As Pfc. Bradley Manning was describing how he felt like he was in an animal in cage and would die before his case ever came to trial, there was some movement Thursday.
The presiding judge in Fort Meade, Md., Col. Denise Lind, said Manning's proposal to plead guilty to lesser charges than helping Wikileaks embarrassing the U.S. military in alleged war crimes could move forward.
Lind did not accept the plea, which will be decided later. Among the data Manning allegedly leaked to Wikileaks was the “collateral murder” video showing two U.S. Army helicopters killing Iraqi civilians in Baghad in 2007.
Wikileaks founder Democracy Now: “What is happening this week is not the trial of Bradley Manning; what is happening this week is the trial of the U.S. military. This is Bradley Manning’s abuse case.”, in an interview in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, told
Assange said living in the Ecuador embassy, to escape extradition to Sweden, was not nearly as difficult as what Manning had faced.
The military did not indicate whether it would drop more serious charges, such as the capital crime of aiding the enemy. The charges he has said he will plead to “as an act of conscience” would lead to a maximum sentence of 16 years.
That figure could released to as little as time served, as Manning lawyer David Coombs has produced evidence that his client was mistreated in the more than two years he has been held. The Universal Code of Military Justice prohibits punishment before conviction. It also guarantees defendants a speedy trial, and lastly, unlike civilian law, effectively requires soldiers to report war crimes.
The nation, for the first time, heard Manning himself, though not his voice, describe what it was like to be required to sleep naked, live in solitary and appear at one roll call naked. "I remember thinking I'm going to die. I'm stuck inside this cage," Bradley Manning told a pretrial hearing Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
"I just thought I was going to die in that cage. And that's how I saw it -- an animal cage." His court martial has been set for February of next year, assuming Linde will reject all of Coombs’ complaints. For more information on Manning click here.
Courthouse News Service reported: "As he eased into recounting his story, he spoke in a precise, controlled, clear and rapid-fire tone. The detached, analytical tone seemed to reflect his former rank: intelligence specialist, until he was demoted to private first class. He punctuated several of answers to his lawyer with, Yes, sir.'" http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/11/30
Lind refused to allow questions on whether the leaks had caused any real harm. She said that was irrelevant. Reductio ad absurdum that would mean the prosecution cannot allege the leaks did cause harm.
Writers are taught to avoid the use of the word irony, but no other comes to mind that serves to describe what has happened to Manning.
David Petraeus, a four-star general who appears to have leaked current, classified information to his lover is allowed to resign and take his $220,00 yearly retirement pay.
And he may get some retirement pay for his brief stint as CIA director. Much of what Manning released was several years old. And the site of the the pretrial hearing was only a marathon run from where President Obama recently signed a bill protecting the rights of federal whistle-blowers.
Sources linked to in text.