Friday, March 04, 2011

UPDATED (in prison abuse): Bradley Manning may face death penalty

See UPDATES at the end of this post...

MSNBC/Common Dreams

Published originally on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by MSNBC Wikileaks: Bradley Manning Faces 22 New Charges, Possible Death Penalty
by Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube

'Aiding the enemy' is most serious of new counts filed against private in WikiLeaks case

WASHINGTON — Following an intensive seven-month investigation, the Army on Wednesday filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks, military officials tell NBC News.

The most serious of the new charges is "aiding the enemy," a capital offense which carries a potential death sentence.

Pentagon and military officials say some of the classified information released by WikiLeaks contained the names of informants and others who had cooperated with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, endangering their lives.

According to the officials, the U.S. military rounded up many of those named and brought them into their bases for protection. But, according to one military official, "We didn't get them all." Military officials tell NBC News a small number of them still have not been found.

Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, did not immediately return a call from for comment.

But Coombs wrote on his blog Wednesday that it was uncertain whether any additional charges filed against his client would stick.

"The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning's commander," he wrote. "The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate's office, of the possible offenses in this case. Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.”

Manning, 23, was first charged on July 6, 2010, with illegally downloading and transferring defense information to an "unauthorized source," when he worked as a military intelligence analyst in Baghdad. He was also charged on accusations that he obtained 150,000 classified State Department cables, many of which were also eventually released by WikiLeaks.

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.

Pentagon and military officials also report that investigators have made no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Manning remains in custody at the U.S. Marine Brig at Quantico south of Washington, D.C., awaiting court martial proceedings.

Coombs, Manning's lawyer, has complained that his confinement conditions — in maximum custody under a “prevention of injury” watch — are unduly harsh and undermine his right to a fair trial. Manning has been confined in a 6-by-12-foot cell with a bed, a drinking fountain and a toilet for about 23 hours a day, Coombs has said.

Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have called for Bradley to be released from detention. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have condemned the Obama administration's imprisonment conditions.

James Eng of contributed to this report.

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Here are some related items:

Is This Quantico or Abu Ghraib?

By Rep. Dennis Kuchinich, Reader Supported News 05 March 11

After initial allegations of mistreatment, I requested a visit with Private First Class Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, to see for myself the conditions of his treatment.

Despite the fact that Manning has not been found guilty of any crime, his lawyer reports that he is in isolation 23 out of 24 hours every day, conditions which may violate his 8th Amendment protection from 'cruel and unusual' punishment. This treatment is in stark contrast to a presumption of innocence and raises questions of whether Pfc. Manning can be fit for trial.

My request to visit with Pfc. Manning must not be delayed further. Today we have new reports that Manning was stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours. While refusing to explain the justification for the treatment, a marine spokesman confirmed the actions but claimed they were "not punitive."Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib? Officials have confirmed the "non-punitive" stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime.

This "non-punitive" action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of "cruel and unusual punishment," and could constitute a potential violation of international law.The Army Field Manual, 2-22.3 (FM 34-52): Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Page 5-21, section 5-75 clearly states that: "If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations, prohibited actions include, but are not limited to -- Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner."

Find this item here

Bradley Manning's Forced Nudity To Occur Daily
By Glenn Greenwald on Counter Currents dot org here

Brig officials now confirm to The New York Times that Manning will be forced to be nude every night from now on for the indefinite future -- not only when he sleeps, but also when he stands outside his cell for morning inspection along with the other brig detainees. They claim that it is being done "as a 'precautionary measure' to prevent him from injuring himself."

Criminalizing The Truth Tellers
By Dr. Lawrence Davidson GO here

There is no doubt that Julian Assange, the head of the Wikileaks organization, and Bradley Manning are being singled out and made examples of by the Obama administration. Their suffering constitutes a message which goes like this: if you inform the public of what the United States government is doing, no matter how illegal and disgusting it might be, our police and intelligence agencies will track you down and turn your life into hell...

From Andy Worthington who wrote "The Guantanamo Files: here Find lots of comments here


Connie L. Nash said...

WikiLeaks suspect forced to sleep naked in brig

Fri Mar 4, 8:57 am ET
WASHINGTON – The lawyer for an Army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks says it's inexcusable that that his client was forced to sleep naked in his cell at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.

The Marines confirmed Friday that Pfc. Bradley Manning was made to relinquish his boxer shorts for about seven hours Wednesday night due to what 1st Lt. Brian Villiard calls a "situationally driven" event.

Villiard wouldn't elaborate, citing concerns about Manning's privacy.

Defense attorney David Coombs says the conditions of Manning's pretrial confinement are punitive and violate military rules.

The former intelligence analyst is charged with aiding the enemy and other offenses for allegedly leaking classified information.

Connie L. Nash said...

Yes, I realize this is not my usual post and that there is UNDERSTANDABLE controversy over wikileaks. ( I myself feel mixed responses to what may have been opened up.)

However, surely we on this site don't require the prisoners' file nor dossier to be what we may consider "
eligible" to be exempt from the death penalty.

So, I'm curious why this post is getting no comments? :)