Closing arguments are being presented as we speak in the trial of PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier being court martialed on multiple counts after leaking classified documents and video to WikiLeaks.
The prosecution wasted no time building on their previous characterization of Manning as a fame-seeker eager to please the higher ups at WikiLeaks. Major Ashden Fein, delivering the closing arguments on behalf of the prosecution, stated that, as a result of his position, Manning ”knew the importance of protecting classified information and that a violation of those agreements could result” in criminal prosecution.
“This is a picture of a person who thought he was finally becoming famous,” Fein said while holding up a smiling photo of Manning. Fein also claimed Manning’s decision to use WikiLeaks to divulge the material boiled down to the fact that they could guarantee “near real-time disclosures on the web as fast as possible for the world to access.”
It is crucial for the prosecution’s closing argument that they build upon the notion that Manning was motivated not by the desire to get out an inconvenient truth, but for the notoriety that releasing that truth would bring. According to the prosecution, Manning thought the Collateral Murder video, in which unarmed Iraqis were seen killed by American troops, was “cool,” influencing his decision to release it to anti-government activists.
Wrapping up, Fein saved one of his most damning comments for last, asserting that Manning had an end goal of “worldwide anarchy” and “deliberately placed all soldiers in Iraq at personal risk” with his theft of the global email address list, one of the myriad data files that were also leaked.
As of press time, defense closing arguments will most likely be heard tomorrow. Keep it posted to Queerty for the latest, and much thanks for the intrepid Kevin Gosztola who has been covering the trial for Firedoglake.com and keeping gay media abreast of the latest developments.