Shooting the Messenger

The trial of Bradley Manning has opened. He has been imprisoned for three years awaiting trial. It is hard to understand why it has taken so long to bring on the court martial proceedings. Mr Manning has pleaded guilty to less than half the 22 charges laid; I do not understand, from a legal viewpoint, why there are so many charges – perhaps the prosecutors have done this to emphasise the guilt of the person they have accused; it is an old prosecutorial trick, to increase the apparent gravity of the charges by throwing in every conceivable charge as well as a few inconceivable ones of their own. You should always be suspicious when so many charges are laid; they are likely to be duplicitous and brought in volume to prejudice the defendant and for no other reason.

Many of the charges are extremely serious. According to the the prosecution Mr Manning’s disclosure of documents and videos about the cowardly way in which the home of the brave conducted the Iraq, threatened the safety of the soldiers of the land of the free and probably for all we know lost the Iraq propaganda war for the Allies. My feelings is that at worse Mr manning should be charged with causing embarrassment to the United States; releasing a video of soldiers gloating over a helicopter attack which killed people including a child, must have been terribly embarrassing.

It is odd but normal that a person who exposes evil is always dealt with more harshly than those who created the evil; Mr Bush and Mr Blair would be more appropriate targets for prosecution over the Iraq war than Mr Manning, but society has always shown a propensity for shooting the messenger.