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WikiLeaks Gives $15k To Bradley Manning Defense 321

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gonna-be-brutal dept.
wiredmikey writes "The Web site supporting Bradley Manning, the Army soldier charged with leaking a massive number of US classified information to WikiLeaks, posted an announcement on its site today, saying that WikiLeaks had transferred $15,100 to the legal trust account of Manning's attorney. WikiLeaks has been publicly soliciting donations specifically for the expenses of Manning's legal defense following his arrest in May 2010. The contribution by WikiLeaks brings the total funds raised and transferred to Bradley's civilian legal defense team, led by attorney David Coombs, to over $100,000. Supporters say that a 'vigorous defense' for Manning is estimated to cost $115,000."
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WikiLeaks Gives $15k To Bradley Manning Defense

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  • by ganjadude (952775) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:40PM (#34863460) Homepage
    The reason i say that is they may be able to use this in their espionage attempts. Meaning if he was given the info without asking for it, its one thing, but if he asked for it, than he can be tried under the espionage act (assange)

    Now that they are giving him money for legal defense, a good lawyer can say that it shows that they were in fact working together. IANAL btw
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Now that they are giving him money for legal defense, a good lawyer can say that it shows that they were in fact working together. IANAL btw

      And an even better lawyer can say that it shows they merely stand for the same values.

    • by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:45PM (#34863566)

      Now that they are giving him money for legal defense, a good lawyer can say that it shows that they were in fact working together. IANAL btw

      Not at all. Whenever the ACLU or the EFF defends someone pro bono, they are not thrown into the lawsuit with the defendant. It's certainly not criminal to donate money to defend a cause you believe in and, thanks to the SCOTUS, these donations by WikiLeaks and others are actually just an expression of free speech.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        oh I hope you are right, I was simply trying to play devils advocate.
      • thanks to the SCOTUS, these donations by WikiLeaks and others are actually just an expression of free speech.

        So I assume the courts are also going to be ruling against all the government harassment of companies like Visa that process donations to Wikileaks?

        Hey, I can dream...

      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:18PM (#34865202)

        Not at all. Whenever the ACLU or the EFF defends someone pro bono, they are not thrown into the lawsuit with the defendant. It's certainly not criminal to donate money to defend a cause you believe in and, thanks to the SCOTUS, these donations by WikiLeaks and others are actually just an expression of free speech.

        And if that were the extent of their involvement with him, you'd be right. However, his relationship with Leaks goes well beyond what you describe. As a point of distinction, the ACLU and EFF generally don't publish illegally obtained materials from the people they defend.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      That's what I was thinking...unless, of course, that's their intention. I don't know, the legal world is a strange and silly place.

    • It's not illegal to donate money and just donating money doesn't mean you know the person.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        Unless whoever you're donating to is on one of the secret government terrorist lists, or a front for terrorists, or might possibly theoretically maybe help someone who turns out to be connected to a terrorist.

        Then donating money is illegal and grounds for having your entire bank account seized.

  • Context (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:48PM (#34863636)

    Is $15k a significant chunk of change for WL or is it less than a day's allocation of the hookers and blow funds? How much of what has been donated to WL specifically for this cause is $15k?

  • Due Process (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yoshi_mon (172895)

    That my nation has deprived PFC Bradly Manning of due process is something I worry about greatly.

    If I was on any sort of stage I would be repeating the words 'due process' every day until Manning is given his rights.

    • Re:Due Process (Score:4, Insightful)

      by joshki (152061) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:54PM (#34863752)
      Due Process? How, pray tell, has he been deprived of due process? He's in pre-trial confinement, awaiting his GCM.
      • Re:Due Process (Score:4, Interesting)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:04PM (#34863908)
        Well, he is already being punished; it is to the point where he has to be given antidepressants just to be kept alive. He is not allowed to have bedsheets, last I checked (I assume this is because he might try to hang himself). He has been in solitary confinement for many months now, which is extremely difficult to endure and which can have long lasting or even permanent effects on people.

        I suppose there might be some disagreement on the meaning of "right to a speedy trial" or "due process," but I am a bit confused as to how the treatment of Manning passes constitutional muster. I understand that he is subject to military law, not civilian law, but it is still troubling.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851)
          That's standard practice, and it's for his own good. Just because he's being held pre-trial doesn't mean that the other inmates aren't going to stab him to death before the trial. Surprisingly enough not all crimes are equal in terms of inmate treatment.

          Of course he's depressed, whether he's innocent or not, the prospect of facing a long prison term is inherently depressing. Being innocent does not ensure that you won't end up doing time.

          Also, speedy trial, doesn't preclude a thorough investigation, t
          • by qmaqdk (522323)

            That's standard practice...

            This argument applies to Gitmo as well. Doesn't make it valid.

          • Re:Due Process (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @03:16PM (#34866280) Homepage

            That's standard practice, and it's for his own good. Just because he's being held pre-trial doesn't mean that the other inmates aren't going to stab him to death before the trial.

            Read up on the conditions under which Manning is being held [salon.com]; it's not for his safety, it's psychological torture. Whether the goal is to break him so he'll say whatever they want, or just to leave him a ruined shell as a warning to the next person who might try to embarrass the U.S. government, there is nothing "standard" about prolonged solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, or denial of exercise. Convicted murderers and rapists are not dealt with this harshly; there's no way that an accused whistle-blower should be.

            Also, speedy trial, doesn't preclude a thorough investigation, the provision was there to ensure that the government didn't endlessly delay a trial while doing a superficial investigation.

            The requirement for a speedy trail is exactly in part so that the state can't implement the "sentence first, we'll have the trial later and figure out what he's guilty of then" strategy they are employing. Manning has been held for seven months; courts have generally held that delays longer that six to eight months are unconstututional. [jrank.org] If the feds have a case, put it to the jury; if they don't, let Manning go.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by twidarkling (1537077)

          Probably solitary is for his own protection, and keeping him alive is the responsibility of the justice system, so if he's on suicide watch, that means being deprived of things he can use to KILL HIMSELF WITH. There's nothing in there that violates constitutional rights. In fact, if they were remiss in removing those items, it could be seen as complicit agreement with his suicidal intentions, and then they're meting out capital punishment without due process, which WOULD be in violation of constitutional ri

          • by yoshi_mon (172895)

            ...that means being deprived of things he can use to KILL HIMSELF WITH.

            How great that our system can spend billions upon billions on a hunt for non-existent WMD's but can't give a man some sheets to sleep with. Would it really be that hard to put a camera on the guy with someone watching 24/7 if they were really THAT worried about him?

            This is not just some random dude, this is someone who has yet to be charged with any sort of crime. But ah, I did forget that once you are a member of the armed forces you give up all your rights...?

          • Re:Due Process (Score:5, Informative)

            by gambino21 (809810) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:10PM (#34865058)

            Probably solitary is for his own protection, and keeping him alive is the responsibility of the justice system, so if he's on suicide watch, that means being deprived of things he can use to KILL HIMSELF WITH.

            That would be fine, except he's not on suicide watch. He hasn't been since the first 2 weeks or so of his confinement. The officers in charge of his detention said that he was a model prisoner.

            The only thing troubling here is that this guy's so upset with his circumstances that he's trying to kill himself. Anything else stems from that fact.

            I find the fact that he is not allowed to exercise in his cell "troubling". How does that help keep him alive? He also must respond every five minutes that he is ok. Have you ever tried reading a book or watching tv with someone asking you every 5 minutes if you are ok?

            http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/23/manning/index.html [salon.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by couchslug (175151)

          Then go read the UCMJ and see for yourself. He continues to draw pay and allowances, BTW.

          He knew the rules, broke them with premeditation, and can still luxuriate in comparatively cozy military confinement. I'd prefer that to a civilian jail any day.

        • Re:Due Process (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:21PM (#34864180)
          He has his health closely monitored and is being tended to by Doctors, daily. Anti-depressants during solitary confinement seems prudent to keep him from suffering terribly, and considering the Adrian Lamo chatlogs I would say the Doctors would be negligent if they weren't medicating him.

          Should they put him in with the general military prison population? He's not been found guilty. I don't think exposing him to stranger-danger-bad-touch is a smart decision.

          He was arrested in May, charged in July. His trial is scheduled for this Spring. That sucks, but it doesn't appear to be abnormally slow considering the general speed of the US legal system. Perhaps the Military is different and you could comment on how fast his trial should be? How long is the minimum fair allotment of time for his lawyers to construct their defense?

          Or do you just think that he should have been immediately taken out behind a shed and shot?
        • No due process (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gozu (541069)

          Yes I agree. His living conditions are hellish. I hope no one here argues it doesn't amount to torture.

          In fact, it is long-term torture, lasting for close to a year now.

          The man has yet to be sentenced. He should not be punished, especially not by long-term torture, in the interim.

          Minimum security is plenty to hold him.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In some countries, at least, torture is not part of "due process". The US is not one of those countries.

        The kind of solitary confinement being used is torture even without the alleged sleep deprivation. This was realized by Charles Dickens; it's nothing new. So, "due process"?

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        He's been in pre-trial confinement for far longer than is standard (8 months and counting). The right to a speedy trial is part of his Sixth Amendment protections, which apply to military personnel under the UCMJ.

        By comparison, Timothy McVeigh was kept confined for about 2 months prior to initial court proceedings, and trial started within 6 months.

        • This case is not "standard" so the normal confinement period does not apply in all cases. Also, Timothy McVeigh was tried in a civilian court so that case has no bearing in this case.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        How, pray tell, has he been deprived of due process?

        Maybe you haven't heard the reports of the condition of his detention. It was written about quite extensively in December. Here's an article with a number of links [salon.com].

      • Re:Due Process (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:07PM (#34864986)

        Due Process? How, pray tell, has he been deprived of due process? He's in pre-trial confinement, awaiting his GCM.

        From: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/14/manning [salon.com]

        From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not "like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole," but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.

    • by ageoffri (723674)
      Exactly where has PFC Manning been denied due process as defined under the UCMJ? Please cite the specific section instead of trying for sensational statements. Don't forget that as part of his enlistment he voluntary agreed to be held to the UCMJ which the courts have upheld applies instead of the normal civilian legal system.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      He gave up the right to due process when he volunteered for the Army. Now he is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and trial by a military tribunal.

      Want to keep your Constitutional Rights for when you break the law? Don't volunteer for the farking Army.

      • I didn't know that. He must be one very stupid, or very heroic son of a bitch.

      • Re:Due Process (Score:4, Informative)

        by couchslug (175151) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:21PM (#34864186)

        He has different processes due, not "no right to due process". See the UCMJ and MCM for reference.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Honestly, my concern is instead of focusing on the culprit in this case, that is a military officer that offered aid and comfort to a foreign person, my government is wasting time and resources harassing US citizens for expressing their first amendment rights. And I am not talking about citizens with access to a bully pulpit that can be used to cause large amounts of harm when used irresponsibly. I am taking about average private citizens. We know who is responsible for the leaks, so let's take care of th
    • Please describe how Manning was deprived of his due process rights as a volunteer soldier in the US Army. That last part is the most important part. Military personnel, especially those that volunteer for military service, have fewer rights than civilians by default. I am pessimistic as to whether his legal team can free him. At best they can spare him execution. His team might argue that the information he gave should not have been classified but the fact that he disclosed classified information to
      • the exercise restriction and sleep deprivation part of his detention are where the due process is violated.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Due Process was thown out with the PATRIOT ACT. something you supported and continued to support by voting for scumbags in congress that passed it and passed the act making it permanent.

      Have you written letters to all your representatives to have it repealed? No? Then you support it.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:49PM (#34863652)

    Manning is fucked no matter what basically. The UCMJ doesn't have a "Because I though it should be released," exception to the rules on classified materials. Also, as implied by the UCMJ thing, he'll be court-marshaled which means tried by a military court. Trying for nullification by a sympathetic jury is more or less impossible.

    His case is pretty open and shut when you get down to it. I can't see what an expensive defense will do for him.

    • but he can pretty much expect to have to live in solitary confinement if he wants to survive in prison. People who are perceived as traitors are right up there with child molesters to many convicts. The fact that he is a homosexual and it's come out that he was motivated to leak the data by DADT will only make it worse for him.

      If I were his attorney, plan A would be some form of insanity defense based on his mental state over DADT and plan B would be violation of civil liberties for imprisoning him so long

    • by jopsen (885607)

      The UCMJ doesn't have a "Because I though it should be released," exception to the rules on classified materials.

      Is there an "Whatever I did, I did it in the interest of the American people" exception...

      Anyway, it would probably be unamerican not to lock him up for life...</sarcasm>

      • The military is pretty big on doing what you are told, following orders. While all orders must be lawful to be followed, there are not provisions for someone to say "Well it was a lawful order, but I thought it wasn't best for the American people."

        Like it or no that is how it goes. He broke military law, and is going to go to jail for it. I'm not claiming it is right or wrong, I am claiming that it is what it is going to happen.

  • by Stregano (1285764) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:49PM (#34863654)
    Technically, WikiLeaks did nothing wrong (according to what you can find publically). Now that they are assisting him, as another person stated, it shows that they are working together. That is very bad for WikiLeaks. Unfortunately, Manning did commit a crime whether we like it or not. Whether it was for the good or not, it is still a crime. WikiLeaks needs to slow their roll before they get themselves in some trouble (and rest assured, there are lawyers waiting for WikiLeaks to slip up on something). WikiLeaks is a pretty cool place to get some information, but if they keep slipping by donating to people like Manning, they may be giving places reasons to take them down, which sucks.
    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      While this is true, Manning didn't hand over classified material to wikileaks in hopes that it wasn't going to be released. He expected it to be released. Maybe he thought he wouldn't get caught... I don't really know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      They should not be anything wrong to help someone defend himself to face a trial, whatever the crime he is accused of. According to justice, Manning is presumed innocent. Giving to his defend fund doesn't make anyone his accomplice.

      Even someone who has obviously committed an horrible crime has right to be defended.

      • by corbettw (214229)

        When you're already suspected of helping someone commit a crime, it doesn't help your case that you're innocent when you give that person tens of thousands of dollars to aid in their defense.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Oh, please, the same bigoted morons that think Wikileaks is tapping secure DoD communications equipment will buy that argument. The people with at least half a mind will see it for what it is, an effort to help with the collateral damage.
    • by NoSig (1919688)
      If Wikileaks are a little smart, they make sure not to know who is leaking stuff to them so that there is no scenario where they can be compelled to give up the identities of their sources. So they should not be able to know if Manning did what he is suspected in any privileged way. They can still make the donation if they think he probably did it based on what is known to the public or maybe just because their actions got him in trouble and they'd like to help him out where they can even if he didn't do it
  • BIG Mistake (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @12:52PM (#34863716)

    Wikileaks should operate like a newspaper and Not be involved with defending the informants. Now they can be accused of colluding with the guy who stole US documents. Wikileaks should just be REPORTING the documents, and nothing else.

    They just shot themselves in the foot.

    • by kellyb9 (954229)
      I tend to agree. I feel like Wikileaks should fill in the gaps the main stream media fails to fill in. I could see this going one of two ways, people putting forward more information with the hope of being defended if they are caught, or people putting forward less information because they know what they are doing is illegal (and they will go to jail). Either way, it now greatly depends on the outcome of this trial, which doesn't bode well.
      • or people putting forward less information because they know what they are doing is illegal (and they will go to jail)

        Anyone with access to anything particularly interesting is bound to know already the risks involved with what they are doing.

      • I feel like Wikileaks should fill in the gaps the main stream media fails to fill in.

        That would require a fleet of earth movers.

    • Though what the laws against spying are really talking about is paying someone to give you information, it could potentially be shore horned in this case and the US government sure as hell wants Assanage. They could potentially argue that this constitutes a payment for the information they received which makes them not a passive party, but an actor and thus guilty of a crime.

      As you say, big mistake when you are under the gun anyhow. Plus, as I mentioned in another post, I can't see how this'll really help.

    • by NoSig (1919688)
      They want to encourage leaks and if Manning did what he is accused of then he helped them out a great deal in their mission. Wikileaks has no responsibility to refrain from taking action when it comes to helping whistle blowers or even just random people to get a fair trial.
  • If Wikileaks is helping to fund his defense, doesn't that put a couple of nails in the coffin for the defense??

    I do agree with most of this however, this guy's life is over and he'll spend the rest of his life in maximum security at Club Fed. While I can't argue the merits of what he did, I can say
    that if he is found guilty, then he's forfit his future. I honestly think based on what we know or have been told by the press and the military is only part of the story. Considering this will also be handled b

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:18PM (#34864134)

    Here's what they can do to get Assange, and part of the reason his organization is paying some of Manning's legal bills :

    After giving Manning 'protective solitary confinment' (aka coercive torture) for enough time, they'll get Manning to claim that Assange and him worked together to get those government documents. Manning will be offered a deal for a limited amount of prison time if he serves as a 'government witness' against Assange. Given the last 7 months have been hell on earth for Manning, turning such an offer down would be incredibly difficult. Even if there is no actual communication logs showing this, the mere testimony of Manning (under duress) is a "witness statement" that a grand jury can use.

    Once they get Assange dragged into U.S. custody, they can lock him up in jail for years while federal prosecutors file motions for extensions and things. Then, finally, they can give him a show trial where the jury is stacked with people who hate sex criminals. (even though Assange would not be accused of such crime, the jurors would think of him as a rapist).

    Even if he were acquitted (the case as I outlined it is very weak) he would be out hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal defense fees and years off his natural lifespan. The Federal government cannot be sued to reclaim either of these things unless Assange were able to show that the government KNEW he was innocent. (which if they have a coerced statement from Manning, above, the government doesn't have to pay)

    So in a nutshell : they can punish Assange severely for his actions even if they are never able to convict him of a crime. And imagine the mental anguish : Assange won't know for months or years during this process if he is going to be convicted and made to rot in prison for decades.

    This kind of thing happens day in and day out in the U.S. We make more people rot in confinement than the worst despotic regimes in history. And there are many effective ways to get around the protections offered by your 'rights', making them nearly meaningless in practice.

    • by debrain (29228) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @02:14PM (#34865106) Journal

      Sir —

      This kind of thing happens day in and day out in the U.S. We make more people rot in confinement than the worst despotic regimes in history. And there are many effective ways to get around the protections offered by your 'rights', making them nearly meaningless in practice.

      Quite right. This map [wikimedia.org] says quite a lot, I believe.

      I believe either half or a quarter of all prisoners in the world (I cannot recall offhand which) are in the United States. It is the land of the free, for those lucky enough to avoid a criminal conviction machine that incarcerates at a rate considered preposterous – and contrary or without regard to its stated purpose – elsewhere.

      Alas, many Americans seem to be in denial about uncontroverted facts such as these, and as a result unable and unwilling to question the reason such a reality has come about.

  • by Monkeyman334 (205694) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:20PM (#34864168)
    In the military system, legal counsel is free of charge whether or not you can afford it. And with a high profile case like this, I'm sure they'll appoint someone very senior. If you want to pay for a civilian lawyer, usually they are former military lawyers, or they're not well suited for military court. I wouldn't donate to this even if you want to defend Bradley Manning.
  • Wow, several months late in their less than timely [wired.com] follow through. Wikileaks has gone on the record as saying they were going to donate $50,000 to Manning's defense. Does it surprise anyone that when it came time to follow through they fell through [go.com]? All told they've raised at least $150,000 [theregister.co.uk] just from the heavily edited helicopter video alone. Of which they can only be bothered to spend $15,000 on his behalf. Take the $150,000 [igearnetwork.com] from the video and $50,000 pledge and you get a $185,000 profit for Wikileaks on t

  • Let the ACLU or some other such organization defend Manning if they think it is right. But Wikileaks is supposed to be for publishing anonymous whistle blower information. Manning is not anonymous, nor is he a whistle blower, nor does their mission involve defending people from lawsuits.

    I'm glad I didn't give any money to Wikileaks.

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