Manning supporters shocked(!) that hearing on classified info will be closed to public

Supporters of Bradley Manning (or Breanna, depending on who you ask) are up in arms over the latest development in the accused traitor’s pre-trial hearing. It seems that portions of the next phase will involve discussions of classified documents and the Army has granted a request to have those sections closed to the public and the press. Ah… the unfairness of it all. You can simply smell the injustice in the air.

Supporters of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks are objecting to plans to close portions of Manning’s military hearing to the public and media on Monday.

Manning, 24, is accused of giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which published much of the material on the Internet last year.

Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the investigating officer who is conducting the preliminary hearing at Fort Meade, said Sunday he would empty the courtroom on Monday to hear testimony involving classified information.

Among those to be excluded are an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

I initially found out about this via an urgent, outrageously outraged e-mail alert from the Breanna Bradley Manning Support Network.

The Bradley Manning Support Network is deeply troubled by the imposition of an unexplained media blackout without any avenue for redress. The investigating officer has already prevented Manning’s defense from considering internal administration assessments that found these materials did not pose a threat to national security. Now he is seeking to prevent journalists and the public from reporting on testimony related to materials that are already in the public domain.

I see. So, essentially your argument is that the classified material to be discussed shouldn’t be a reason to keep you all out of the hearing because… he already leaked all of the classified material to Assange anyway? It’s an innovative argument to say the least. And Manning is likely going to require quite a few more creative bits of defense if he ever hopes to see the sun shine again without shadows of prison bars obscuring it. According to The Guardian, it seems that a forensic investigator has been pouring through all of the files on the private’s computer and found them to be an exact match for the ones that showed up on Wikileaks. And he’s going to be testifying to that effect.

Adding fuel to an already expanding fire, investigators found records of searches which Manning performed on the government databases with keywords that included “WikiLeaks,” “Julian Assange” and “Guantanamo Bay detainee assessments.” None of these, according to the report, are things which Manning would have needed to be searching on in the course of his assigned duties. (There’s a reminder for you here kids… always clear your browser history.)

The latest round of pearl clutching and hand wringing from Manning’s supporters is almost comical in its failed attempt at rational discourse. Even if the privileged material already was dumped off to Assange via a third party, there hasn’t been time for everyone to go through nearly three quarter of a million documents in detail. There is absolutely no excuse for trotting them out in front of the media or anyone else at this point simply because you feel that cat is out of the bag. Further, leaked or not, classified material is still classified material, and exposing it all over again is no less of a violation.

The hearing is slated to wrap up either tomorrow or Wednesday. Shortly after that we should know the details of the court martial. Given the nature of these recent items which the prosecution will present, I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t going to be one.

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