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04/19/2007


Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning to Get First Court Appearance After 17 Months in Confinement

Accused Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning will get his first pretrial hearing on December 16:

ManningThe primary purpose of the Article 32 hearing is "to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the government's case as well as to provide the defense with an opportunity to obtain pretrial discovery," attorney David E. Coombs wrote Monday on his website.

The defense may call witnesses and cross-examine the government's witnesses, Coombs wrote. Witnesses are placed under oath, and their testimony may be used during a trial.

Writes the Bradley Manning Support Network: "This will be PFC Manning’s first appearance before a court and the first time he will face his accusers after 17 months in confinement. In a blog post this morning, Manning’s lead counsel, David Coombs, notified supporters that the pretrial phase is scheduled to last five days."


Bradley Manning Update

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A reminder from Wikileaks. And some commentary from Reddit.


Watch: Frontline Looks at the Conflicted Mind of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning, His Interest in Gay Rights, His Facebook Wall

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PBS Frontline takes a close look tonight at the conflicted mind of Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning:

Manning's Facebook postings are a vivid, if partial, portrait of his life in the military and of the political and social issues that he followed closely. They reflect his commitment to gay rights and defiance of the military's ban on openly gay or lesbian soldiers. They track the anguish in his personal life. And they conclude with an entry, put up in Manning’s name by his aunt, explaining his arrest with a link to a WikiLeaks website.

Frontline also obtained access to Manning's Facebook account. They offer a detailed annotation of his Facebook wall on their website.

ManningAnother analysis of the Facebook account at Yahoo News' The Lookout:

In the postings, the army intelligence analyst broadcasts his gay rights activism, joining scores of groups like "LGBT Rights" and "REPEAL THE BAN--End 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" and shares thoughts about his boyfriend, in apparent violation of the military's ban on gays serving openly. But the postings, which span nearly three years, also depict a young man who by last year had grown deeply frustrated by the need to hide his sexuality from his colleagues, and was fighting feelings of despair and isolation.

To be sure, there's also evidence that Manning's qualms about the civilian deaths caused by the military, and his broader discomfort with the direction of U.S. foreign policy helped stoke his sense of disillusion and alienation. But taken as a whole, the Facebook archive suggests that anger about Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)--which was repealed by Congress last December, but remains in place for now--may also have played a role in Manning's alleged act of rebellion. In other words, that Manning may have responded to the strain of being made to keep his own secrets for so long by revealing U.S. government secrets of a far more consequential nature.

Watch a preview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Frontline Looks at the Conflicted Mind of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning, His Interest in Gay Rights, His Facebook Wall" »


Obama Calls Treatment of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning 'Appropriate' and 'Meeting Our Basic Standards'

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President Obama assured members of the press today that treatment of Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning, whose treatment has been described as inhumane and compared to torture, was "appropriate" and met "our basic standards."

Watch Obama respond to ABC News' Jake Tapper, AFTER THE JUMP...

Manning Manning spoke out today for the first time since his detention in a letter released by his lawyer:

The most graphic passage of the letter is Manning's description of how he was placed on suicide watch for three days from 18 January. "I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness."

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When he was told he was being put on suicide watch, he writes, "I became upset. Out of frustration, I clenched my hair with my fingers and yelled: 'Why are you doing this to me? Why am I being punished? I have done nothing wrong.'"

He also describes the experience of being stripped naked at night and made to stand for parade in the nude, a condition that continues to this day. "The guard told me to stand at parade rest, with my hands behind my back and my legs spaced shoulder-width apart. I stood at parade rest for about three minutes … The [brig supervisor] and the other guards walked past my cell. He looked at me, paused for a moment, then continued to the next cell. I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked."

Said Obama of Manning's situation: 

"I have asked the Pentagon whether or not the the procedures that have been taken in terms of his condition are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Calls Treatment of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning 'Appropriate' and 'Meeting Our Basic Standards'" »


Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning Hit with 22 Charges, Could Face Death Penalty Over 'Aiding the Enemy'

A seven-month investigation has led U.S. officials to file 22 new charges against Private Bradley Manning accused of downloading thousands of classified documents released by Wikleaks, NBC News reports:

Manning The charges filed Wednesday include 16 specifications of wrongfully obtaining classified material for the purpose of posting it on the Internet, knowing that the information would be accessed by the enemy.  Other charges include the illegal transmission of defense information and fraud.

While conviction on the charge of "aiding the enemy" could result in the death penalty, military prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on that charge alone.  But the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution's recommendation and impose the death penalty.

Like the earlier charges, the charges made no specific mention of WikiLeaks.

Officials have not been able to connect Manning with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Manning's previous charges included "illegally downloading and transferring defense information to an 'unauthorized source.'"

In recent months there has been concern for Manning's health and the "needless brutality" of his solitary confinement, and accusations of torture.


Julian Assange to be Extradited to Sweden

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden, a British judge has ruled:

Assange "Mr Assange will appeal against the High Court ruling, delivered at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, south London, following a hearing two weeks ago. The 39-year-old denies three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape last August in Stockholm. Mr Assange says the claims are politically motivated because of the work of his whistle-blowing website...During the hearing two weeks ago, Mr Assange's lawyer argued that rape trials in Sweden were regularly 'tried in secret behind closed doors in a flagrant denial of justice'. Geoffrey Robertson QC also said his client could later be extradited to the US on separate charges relating to Wikileaks, and could face the death penalty there."

 


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