WikiLeaks soldier refuses to enter plea
February 25, 2012 - 3:00AM
An army private has declined to enter a plea to charges he engineered the biggest leak of classified information in
Bradley Manning also deferred a choice of whether to be tried by a military jury or judge alone.
Military judge Colonel Denise Lind presided over the 50-minute hearing at
Defence lawyer David Coombs proposed a trial date some time in April. He said the government's proposed calendar could push the start of the trial to August 3, which could jeopardise his client's right to a speedy trial.
Manning has been in pretrial confinement since May 2010. He faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy. That charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The others carry a combined maximum of more than 150 years. The 24-year-old from
Defence lawyers say Manning was emotionally troubled and should not have had access to classified material nor been sent to
A court-martial defendant can defer entering a plea until the start of the trial and defer choosing a judge or jury until shortly before the trial date.
Doing so could buy the defence more time to investigate the background of prospective jurors or negotiate a deal, said Eugene Fidell, a former Coast Guard judge advocate who teaches law at Yale.
The hearing - officially the start of Manning's court martial - was more formal than his December preliminary hearing in the same courtroom.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/world/wikileaks-soldier-refuses-to-enter-plea-20120224-1ttnc.htm
Bradley Manning, Solitary Confinement and Occupy 4 Prisoners
By Bill Quigley
Today US Army Private Bradley Manning is to be formally charged with numerous crimes at
The Manning prosecution is a tragic miscarriage of justice.
One of the most outrageous parts of the treatment of Bradley Manning is that the
Human rights’ advocates rightly point out that solitary confinement is designed to break down people mentally. Because of that, prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. The conditions and practices of isolation are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention against Torture, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination.
Medical experts say that after 60 days in solidary peoples’ mental state begins to break down. That means a person will start to experience panic, anxiety, confusion, headaches, heart palpitations, sleep problems, withdrawal, anger, depression, despair, and over-sensitivity. Over time this can lead to severe psychiatric trauma and harms like psychosis, distortion of reality, hallucinations, mass anxiety and acute confusion. Essentially, the mind disintegrates.
That is why the United Nations special rapporteur on torture sought to investigate Manning’s solitary confinement and reprimanded the
History will likely judge Manning as heroic as it has Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers.
It is important to realize that tens of thousands of other people besides Manning are held in solitary confinement in the
In 1995, the U.N. Human Rights Committee stated that isolation conditions in certain
John McCain said his two years in solitary confinement were torture. "It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance effectively than any other form of mistreatment." The reaction of McCain and many other victims of isolation torture were described in an excellent 2009 New Yorker article on isolation by Atul Gawande. Gawande concluded that prolonged isolation is objectively horrifying, intrinsically cruel, and more widespread in the
This week hundreds of members of the Occupy movement merged forces with people advocating for human rights for prisoners in demonstrations in
One of the major complaints of prisoner human rights activists is the abuse of solitary confinement in prisons across the
At the Occupy Prisoners rally outside San Quentin prison, the three American hikers who were held for a year in
When Manning was held in solitary he was kept in his cell 23 hours a day for months at a time. The
Thousands stood up with Bradley Manning and got him released from solitary. People must likewise stand up with the thousands of others in solitary as well.
So, stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning and fight against his prosecution. And stand also against solitary confinement of the tens of thousands in US jails and prisons. Check out the Bradley Manning Support Network, Solitary Watch, and Occupy 4 Prisoners for ways to participate.
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/bradley-manning-solitary-confinement-and-occupy-4-prisoners-1330180938. All rights are reserved.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs