Following through on a planned “practice trial” earlier this month, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s actual trial will include significant portions closed to the public, to allow “classified” evidence to be presented in secret.
The decision was announced today by Col. Denise Lind, the judge in the case. Lind says that two dozen of the military’s witnesses will be able to provide some or all of their testimony in secret.
Lind also announced that the military has accepted Manning’s guilty plea on violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for releasing a US State Department cable to WikiLeaks relating to Iceland’s 2010 financial crisis.
Manning has admitted to leaking the documents, but is fighting charges of aiding “the enemy,” and his lawyer has pointed out that despite a lot of talk in that direction, officials have been unable or unwilling to show where the leaks did any real harm.
Manning was arrested three years ago on the charges, and has been held in various forms of military confinement, suffering mistreatment, while he waits for the trial, now set to begin in June. Though the military code of justice explicitly guarantees a “speedy trial” within 120 days of arrest, Col. Lind has ruled it was “reasonable” for the military to delay the trial for years.
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