Bradley Manning is facing court martial under the UCMJ.
I am of conflicting opinions in the matter. I believe, strongly, that one serves one’s country in joining the armed forces- “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die”. The lowliest recruit is as keenly aware of the UCMJ as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Those individuals working in intelligence are hyper-aware of their duty and the consequences of compromising security. Private Manning was an intelligence analyst.
On the other hand- There is untold corruption in the military. We’ve all seen evidence of it during the Iraq War; from Abu Ghraib and GITMO to relentless war profiteering and “missing” taxpayer dollars funding the war.
The UCMJ makes clear provisions for court martial trial proceedings under Sub Chapter VII Trail Procedure. The accused is not limited in choice of representation, in defense counsel, provided he/she has means to retain civilian counsel.
(1) The accused has the right to be represented in his defense before a general or special court-martial or at an investigation under section 832 of this title (article 32) as provided in this subsection.
(2) The accused may be represented by civilian counsel if provided by him.
(3) The accused may be represented–
(A) by military counsel detailed under section 827 of this title (article 27); or
(B) by military counsel of his own selection if that counsel is reasonably available (as determined under regulations prescribed under paragraph (7)).
(4) If the accused is represented by civilian counsel, military counsel detailed or selected under paragraph (3) shall act as associate counsel unless excused at the request of the accused.
(5) Except as provided under paragraph (6), if the accused is represented by military counsel of his own selection under paragraph (3)(B), any military counsel detailed under paragraph (3)(A) shall be excused.
(6) The accused is not entitled to be represented by more than one military counsel. However, the person authorized under regulations prescribed under section 827 of this title (article 27) to detail counsel in his sole discretion–
(A) may detail additional military counsel as assistant defense counsel; and
(B) if the accused is represented by military counsel of his own selection under paragraph (3)(B), may approve a request from the accused that military counsel detailed under paragraph (3)(A) act as associate defense counsel.
There are people who believe Private Manning is a hero. I am of the opinion that he was self-serving in his security breaches, that he had no interest in exposing malfeasance in government for any reason other than to satisfy a personal agenda.
What troubles me is not Private Manning’s innocence or guilt but the integrity of due process. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights makes an alarming assertion https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/24/bradley-manning-show-trial-state-secrecy in suggesting that this is another example of government totalitarianism disguised as protecting “national security”.
The case United States v. Manning is something far more worthy of our attention than John Edwards’ coverup of an affair on the campaign trail and at least as noteworthy as how many car elevators Mitt Romney may or may not install in his La Jolla residence.