The United States of Barbaria

Bradley Manning Pretrial Hearing Puts Military On Trial In WikiLeaks Case

Bradley Manning is finally getting his day in court. The Army private accused of giving thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks took the witness stand on Thursday and Friday in a pretrial hearing. Manning and his defense lawyer are in essence putting the military on trial, arguing that Manning’s treatment in the Marine Corps brig at Quantico was so harsh that his court martial charges should be dropped.

Manning, 24, speaking in public in court Thursday at Fort Meade in Maryland for the first time since he was accused in May 2010 of leaking thousands of military and diplomatic documents to the website, detailed some of the 917 days he had spent in custody. He endured many of them in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, stripped naked at night on suicide watch — conditions that the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture found to be “cruel and unusual.”

Manning’s treatment was so beyond the pale, his defense contends, that the charges against him — including that he “aided the enemy” by his release of documents, which could result in life imprisonment — should be dismissed…

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