Bradley Manning submits partially-guilty plea in WikiLeaks case
Says he did things, doesn't admit to specific crimes
US army private Bradley Manning has asked the court to accept a partially guilty plea that takes responsibility for leaking government documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning's lawyer David Coombs said on his blog that Manning was willing to plead "by exceptions and substitutions", where he doesn't admit he's guilty of the specific charges from the government, but he accepts responsibility for certain offences within the charges.
Coombs said that Manning wasn't doing this as part of any kind of plea bargain or deal with the government, but off his own back.
The government doesn't have to accept the plea even if the court decides it's legally permissible. Opposition lawyers can still try to prove the full depth of the charges and look for the full force of the law. If Manning is found guilty of the charges as they stand, he could face the death penalty.
Making a plea now could get Manning off on the more serious charges by accepting lesser offences, if the government is willing to let it go at that. The more serious charges include "aiding the enemy" by leaking the documents to the whistle blowing site.
Manning is facing a court martial over the document leak and has asked to be tried by a military judge alone, rather than a jury, at his trial in February. ®
Re: Oh, I don't like going down this path...
"How is Bradley Manning leaking information (assuming that he did, which hasn't yet been proven yet), any different that the White House leaking classified information?"
Because Bradley swore oaths and signed papers promising not to? Whereas Whitehouse leaks are almost certainly authorised at some level and made with careful consideration, with a top-down view. What Manning did was simply leak a sh!t-ton of stuff without consideration or even full awareness, because he was bitter and pi$$ed off and feeling spiteful..
More specifically, Bradley wasn't 'tactically' releasing documents 'for the public good' or setting out to uncover war crimes. If he had selected a few articles which specifically exposed problems, then he could perhaps argue that case, but the simple bulk-download (without even reading the contents in full, given their sheer volume) and exposure shows the crime definitely wasn't motivated by guilt or a desire to uncover wrong-doing. On the other hand, it wasn't motivated with money or desire for glory either. Instead it was a bitter act of someone who was not mentally stable enough to have been handling restricted information in the first place.
Manning signed up to keep his mouth shut and knew the penalties he would face for breaking the rules. He broke those rules and will suffer the consequences for them. I wouldn't go as far as executing him (due to the limited value of the information leaked), but he'll certainly be in military prison for a long time.
However, the real crime to my mind was the time and circumstances of his imprisonment prior to trial, and allowing someone clearly unstable to continue to work with restricted information.
Oh, I don't like going down this path...
How is Bradley Manning leaking information (assuming that he did, which hasn't yet been proven yet), any different that the White House leaking classified information? A leak is a leak, isn't it? Isn't there something about "equal protection", and something about "arbitrary and capricious" laws and enforcement? The White House does it to make the president look good, but it's still a violation of the law (The correct way to do it would be to declassify the information, not leak it.). In Manning's case, the primary motivation appears to have been an attempt to prevent the cover-up of a crime, specifically what was very probably a war crime.
Wasn't one of the results of the Nuremburg trials the Nuremburg Principles?
And, according to one interpretation of these, Bradley Manning was morally obligated to expose the attempted cover-up of various war crimes (specifically, Principle VII and VI).
Told you I didn't want to go down that path. :-(
"off his own back"
The correct idiom is 'off his own bat'. You can ask someone to get off your back, but you do somethung yourself (e.g. score runs) off your own bat.
Sorry for interrupting an important topic.