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article imageOp-Ed: Bradley Manning, a ‘naive' whistleblower or a ‘traitor'

By Abdul Kuddus     Jul 27, 2013 in World
Fort Meade - Whistle blower Bradley Manning’s fate now rests on the verdict of the military judge, Col. Denise Lind, who will decide whether he is a traitor or a young, naive soldier who wanted to make a difference in the world.
Manning is accused of aiding the enemy and 20 other charges. He has already pleaded guilty to less serious offenses saying he was motivated by a wish to expose troubling conduct by the US government, from his understanding as an intelligence analyst deployed in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
The trial of Manning at Fort Meade highlighted two conflicting portrayals about the Army intelligence analyst.
On one side, Military’s lead prosecutor, Maj. Ashden Fein is pushing to promote the opinion that Manning's intentions were evil when he released the classified documents to Wikilealks.
“Worldwide distribution that was his goal. Pfc. Manning knew the entire world included the enemy, from his training. He knew he was giving it to the enemy, specifically al-Qaida.”
"He was not a whistleblower, he was a traitor," Fein added.
On the other side, David Coombs, Manning’s lead defense attorney argued that the soldier’s sole focus was to, maybe, just make a difference, maybe, make a change.
Manning is alleged to have leaked 700,000 classified military and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks and he faces life in a military prison if convicted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. He already faces up to 20 years of jail time for pleading guilty to some of the lesser charges.
Presiding judge, Col Lind will determine if Manning was actually aiding the enemy with evil intent because he knew the information would end up in the hands of al Qaeda.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the classified Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers four decades ago, said that the outcome of the Pfc. Bradley Manning trial has grave consequences for America as a democracy.
Mr. Ellsberg warned about consequences the Manning trial could have on journalism and the interpretation of the First Amendment protecting freedom of the press.
He said:
“If the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge is permitted to stand, this case will forever change the ability of journalists to reveal the most important crimes of the state.”
“It directly connects journalists and publishers into the Obama administration’s new attempt to define journalism about national security as conspiracy to commit espionage.”
America proclaims itself as the land of the free press, but the Obama administration has punished more leakers and whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined.
With Manning’s episode, the intent is trying to establish the precedent that leaking to the press constitutes "aiding the enemy."
Since 9/11, America has taken the liberty to use national security as a ruse to trample over all vital liberties. This is another attempt to muzzle journalism and free speech.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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