After what seems like years, (wait… it actually has been years) the court martial of Bradley Manning officially kicked off this week. The bits and pieces of the proceedings dribbling out to the press thus far have largely been a rerun of things we’ve long since found out. The Army is laying out the details of the mountain of classified information Manning dumped onto the web, courtesy of his buddies at Wikileaks, and the defense is saying he’s just really misunderstood, you know? There was at least one new element, however, coming from a former supervisor.

Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of passing classified files to the WikiLeaks website, boasted of his ability to crack passwords, one of his Army supervisors said at a court-martial on Wednesday.

‘He said he felt very fluent with computers. He said he spoke their language,’ said Showman, who had been one of Manning’s supervisors when he worked as an intelligence analyst at a U.S. Army base east of Baghdad in 2010.

‘He said there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do on a computer.’

Not exactly blockbuster stuff, but it does provide an inside view of the arrogance on display, not to mention what appears to be a desire to showboat a bit and impress people with his “elite” hacking skills and influence. Of course, if this was a civilian trial being held in the popular media, the verdict would already have long been in. Manning must be innocent because, you know… he’s a swell guy.

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone

This whole thing, this trial, it all comes down to one simple equation. If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the government doing the punishing is itself criminal.

Manning, by whatever means, stumbled into a massive archive of evidence of state-sponsored murder and torture, and for whatever reason, he released it. The debate we should be having is over whether as a people we approve of the acts he uncovered that were being done in our names.

Huffpo

As the long trial of Bradley Manning gets underway this week, I want to add my voice to the millions who stand with him and the thousands who protested his imprisonment over the weekend, and thank him for his brave act, and urge that all charges against him be dropped. Releasing information on war crimes, as the saying goes, is not a war crime. He should be released immediately.


The Nation

Nobel Peace Prize nominee PFC Bradley Manning has been in prison for more than three years. He is accused of sharing documents that expose US war crimes, government corruption, and corporate influence on US foreign policies. This is the charge, but to me and millions of others, whoever did expose these crimes is a hero and a patriot. Yet the government has chosen to persecute the alleged whistle-blower rather than pursue the criminals.

Then again, maybe the public isn’t even buying it at this point. Rasmussen is still polling on the subject and finds a majority of Americans still using “the T word” when talking about Manning.

52% View WikiLeaks Suspect Bradley Manning As A Traitor

Most voters believe the WikiLeaks release of classified documents is likely to have hurt U.S. national security and think the American soldier who helped make the information public on the Internet is a traitor. But they’re closely divided over whether that soldier deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.

But clearly the marching orders have been issued and the troops are obediently lined up to publish the same set of heartwarming tales. Unlike civilian trials however, where such crafted sales pitches can poison a jury pool for hundreds of miles around, this is a court martial and the Army isn’t known for swallowing such bait. If this entire trial were about the so called Collateral Murder video, we might have another debate entirely. But the Army will be looking at the other 749,999 pieces of controlled information which he dumped, and they’re likely to cast a jaundiced eye on the politicization of this tale.

The trial resumes on Monday. We’ll keep you updated if anything unexpected crops up.