According to National Public Radio, Bradley Manning’s military hearing ended Dec. 22. The hearing was to determine if he will be court-martialed. Manning, a U.S. Army private, is suspected of leaking to WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of documents, including the video titled “Collateral Murder” and the U.S. diplomatic cables that comprise the “Cablegate” leak.
According to NPR, Manning’s attorneys claimed that the U.S. Army “failed to help” Manning, who they described as “emotionally troubled” and the leaks, which his attorneys didn’t deny Manning’s role in facilitating, “ultimately did not cause the country any harm by releasing the documents.” Manning’s attorney David Coombs added “My client was young. He thought he could make a difference.”
However, U.S. prosecutors argued that Manning’s leaks “gave enemies of the United States unfettered access to these government documents.”
The Associated Press noted that the U.S. filed the 22 charges against Manning, one of which is “aiding the enemy,” a year and a half ago.
According to the New York Times, now that the hearing is over, “The investigating officer overseeing the proceedings is expected to deliver his recommendations on whether to court-martial Private Manning on Jan. 16. If he is court-martialed on the more serious charges, Mr. Manning could face the death penalty. But prosecutors have said they would seek life in prison instead.”
According to Monsters and Critics, Pentagon Papers-leaker Daniel Ellsberg said “What the defence lawyer today suggested is to get a plea bargain that would incriminate Assange.”
According to Reuters, anonymous sources described as “current and former U.S. officials close to the case” indicated the U.S. government hasn’t decided if it will charge Assange with anything related to the leaks. Reuters noted that “a federal grand jury in Virginia has been investigating Assange for months.”
Reuters added that The Guardian’s Nick Davies identified Assange as having been “engaged in a journalistic operation” and that it would be a “serious distortion of the facts” to label Assange a spy.