangers, rather than protects, both our security and our liberties. When the chips are down in the near future, we must not give it any respect or obedience as an institution. There are, however, many good and brave men within it who could be of immeasurable help to decency and freedom if they wised up to what they are being used for. Remember that also.


As a volunteer army they are essentially a privatized system being paid for by the Gov't., and as such think ,as does the rest of Corporate America, that they are too big to fail and somehow above the law. Until the draft is re-instituted and everyone in America has some real skin in the game this lunacy will go on.
 
 
+2 # tedrey 2013-07-27 11:50
Bad move, I think. The draft would not change the nature of the careerists who now run the military; it would only remove citizens from what rights of free speech and assembly they now enjoy, and subject them to military slavery instead.
 
 
+4 # BLBreck 2013-07-27 19:02
In Austria you "pay" for your free higher education by doing 2 years of service to your country. This can be the military, emergency services like EMT (my nephew did that) and I don't know what else. Other European nations may have this system as well. Seems like a great idea to me!

It used to be that here in the US your education could be financed through the GI bill. Also by being in the Peace Corps or VISTA (I think.) There was also a nursing program: your degree in exchange for service, going to work in under served regions of the US for two years. All nice alternatives to the military. Don't know if that still exits.

I agree that the draft would certainly mean that lots of young people would have more skin in the game. I doubt the protests against the Vietnam War would have been so huge if not for the draft!
 
 
+2 # tbcrawford8 2013-07-27 11:18
Reinstate the draft. Refuse only those denied the right to vote.
 

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