Bradley Manning calls out Barack ObamaDecember 6th, 2011
Finally, after 18 months held in torturous conditions, the swift hand of Justice has reached out to Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning… or at least it’s waving from a distance. On December 16th a preliminary hearing known as an “Article 32” hearing is scheduled to start at Fort Meade, Maryland. It’s something akin to a probable cause hearing in the civilian justice system, where a military judge will determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a court-martial. Manning faces over two dozen charges from disobeying an order to aiding the enemy related to the alleged leaking of thousands of classified diplomatic communiqués. Among their startling revelations was that a US Ambassador conspired with a Minister in the Afghan government to cover up an American company pimping underage boys to Afghan cops.
A request filed by Manning’s attorney David Coombs on Friday is going to send a lot of us scrambling to brush up on current perjury law. Calling the first witness… President Barack Obama.The 20-page list of defense witnesses had the names redacted in the publically available document, but it’s clear from context that two of the witnesses being sought are President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
If they are able to subpoena President Obama Coombs hopes to question him on his previous statements on government transparency, but also on comments Obama made during a political fundraiser in San Francisco last April. Speaking of Manning, Obama told the audience, “We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.” Of course Bradley Manning has not been convicted of any crime, and for the commander-in-chief to assert his guilt before trial seriously jeopardizes his access to fair trial, and may potentially be a crime. Coombs alleges in court documents that statements like these constituted “unlawful command influence” and writes, “Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a superior officer in the chain of command is prohibited from saying of doing anything that could influence any decision by a subordinate in how to handle a military justice matter.” Don’t worry. I’m sure Obama will stand by his statement that individuals can’t make their own decisions about the enforcement of law and will gladly submit to the charges against him…
… Ok I’m done laughing.
Clinton will be asked to testify on the impact of the leaks on American diplomacy with foreign leaders, which was minimal, if not nonexistent. All our foreign allies already knew the US was run by a bunch of scumbags, so the leaks came as little surprise to those in the know. Clinton’s testimony is sought to confirm the diplomatic cables disclosed by Wikileaks did not present any credible threat to national security, but were merely an “embarrassment” to the administration. Coombs asserts that the leaks were of “rather benign nature” and were not “of any real damage to national security.”
Between July 2010 and April 2011 Manning was held as a “Maximum Custody Detainee” under “Prevention of Injury Watch” in a Marine Brig in Quantico Virginia. This essentially meant solitary confinement in 6’ x 12’ concrete block for 23 hours a day. Attorney David Coombs described his treatment as “unlawful pretrial punishment.” A bipartisan National Commission on America’s Prisons reported that extreme isolation of this kind were “personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions.” But when the country is run by an administration who inherited a burning Constitution and tried to put the flame out with paint thinner, that’s the price of “embarrassment.”
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