The Eloquent & Powerful Summation of the Bradley Manning Case

Legal Scholar Steve Kohn on Bradley Manning & the Travesty of Justice

manningLast Tuesday Peter B Collins and I interviewed Mr. Stephen M. Kohn of National Whistleblower Center on his recently released book, corporate and government whistleblowers, whistleblower laws, and upcoming legislation. During the interview we asked him about the Bradley Manning case. Mr. Kohn’s sincere, eloquent and passionate response was one of, if not the best, summations we had ever heard. The entire interview will be posted next week, on Friday, May 13. However, we decided to prepare the following brief clip which covers Mr. Kohn’s powerful response to the Manning case, and share it with you right away.

Please listen to the following statements on the Bradley Manning travesty of justice by Steve Kohn and let it sink in. You may want to listen to it again; if so, please do. Then, think about it; think about our Constitution and where we are today, and ask yourself the following question: our citizenship oath requires that we support and defend our Constitution against all enemies- foreign and domestic; who or what should be considered the biggest enemy of our Constitution today?

Here is Mr. Stephen M. Kohn on Bradley Manning!

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  1. j kanarcho says:

    I am no legal scholar, but the Presidential Oath of Office is quite clear and unambiguous:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    A sworn oath to faithfully execute the Office of the President as defined in the Constitution. To preserve – To protect – To defend the same Constitution. As I read this, I am not confused that presidential fidelity to the oath lies in two areas: safeguarding against governmental action which falls outside the limits of the Constitution, and executing the functions of the office which the Constitution defines.

    It does not require creative thinking to understand that so much of what we are witnessing far exceeds the defined Constitutional descriptions and limits.

    The Congressional Oath of Office states:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

    The United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office is also fog free:

    “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    Hmmm, now I see a dilemma; If the President is acting outside of the limits defined in the Constitution – even conducting him/herself in a manner which directly violates constitutional authority, is that not considered an enemy action against the Constitution? If a presidential action is hostile to the Constitution, i.e., opposed to the preservation, protection and defense of it, do not both the United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office and the Congressional Oath of Office require action to halt such a violation?

    There is a method to allow for actions which fall beyond those defined in the Constitution. The method is known as amending.

    When an act of infidelity in a marriage violates the sworn marital vows, it is considered grounds for divorce. What label do we assign to the dilemma posed by the violations of the Presidential Oath?

  2. Exactly. The point is: how do we go about defending our constitution (liberties)when the domestic enemy happens to be our very own government (I’d say all 3 branches)? No?

  3. Winyan Staz says:

    When the commander in chief states for the record that you are guilty before you even went to trial…something is badly wrong.
    He will NEVER get a fair trial by the Military.
    It should be dropped right now because of Obama’s statement that condemned Bradley as guilty before he even went to trial.
    They are torturing this young man for doing the RIGHT thing.
    We hanged Germans for NOT reporting war crimes…and now we are torturing an American solder for doing the right thing? What choice did he have? Either live with the knowlege he was enabling war crimes or to get the information out there? He chose the right thing and we should be PROUD of him for doing so.
    The military is really screwing up on this one. They have an oportunity to come out looking like good guys and should be giving Bradley a medal or like terrorists or torture an American solder who has never even gone to trial!!!….

  4. jschoneboom says:

    Bravo Stephen Kohn, well said.

  5. jschoneboom says:

    I made a transcript of the Kohn statement for some friends who probably wouldn’t listen to the audio. Here it is in case anyone else wants to copy and paste or finds the text useful: (No guarantees as to exact accuracy!)

    I will say that the treatment of Manning has been a constitutional disgrace. It’s like somehow you can suspend the Constitution when the president utters the magic words ‘national security.’ Not true. If you read the constitution it’s not true. In fact, the constitution put all types of checks against the military authority of the president. Consciously. If you go to the legislative history, they were very afraid that the executive would use their military powers in a way to suppress liberty. And they put restrictions on it.

    Bradley Manning is innocent until proven guilty, but no one in the executive is willing to admit that. He is being subjected to torture. There are rules against cruel and inhuman punishment in the Constitution.

    He has been denied bail. The right to bail is in the Constitution. And there is not a shred of evidence that, if he was given bail, that he’s a flight risk. You’re just flagrantly denying his constitutional rights, I believe torturing him, in an attempt to somehow break him down. The treatment of him as an individual American citizen is a disgrace.

    Now let’s go look at what he’s accused of doing. But again, the First Amendment applies. The First Amendment gives Americans the right to disclose information about government misconduct. If the United States thinks he did something wrong, there’s a mechanism. And they should be weighing each document and conducting what’s known as a balancing test. The public’s right to know versus whatever harm to national security the release may cause.

    I believe that question should be given to a jury. The government can’t just stand secret on every document and get away with it. That’s censorship. That’s a dictatorship, if the president can just declare things secret. Misconduct is hidden. Voters cannot learn about critical facts necessary to exercise the franchise. How do you vote for one candidate or another if the president or the government can declare secret their crimes and misdemeanors?

    That’s why the Constitution applies. And what is so heartbreaking is that there’s such a willingness of people to look at fundamental Constitutional rights and just ignore them. And that’s wrong, and it’s just dumbfounding to me that there’s not an uproar, saying hold it right there, he’s an American, he has rights. And those rights are applied, and guess what, the founding fathers put it in the Constitution, not because they were afraid that Britney Spears would be censored, or that American Idol would be taken off the air. They explicitly did it because they knew that unpopular people who do things that challenge the status quo are at risk and therefore they enshrined in our Constitution certain fundamental rights.

    And it’s the unpopular people that those rights were designed for. It’s for Bradley Manning. No one had to be afraid that if Donald Trump got caught speeding he’d be denied bail. It’s just never going to happen. But for Bradley Manning, who’s been found guilty of nothing, to be held in solitary, in isolation, and be denied his right to bail? And the reason why right to bail is so critical is because it’s well known that it’s one of the most important mechanisms to enable someone to conduct a defense and be found not guilty at the end of the day. If you’re denied bail, it’s so hard to put together a defense. And then the prejudicial statements of the president and others. How would any court martial panel have the guts to find him not guilty? This is just really, it’s essentially suppression of whistle-blowing on steroids.

  6. Have Obama and various Congresspeople violated their oaths? IMO, yes. Should they be impeached? Again, yes.

    But, in this corporate litigious society, how do you draw attention to this and actually hold people accountable? Like any document, the Constitution is subject to many different interpretations by different people at different levels of power. Some are attorneys. Others aren’t, In a sense they’re like the brother-in-law who knows he’s right when he says you don’t have to pay taxes. Right. Are you a CPA or a tax attorney? No. But damnit, I know I’m right! Not exactly a strong legal defense.

    To get attention, you have to compete against the various “experts” who might be pissed off that a “non-expert” is on the air and possibly wasting everyone’s time. The MSM will probably love more screaming head “debates”. The hardcore Obama fans will still say lay off. Give the guy a chance and so on. Totally oblivious to everything that he’s done so far. Meanwhile, others who deserve to be heard like Code Pink are an SNL punchline.

    Many people will vote for Obama in 2012 because:
    (a) he killed that (fill in the blank) Bin Laden.
    (b) he’s the lesser of two evils.
    (c) there’s no other choice. So why are you complaining?

    Various constitutional experts like Marge Cohan and other experts can write yet another book or post another column at TruthDig. org or some other site. People see it, post about it. And that’s it.

    Kucinich is the only Democrat so far who’s publically talked about the POSSIBILITY of Obama being impeached Some outlets like RT were trying to hype this like he’s wants Obama to be impeached. Kucinich then made it clear that he’s only talking about the possibility.

    This tells me that there’s literally no Democrat that will stand up to Hoyer and Reid. Is any other Progressive Caucus or Black Caucus person backing Kucinich? No. Lots of pointless soundbites about “the current state of our nation” and other stuff. But NOBODY will put the butt on the line and call for Obama’s impeachment.

    This tells me that none of the Powers that Be take the Constitution seriously. Yeah, it’s just some silly ass “oath” you have to say. But nobody cares about that.

    If you think that maybe there should be an accountability law that allows politicians to be fired if they don’t do their job, there’s no way that will ever be passed. It’ll be talked for about 5 minutes on C-SPAN and then tabled, never to be seen again.

    Obama, Reid and Hoyer could care less about any of this. All that matters is money, power and getting and keeping your “fair share”. Constituents are to be avoided at all costs. Have you ever had a Congressperson actually respond to you? I’ve been blown off by every progressive person in Congress many times. Is this part of their office staff’s training?

    They don’t care. Why? Because they know that not all but many are so apathetic they have nothing to worry about. They’re using that apathy as a gurantee to a nice cushy job.

    This means that we’re going to have more “Death of the Liberal Class” books rehashing the obvious. It helps Chris Hedges to pay the bills. But in the overall scheme of things, it’s not doing anything.

  7. 344thBrother says:

    From my facebook page.

    Dave Short: To me, this is another example of the sickness of the entire USA prison system. The idea that prison rape is a part of the punishment, (The hairy backed bubba cell mate) is now almost accepted as normal. And the USA’s prison population is the biggest in the world.

    What are the people who have been “processed “through this “Modern” system doing now, and what do they think of this humane treatment and the government that allows it, and the citizens who think that it’s acceptable?

  8. at that age, I grinned and looked at the camera.,
    only not so happy.

    I wonder what they have done with his happiness ? What bottle its going to be put for later analysis.

    El presidente already judged him guilty.
    No Harvard Collegues of truth and justice call out to him,
    that we can hear.
    to condemn a man before trial,
    moribund heart.
    Stupid Fascism. always so gleefull at the misery of others.

  9. at that age,
    I grinned and looked at the camera too.,
    only not so happy.

    I wonder what they have done with his happiness ? What bottle its going to be put for later analysis.

    El presidente already judged him guilty.
    No Harvard Colleagues of truth and justice call out to him,
    that we can hear.
    to condemn a man before trial,
    moribund heart.
    Stupid Fascism. always so gleefull at the misery of others.

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