Bradley Manning 'offers guilty plea' in Wikileaks case

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PostFri Nov 09, 2012 12:48 pm » by Icarus1

The alleged source of the Wikileaks revelations has offered to plead guilty to lesser offences than those with which he is charged, says his lawyer.

US Army Private Bradley Manning faces a life sentence if found guilty at his Maryland court martial of aiding the enemy - one of 22 charges he faces.

His lawyer David Coombs made the offer at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday.

The offer is the first sign he will admit leaking secret Afghanistan and Iraq war reports and diplomatic cables.

But it suggests he will not plead guilty to aiding enemies of the US (identified by prosecutors as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), violating federal espionage and computer laws - charges for which he could face life in prison if found guilty.

The intelligence analyst, who is now 24, is alleged to have been the source of the series of high-profile security breaches that saw Wikileaks rise to global fame.

They released a video showing US troops firing on Iraqis from a helicopter, caches of documents from both the Iraq and Afghan wars, and a huge haul of classified state department cables.
Trial by judge alone

Pte Manning was "attempting to accept responsibility for offences that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offences," wrote Mr Coombs in a blog post.

The court would have to decide whether it was "permissible" for his client to take such action, he added.

Even if the court allows Pte Manning to take the action - known as "pleading guilty by exceptions and substitutions" - the government could still press ahead with the original charges, acknowledged Mr Coombs.

"Pleading by exceptions and substitutions, in other words, does not change the offences with which PFC Manning has been charged and for which he is scheduled to stand trial," he said.

The judge, Col Denise Lind, is set to consider the plea at a hearing on 10 December unless the offer is withdrawn.

Pte Manning has also elected to be tried by military judge alone, rather than a judge and panel of military officers, added his lawyer.

The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest in Iraq in May 2010, is currently being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

His six-week trial is due to start on 4 February.
better to die on your feet than live on your knees

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PostFri Nov 09, 2012 12:54 pm » by Icarus1

meanwhile on the same theme ............................

US Navy Seals punished over breach of secrets

Seven members of the secretive Navy Seal Team 6, including one involved in the mission to get Osama bin Laden, have been punished for disclosing classified information, senior navy officials said.

Four other Seals are under investigation for similar alleged violations, one official said.

They are alleged to have divulged classified information to the maker of a video game called Medal of Honour: Warfighter.

Each of the seven received a letter of reprimand and a partial forfeiture of pay for two months. Those actions generally hinder a military member's career.

The deputy commander of naval special warfare command, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli, issued a statement acknowledging that nonjudicial punishments had been handed out for misconduct, but he did not offer any details.

"We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy," Bonelli said. He alluded to the importance of honouring non-disclosure agreements that Seals sign.

He said the punishments this week "send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability".

The two main complaints against the Seals were that they did not seek the permission of their command to take part in the video project and that they showed the video designers some of their specially designed combat equipment unique to their unit, said a senior military official.

Seals, including some of those involved in the Bin Laden raid of May 2011, have been uncharacteristically prominent in the news this year.

Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, but later retired from the Seals, wrote a first-hand account under the pseudonym Mark Owen, but he landed in hot water with the Pentagon even before it was published in September. The Pentagon accused him of disclosing classified information in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he had signed as a Seal. He disputes the charge.

The Seal mission to capture or kill Bin Laden, while successful, encountered a number of unexpected obstacles, including the loss of a stealth helicopter that was partially blown up by the Seals after making a hard landing inside Bin Laden's compound.

The head of naval special warfare command, Rear Admiral Sean Pybus, responded to the Bissonnette book by telling his force that "hawking details about a mission" and selling other information about Seal training and operations puts the force and their families at risk.

Seals, both active duty and retired, possess highly sensitive information about tactics and techniques of their missions overseas. They are obliged to sign non-disclosure agreements when they enter service and when they leave.

The punishments were first reported by CBS News. ... video-game
better to die on your feet than live on your knees

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