Wikileaks Whistleblower Faces Life in Prison After Judge Opts for Maximum Charges

Manning charged with ‘aiding the enemy'; trial to begin September 21

Military judge Col. Denise Lind refused to dismiss the most serious charges against Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents for transparency website Wikileaks. Thursday night Lind announced she was rejecting the motion made by the defense to throw out the charge of “aiding the enemy”. Manning will now face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

PFC Bradley Manning is escorted by military police as he departs the courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland on April 25. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Manning’s attorney David Coombs maintains that there will be no proof that Manning intended to help al-Qaida when he allegedly leaked the classified material to Wikileaks.

“Everything we know about Bradley Manning is the complete opposite of this charge — nothing about aiding the enemy but everything about aiding the public’s understanding of an unpopular war,” stated Jeff Paterson, of the Bradley Manning Support Group.

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From Veterans For Peace:

WE MUST SUPPORT OUR WHISTLE BLOWERS!  WITHOUT THEM, HOW WILL WE KNOW WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?  FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

I was among several VFPers who attended the pre-trial hearing for Bradley Manning this week.
We were part of a group of 25 supporters who filled the court room each day of the three-day hearing.  We all wore black t-shirts emblazoned on the front in white with only one word, TRUTH.
Bradley looked good – healthy, relaxed, fully engaged with his civilian and military lawyers, occasionally offering an observation with a smile.
At the end of the hearing today, many of us shouted out greetings to Bradley, and one person said, “Aiding the public is not aiding the enemy.”

David Coombs, Bradley’s lead lawyer, put up a brilliant full-court press, submitting well argued motions for dismissing all charges, dismissing the most serious Aiding the Enemy charge, dismissing unreasonably multiplipied charges, compelling testimony from the secret Grand Jury hearings against Wikileaks, and requesting access to Defense and State Dept. “damage assessments” that reportedly show little to no serious damage from the Wikileaks releases.
The military judge denied all defense motions but did make some clarifications and concessions that may be helpful. Most significantly, perhaps, she said that the prosecution would have to prove that Bradley intended to release classified information to “the enemy,” which the government has defined as Al Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

See news reports and commentary, below.
The Bradley Manning Support Network put up ads in 21 metro stations in Washington, DC this week, after raising $14,000 dollars from 400 to do so. They can now be seen by tens of thousands of DC commuters, including employees of the Defense and State departments, among others.

The ad defines the word, “Whistle-blower” as “noun, a person who tells the people what the government does not want them to know.  See also, Hero, Patriot, Bradley Manning.”  with Bradley’s photo.

Check out the following three articles on Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing this week.  


David House was interviewed today on MSNBC. See below.

Bradley Manning judge warns military prosecutors in WikiLeaks case
UK Guardian

The Government’s Warning To Bradley Manning and Others:  Tell On Us and We Will Put You Behind Bars for the Rest of Your Life
by Ann Wright

Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy”

by Michael Ratner

David House, of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Interviewed on MSNBC today.
=======================================================
Veterans For Peace is proud to be an active supporting organization of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

The Bradley Manning Support Network has tons of useful updates and action alerts on its excellent website.


Join our facebook page: savebradley 37,186 followers, and growing

“God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” 
-from Bradley’s alleged chat with Adrian Lamo

 

Associated Press: No charges dismissed for soldier in Wikileaks case

Col. Denise Lind rejected a defense motion to throw out the charge of “aiding the enemy” during a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. It was one of several motions seeking to dismiss some or all of the charges, but Lind left all 22 counts against Manning in place.

In seeking dismissal of the most serious offense, defense attorney David Coombs had argued that the charge didn’t properly allege that Manning intended to help al-Qaida when he allegedly sent hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and State Department diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Manning stated in an online chat with a confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the information because, “I want people to see the truth.”

Prosecutors had argued that Manning knew the enemy would see the material when it appeared on WikiLeaks, regardless of his intentions.

Lind said Thursday that prosecutors must prove during trial that Manning knew he was giving information to the enemy. If they fail to do so, Lind indicated she would consider a defense motion to dismiss the charge.

Jeff Paterson, a leader of the Bradley Manning Support Group, said he was disappointed by the ruling but encouraged by what he called the “high hurdle” prosecutors must clear.

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Agence France-Presse: WikiLeaks suspect loses bid to get key charge dropped

The decision was another setback for Manning, whose attorneys had argued for the espionage charge to be tossed out unless the government was prepared to prove the US Army private had intended to help Al-Qaeda when he allegedly passed files to WikiLeaks.

The 24-year-old could be jailed for life if convicted of “aiding the enemy,” one of 22 criminal charges that judge Colonel Denise Lind let stand at pre-trial hearings this week at Fort Meade in Maryland.

Lind said she would issue instructions on the espionage count to make clear what prosecutors will have to prove against Manning when his trial starts on September 21.

The government will have to show that Manning “knowingly” and without permission passed classified information to the enemy “through indirect means,” she said.

Defense lawyers insisted the government’s case implies any soldier could be prosecuted for espionage if they inadvertently divulged secrets online or discussed sensitive information with news reporters.

Prosecutors, however, maintained Manning’s intent was not at issue and that the government only needed to prove that the intelligence analyst knew Al-Qaeda would see the leaked information on the anti-secrecy WikiLeaks sit

 

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