U.S. Military Charges WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning with ’Aiding the Enemy’
The US military on Wednesday unveiled new charges against the soldier suspected of passing a trove of secret government documents to WikiLeaks, accusing him of "aiding the enemy."
US Army authorities announced 22 additional charges against Private Bradley Manning, including the serious offense of "aiding the enemy," which carries a potential death sentence.
But military prosecutors do not plan to seek the death penalty if Manning is convicted and instead the 23-year-old soldier would face possible life in prison, the army said in a statement.
"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes" that Manning is accused of committing, said Captain John Haberland, spokesman for the military district of Washington.
The US military had already announced 12 charges against Manning in July, accusing him of violating federal criminal and military law.
The Pentagon has yet to explicitly link him to the WikiLeaks website but suspicion has focused on Manning, who worked as a low-ranking army intelligence analyst in Iraq and reportedly boasted of communicating with the website.
US and Western officials have condemned WikiLeaks for publishing hundreds of thousands of sensitive military documents and diplomatic cables over the past several months.
The charges, following a seven-month investigation, included "wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it will be accessed by the enemy," theft of public records, transmitting defense information, fraud related to computers, the army statement said.
The WikiLeaks website has yet to disclose its source for the massive trove of secret documents, but suspicion has focused on Manning, who worked as a low-ranking army intelligence analyst in Iraq.
A trial date has yet to be set for Manning and the army said Wednesday that proceedings have been delayed since July 12, 2010 pending the outcome of an inquiry into the soldier’s "mental capacity" requested by defense lawyers, the army statement said.
Manning remained detained at a brig at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, south of Washington, and was informed of the charges earlier Wednesday, it said.
Manning’s supporters and lawyers have complained about the conditions of his solitary confinement, saying the "maximum security" regime is inhumane and unnecessary.
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Yale Law School’s Eugene Fidell discusses the charges against Bradley Manning
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The harsh prison detention conditions endured by Bradley Manning – the US soldier who is alleged to have supplied classified government documents to WikiLeaks – have emerged. For the last seven months, Private Manning, 23, has been kept in a cell six feet wide and 12 feet long, in solitary confinement at a maximum security military jail at Quantico, Virginia.Lieutenant Colonel David Coombes, the lawyer defending him, pointed out that his client, who faces a 52-year sentence if convicted, is still being held on “Prevention of Injury Watch” for those deemed to be at risk of self-harm.
Friends of Private Manning say that this has become a means by the authorities to pressurise him into giving evidence against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
A typical day for Private Manning begins with being woken at 5am in the cell, which has a drinking fountain and a toilet. He is then allowed to put on his clothes, which he surrendered on going to bed the night before.Under the rules, Private Manning is not allowed to sleep at any time between 5am and 8pm; if he does so, he is made to sit up or stand by the guards. He is allowed just one hour of exercise a day, even then not in the fresh air, but an empty room where he can walk in figures of eight. Any attempt by him to keep himself busy by, for example, doing press-ups, or sit-ups, is forbidden.
He is not allowed to associate with his fellow inmates and has never seen them, although he does occasionally hear their voices.Private Manning is allowed to watch local television channels, for up to three hours on weekdays; sometimes more at weekends. But he does not have access to wider news coverage. He is allowed one book and one magazine at a time, from an approved list of 15, and is allowed approved visitors at prescribed times. Lt Col Coombes said the guards have, at all times, behaved correctly towards Private Manning. But, under the regulations, their conversations with him must be minimal.
The guards have to check every five minutes that Private Manning is ok, and he has to verbally confirm that he is alright. The same checks are continued during the night, and, if the guards cannot see Private Manning because he has pulled a blanket over his head (he is allowed blankets but not sheets or pillows) then they wake him up.
Inhumane Treatment Of Pfc. Manning - Why?
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