Bradley Manning trial: Wikileaks whistleblower is a 'gleeful, grinning' traitor, says prosecutor

The judge in the case is due to issue verdicts within days

US Editor

Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst posted by the US Army to Baghdad in 2009, chose to transmit hundreds of thousands of classified military reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks because he wanted attention and notoriety, the prosecution at his trial said in closing arguments today.

With the judge in the case, Colonel Denise Lind, due to issue verdicts within days, both sides used the closing arguments phase to present starkly different portraits of the defendant. For its part, the prosecution sought to bolt down a central charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ telling the court at Fort Meade, Maryland, that Manning knew full well that the materials he gave to WikiLeaks would be seen by al-Qa’ida.

“The only human Pfc Manning ever cared about was himself,” asserted Major Ashden Fein, the lead prosecuting attorney, before displaying a smiling photo of Manning taken in 2010. He said it showed a “gleeful, grinning Pfc Manning” who had sent materials to WikiLeaks with the greeting “Have a good day”. After saying Manning had broken his country’s trust, he added: “The flag meant nothing to him.”

Major Fein also quoted from online chats between him and convicted hacker Adrian Lamo that showed his intent to harm. “Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack,” Manning told Lamo in one chat. It was Lamo that originally turned Manning in to the authorities.

But the defence has contended that their client was possibly naïve but well-meaning when after arriving at his post he stumbled across information he thought disturbing, including thousands of battlefield reports from the Iraq and Afghan wars as well as secure messages between US embassies and Washington, and decided it would serve the public interest to share them with the rest of the world.

Earlier today, Judge Lind ruled against a defence motion to dismiss five theft charges in the case. That means Manning, who is a British-American dual national, will face verdicts in the coming days on 20 charges. In February he pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges. A guilty verdict on the aiding-the-enemy charge alone could carry a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The trial, some of which has been held behind closed doors beyond the gaze of the media, has been to a degree been overshadowed by Edward Snowden, the former contractor at the National Security Agency, who fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow airport after disclosing programmes to trawl private telephone and internet traffic. A bill that would have clamped down on some the NSA’s activities was narrowly defeated in a vote in the US House of Representatives late Wednesday.

In a statement accompanying his pleas in February, Manning tried to explain his motives. “I believe that if the general public ... had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general,” he said at the time. The materials he passed on included aerial video footage of a 2007 US helicopter attack that killed civilians in Baghdad, including a news photographer.

Supporters of Manning, some of whom have regularly attended the trial wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Truth’, have expressed dismay at what they see as a bias on the part of Lind towards the prosecution as she has ruled on a series of defence motions. Most notably last week, she threw out a request that the most serious charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ be dismissed.

“I think it’s just outrageous for her to support the notion that essentially any leak to the internet of classified information is aiding the enemy,” Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defence Department worker who leaked the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War in 1971 told the Washington Post.

Manning chose himself to have his case heard by a single military judge and not by a jury of his peers. While it is true that she has sided with the prosecution in pondering successive defence motions it does not necessarily follow that she will issue guilty verdicts on the charges involved, including the most important one of aiding the enemy.

As soon as Judge Lind has issued her verdicts she is expected to move immediately to the sentencing phase of the court martial which could take several weeks with both sides preparing to bring forward new evidence and testifying witnesses.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

£350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Internal Project Manager - Business Analyst, Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the best known and most pr...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment