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Hearing for WikiLeaks Case Took Place Today
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According to the Huffington Post, Pfc. Bradley Manning, was in court today for his pretrial hearing regarding the WikiLeaks issue. Manning is a young soldier accused of helping the country’s enemy by posting a treasure trove of national security secrets on WikiLeaks, according to the Huffington Post.

During the pretrial hearing, the civilian defense lawyer for Manning argued that presiding officer Paul Almanza should step away from the case because he cannot be impartial. Almanza is an Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel. Almanza refused to step aside from the case and denied a move by the defense to suspend the hearing while the defense seeks an appeal on Almanza’s decision to remain on the case.

  
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The hearing on Friday was to determine whether or not Manning will face a court martial for charges that he aided the enemy of the country by posting secrets on WikiLeaks. A Justice Department prosecutor in civilian life, Almanza is being asked to step down from the case for that reason. An investigation is being run by the Justice Department that targets the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. The lawyers for Manning are seeking an appeal that is being filed with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, but it is not clear when the appeal will be heard.

Army Major General Michael S. Linnington, the commander of the Military District of Washington, will be making the decision as to go court martial Manning or not. Other courses could be taken against Manning, such as an administrative punishment or the dismissal of some charges, which would be made by Linnington.

Captain Ashden Fein is a member of the prosecution and said the following:

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“The United States does not believe you’ve exhibited any bias in any form and that you can render a fair and impartial decision.”Top of Form

The civilian attorney for Manning, David Coombs, is arguing that Almanza is accepting unsworn statements from witnesses in the case. Bottom of Form



“Let’s put witnesses on the stand,” Coombs said. “Why is this stuff classified? Why is it going to cause harm?”

Manning’s hearing is open to the public, but there is limited seating available, as a number of reporters were in attendance. Those reporters were not allowed to videotape or photograph the proceedings taking place.

A U.S. Grand Jury has not decided yet if it will indict Assange on espionage charges while WikiLeaks is struggling because of an American financial embargo.

Some of the items Manning is accused of providing WikiLeaks includes logos of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, State Department cables, and video of an American helicopter attack in Iraq that killed 11 men back in 2007. That attack also killed a Reuters photographer and his driver.

When the leak occurred, Manning was working as a low-level intelligence analyst in Baghdad for the United States. Manning was detained in May of 2010 in Iraq and then transported to the Marine Corps brig at Quantico in Virginia.



 

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