News / USA

Lawyer Argues WikiLeaks Soldier Had Good Intentions

Watch video story by VOA's Brian Padden

Bradley Manning's defense attorney David Coombs and his wife arrive at court for closing remarks in Manning's trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, July 26, 2013.
Bradley Manning's defense attorney David Coombs and his wife arrive at court for closing remarks in Manning's trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, July 26, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
A military judge has begun deliberations in the case of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking U.S. secrets and aiding the enemy. Manning's court-martial proceedings are taking place at Fort Meade near Washington, and are winding down after nearly two months.

In closing arguments Friday, defense lawyer David Coombs asked the military judge to consider whether Bradley Manning is a traitor, with no loyalty to the United States, or a young, naïve and well-intentioned soldier and whistleblower whose main motive was saving human lives and bringing about positive change in the world.  

The 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst could get a life sentence if the judge rules he is guilty of aiding the enemy by releasing 700,000 secret files to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Those files include thousands of State Department and military emails, messages, reports, and videos including one that shows a U.S. helicopter gunship firing on civilians in Baghdad. In releasing the files, Manning claims he sought to shed light on the actions of the U.S. government and bring about reform.

Defense Makes Its Case in Manning Wikileaks Triali
X
July 26, 2013 7:32 PM
The defense summarized its case Friday in the court-martial trial of Bradley Manning - the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that the case will now go to the judge for deliberations.
Manning has pleaded guilty to releasing the files while he was deployed in Iraq. Those charges alone could result in a 20-year prison sentence.  

Military prosecutors, in their closing arguments a day earlier, described Manning as an anarchist who released files he pulled from government computers and leaked them for the purpose of gaining notoriety - knowing they would be seen by terrorists including Osama bin Laden.  

The prosecutors said Manning - with his training as an intelligence analyst - would have known the information that included detailed reports on roadside bomb attacks on U.S. troops would put the lives of American soldiers in danger.

His attorney on Friday countered the charges, arguing that Manning did not give the files directly and secretly to the enemy, but rather supplied them to WikiLeaks, which the lawyer described as a legitimate news organization.

Coombs accused the prosecution of taking some of the evidence out of context. One example is a photo that Manning took of himself. The prosecution says it shows him smiling after sending files to WikiLeaks. Manning is homosexual. His lawyer on Friday noted the photo shows Manning wearing makeup and a bra and is smiling because it shows him being himself at that moment.

Morris Davis is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo who testified in Manning's defense. Davis said he does not see Manning as a hero, but believes the government may have gone too far in bringing the aiding-the-enemy charges.  

“I don't condone what he did in releasing classified information, and he's pled guilty to that, so I think he ought to be held accountable for what he did. But I think it's a case where the government is overreaching and overcharged in order to make an example of Private Manning to keep others from pondering the same steps that he took in the future,” said Davis.

The case has drawn a number of civil liberties activists to the proceedings. Some have been credentialed as members of the media. On Friday, the judge ordered one of those supporters out of the courtroom for allegedly posting threatening messages regarding some of the court-martial participants.

In his rebuttal Friday, the prosecutor said Manning was not naïve and was fully aware of his actions.

The judge is expected to issue a verdict in the coming days.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid