Wikileaks Hearings Start, Military Punishes Superiors

The Article 32 hearing which will determine the future course of a trial against imprisoned US Army PFC Bradley Manning — accused of releasing classified documents — recently began, about 18 months after he was initially arrested.  Manning faces life in prison.

Defense lawyer David Coombs, reportedly known for his “unique” defense strategies, has already tried and failed in its attempt to have the military judge replaced.  He also had many witnesses denied; he was supposedly going to question the reason documents were classified to begin with.  The fact that Manning is reportedly homosexual — serving at a time when that was illegal — is also expected to be brought up as an excuse for his conduct.

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles as a gay soldier in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material…

Several soldiers are expected to testify that Manning was gay and suffered from feelings of isolation and stress connected to bullying from other soldiers.

While much of Coombs’ possible defense strategies are public, none seem to actually deny Manning did, indeed, release documents classified and restricted by the US military.

Meanwhile, the Army disciplined 15 people for “failing to adequately supervise” Manning.