News / USA

Defense Opens in Manning WikiLeaks Case

Defense Opens in Manning-WikiLeaks Casei
X
July 09, 2013 12:30 AM
Defense attorneys in the court-martial of U.S. Army private Bradley Manning - accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks - have opened their case. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Fort Meade, Maryland, where Manning's court-martial is in its sixth week.
Luis Ramirez
Defense attorneys in the court-martial of U.S. Army private Bradley Manning - accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks - have opened their case. Manning's court-martial is in its sixth week.
 
It is his lawyers' chance to try to convince a panel of military jurors that Bradley Manning is a whistleblower, not a traitor. 
 
The defense opened its case Monday with a combat video leaked by Manning of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed civilians including two employees of the Reuters news agency. 
 
Manning has admitted leaking information. His lawyers want some charges dismissed, arguing Manning was a naïve young man who acted out of an interest to help, not hurt, the United States by exposing what he believed was wrongdoing by U.S. forces in Iraq. 
 
The prosecution rested its case last week, saying Manning committed espionage and aided the enemy.   Despite much anticipation, observers note prosecutors did not present evidence showing the material he leaked caused major damage to U.S. national security.
 
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris Davis, a former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, is among a long list of witnesses called by the defense.  Davis spoke to VOA earlier.
 
“Certainly, there's been embarrassment. But there's a big difference in being embarrassed and being harmed and I just haven't seen much evidence of there being any harm.  So I think he ought to be held accountable but it ought to be a punishment that fits the crime and not what the government thought the impact was going to be," he said. 
 
More details of the damage Manning may have caused could emerge in the sentencing phase, when the judge weighs the punishment with the amount of harm done. 
 
Manning's leaks appear indiscriminate. They included 700,000 classified documents, diplomatic cables, and government-owned videos of U.S. troops in combat. 
 
That's unlike the case of former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, who released smaller amounts of specific information about U.S. overseas cyber offensive  activities as well as domestic surveillance operations. 
 
The two men had some things in common:   They were tech-savvy individuals in their 20s who operated in low-level but sensitive positions. 
 
Manning's supporters hope the young private has started a trend. 
 
“I think that the base of support that we've created around and for Bradley Manning might have helped Edward Snowden feel more comfortable leaking or feel it's more important. I think we've created a culture that while the government doesn't like it, we laud whistleblowers and realize their importance," said Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network
 
The case raises questions of how the U.S. military and intelligence agencies will deal with potential security risks among individuals who, like Manning, show clear signs of emotional troubles or at the very least unease about their assigned missions. 
 
In Monday's testimony, a chief warrant officer who worked with Manning described him as the best and most productive analyst on his team, albeit weak in his ability to assess information. 
 
Manning's trial is due to continue through next month. 

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

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