Is Secrecy at Bradley Manning Court-Martial about Security or Embarrassment?
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Bradley Manning Photo: Patrick Semansky, AP)
While conducting an arraignment recently for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government willingly published the court’s transcript for the public to review. Such openness has not been on display at the court-martial proceedings of Private Bradley Manning, who was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and accused of feeding classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The Department of Defense has refused so far to produce any of the court’s orders related to the Manning trial. The refusal to share transcripts or other documents prompted the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and several media organizations to file a petition with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals requesting the materials be made public.
Shayana Kadidal, CCR’s senior managing attorney, has noted the lack of journalists from national news sources at Manning’s trial, noting “I counted only two members of the national media. It occurred to me then that the surest way for the government to kill off media interest in a case is to choke off the flow of interesting detail about the proceedings.”
He also characterized Manning’s prosecution as “perhaps the most important case involving government secrets since the Pentagon Papers” and perhaps the most notable court-martial since the trial of Lt. William Calley for the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.
The Obama administration has tried to argue that the leaked documents threatened national security, but it has yet to present any concrete evidence.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Choking Off Coverage of Bradley Manning's Court-Martial (by Shayana Kadidal, Huffington Post)
Constitutional Rights Attorneys, Media Challenge Secrecy of Manning Court Martial (Center for Constitutional Rights)
Center for Constitutional Rights v. United States (U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals) (pdf)
Obama Administration Afraid to Share Evidence with Bradley Manning Defense (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Did Obama Ruin Case against Bradley Manning by Declaring Him Guilty before Trial? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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