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Dec. 20 in US Military History

Article 32 hearing for Manning underway

Bradley Manning is taking the first few steps toward a lengthy stay ay Club Leavenworth this week. The Army is conducting an Article 32 hearing (think Grand Jury) to determine if there is cause for a court martial. The good news is that there sure seems to be plenty.

Prosecutors presented new evidence Monday that appears to link Pfc. Bradley Manning to a massive leak of government material to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, including the existence of computer chat logs between Manning and WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange discussing the exchange of government information.

At a pretrial hearing, which is scheduled to continue in a military courtroom at Fort Meade this week, a government witness on Monday described a memory card he said belonged to Manning and contained nearly 500,000 field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. Prosecution witnesses also testified that a file allegedly deleted from one of Manning’s work computers contained more than 100,000 State Department cables. And a May 2010 e-mail that was sent to an acquaintance — and that Manning apparently thought he had encrypted — said, “I was the source of the 12 July 07 video from the Apache weapons team which killed two journalists and injured two kids.”

There are plenty of folks who are claiming that no damage was done by Manning's perfidy and so he should get leniency. Yeah, well, no. He purposely leaked classified information with the express purpose of damaging our war efforts and national security, his relative competence in doing so is not at issue. And the damage is as much to our ability to get allies and others to trust us as it is about embarrassing things revealed in the documents. Oh that's right, no evidence of a single war crime of any fashion was revealed in the spewing of data onto the internets.

Manning will get what he deserves and the only really sad thing is that Assange won't be nearby for him to chat face to face with.