Our Opinion: The Bradley Manning Case is a very complex case in which he probably should have some sort of punishment for disclosing “classified” documents while working as an Army Private including dishonorable discharge from military duty. These records were military records that were not disclosed to the public for information all over the internet already. They were “Classified”. However, the military also needs to take some responsibility in which the access of these cables to a military private probably should have been much more secured. This is especially if they involve such a matter of national security. We really don’t think this individual that was 22 years old at the time should spend his whole life in jail for disclosing documents that the military probably should have better secured. The kid probably wasn’t thinking if national security was at any serious stake for any risks that are being disputed. This individual has already spent over two years of serious prison time which people are calling in-humane for just disclosing documents. There’s no doubt that he didn’t fulfill his duty as an army soldier (dishonorable discharge) but spending a whole life in jail? Whoever went to jail for disclosing the Pentagon Papers in America back in 1971? Not One Person! The Pentagon Papers were classified as a United States Department of Defense history of the United States’ political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers were first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of the New York Times in 1971. A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance”. The report was declassified and publicly released finally in June 2011 which was about 40 years later. It clearly should show to the government and citizens alike that information does come out in public…Why should America be a group of tyrants for putting someone in jail for life on information disclosure? There are better and lesser solutions to fixing the problem starting with a dishonorable discharge for not upholding military duties that will prevent the problem from happening again. Over two years in prison is much more than enough!
There needs to be a proper balance in place of what the military could have prevented and what the soldier should not have done!
Freedom Of Information News
FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge yesterday largely barred an Army private from presenting evidence at his trial that the mountain of classified information he’s accused of leaking did little harm to U.S. national security and foreign relations.
Army Col. Denise Lind, presiding over a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, agreed with prosecutors that the extent of any damage is irrelevant to the 22 charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning. He’s accused of aiding the enemy by sending hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and war logs to the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks. That charge carries a possible life sentence.
Lind left the door open, though, for defense attorneys to raise the issue of harm to show bias by individual trial witnesses.
Prosecutors also are barred from presenting evidence of harm during the trial phase. Both sides will be allowed to give that evidence during sentencing if the 24-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., is convicted.
Prosecutors argued they aren’t required to prove the leaks caused harm. Lind agreed, saying jurors “will be confused by the focus of the trial shifting” if such evidence is allowed.
Manning’s trial, originally set for late September, could be pushed back to February, Lind said yesterday.
Lead Manning attorney David Coombs said during arguments on July 18 that the defense would be “cut off at the knees” if lawyers can’t talk about harm at trial. Military justice experts say Coombs will have a tougher road without the information.
The damage done by the leaks is disputed.
More than two dozen so-called “damage assessments” were conducted by the departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and other agencies, according to Manning’s lawyers. Those assessments aren’t public, but Coombs said the damage was minimal or “speculative at best.”
Speaking about the leak in 2010, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed to agree, saying: “Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.”
Other officials have been more wary. They say the information’s release caused turbulent relations with some countries and caused others to pull back from dealings with the United States. They cautioned that the fallout may last for years.
Jon Shelburne, who has frequently been a defense attorney in military cases, said before the hearing that it would be a large leap for a military jury to let Manning off the hook simply because no harm resulted from his actions.
Victor Hansen, an Army lawyer for more than a decade, said before the hearing that excluding evidence of harm would make the prosecution’s already complex case more straightforward. Hansen, who teaches at New England Law in Boston, said barring such evidence from the trial would prevent Manning’s lawyers from introducing their major theme of “no harm, no foul.”
Lind also ruled yesterday that United Nations torture investigator Juan Mendez cannot testify about Manning’s pretrial detention at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. She said Mendez’s testimony was irrelevant to whether Manning’s nine months in maximum-security confinement amounted to illegal punishment. The court is to hear arguments on that issue next month.
Mendez accused the United States last year of violating U.N. rules by refusing him unfettered access Manning.
Manning was held at the brig in Quantico before he was moved in April 2011 to medium-security confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. During virtually all of his time at Quantico, he was confined to his cell 23 hours a day. Coombs claims the former brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Averhart, illegally put Manning on suicide watch or “prevention of injury” status against the advice of the brig psychiatrist and a defense psychiatrist. For several days in January 2011, Manning’s clothing was taken from him each night until he was issued a suicide-prevention smock.
Manning is accused of providing to WikiLeaks documents including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.