Manning a traitor to US, says prosecutor

Prosecutors in Wikileaks trial of Bradley Manning say he gloried in leaking secrets, and knew enemy would receive them.

    US soldier Bradley Manning was a traitor with one mission as an intelligence analyst in Iraq: to find and reveal
    secrets to a group of anarchists and bask in the glory, a prosecutor has said during closing arguments.

    Major Ashden Fein told the court martial of Manning on Thursday that the army private betrayed his country's trust and gave classified information to WikiLeaks, knowing the material would be seen by al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden had some of the digital files at his compound in Pakistan when he was killed, the prosecutor said.

    "WikiLeaks was merely the platform which Manning used to ensure all the information was available for the world, including enemies of the United States,'' Fein said.

    Fein said the former intelligence analyst in Iraq was not the troubled, naive soldier that his defence had made him out to be, but instead was "gleeful" and sent battlefield reports to WikiLeaks accompanied by the message: "Have a good day."

    Manning is charged with 21 offences, but the most serious is aiding the enemy, which carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison. His defence will present its closing arguments on Friday.

    Evil intent

    Manning has acknowledged giving WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and videos in late 2009 and early 2010. But he says he didn't believe the information would harm troops in Afghanistan and Iraq or threaten national security. 

    Prosecutors must prove Manning knew al-Qaeda would see the material to get a conviction on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. They presented evidence Manning knew "the enemy" in general used the Internet, and that leakers with evil intent might use WikiLeaks to spill secrets. 

    Fein's closing remarks, including calling Manning a traitor, were answered by his supporters in the gallery.

    As court recessed for the day, a man said, "You're a hero, Bradley, as far as I'm concerned." Several others murmured support for Manning in what became a loud buzz.

    The judge angrily shouted, "Gallery, that's enough!"

    Manning pleaded guilty earlier this year to reduced versions of some charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison for those offenses, but prosecutors pressed ahead with the original charges.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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