The main phase of Bradley Manning’s court martial has concluded and the defense has rested its case, but there were some last minute dramatics and notable moments left. First, the judge threw out a request on Thursday which would have dismissed the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. Then, following the defense’s closing, the prosecution’s rebuttal took place on Thursday afternoon and Friday.
Even that led to some fireworks, as one prosecution witness – a former colleague of Manning’s – recounted some unflattering things that the accused traitor said about his country.
The patriotism of Bradley Manning, the Army private on trial for leaking classified documents, came under scrutiny Friday when one of his supervisors testified that Manning told her that he had “no allegiance” to his country and that the American flag “meant nothing to him.”
Retired Spec. Jihrleah Showman, who worked with Manning at Fort Drum, N.Y., and at a forward operating base in Iraq, also testified that she came to think that Manning might be “a spy” after he told her that before joining the military he tried to remove personal information from the Internet in order to secure a top-secret security clearance.
It should be noted that the defense was doing their best to discredit this witness and call the testimony into question. They asked Spec. Showman whether or not she was exhibiting “animus” toward Manning because he’s gay, and she acknowledged making an anti-gay slur in reference to him previously.
Whether or not this will have much impact on the outcome isn’t certain, but since the testimony was allowed – assuming the witness is given credence regarding her report – it at least fits into the prosecution’s larger narrative. Rather than some sort of whistle-blowing, crusader for the rights of the nation, it paints the opposite picture of Manning. That is one of a soldier on the inside of the intelligence circle with direct hostility to the country and a willingness to do something to harm it. And that leads directly to the aiding the enemy charge.
(EDIT: Changed “he” to “she” in second to last paragraph)