WikiLeaks: Military judge to rule Thursday on key Manning charge

Fort Meade, Maryland – The judge in US Army Private Bradley Manning’s court martial is expected to decide Thursday whether to drop the most serious charge against the admitted intelligence leaker.

WikiLeaks: Military judge to rule Thursday on key Manning chargeColonel Denise Lind said Monday she would decide whether the charge of aiding the enemy should be dismissed along with several lesser charges. A dismissal of the aiding the enemy charge would remove the possibility that Manning could be sentenced to life in prison.

If she dismisses the other lesser charges, his potential sentences would be reduced by 55 years. However, he still would face a possible maximum sentence of 94 years on other charges.

Manning, 25, has admitted to releasing 700,000 secret military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

To prove Manning aided the enemy, prosecutors have to show that he knew the information he sent to WikiLeaks would be seen by the terrorist network al-Qaeda.

Defence attorney David Coombs argued Manning „had no actual knowledge if the enemy used Wikileaks.“ Coombs referred to a US Army publication drafted in 2008, saying at the time the US Army did not know wether al-Qaeda read the Wikileaks website.

Manning had access to documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a army intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq in 2009-10, and said he wanted to spark debate about US military actions in those wars.

Captain Angel Overgaard argued for the prosecution that Manning was trained specifically that al-Qaeda uses the internet.

„He knew exactly the consequences the government is arguing that he did know,“ Overgaard said.

Manning’s actions have made him a worldwide cause celebre among freedom of information advocates. His court martial began in June and is expected conclude by the end of next week.


Written for dpa, published amongst others at Latino Times.