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The Courts The Military United States

WikiLeaks Gives $15k To Bradley Manning Defense 321

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
  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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:Not only that... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:12PM (#34864002)

    Military Prisons are pretty much controlled environments. It's prison with the bonus of having military rules applied to it.

    Rather than taking near minimum wage prison guards, military prison guards are hand picked from Military Police MOS from all the branches and have low guard to prisoner ratios, Navy Brigs are like 1 guard for every 1.75 prisoners, vs 1 guard for 250 prisoners in many state prisons. []

    I had a buddy from High School who did a tour there as a guard, said they were the most squared away prisoners he'd ever seen.

  • by Permutation Citizen ( 1306083 ) * on Thursday January 13, 2011 @01:12PM (#34864010)

    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 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 [] 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.

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

    by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> 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 []; 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. [] If the feds have a case, put it to the jury; if they don't, let Manning go.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur