What does his being transgender have to do with anything? This is a low and disgusting effort to break him, a tactic of the weak and unprincipled. I see right through these military weasels, and I hope others do as well.
Brian Williams makes the case for putting NBC on trial: fair.org/blog/2013/06/0…— Tom Tomorrow (@tomtomorrow) June 5, 2013
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (6/3/13), reporting the first day of Manning’s trial, called him “the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden”–referring to the U.S. government’s legal theory that by making secrets public, Manning allowed Al-Qaeda to have access to them, and was therefore “aiding the enemy” (FAIR Blog, 6/4/13).
But giving classified information to the public is something that news outlets–including NBC News–routinely do, and each time they do it they too could be accused of “aiding the enemy.” For example, NBC's Michael Isikoff reported on February 4 that a “confidential memo” produced by the Justice Department held that “the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be ‘senior operational leaders’ of Al-Qaeda or ‘an associated force’–even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”
It was part of a fascinating few days in the history of the Manning story — resonating with implications for free speech, national security and the American military at war — but you wouldn’t have known much about it if your only source of information was The New York Times. The Times didn’t cover Mr. Coombs’s remarks and, far more important, did not send a staff reporter to the first eight days of a pretrial hearing in the case, including riveting testimony by Private Manning.
Bradley complained about the restrictive conditions, and psychiatrists said that they were detrimental to Bradley’s health, because they amount to solitary confinement. Bradley wasn’t able to speak to any other detainees, as his adjacent cells were empty, he only got 20 minutes outside of his 6′x8′ cell each day, and when he left the cell the entire brig was in “lockdown” and he had to wear metal shackles on his hands and feet and be escorted everywhere he went. Guards and officials have testified that Bradley is far and away the only detainee they’ve ever seen or kept on POI for this long – previously, the longest they’ve seen a detainee on POI was merely a few days, or two weeks at most, while Bradley was kept in isolation for nine months. Military psychiatrists say these conditions can be detrimental to a detainee’s mental health, especially as they last this long.
Questioned for several hours yesterday by defense lawyer David Coombs, MSGT Blenis said that Bradley’s previous history was cause for concern: in Kuwait, disoriented and isolated in what he called an “animal cage,” Bradley had considered committing suicide. Upon arriving at Quantico, Bradley wrote on an intake form that regarding suicide he was “always planning, never acting.” However, Bradley testified this week that he didn’t feel suicidal at Quantico, and that the intake remark wasn’t serious: he had guards standing over him who ordered him to “write something” and he knew that he’d be placed on Suicide Risk watch no matter what he wrote. Furthermore, brig psychiatrists Cpt. William Hoctor and Cpt. Kevin Malone testified this week that they didn’t consider those incidents to be long-term problems – they said that suicidal thoughts are frequently temporary, and by mid-August, Bradley posed no risk to himself and didn’t require these harsh conditions.
For a period of about eight months at Quantico, Manning was subjected to extraordinarily harsh conditions. This was done, the military claimed, for his own protection under a so-called “prevention of injury” order or POI.
The unidentified witnesses that Coombs wants to call include a military psychiatrist who consistently recommended to Manning’s captors at the brig at Quantico that the prisoner should be removed from restrictive conditions. But his advice was ignored and Manning continued to be subjected to solitary confinement, being stripped naked, held in a bare cell and made to wear a rough smock at night.
Witnesses will testify, the defense motion states, that when the psychiatrists objected to the conditions, they were told by the military chiefs in the brig: “We will do whatever we want to do.”
The defense also wants to call witnesses from Fort Leavenworth in Kansas where Manning was moved in April 2011 following an international outcry about his treatment.
After the move, the soldier was allowed much greater freedom under medium-security arrangements. The defense argues that his successful transfer shows “he was improperly held to begin with”.
The judge presiding over his trial at Fort Meade in Maryland has ordered the US government to hand over several confidential documents relating to the massive leak to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
In particular, the Obama administration must now disclose to Manning’s lawyers some of the damage assessments it carried out into the impact of the leak on US interests around the world.
Should those assessments reveal that the US government found that the fallout from WikiLeaks was limited, that could be used by Manning’s defence to argue his innocence against some of the charges he faces, such as aiding the enemy. If the soldier is found guilty, the information might then prove invaluable in reducing any sentence.
As a result of the ruling, Manning’s defence team was handed the main findings of a state department investigation into the impact of WikiLeaks on Tuesday evening.
The whole civil libertarian message only really seems to catch fire among liberals when there’s a Republican in the White House,” says (Chase) Madar. When there’s not a bumbling Texan to inveigh against, all the sudden issues that were morally black and white become complex, and liberal media starts finding nuance where there wasn’t any before.