Jim Kouri
Wikileaks' leaker faces 22 additional charges and life inprisonment
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By Jim Kouri
March 4, 2011

After what it described as an intense investigation that's in its seventh month, the United States Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) announced Wednesday evening that the primary suspect in the so-called Wikileaks case is facing an additional 22 charges in a case that's rocked the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic communities.

According to the Pentagon, Private 1st Class Bradley E. Manning, a low-level military intelligence analyst, allegedly "uploaded" unauthorized software onto government computers to extract classified information. He then unlawfully downloaded the data, improperly stored it, and then transmitted the classified data to unauthorized personnel which allowed the general public access to classified intelligence.

Pvt, Manning's actions — and those of the Wikileaks owner, Julian Assange — have aided enemies in acquiring military and diplomatic information and the investigation remains ongoing, officials said.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Private 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," said Captain John Haberland, a legal spokesman for U.S. Army Military District of Washington. "The new charges will not affect Private 1st Class Manning's right to a speedy trial or his pretrial confinement."

According to the Washington, DC-based public-interest group Accuracy in Media, a number of sources said that Manning was angry with the military over its stance on homosexual soldiers serving openly. AIM's analysis revealed that he was unhappy with the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy instituted during the Clinton Administration.

Manning had voiced his disgust with U.S. Army commanders and U.S. "society at large" on his Facebook page just prior to his alleged downloading of thousands of secret documents, according to the Accuracy in Media story analysis.

According to one story appearing in Britain's The Telegraph, Manning became depressed after a break-up with his homosexual companion. He also wrote: "Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment," and quoted a joke about "military intelligence" being an oxymoron.

Manning, who is openly homosexual, began his gloomy postings on January 12, saying: "Bradley Manning didn't want this fight. Too much to lose, too fast."

ADDITIONAL CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS

U.S. military officials in Baghdad preferred two charges consisting of 12 specifications against Manning on July 5. Officials said the commander of U.S. Army Headquarters Command Battalion preferred the new charges yesterday.

In addition to a charge of aiding the enemy in violation of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the new charges include 16 specifications under the UCMJ's Article 134:

— One specification of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy;

— Five specifications of theft of public property or records, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 641;

— Eight specifications of transmitting defense information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 793(e);

— Two specifications of fraud and related activity in connection with computers in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1); and

— Five specifications in violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ for violating Army Regulations 25-2, "Information Assurance," and 380-5, "Department of the Army Information Security Program."

The charge of aiding the enemy under Article 104 is a capital offense, officials said. However, they added, the prosecution team has notified the defense that the prosecution will not recommend the death penalty to the convening authority, Major General Karl R. Horst, commanding general of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.

Under the UCMJ, the convening authority ultimately decides what charges to refer to court-martial, and whether to seek the death penalty if Article 104 is referred. Therefore, if convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum punishment of reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for life, and a dishonorable discharge.

At the request of Manning's defense attorneys, the trial proceedings have been delayed since July 12, pending the results of a defense-requested inquiry into Manning's mental capacity and responsibility, pursuant to Rule for Courts-Martial 706.

Depending on the results of the inquiry, an Article 32 hearing may follow, officials said. An Article 32 hearing is the civilian equivalent of a grand jury, with additional rights afforded to the accused, they explained.

Manning remains confined in the Marine Corps Base Quantico brig in Quantico, Va. He was notified of the additional charges in person during a command visit today, officials said.

Officials emphasized that Manning is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and added that the Army is committed to ensuring his continued safety and well-being while in pretrial confinement.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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