Military judge Col. Denise Lind has ordered Army prosecutors to account for their actions after the defense alleged the Pentagon withheld evidence from lawyers representing Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Lind also asked military prosecutors to hand over a wide range of “damage assessments” authored by a number of government agencies including the CIA, FBI, State dDepartment and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, or ONCIX.
“Normally, these games are not played,” Manning defense attorney Coombs said during a pre-trial hearing on Monday. “You hand over discovery and let the facts speak. You don’t play hide the ball, and that’s what the government’s been doing.”
Unsurprisingly, the prosecution rebuffed the accusations, instead insisting it had met all its legal obligations to Manning. “The defense is receiving the information they’re entitled to receive,” claimed Major Ashden Fein.
Meanwhile, Manning supporters told the UK-based Guardian any information the government was forced to divulge would prove beneficial to Bradley’s defense efforts.
“Ultimately any ruling in favor of the truth is going to favor Manning because the facts support his case that he didn’t cause harm to national security,” said Zack Pesavento of the Bradley Manning support network. “What he did was a good thing – WikiLeaks played a key role in precipitating and promoting the Arab Spring.”
As TG Daily previously reported, the former army intelligence analyst faces a total of 22 charges – including aiding the enemy – after thousands of classified documents allegedly downloaded by the soldier ended up on WikiLeaks. If found guilty, the Pfc. is likely to spend the rest of his life in a military brig without the possibility of parole.
Although the Pentagon appears set on making an example out of Manning, a number of organizations, activists and artists have leapt to his defense, claiming the Pfc. shouldn’t be punished for his role in leaking secret documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, many have questioned whether the Pentagon is even capable of offering Manning a fair trial.
“I don’t think anyone disagrees that the government has enough evidence to start a court martial proceeding. The question is whether they should be proceeding,” Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, told The Guardian back in December 2011.
“It’s outrageous for two reasons. How can there be a fair court martial when the commander in chief, president Obama himself, pronounced that he is guilty [of breaking the law]? Secondly, he [was] subjected to 10 and a half months of clearly abusive treatment that in my opinion was immoral and illegal.”