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Galindez writes: "The Army's use of the 'aiding the enemy' statute against Bradley Manning, if successful, will send a chilling message to all would-be whistleblowers. That message is that if you expose our wrongdoing we will jail you for life, or even take your life."

Bradley Manning being escorted out of court. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Bradley Manning being escorted out of court. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)

Shining a Light on Truth Should Not Be a Capital Offense

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 July 13


RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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know many people think Bradley Manning is a traitor and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Many probably say hang him. One problem with that thinking (among many others) is it wouldn't just mean punishing Manning, it would stifle anyone courageous enough to bring the truth to the light of day.

The Army's use of the "aiding the enemy" statute against Bradley Manning, if successful, will send a chilling message to all would-be whistleblowers. That message is that if you expose our wrongdoing we will jail you for life, or even take your life. Prior to this case, the threshold for a charge of "aiding the enemy" included specific intent and contact with the enemy.

This new interpretation of the law changes all that. If Bradley Manning is found guilty for leaking information to the media that made its way to the enemy without his direct knowledge or intent, then we are all at risk. Nothing in the "aiding the enemy" statute says that the information has to be classified. It would be easy to argue that if I wrote in an article the time that a security guard made his rounds, and a sleeper cell used that information to place a bomb in a building, I would be guilty of aiding the enemy.

Professor Yochai Benkler of Harvard Law School testified during the defense: "Once you accept that WikiLeaks is a new journalistic organization, if handing materials over to an organization that can be read by anyone with an Internet connection means that you are handing over to the enemy - that essentially means that any leak to a media organization that can be read by any enemy anywhere in the world becomes automatically aiding the enemy."

Instead of punishing whistleblowers, our nation needs to stop committing acts that will embarrass us if exposed. In today's America the messenger is treated with disdain while those committing evil acts are protected by a veil of secrecy. These are not our values.

Trial Update

Judge Lind also denied another motion related to fraudulent use of information that Manning was authorized to access. There were also arguments on two other motions to dismiss.

After a two hour lunch recess the rebuttal phase began. The army will call four witnesses to rebut defense testimony. The defense has indicated they will seek to call at least two witnesses to rebut the prosecution's rebuttal witnesses. The defense witnesses probably won't be available to testify until next week.

So far the prosecution's rebuttal case has focused on the use of executable programs. The first witness was Allen Milliman, who worked for the company that provided and maintained the computers Manning was using. Milliman testified that his company was not pleased that music and movies were being played on the system, but they didn't have the authority to ban their use. The witness was unsure if the file Manning used to download batches of files was authorized or not.

The second rebuttal witness, Special Agent David Shaver, testified regarding how that program (Wget) was run by Manning, and from where. He testified that the program was run from the computer and not from a CD. His testimony is taking a long time, as we are getting a lesson on how to navigate the web and use Wget to download files from a command line.

Shaver was then used to attempt to discredit WikiLeaks. First they used tweets to which Shaver found the links on Manning's personal computer:

The Army argued that these tweets showed that Manning knew WikiLeaks was not a media organization.

On cross examination, Agent Shaver admitted that a third tweet not presented by the prosecution linked to a story that talked about Julian Assange traveling to Iceland to speak at a conference of investigative journalists.

The cross examination then went into web pages found on Manning's computer with numerous articles about how WikiLeaks was an award winning investigative news organization, several citing their importance to modern day journalism.

The Army also attempted to enter a letter Manning wrote to The New York Times, saying that it showed that Manning must not have thought WikiLeaks was a legitimate media organization since he also attempted to reach The New York Times. The judge didn't see the connection and did not admit the letter.

The judge recessed for the day at just after 7 p.m. Rebuttal will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Friday July 19th.

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. your social media marketing partner
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