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In Closing Argument, Government Casts Bradley Manning as ‘Anarchist,’ ‘Hacker’ & ‘Traitor’

Maj. Ashden Fein

After more than four and a half hours of proceedings, the government wrapped up its closing argument in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier being prosecuted for disclosing information to WikiLeaks. Prosecutors called him an “anarchist,” a “hacker,” and a “traitor” before the argument was over.

Military prosecutors also went into explicit detail about how they believed he had “aided the enemy” and wantonly caused to be published intelligence on the Internet. The prosecutors went through each piece of information he is charged with disclosing without authorization and detailed how it had been compromised.

Quoting chat logs between hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo and Manning, Major Ashden Fein said that he expected “worldwide anarchy” would occur after releasing the diplomatic cables and these were not the “words of a humanist but the words of an anarchist.” He also said he was a “hacker” and not a humanist.

Fein highlighted a “disloyal” remark Manning made to his supervisor, Jihrleah Showman, which she testified about last week—that the flag meant nothing to Manning. The remark was never proven without a doubt to have been said to Manning. Showman never put this down in writing in a counseling statement, as she should have done.

Showman also had said Manning had no allegiance to the United States. Fein repeated this and said that these were “similar words to those who are an anarchist.” He said Manning was an “anarchist whose agenda was made ultimately clear almost immediately when he deployed to Iraq.”

The government argued that Manning had the knowledge and ability and desire to harm the United States in its war effort. “He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor.”

These terms—”anarchist,” “hacker,” “traitor”—all were clearly charged terms used to pejoratively with the intent that this would undercut the way the defense has tried to present Manning as a kind of conscientious and idealistic soldier who found it was necessary to blow the whistle and reveal certain documents.

For the “aiding the enemy” charge, which if convicted could lead to maximum sentence of life in prison, Fein argued that Manning had deliberately transmitted the “Collateral Murder” video, certain State Department information and military incident reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said Manning had the “general evil intent necessary to aid the enemy and evidence shows he acted voluntarily and deliberately with his disclosures” when he allowed over 700,000 documents to end up in the hands of the enemy.

His daily work product established that he had knowledge of the “enemy threat.” In his research, he would have read government reports that “warned repeatedly of the use of WikiLeaks.”

Through training, he would have received “detailed instruction on enemies of the United States,” what they are capable of and why the US keeps classified information from their possession. He knew to always assume that adversaries would read posted material. [cont’d.]

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In Closing Argument, Government Casts Bradley Manning as 'Anarchist,' 'Hacker' & 'Traitor'

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."