Bradley Manning trial begins today

The trial of Bradley Manning begins today. I am not hopeful that he will be acquitted or even receive a fair trial. The Obama administration is determined to punish him harshly and has gone to extreme lengths. After not only keeping him for extended periods under abusive conditions, they have now put him on trial before a military tribunal and rigged the system in such a way as to favor the prosecution. There have been large protests outside the military base where the trial is being held.

The administration that promised to be the most transparent ever seems determined to keep the trial proceedings as opaque as possible.

The judge in the Manning case has ruled that some witnesses will testify behind closed doors. The case already has a rap for excessive secrecy, since many court filings have been impossible to view for reporters and Manning’s vocal supporters.

One of them is Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who spoke about his frustration at that rally last year.

“It’s hard to hear sometimes. You get no access to any of the court documents, none of the court orders, none of the motions filed — nothing,” he said. “And I’m a lawyer, and I sit in that courtroom and it seems like a completely secret proceeding to me.”

Reporters were not given the official government transcripts of the daily proceedings during the pre-trial motions and so the Freedom of the Press Foundation raised money to hire stenographers to prepare their own transcripts. But the government has denied press passes to them.

Let us remember what started this and that was the release of the infamous Collateral Murder video that showed Iraqis being gunned down from above by the US military as they walked openly in the streets, people who happened to be passing by in a van who stopped to take care of the wounded also being gunned down, children in the van being injured, all the while the gunners are laughing and congratulating each other. It is an ugly and sickening video.

The lesson being sent by the Obama administration in the Manning trial: People who harm the image of the US military or who put US government actions in a bad light must be punished severely.


  1. trucreep says

    That’s part of what has been so frustrating with our media’s “coverage” of this: they gloss over this idea that he “aided the enemy,” but we don’t talk about what that means, or even the content of what was released.

    You’ll have a Navy Seal witness saying he found some of these documents at Bin Laden’s compound? Ok…so what???

    I mean, this isn’t a HARD thing for journalists to do. All Dr. Singham had to do was link to that disgusting video and boom – he’s done more reporting than most of our mainstream media.

  2. Skip White says

    So what happens when after the trial, somebody leaks the secret parts of said trial?

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