By Ed Pilkington,guardian.co.uk – Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret state documents to WikiLeaks, will face his military detractors again this morning at the start of up to three more days of procedural hearings ahead of a full court martial.
Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has filed several defence motions with the military court in Fort Meade, Maryland, that call for all 22 charges against his client to be dismissed on grounds that the prosecution has mishandled the case. The lawyer will argue that the proceedings have been beset by delays and by refusal to hand over key documents during the discovery process, which he will say is a violation of the military rule book for court martials.
The hearing in Fort Meade is the third time Manning has been seen in public since his arrest on 25 May 2010 at the Forward Operating Base Hammer outside Baghdad. He was working as an intelligence analyst there, and has been charged with downloading and transmitting to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks a huge trove of US state secrets including confidential cables from embassies around the world.
In his filings, Coombs is scathing about the way the military authorities have gone about the pre-trial preparations. He talks about what he calls the “government’s ritual incantations” and says that it has taken two years since the case began for the defence to be handed just 12 pages of discovery materials.
Those materials, he writes, “are dated as of November 2010. Why is the defence receiving these in April 2012, a year and five months after they were prepared?” Read more…