January 14, 2012
Court Martial Recommended For Wikileaks Informant Manning
A U.S. military tribunal has recommended that Pfc. Bradley Manning face a court-martial for charges that he allegedly leaked classified information to Wikileaks.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the Army officer in charge of the tribunal, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, recommended that Manning face trial on all 22 counts, including aiding the enemy. Almanza's report was sent to Col. Carl Coffman.
Coffman, garrison commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall near Washington, is the man who will make recommendation to Military District of Washington commander Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington. Linnington will then make the final decision regarding Manning's court martial.
No timetable was revealed for when those actions might occur, the AP said.
"The outcome of the pre-trial hearing means that a full military trial is almost certain to follow, and is likely to be held within the next three to four months," Ed Pilkington of the Guardian reported Thursday.
"That will set the scene for what promises to be a dramatic clash of wills between the Obama administration and the military high command on the one hand, and Bradley Manning and his forceful defense lawyer David Coombs on the other," he added.
Pilkington said that the Obama administration and top military brass assert that they would like to see a stiff sentence handed down to Manning, as a warning against those who would potentially leak state secrets to Wikileaks or other similar media outlets.
Conversely, the Telegraph reporter says that Manning and his legal team "have already indicated that they plan a robust defense. They have raised the relatively harmless nature of the WikiLeaks documents, the army's incompetence, lack of security at the forward operating base outside Baghdad where Manning was working as an intelligence analyst, and neglect towards Manning from his supervisors as possible mitigating arguments."
The 24-year-old Manning was arrested in May 2010 and accused of releasing thousands of documents to the Julian Assange-owned website, which published them. According to BBC News, he could face life in prison if he is convicted.
"The documents published by Wikileaks amounted to the biggest leak of classified information in US history," the British news organization added. "They included a video of a 2007 helicopter attack in Iraq in which journalists and civilians died, and more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables."
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