Many people exhibited extreme apathy with regard to the aggressive manner in which the U.S. government went after Julian Assange and Wikileaks for merely doing basic journalism. Now, after the revelations of widespread spying on mainstream journalists in the AP case, and the criminalization of the profession itself in the case of Fox New’s James Rosen, many people are finally starting to wake up as the chickens come home to roost, as they always do eventually.
As such, I think this is a great moment to turn our attention to the Kafkaesque trial about to get underway right here in the “land of the free.” In this case, I am referring to the trial of Bradley Manning. If you are still unaware of this case, I suggest you watch this extremely powerful 5 minute micro-doc called Providence.
Of course, the U.S. government argues that much of Mr. Manning’s trial must be kept secret due to “classified” information. Sorry, but classified has become one of the most overused, bullshit term in America today. Classified means nothing when the information is hiding criminal behavior or war crimes. Believe me, Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot kept much of their information on concentration camps and gulags “classified” as well. Now from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) we find that:
May 22, 2013, New York –Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction asking a federal district court in Baltimore to order the military judge in the court-martial of Bradley Manning to grant the public and press access to the government’s filings, the court’s own orders, and transcripts of the proceedings, none of which have been made public to date. In addition, the lawsuit challenges the fact that substantive legal matters in the court martial – including a pretrial publicity order – have been argued and decided in secret.
The same group brought suit last May in the military courts of appeals seeking the same relief. However, after a year of litigation, the highest court in the military system, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, ruled 3-to-2 that it lacked the power to hear claims by media petitioners seeking access to courts-martial. Under that ruling a military judge could close the courtroom itself and the press and public would have no recourse to the military courts. Because Congress has narrowly limited appeals from the military courts to the Supreme Court, the ruling cannot be challenged directly in the Supreme Court
“The federal civilian courts are now our last option,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney Shayana Kadidal. “If this lawsuit fails, Manning’s trial will take place under conditions where journalists and the public will be unable as a practical matter to follow what is going on in the courtroom. That ensures that any verdict will be fundamentally unfair, and also that we can expect similarly poor access to the Nidal Hasan and Robert Bates military trials later this year as well.”
Manning’s trial is expected to start on June 3, 2013.
“Secret trials are commonplace in dictatorships, but have no place in this country. The Obama administration conducts unconstitutional dragnet surveillance of journalists to uncover protected sources, and targets whistleblowers with unprecedented use of the espionage act,” said Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!. “Access to court documents and proceedings in the court martial of Bradley Manning is vital to the public’s right to know to what lengths their government will go to keep secret their conduct of wars and occupations abroad.”
Hey, but don’t let those terrorists take our freedoms from us.
Read more here.