Boston Common Demonstration to 'Free Pfc Bradley Manning.' Park Street Station 27 July 2013. Despite the best efforts of the U.S. government and the subservient “free press,” Manning’s case has become an international cause célèbre. Concluding a 14-month investigation, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture found the United States government guilty of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Manning, violating his physical and psychological well-being and the presumption of his innocence. The German Bundestag and British Members of Parliament went on record protesting the physical and mental abuse of Manning, while hundreds of law school professors signed a letter of protest to President Obama. Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief prejudiced the trial by publicly announcing in advance that Manning was guilty. The court-martial opened amid outrage over new leaks exposing surveillance of journalists, ordinary citizens and foreign nationals by the Obama White House, which has ramped up assaults on civil liberties as part of the global “war on terror.”
Manning is charged with 22 counts, including the capital offenses of “espionage” and “aiding the enemy.” Although prosecutors say they are not seeking a death sentence, just entombment for life in a military brig, the judge could still impose that penalty. In a pretrial hearing earlier this year, Manning pled guilty to ten lesser charges that carry a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. But the government has refused to negotiate, prosecuting him to the max in order to terrify others into silent submission. Contrast the prosecution of Bradley Manning, who has harmed no one, with that of Sergeant Robert Bales, who deliberately murdered 16 Afghan civilians last year, most of them women and children. The government has shown compassion for Bales, setting aside the death penalty and entertaining an exculpatory narrative of this killer’s emotional problems. Bradley Manning faces the full force of state repression for exposing heinous actions by the likes of Bales.
The wording in the statute on “aiding the enemy” casts a very wide net that could snare anyone in the government’s sights. It warns that anyone who “gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly” will “suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.” Who is the “enemy”? In the “war on terror,” there is no declared enemy state, there are no defined battlefields, and this government knows no demilitarized zones.
The conspicuous absence of the U.S. capitalist media coverage of the case is consistent with its deliberate efforts to bury Bradley Manning’s case because his truth-telling effectively puts the U.S. government on trial. . ( read on http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/1026/manning.html