Hearing to end today on possible court-martial for Bradley Manning
Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks website. His defense attorneys argue that weak oversight is to blame.
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As the Monitor has reported, Wikileaks’s release of diplomatic cables, starting just over a year ago, has not only been an embarrassment for US diplomats and policymakers, but also many of the foreign leaders and informants whom American diplomats are negotiating with, meeting, and attempting to influence. Efforts have been made by Wikileaks editors and by news organizations such as The New York Times and the Guardian to blot out the names of informants, in order to protect them from reprisals, but in some cases prominent journalists and opposition figures have been exposed and forced to flee into exile.Skip to next paragraph
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The government has called 20 witnesses in the Manning case, most of them fellow soldiers in Manning’s unit and computer experts. Prosecutors believe they can prove that Manning leaked the documents to Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange, and that he knew what he was doing was against the law.
His lawyers are building a three-pronged defense: Manning was a troubled man who shouldn't have had access to classified material, let alone served in Iraq; security at his workplace was weak; and the published material did little or no harm to national security.
CNN’s Pentagon reporter Larry Shaughnessy writes that Manning’s defense strategy, at this stage, seems to be to discover what evidence the prosecutors intend to use, without revealing too much about what the defense may use at a court martial.
Mark Zaid, a national security attorney, said the fact the defense called only two witnesses is not surprising. "For one thing, an Article 32 (hearing) serves as an opportunity for the defense to obtain pre-trial discovery, and particularly information they do not know. Additionally, the likelihood of stopping charges from going forward is non-existent in this case so there is little value in telegraphing to the prosecution information the defense may possess but might not yet have revealed," said Zaid