By John Reiger
Posted on January 28, 2013 by the Communications Committee
Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old Army PFC intelligence analyst, faces life in prison for allegedly sharing the "Collateral Murder" video of a US helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded two children in Baghdad, Iraq with the WikiLeaks website. Pvt. Manning has also been charged with blowing the whistle on the "Iraq War Logs", the "Afghan Diaries", the "Gitmo Files", and diplomatic files revealing actual US attitudes toward corrupt middle east dictators. All of the documents released have added significantly to public knowledge of war crimes, civilian casualties, government corruption, and the over-classification of information. No one has been harmed and the information has helped fuel pro-democratic protests globally. For this, Pvt. Manning is facing harsher charges than soldiers guilty of murder in Iraq or Afghanistan. The government is clearly trying to intimidate any future whistle blowers.
His trial is now scheduled for June 3, 2013, but it has been rescheduled so many times that Pvt. Manning will have been in prison more than three years by June of this year. This issue will be raised by his defense attorney in the next pre-trial hearing (in late January) when a motion to dismiss the charges, for lack of a speedy trial, will be introduced.
The latest pretrial hearing (January 8) focused on the torturous treatment he received while in the Quantico Marine prison brig. The defense fought to get the charges dropped, or any future sentence substantially reduced because of Pvt. Manning’s mistreatment. But military Judge Denise Lind only credited him with 118 days, not even the full nine months he was held in conditions that a UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called "cruel, inhuman, and degrading."
During these hearings the military continues to try to link Julian Assange of WikiLeaks to this case in an obvious attempt to implicate Assange for future prosecution.
See also the resolution adopted by the State Executive Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party on January 9, 2011, "WikiLeaks and Prosecution of the Whistle-blowers".
John Reiger is a member of the State Central Committee from Sacramento County. He is active in Veterans for Peace.