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The Courts The Military United States

Bradley Manning's Court Date Finally Set 523

bs0d3 writes "Bradley Manning has finally been scheduled for a day in court. On December 16, he will have an Article 32 hearing (military pre-trial). Private Manning has been in jail for one and half years. The Article 32 hearing will begin at Fort Meade, Maryland. The primary purpose of the hearing is to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the government's case, as well as to provide the defense with an opportunity to obtain pretrial discovery. Further trial dates and locations are still unknown."
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Bradley Manning's Court Date Finally Set

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  • spin. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:48PM (#38128460)

    The primary purpose of the hearing is to instill fear into anyone else who might have access to sensitive information the public might want to know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Spin is when someone takes a military personel's violation of his oaths and betrayal of trust as something that should be ignored or lauded. Of course the public wants to know military secrets, that doesnt make it any less against the law, and any less deserving of a military trial.

      Mod me down, but ask yourself this-- if this were 1863, and manning has spilled military secrets to the papers, do you think
      A) he would have been given a medal
      B) he would have languished in a cell until after the war was over, g

      • Re:spin. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by The Creator ( 4611 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:26PM (#38128984) Homepage Journal

        violation of his oaths

        Against all enemies, foreign and domestic

        How would you interpret the bolded part? Do you think it means unconditional loyalty even when the state begins to commit atrocities?

      • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:28PM (#38129010)

        Of course the public wants to know military secrets, that doesnt make it any less against the law, and any less deserving of a military trial.

        Yes it does. Laws are written around public opinion. Also, there's whistleblower protection. If you are uncovering corruption, rather than giving aid to the enemy, your actions are not criminal. That may well be the case here. The information released was not of a tactical nature. It didn't disclose troop strengths and numbers, positions, weaknesses, or anything like that. Rather, it exposed a bunch of dirty laundry. Information that shouldn't be classified.

        • by ImprovOmega ( 744717 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:41PM (#38129214)

          Yes it does. Laws are written around public opinion. Also, there's whistleblower protection.

          Not military law, which he is under. Military law lets you execute traitors and other fun stuff and it often very, very different than civilian law.

      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:34PM (#38129094)

        Military laws are different than civilian laws. When you sign up for the military, you agree to be subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice when you are on duty or deployed. It is related to US civilian laws, but not the same. So if you want to sign up to be a solider, you need to be aware you are held to a different legal standard. A simple example would be that insubordination is against the law in the military.

        Then there's the matter of revealing classified data. Military or not when you are given a security clearance, you agree to not reveal classified information. I don't mean they say "You agree to this," I mean you actually sign an agreement, an NDA. It is very much a full disclosure kind of situation in that you understand and agree not to reveal the things you'll be shown.

        So you can certainly say he did the morally right thing leaking the information, if you believe that (though I would then ask you to show what information leaked you believe was so important for the public to know) but you can't argue it was legal or that he didn't know it was illegal. Since it was done in military service, that also makes it a military trial.

        • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @06:56PM (#38130198) Homepage

          Though I would then ask you to show what information leaked you believe was so important for the public to know

          After Disclosures by WikiLeaks, Al Jazeera Replaces Its Top News Director []

          "CAIRO -- Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news network financed by Qatar, named a member of the Qatari royal family on Tuesday to replace its top news director after disclosures from the group WikiLeaks indicating that the news director had modified the network's coverage of the Iraq war in response to pressure from the United States...

          In at least one instance, involving a report on the network's Web site, Mr. Khanfar said in the cable that he had changed coverage at the American official's request. He said he had removed two images depicting wounded children in a hospital and a woman with a badly wounded face."

          The fact that American officials are censoring the media, including Al Jazeera, may not be news to you, but it does further explain why the Iraq War looked nothing like Vietnam as far as news coverage was concerned. It wasn't because it was a good war. It was because reporting was limited to what American officials wanted Americans to see.

      • Re:spin. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:41PM (#38129216)
        What makes 1863 such a good time for comparison? Social norms evolve over time. In 1863, women didn't have the right to vote, and one hundred years later blacks still didn't have equal civil rights. What might have gotten a death penalty or even a simple shot in the back yard without trial response in those days is no longer acceptable today. Should Manning be crucified today, because it was good enough for Jesus back in Roman times?
      • Re:spin. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:43PM (#38129246)

        as far as I know, he hasn't been convicted which means the year and a half of torture and psychological abuse should be enough to throw the case out. Not to mention your president on public camera claiming you're guilty when you haven't even gone to trial... the US gov't should release him to show it still trusts and respects its people, but obviously it does not, and it is our enemy of free speech.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        How do you know he violated his oaths?

        Oh shit, yeah - that's what a trial is for - my bad.

      • Re:spin. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @07:35PM (#38130544) Homepage

        In 1863, he would have been instructed to kill runaway negroes and peaceful Indian villages. The past is not a moral high ground. If he had refused either one of those orders he would have been whipped and/or executed.

        His primary oath was to the Constitution of the United States of America, not to his superiors. If your superiors refuse to act on evidence of murder, and the chain of command knows damned well there was a murder, than what can you do? You can: 1) shut up, as three million others with the same clearance did, or 2) obey your oath to the people and the Constitution and expose the murderers and their abettor who are hiding behind the cloak of secrecy which was not intended for hiding criminals. Your choice.

        So who, exactly, are going to bring those who committed murder while representing us, and those who hid it, even with clear evidence, to their hangings?

    • Re:spin. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jkauzlar ( 596349 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:16PM (#38128852) Homepage

      I wonder if the treatment he received in prison will play into the trial at all? I agree he should of course be punished, as the law is the law, but let's not forget these leaks were a catalyst for the Tunisian uprising, which lead to the revolts in Egypt and Libya, which is leading to the ongoing riots in Syria, etc. Some would argue the Arab Spring was furthermore a catalyst for OWS and the earlier protests in Wisconsin.

      Of course, by the looks of it, he leaked everything he could get his hands on and so had no particular motive in mind except to undermine the classification system, but wittingly or not, the man's a hero. I wish him the best of luck.

  • About fucking time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:48PM (#38128470)
    cause being held without due process is full of awesome in this country.
    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:54PM (#38128548)

      I'm actually curious about this. Normally, the defendant can assert their right to a speedy trial, and at that point the prosecution has to take the case to court within a short window (like a month or something). Has it taken this long because Mr. Manning has been getting his own ducks in a row before the trial? Or does the military not guarantee the right to a speedy trial? If it's the latter, what's to stop them from just locking someone up and throwing away the key by never actually going to court? The military justice code can't possibly be that fucked up.... can it?

      • by Scutter ( 18425 )

        It's usually (not always) a defense tactic. Delay, delay, delay. Delay as long as possible.

      • by skine ( 1524819 )

        The military justice code can't possibly be that fucked up.... can it?

        You have heard about the Guantanimo Bay prison and the PATRIOT Act, right?

      • "Mr Manning has also been charged with "aiding the enemy", a charge that could carry the death penalty."

        Would you want a speedy trial in that case? I would like to see the government's definition of "the enemy" that was aided by this. The chief beneficiaries seem to have been news organizations.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aryden ( 1872756 )
        He was held as a prisoner of war / enemy combatant. He was not afforded the rights dictated by the constitution. The UCMJ treats him as a POW and revokes those rights that would otherwise apply to normal military personnel.
        • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:54PM (#38129398) Homepage Journal

          He was not afforded the rights dictated by the constitution. He was not afforded the rights dictated by the constitution

          Those rights are human rights which are protected by the Constitution, not granted by it. US jurisprudence does not recognize the right of a person to contract away human rights (e.g. you can't sell yourself into slavery).

          The UCMJ is subordinate to the Constitution, so Manning's constitutional rights still exist. It seems they've been infringed.

      • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:28PM (#38129016)

        Everything can be waived upon request. However, this is the period where the government conducts its investigation. A big, complex case would mean a long investigation.

        Here the soldier is at an advantage over a civilian, because he actually gets to be involved in the hearing and present and cross examine witnesses. A civilian prosecutor can (and often does) hold a grand jury without the interests of the defense being presented, thus the saying about indicting a ham sandwich.

        This is one reason why courts martial have a high conviction rate. Most cases that wouldn't result in a conviction don't get referred for trial after an Article 32 hearing. This is how our civilian grand jury system is supposed to work.

    • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:58PM (#38128608) Homepage

      cause being held without due process for 18 months under conditions that are considered torture by international observers is full of awesome in this country.

      You're right, you just didn't quite make the point strongly enough.

      One interesting question is whether the treatment of Bradley Manning is better or worse than the treatment of Yaser Hamdi [], a US citizen imprisoned for 3 years and then (once the US Supreme Court said that was not OK) deported to Saudi Arabia, all without having been charged with a crime, much less convicted of one.

      • conditions that are considered torture

        Link please? I kept reading comments back in the original stories here on /. about all the torture, and they all seemed to revolve around the supposed sleep deprivation. Everything I read said quite clearly that he was allowed uninterrupted sleep throughout the night (between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, or something like that).

        • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:44PM (#38131024) Homepage

          Here's the UN report []. It should be pointed out that the UN investigator had to make this report without unmonitored access to Manning because the US government refused 'unfettered' access [], which is what the UN expects of all cooperating states.

          Here's a Welsh MP [] expressing her concern about Manning's treatment, particularly relevant because Manning is apparently a Welsh citizen in addition to being a US citizen.

          Here's Amnesty International [].

          If you haven't noticed that there's at least a serious question regarding whether Manning's been tortured, you've probably been limiting yourself to mainstream US media.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:49PM (#38128472)

    At least the charges against him are real.

  • U.S.Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) <saintium@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:49PM (#38128480)

    In the U.S a 1.5 year prison sentence is just part of a speedy trial.

  • Good Luck (Score:5, Funny)

    by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:50PM (#38128494)
    And since it's a military trial, he pretty much has to prove not only that he's innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt but further prove who actually did do it. He also has to prove cold fusion using only a pack of gum, a microwave oven, and the complete MacGyver dvd box set.

    I'm being facetious, of course, but US military justice isn't famous for its fairness or friendliness to the accused. Just thought people should be aware that he's pretty much screwed whether or not there's any conspiracy to get him convicted.
    • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:13PM (#38128820)

      Having been a military paralegal, I have to say that the military actually offers many protections that civillian courts do not. Think of the article 32 hearing as a grand jury, but instead of the prosecutor running the show, the accused can actually bring evidence on his own behalf, has full representation by council, and the prosecution must give the defense all the evidence they will use. Full discovery rules apply here, not just at trial.

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:56PM (#38128572)

    I shudder to think of a world where "one and a half years" qualifies as "speedy". Or have we forgotten the Bill of Rights?

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    I know the government isn't the swiftest thing in the world, but I don't believe it's that slow. And I'm not sure courts martial qualify as "criminal" prosecutions. But I do know that if I were PFC Manning's lawyer, I'd definitely be bringing that up.

    • by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:00PM (#38128632)
      Court martial is very much a criminal prosecution. They got away with avoiding the 6th amendment by not filing charges against him until they felt like it. he's been kept as a prisoner of war for 1.5 years so that they could circumvent the rest of the constitution and federal laws.
      • by DeadCatX2 ( 950953 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:22PM (#38128924) Journal

        I've seen you claim this POW thing elsewhere in comments. Got any evidence to support this?

        Because the UCMJ Article 10 also promises a speedy trial. In fact, the courts have found that Article 10's Speedy Trial is more exacting than the Sixth Amendment.

        United States v. Thompson, 68 M.J. 308 (when a servicemember is placed in pretrial confinement, Article 10, UCMJ, provides that immediate steps shall be taken to inform the accused of the charges and to either bring the accused to trial or dismiss the charges; Article 10 creates a more exacting speedy trial demand than does the Sixth Amendment).

    • by oracleguy01 ( 1381327 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:02PM (#38128664)

      Your assuming he tried to assert that right and was denied. The defendant doesn't have to assert that right if they don't want to. For all we know the defense has been getting their ducks in a row and have been using the extra time.

      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:41PM (#38129206)

        The defense generally wants as long as they can before trial for all kinds of reasons. As such you almost never see a speedy trial motion. The only time you'd be likely to see one is if an attorney was convinced his client was innocent and the state was dragging their feat. However that is fairly rare.

        Generally in a case where the defense would file a speedy trial motion the prosecution will drop the case rather than go to court and lose. I'm not saying it is always that way, but 99.999% of the time.

        In Manning's case his guilt seems to be pretty clear cut. Thus his lawyer is not going to be at all interested in pushing the trial quickly. He'll want as much time to pass as possible for a lot of reasons.

    • by RingDev ( 879105 )

      by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed

      There's one rub - He commited his crime in Iraq.

      Thus the reason this is a military trial, not a civilian court trial. He enjoys the rights provided by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which differ significantly from the Bill of Rights.

      That is to say... he's screwed.


      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Aryden ( 1872756 )
        No, it doesn't matter where the crime is committed, you are first and foremost covered by the UCMJ then any applicable civil laws. Usually, the military will defer prosecution until local/state/federal trials have run their course, THEN they will try you under the UCMJ.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @05:49PM (#38129330) Journal

    He's had days in court. Administrative matters relating to his basic rights rather than addressing of the larger issues of whether he should or shouldn't be there, but court nonetheless. He hasn't been denied counsel and a judge been in charge of his incarceration and care since shortly after his arrest. The spooks didn't disappear him. He's getting due process (unless maybe someone in the process screws up and he's getting technicalities his lawyer can exploit, but those are details, not a basic denial of any rights beyond his own signing away of anything but military justice).

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @06:14PM (#38129616)

    I was watching an episode of Locked Up Abroad and laughing at some 3rd world country that took about a year to put the antagonist to trial while he sat in jail. So, in what version of Gestapo America is 1 1/2 years OK?

  • by Co0Ps ( 1539395 ) on Monday November 21, 2011 @08:42PM (#38131012)

    What makes this case so interesting is that he clearly broke the military rules and also clearly helped humanity through his actions and he never gained anything by doing it. He wasn't paid for doing it and he knew people would hate him and that he would be punished hard but he followed his ideals rather than doing what gains him the most personally. He believed in the right of the public to know what their country is actually doing and where their tax money goes.

    I see that some of you are angry with him and want him punished but when asked what he actually did wrong you can't argue further than him "breaking the rules" and "acting irresponsible". That he caused or will cause deaths is pure speculation. Maybe you are angry with him because deep inside you know you would never have the balls to pull this off by yourself? Because you know that you are that kind of person that curls into a ball when the authority beats you with a stick and tells you what to do and think. Because being told what to do and think follows naturally when you argue that the government has the right to censor and keep information secret from the public it serves.

    What makes this case so interesting is the reactions from people. It tells you a lot of what kind of person you are deep inside.

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