Pfc. Bradley Manning is seeking the dismissal of no less than 10 criminal counts against him.
A total of 22 charges have been leveled against Manning including: wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet; theft of public property or records; transmitting defense information; and fraud and related activity in connection with computers.
Manning is also facing charges of aiding the enemy after thousands of classified documents downloaded by the former army intelligence analyst ended up on WikiLeaks.
However, Manning’s civilian defense attorney David Coombs claims eight of the counts are unconstitutionally vague and contends that two additional charges fail to state a prosecutable offense.
A military judge will hear oral arguments at a pretrial hearing starting June 6 at Fort Meade, Md, while Manning’s military trial is slated to begin on September 21.
If found guilty, the former army intelligence analyst will likely spend the rest of his life in the brig without the chance of parole.
But that is obviously an outcome CPT Joshua Tooman, David Coombs and MAJ Thomas F. Hurley, the newly appointed Military Defense Counsel for PFC Manning, are determined to avoid. Indeed, the experienced Hurley was originally detailed to PFC Manning’s case in 2010 before he was assigned to represent another soldier in a separate, non-related trial.
Although the Pentagon appears set on making an example out of Manning, a number of organizations, activists and artists have leapt to the defense of Manning, claiming the Pfc. shouldn’t be punished for his role in leaking secret documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, many have questioned whether the Pentagon is even capable of offering Manning a fair trial.
“I don’t think anyone disagrees that the government has enough evidence to start a court martial proceeding. The question is whether they should be proceeding,” Dan Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, told The Guardian back in December 2011.
“It’s outrageous for two reasons. How can there be a fair court martial when the commander in chief, president Obama himself, pronounced that he is guilty [of breaking the law]? Secondly, he has been subjected to 10 and a half months of clearly abusive treatment that in my opinion was immoral and illegal.”