Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bradley Manning's Defense Rests In Court-Martial Hearing

Bradley Manning, the Army Private who was accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks for publication is facing a hearing on whether he should face court martial for his actions. Today, his defense team rested after calling just two witnesses:
He could face 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, which can be punishable by death but prosecutors have already announced they will not push for the maximum sentence.

Manning's attorneys called just two witnesses -- a former captain and sergeant who served with him in Iraq -- before resting their defense. Reporters following the hearing were told closing arguments were due to begin Thursday at 9.00am local time.

The prosecution rested Tuesday after questioning a former computer hacker Adrian Lamo who turned Manning in to the authorities. Lamo told the hearing at Fort Meade, Md. that Manning first contacted him by email in May 2010 and then via instant messenger using the pseudonym "bradass87."

He was asked why he eventually alerted the authorities. "What I saw in those chats was an admission of acts so egregious that it required that response," he replied.

The court also heard Tuesday from a female soldier, who served as Manning's team leader in the 10th Mountain Division. Jihrleah Showman said he assaulted her.

"He was removed because he punched me in the face unprovoked and displayed an uncontrollable behavior," Showman said.

She added that while Manning was working in the unit as a Shia analyst he frequently had computer problems, stating, "Bi-weekly his computer would freeze up."
That's after his defense team claimed that his actions were informed by transgender issues.
The defense stated Saturday that Manning, 24, had written to one of his supervisors when he was stationed in Iraq before his arrest and said he had concluded he was suffering from gender identity disorder, which is classified as a medical disorder in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. He included a photo of himself dressed as a woman in the letter and said the issue was affecting his ability to do his job or think clearly.

A defense attorney and a witness also stated that Manning had created a Facebook profile and opened at least one email account using the name “Breanna Manning,” which the attorney described as an “alter-ego.”

As the hearing continued Tuesday, prosecutors presented testimony indicating that Manning had used another soldier’s laptop to order a book on female facial reconstructive surgery from that he had shipped to his Potomac address.
The transgender issue is a diversion and doesn't address the fact that he still appears to have mishandled the classified information and delivered them to Wikileaks. It's akin to the lawyer pounding on the table because the law and the facts are against them. They're hoping that the hearing officer accepts that there might be a mental health issue that otherwise sent Manning down this path - and that he didn't purposefully send those documents to Wikileaks' Julian Assange.

Fact is that Manning’s attorneys didn't challenge prosecution witness testimony tying Manning to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other electronic evidence collected in the case. That's the evidence that is going to send Manning to prison for the rest of his life on the espionage charges.

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