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Entries in Wikileaks (56)

Thursday
Apr262012

Bradley Manning Defense Challenges Charge of ‘Aiding the Enemy’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Approximately 20 supporters of PFC Bradley Manning on Wednesday spilled over both sides of a small courtroom at Fort Meade, Md., the venue for a pre-trial hearing in the WikiLeaks case at which Manning’s defense argued for dismissing charges against Manning.

About half of the Manning supporters had “truth” emblazoned across their shirts.  Although their shirts spoke for them, at the very end of the hearing a few voices made their opinions audible.

A man yelled out, “Thank you, Bradley,” followed by, “Please free Bradley Manning.”

One woman yelled, “I think the military should go on trial.”  Then another joined in, saying, “We need to know what our government’s doing.”

It was unclear if Manning, 24, acknowledged his supporters.

Manning is charged with having provided hundreds of thousands of classified military reports, diplomatic cables and video clips to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst during a deployment to Baghdad.  WikiLeaks then posted much of the information on the Internet.

Earlier on Wednesday, the presiding judge in the case denied a defense motion that all the charges against Manning be dismissed.

The afternoon session focused on defense motions to dismiss a charge of aiding the enemy.

Manning’s defense counsel, David Coombs, argued that the charge was unreasonable.

“Because the enemy had access to Internet and may go to the website, they are indirectly aiding the enemy?” he asked.  “Most common-sense knowledge people would know the enemy uses the Internet.”

Coombs also accused government prosecutors of broadly interpreting what aiding the enemy means with regard to Internet chats.  He said they could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right to free speech.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice’s definition of aiding the enemy says that a perpetrator, “without proper authority, knowingly … gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”

The prosecution said Manning did, in fact, know that the enemy, which was previously defined as al Qaeda, would access the government secrets on WikiLeaks.

During Manning’s pre-trial “Article 32″ hearing in December, the government presented evidence that included a Powerpoint presentation in which the former Army intelligence analyst depicted WikiLeaks as a way the “enemy” obtains information.

Coombs criticized the government for allegedly piling “on offenses to increase the sentence.”

“Now, the maximum punishment is in the stratosphere, due to the way you [the government] charged it,” Coombs said.

He requested four charges be dismissed because the specifications were unreasonable and a duplication of other charges against Manning.

The charge of aiding the enemy carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  If convicted of the other charges he faces, Manning could face more than 150 years in prison.

Col. Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the case, expects to have decisions on both motions Thursday morning.  The day will then turn to addressing the prosecution’s motion on the actual harm of the leaks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Bradley Manning: Judge Denies Dismissal, Sets Trial Date

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- The judge overseeing the hearings of the alleged WikiLeaker PFC Bradley Manning denied a defense request Wednesday to dismiss all charges with prejudice.

Manning’s lawyers had argued that they didn’t receive key pieces of evidence from the prosecution and therefore the charges should be dismissed.

At the Ft. Meade, Md., courthouse Wednesday morning Col. Denise Lind said that the defense does not have a right for discovery prior to the referral for court martial, which was made in early January; therefore there were no violations by the government in disclosure of information to the defense.

Citing the fact that most of that information requested by defense for discovery is maintained by other government agencies, Lind said the government does not have authority to compel discovery of evidence from other agencies until after the case was referred.

Lind denied the defense motion to obtain grand jury testimony from the Eastern District of Virginia.  A grand jury there has been empanelled to investigate the WikiLeaks case.

The judge also noted that the prosecution has no authority to release FBI information. She did order the government to go through the material and notify the court of any items that could benefit the defense.

After court on Tuesday the defense and prosecution met with Lind to outline a tentative schedule for the remaining hearings and trial dates.

COURT DATES:
Hearing: June 6-8
Hearing: July 16-20
Hearing: August 27-31
Hearing: September 19-20
Trial: currently scheduled to begin September 21 through October 12, 2012.

The remainder of Wednesday’s hearing dealt with arguments on the defense motion to dismiss for unreasonable multiplication of charges.

An Army legal advisor tells ABC News that it’s common for a prosecutor to bring charges in two separate forms, knowing one may get dismissed.  Lind will examine all charges and may join some together or leave all as is.

The outcome of the decision means a possible lower sentence. The jail time is determined by adding up all the possible sentences for all the crimes. However, Manning is charged with aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum life sentence.  The defense has brought a motion to drop this charge as well, arguing Manning didn’t have “intent” and therefore was not properly charged by the government.

The government is expected to argue that there doesn’t need to be intent to get to charged with aiding the enemy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Bradley Manning Judge to Rule on Request to Drop Charges

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- An Army judge said she will rule Wednesday on a defense request to drop the charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, and set deadlines for various government agencies to provide assessments of the impact of Manning’s alleged leaking of classified materials to WikiLeaks.

The bulk of the day in the pretrial hearing focused on arguments for and against the motion his defense team filed last month to dismiss the charges against Manning with prejudice.

Manning is being court-martialed for allegedly leaking a trove of classified documents and video clips to WikiLeaks, a website dedicated to undermining government and corporate secrecy.

David Coombs, Manning’s civilian lawyer and the head of his defense team, argued that it was “abundantly clear the government didn’t understand their discovery obligations,” because they were using the wrong code of standards and looking only for “game-changing” information.

Manning’s attorney added that even if the government did a re-review and included additional factors, problems would arise from the “inherent conflict of interest” by the government, because finding additional material would “underscore” their violations. It would also cause issues for Manning’s right to a speedy trial, Coombs said.

The prosecution said they do understand discovery and “are producing (discovery information) above and beyond the minimum” requirements by law.

The defense’s motion to compel discovery was partially determined at Tuesday’s hearing.

Col. Denise Lind, the Army judge overseeing the hearing, set deadlines for the CIA, FBI, DIA, State Department, and Department of Justice to provide assessments they made regarding the impact of the classified materials being leaked to WikiLeaks.

The assessments are “relevant and necessary” because they “may contain information to the accused,” Lind said. She will review the assessments before deciding to forward them to the defense.

In addition, the court ordered forensic imaging of the remaining computers confiscated from Manning’s unit. Of the original 14 computers, five remain that have not been wiped clean.

There was also a request by the defense to obtain grand jury testimony from the Eastern District of Virginia.  A grand jury there has been empaneled to investigate the WikiLeaks case.

The government says that the grand jury testimony is out of its control because the decision is up to the federal judge who oversees that case. Coombs argued that the government can get it if it wants to, “but when the defense says, ‘Hey, we want the grand jury testimony,’ they say, ‘Oops, not within our jurisdiction.’”

The court also ruled that the defense would be allowed to post redacted portions of the defense motion to its blog.  Lind said that was not release authority for other documents, referring to prosecution documents, and that there is already a congressional process set up under the Freedom of Information Act for documents to be released.

The decisions on these rulings, including the motion to dismiss with prejudice, are expected to be determined Wednesday morning. The pre-trial hearing is expected to wrap on Thursday.

Tuesday morning’s session began with Manning replacing his Army defense lawyers, Maj. Matthew Kemkes and Capt. Paul Bouchard, with Capt. Joshua Tooman.

Manning requested the change in his defense counsel in a letter to Lind. No explanation was given for the change.  Coombs remains Manning’s civilian counsel and continues to head his defense team.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Bradley Manning WikiLeaks Case: Court to Weigh Dismissal

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Alleged WikiLeaker Army PFC Bradley Manning is back in a Ft. Meade, Md., courtroom Tuesday for the third time this year, where a judge is expected to decide whether to dismiss charges against him.

Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents while serving as an Army intelligence analyst.

The oral arguments set to be heard throughout the next three days will focus on the defense’s request for dismissal of all charges following their claim that military prosecutors have failed to hand over a broad range of documents potentially helpful to the defense.

Rather than restart the discovery process that began two years ago, the defense is asking the judge to dismiss the case.

The government stipulates that they have been compliant throughout the process.

The judge has the option of dismissing all charges with prejudice, which would mean that the case against Manning is effectively over.

The defense has also filed motions to dismiss the charges of aiding the enemy, as well as the charges of “wrongfully and wantonly” publishing intelligence information belonging to the government on the Internet, stipulating that they are effectively the same charge and should be charged as one course of conduct.

The prosecution, however, says that Congress intended the laws to be separate and individual charges.

According to a military legal expert, the judge will examine all the charges by lining them up to see how they compare.

The date for Manning’s court martial is expected to get underway later this summer. Manning has yet to enter a plea or select whether he wants to be tried by a military judge or a military jury.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

Bradley Manning Defense Seeks Dismissal of Charges

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- The defense in Bradley Manning’s court-martial case Thursday submitted a motion for dismissal of the charges with prejudice, meaning the soldier could not be retried on charges he leaked government secrets.

The motion arose after a fundamental disagreement occurred between the defense and prosecution over how slowly the prosecution is providing evidence during the discovery phase.

PFC Manning’s lead defense counsel, David Coombs, said that the government has to comply and turn over all information and documents, including classified documents, that the defense has requested.

The request for discovery includes FOIA requests for the Apache Helicopter Video, which the government said they gave the defense Wednesday night; a Quantico video of Manning’s interrogation, which the government argues does not exist; encase forensic images of all computers within Manning’s unit; and, lastly, four damage assessment reports -- Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA’s WikiLeaks task force, FBI and Department of Justice.

The government’s belief is that they have turned over all the information they have to by military rule, and that classified information is mandated by a separate set of rules, a standard the defense does not believe to be true.

In response to the government’s position, the defense submitted the motion to dismiss charges with prejudice.

“They do not understand their discovery obligations,” Coombs said. “We have a serious problem. This is beyond jury…We’ve had two years under which the government has (used) the wrong standard of Brady.”

Brady refers to a citing case law in which the prosecution must provide evidence to the defense, including that which is beneficial to the defense.

Coombs used the analogy of being almost done baking a cake when you realize “you forgot to put the eggs in it,” when referring to the government’s handling of evidence. The final decision as to the legal determination will be left to the judge.

OTHER MOTION OUTCOMES:

The defense’s first motion sought to refine the charges brought against Manning. Manning’s legal team is asking for the means and methods that the government alleges the defendant used to commit the crimes he is charged with, including who the alleged “enemy” is in the charge “aiding the enemy.”

Aiding the enemy is the most severe charge brought against Manning and holds a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The government defined the enemy Thursday as al Qaeda.  In addition, 24-year-old Manning is facing charges including wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, stealing public property or records, and transmitting defense information.

The government clarified for the defense that Manning knowingly gave information to and aided the enemy by publishing content on WikiLeaks.

The next motion addressed during Thursday’s hearing deals with the defense requesting an ex-parte witness, a witness the government doesn’t get to see prior to trial, and asking the government to deliver some evidence to them.

Col. Denise Lind, military judge for the case, denied the defense's request for an ex-parte witness, saying it does not meet the requirement for unusual circumstances.

The court had previously decided a fourth motion, pre-trial publicity, to protect prospective panel members (jury) and their ability to learn about the case. The defense did not want “standing panel members,” which is similar to a federal court jury pool, to read anything in the media regarding the case.

The government did not contest this motion.

Manning has not selected the forum he would like to be tried in, but this motion is pre-emptive to protect his rights, should a military jury be called.

Manning is also accused of providing online publisher WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified military action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified State Department cables when he served as an Army intelligence analyst in Baghdad in late 2009 to early 2010.

It is expected that the judge will set a calendar Thursday for the remaining court motions, witness list due date, plea and forum decision, as well as the trial.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Bradley Manning Arraigned, Defers Entering Plea

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of providing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and State Department cables to online publisher WikiLeaks, deferred entering a plea at his arraignment Thursday.

Sitting in the Ft. Meade, Md., courtroom in his dress Army greens and signature black-rimmed glasses, Manning had his civilian counsel, David Coombs, and his assigned military counsel by his side.

Although Manning sat in the same chair and courtroom as he did throughout his December pre-trial Article 32 hearing, this is the first time he has sat before a military judge, facing a court-martial.

When Manning was asked how he would plead, Coombs replied on behalf of the former Army intelligence analyst. “PFC Manning would like to defer both on his plea and on motions,” Coombs said.

Manning barely spoke throughout the arraignment, responding “Yes, your honor” when asked by the military judge whether he understood the charges against him, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, stealing public property or records and transmitting defense information.

Coombs also deferred selection of the kind of forum in which Manning is to be tried.

Manning has the option to be tried before a military judge alone, a panel of members, which is the military equivalent of a jury made up of officers, or a member panel made up of one-third enlisted soldiers.

The default selection would be a panel with enlisted soldiers to protect the accused, according to a legal military expert, adding that deferring the forum selection and plea is often done for tactical reasons. The plea can be entered anytime before the start of the trial.

The trial date is left to the military judge to determine.  But the defense objected to any delay past their requested date of June, saying it would violate Manning’s “due process rights.”

“As of today, PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement of 635 days,” Coombs said.

“If government gets its way,” with a requested trial start date of Aug. 3, Manning would have spent “over 800 days before trial begins” in pre-trial confinement, he added.

Unlike during the December Article 32 hearings, Coombs did not challenge Military Judge Col. Denise Linds’ proceeding over the hearing; although he did cast multiple questions toward the military judge about her pre-existing knowledge of the case and possible conflicts of interest.

The majority of the 45-minute hearing dealt with an alleged government “spillage,” in which the defense submitted a motion containing classified material through an unclassified system, as well as other filings of motions.

Manning is next expected before the court March 15-16 to address multiple motions that have been submitted by both the government and defense.

If the 24-year-old is convicted, he faces life in prison, as well as a reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Accused ‘WikiLeaker’ Bradley Manning Facing Arraignment

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Private First Class Bradley Manning, accused of having provided hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and State Department cables to WikiLeaks, deferred entering a plea at his arraignment Thursday.

(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Accused “WikiLeaker” Bradley Manning’s arraignment is set to get underway Thursday in Maryland.

The formal presentation of charges comes after December’s week-long, pre-trial hearing in which the investigating officer who presided recommended that Manning face a military court, which was approved by Army Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington of the Military District of Washington.

Pfc. Manning is accused of providing online publisher WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified military action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified State Department cables when he served as an Army intelligence analyst in Baghdad in late 2009 to early 2010.

Manning will hear the 22 charges against him, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, stealing public property or records, and transmitting defense information.

His lawyers have said he was a troubled soldier who should have never been given access to classified information.

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense punishable by death, but Army prosecutors have said they will instead pursue life in prison if the 24-year-old Manning is convicted.

Manning could also face a reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

He will be allowed to enter a plea Thursday to the charges against him. The arraignment offers the possibility of a plea deal, although there has been no indication that such an plan is in the works.

A trial date has yet to be set.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb032012

Bradley Manning Will Face a Court Martial

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Army has approved a court martial for PFC Bradley Manning the soldier accused of having leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.

A statement from the Military District of Washington said that Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington has referred all the charges against Manning to a court martial.

Linnington approved the recommendation for a court martial that had been made by the investigating officer who presided over a week-long pre-trial hearing in December.  

The recommendation had to be approved by the two superior officers with convening authority for the case. With the other officer having approved the recommendation in mid-January, Linnington’s approval was the last obstacle for Manning to face a general court martial.

 A trial date will be determined after a military judge is detailed to the case.  According to the statement, “that military judge will set the date for Manning’s arraignment, motion hearings and trial.”  

Serving as an Army intelligence analyst serving in Baghdad in late 2009 to early 2010, Manning had access to classified military and State Department files.

He is accused of having provided Wikileaks with hundreds of thousands of classified military action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 260,000 classified State Department cables.

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records and transmitting defense information.

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense that could bring the death penalty, but Army prosecutors have said they will instead pursue life in prison if the 24-year old Manning is convicted.

Manning could also face a reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

 

Friday
Jan272012

US Intel Head: WikiLeaks a 'Terrible Event,' Forced Changes

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man in charge of America's intelligence gathering said that the WikiLeaks cable breach was such a "terrible event" that it spurred an overall change in the way the nation will handle its classified information.

Well beyond stamping "Top Secret" on a document, National Intelligence Director James Clapper told an audience in Washington, D.C., that America's intelligence community aims to use a new system that would be far more specific about what information can be accessed and by whom.

According to Clapper and several top intelligence officials who spoke along with him, the new system is part of an effort to find an effective middle ground between the perceived intelligence sharing gaps from the pre-9/11 days and the resulting relatively unregulated over-sharing that led to the WikiLeaks document dumps.

"The goal, of course, is to find that Nirvana, that sweet spot, between the responsibility to share and the need to protect," Clapper said at a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "If you can be sure that the information that you're sharing is actually going to an authorized recipient, that actually is an inducement to do more sharing."

The new system, as described by Clapper, would employ detailed "tagging" of each piece of intelligence as well as more specific restrictions as to who can access the information.

Tim Doran, a senior director on President Obama's national security staff, said the system's ultimate goal is "the right users having the access to the right information in the right format at the right time in any location, immediately."

Clapper said the new system was already a "work in progress" but cautioned that information sharing between agencies continues to be a "serious challenge." Any "notable changes" in intelligence sharing may not come earlier than five years from now, Clapper said.

WikiLeaks is an anti-secrecy website that has published hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents from the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. An Army private, Bradley Manning, stands accused of being a principle source of the leaks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan122012

Bradley Manning Recommended for Court-Martial

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Private First Class Bradley Manning moved one step closer to a court-martial Thursday.

Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the investigating officer who last month presided over Manning’s Article 32 hearing, on Thursday recommended to his convening authority that there are “reasonable grounds that the accused committed the offenses alleged,” and that a court-martial is in order.

Manning is charged with releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, as well as aiding the enemy.

In making his recommendation for court-martial, Almanza weighed testimony presented at the hearing in December, as well as more than 300,000 government pages of documents, chat logs and classified documents.

What still is left to be decided is who will make the final decision as to whether Manning should face a court-martial.

If Manning does go to court-martial trial and is convicted, he would most likely face life in prison. The charge of aiding the enemy does carry with it the death penalty, but prosecutors previously said they will not request it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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