Author Topic: Amnesty International highlights plight of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning  (Read 1024 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Green

  • Guest
Amnesty International highlights plight of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning

by Sion Morgan, WalesOnline
May 26 2012

Bradley Manning

Lawyers representing Bradley Manning, the Welsh-educated army analyst accused of the biggest leak of classified information in American history, are seeking the dismissal of 10 of the 22 counts he faces under a US court martial.

The request was made as Amnesty International named Manning in its annual report into the state of global human rights.

Manning is alleged to have downloaded and electronically transferred to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of sensitive battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, and video of a deadly 2007 Army helicopter attack which WikiLeaks shared with the world and dubbed “Collateral Murder.”

Charges against him include “aiding the enemy” in relation to 700,000 secret documents released via the WikiLeaks website.

Yesterday Manning’s defence team, led by civilian attorney David Coombs, claimed the US government used unconstitutionally vague language in eight of the counts against him detailing unauthorised possession and disclosure of classified information.

The motion tabled by the defence specifically targets the government’s use of the phrases “relating to the national defence” and “to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

Both phrases are “so sweeping in their scope” that they fail to provide the accused with fair warning of what conduct is prohibited, the defence said.

The defence is also seeking dismissal of two counts alleging Manning exceeded his authorised access on computers linked to a Defence Department intranet system.

The government alleges Manning used the computers to obtain certain State Department cables that were then transmitted to a person not entitled to receive them.

The defence argues that someone’s purpose in accessing a computer is irrelevant to the charge of exceeding authorised access.

“Manning clearly had authorisation to access the government computers in question,” the motion reads.

A military judge will consider the motions at a pre-trial hearing on June 6 at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Meanwhile on Thursday Amnesty International named Manning in its annual human rights report.

Under a section of the report entitled “Prison Conditions”, Amnesty said: “Bradley Manning, a US soldier accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks, spent the first 11 months of his detention confined to an isolation cell in a marine brig at Quantico, Virginia.”

During the soldier’s internment at the Quantico marine base Amnesty International claimed he was being stripped naked every night, his glasses taken away, and forced to stand for hours on end.

The report condemns his “cruel conditions of isolation.”

And yesterday the Centre for Constitutional Rights group (CCR) also filed a petition requesting that the Army Court of Criminal Appeals grant the public and press access to all documents relating to Manning’s case.

The government’s motion papers, the court’s own orders, and transcripts of proceedings have not been made public to date.

In February this year Manning’s supporters claimed a fair hearing in front of a military court was “almost impossible” after the soldier’s court martial was officially convened – almost two years after he was first arrested and taken into custody.

After being formally arraigned for the first time, Manning listened as 22 charges against him were read out at a hearing at Fort Meade.

The 24-year-old, from Oklahoma, who lived in Haverfordwest with his mother until 16, deferred entering a plea.

Lawyers for the former Tasker Milward pupil fear that it could be months before the trial progresses further.

Kevin Zeese, a lawyer with the Bradley Manning support network, said a fair hearing in front of a military court and a jury of officers is “almost impossible” for Manning.

“President Obama has already announced that Bradley Manning is guilty,” he said in a statement.

“President Obama is the commander-in-chief. The judge, the jurors, the prosecutor – everybody working in that court is under President Obama’s command.

“I can’t imagine anyone in that court thinking they’ll have much of a career if they find Bradley Manning not guilty.”

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/05/26/amnesty-international-highlights-plight-of-wikileaks-suspect-bradley-manning-91466-31046931/