I’m not sympathetic to Bradley Manning or his alleged crimes, but Constitutionally he deserves a trial

Let me just put this out there.  I think that Bradley Manning is likely guilty of some very serious crimes, including aiding the enemy.  However, he has now spent 1,000 days in prison, almost three years, without a trial.  

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees us the right to a “speedy trial,” but that’s not what Bradley Manning is getting.

from the Atlantic (and I know it’s a liberal rag, but forgive me):

Saturday, February 23, marks Bradley Manning’s 1,000th day in prison without a trial. In 2010, he was arrested for allegedly passing a trove of diplomatic cables and military reports to WikiLeaks, a nonprofit sunshine organization that publishes state secrets. Manning has been charged with everything from bringing discredit upon the armed forces to “aiding the enemy.” Much of his first year of confinement was spent in humiliating suicide watch and Prevention of Injury conditions.

The actions of Bradley Manning offer a moment to reflect on the meaning of secrecy in the information age. Regardless of one’s opinion of the young private (traitor or hero, disturbed or determined, ideological or idiotic), he put the entire secrecy apparatus to the test. Manning downloaded a perfect geologic slice of what we don’t know, and presented that information to the world. He took the catastrophic loss of “secret” information out of the theoretical and into the real world. He initiated the government secrecy industry’s worst-case scenario.

read the rest

Like I said, I think Manning is probably guilty and probably deserves a whole lot more time behind bars.  But he first deserves a trial. 

One of our Founding Fathers, our second President actually, John Adams defended in court the British soldiers who perpetrated the Boston Massacre.  Did he do it because he was sympathetic to their crimes?  No.  He did it because they deserved a fair trial.

So does Bradley Manning, even if he’s guilty. 

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