According to US Army officials, the Army is assembling a special board to “evaluate” Pfc. Bradley Manning and determine whether he is fit to stand trial. The evaluation is the first step toward a military court-martial for Manning on charges of culpability in the WikiLeaks revelations.
Manning has been held at the Quantico brig in Virginia since July, and could face decades in prison over the leaks. Manning’s current mental state is in serious question, however, given the harsh treatment he has received in detention.
Indeed a group called Psychologists for Social Responsibility has formally protested the conditions in which Manning has been held. Those familiar with his detention report that his condition has deteriorated significantly.
The US is also said to be planning to offer Manning a plea deal if he agrees to testify that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange directly urged him to release the classified documents. Though officials insist they intend to prosecute Assange one way or another, there appears to be little legal basis for doing so without Manning’s cooperation.