US Army analyst Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of “classified” documents to WikiLeaks, has deferred his plea to the 22 charges, also postponing a decision on whether he wants a military judge or a jury to hear his case.
Kevin Zeese, attorney to the Bradley Manning support network, believes that a fair hearing in front of a military court and a jury of officers is “almost impossible” for Manning.
“President Obama has already announced that Bradley Manning is guilty,” he told RT. “President Obama is the commander-in-chief. The judge, the jurors, the prosecutor – everybody working in that court is under President Obama’s command. I can’t imagine anyone in that court thinking they’ll have much of a career if they find Bradley Manning not guilty.”
Zeese states that, so far, the preliminary hearing on Manning’s case has been a “kangaroo court”.
“They were denying information that Bradley Manning needs for his defense. It looks like it’s a railroad job – a kangaroo court trying to set an example and prevent anyone else from being a future Bradley Manning,” he said.
Zeese’s position was echoed by Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner from the ANSWER coalition, who said that the Manning trial is going to be “a show trial” arranged by “real criminals” – the government, the generals and those who make a profit from America’s military campaigns.
“The only person that these leaks actually hurt is the government, it’s the people that are making money off of the war,”he told RT. “I think that they will do the hardest to punish Bradley Manning… to make sure that it’s not a fair trial because they need to send a message that this can happen. And the real criminals are them – it’s the generals, it’s the politicians.”
Concerning the alleged dangers to America’s national security and the ethics of revealing of what is claimed to be “classified military data”, Kevin Zeese pointed out that US national security suffers least of all here.
“In this case there’s been no evidence of any harm to national security. In fact, former secretary of defense, Robert Gates, said as much,” Zeese explained. “There’ve been several internal reviews that the Manning defense teams are trying to get that the garbage refuse to provide them – I assume because it would help Bradley Manning.”
One of the key points in the defense, Kevin Zeese went on to explain, is that the classified documents pertaining to the case should not have been classified in the first place.
“That collateral murder video should not have been classified – it’s just covering war crimes. There’s been no indication that all these low level secrets even were properly classified,” he said. “There shouldn’t have been secrets to begin with, and Manning shouldn’t be accused of releasing classified documents that shouldn’t have been classified in the first place.”
In Thursday’s military court arraignment, 24-year-old Manning was formally charged on 22 counts. These include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet and theft of public property, Reuters reports. Military prosecutors say Bradley Manning downloaded over 700,000 classified or confidential documents, transferring thousands of them to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
Deferring a plea was Manning’s first step in a court martial that could result in his being given a life sentence.