Bradley Manning looks for an escape hatch

posted at 1:01 pm on November 10, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

With all of the focus on the recent election it’s been a while since we checked in on our continuing coverage of accused traitor Bradley Manning, currently still cooling his heels in military custody. His trial is quickly approaching, and his defense attorney has apparently come up with a new strategy. Maybe he’ll plead guilty to some of the charges.

Bradley Manning, the US soldier who is facing life in prison for allegedly having leaked hundreds of thousands of state secrets to WikiLeaks, has indicated publicly for the first time that he accepts responsibility for handing some information to the whistleblower website.

Manning’s defence lawyer, David Coombs, told a pre-trial hearing ahead of his court martial that the soldier wanted to offer a guilty plea for some offences contained within the US government’s case against him. This is the first time the intelligence analyst has given any public indication that he accepts that he played a part in the breach of confidential US material.

While details of which specific charges Coombs would have Manning cop to remain vague, the general tone is fairly clear. He’ll plead guilty to some of the “technicality” type charges dealing with improper handling of electronic data and such, while taking charges of “aiding the enemy” off the table. That would, if successful, remove the option of life in custody without parole – at best – from the equation.

We’re not talking about some court in San Francisco here. This is the Army. I would hope that they will see this for precisely what it is. Manning is asking for the equivalent of mowing down a group of nuns on a sidewalk in front of a Church and being charged with driving with a busted tail light. It seems rather laughable on its face, as has much of his inept defense efforts to date. Further, as Andrew Longstreth points out, writing for Reuters, this strategy comes with some risks of its own.

But there are dangers in Manning’s strategy. Even if the judge accepts the deal, there is no guarantee that Manning will be credited for pleading guilty to certain offenses in this late stage of the case.

By pleading guilty to certain facts, Manning also gives up any right to contest them at trial, which could make it easier for the government to prove its most serious charges.

“That’s the cost-benefit analysis you have to do,” said Philip Cave, a military law expert in private practice.

To be clear, the alleged traitor (do we really have to say “alleged” after this?) has not entered a guilty plea. This motion is more of a, “what would happen if we said…” type of request for the court. From my own observations of military legal process over the years, I wouldn’t expect it to receive much of a sympathetic ear.


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There’s your new CIA Director right there!!!

Rixon on November 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Bush!!

/oh wait

Mord on November 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM

This is the Army

Well it appears that the military dealing with that rop type terrorist murderer in Ft Hood killings is headed NO WHERE because of his beard? It has been over two years since this happened and still nothing is happening.

I don’t know about manning getting a ‘fast’ trial, but that murderer at Ft Hood sure isn’t?
L

letget on November 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Dang it! 3rd

Rules 4 thee but not 4 me! I’m sorry doesn’t count.

fewenuff on November 10, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Once the facts are ascertained, justice should be swift.

Imrahil on November 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM

We’re not talking about some court in San Francisco here. This is the Army.

Obama’s Army now.

rhombus on November 10, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Is the noose not good enough for this POS?

EnglishRogue on November 10, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Don’t forget who was just elected commander-in-chief. It’s fully possible that “the word” will come down from up on high, and the trial will fizzle. Or a presidential pardon. I wouldn’t rate either of those as unlikely with President “Apologizin’” Choom.

RoadRunner on November 10, 2012 at 1:27 PM

If only someone would’ve leaked whatever the CIA knows about Benghazi. Or info about the Iranians shooting at our drone. Or anything else that would be politically inconvenient for their master.

Mr. Prodigy on November 10, 2012 at 1:31 PM

The Romney campaign was a consultant con job

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2012/11/10/the-romney-campaign-was-a-consultant-con-job/

SparkPlug on November 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM

leaks should only occur carefully orchestrated in the NYTimes

Slade73 on November 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM

FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

free him somewhere close to me…

M240H on November 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Goat rope.

Execution is the only escape hatch that matters.

tuffy on November 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Plead guilty and get life in prison. Go to trial and face a firing squad.

That alone would be my counter offer.

rbj on November 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

free him somewhere close to me…

M240H on November 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Free him from a C-130 over shark infested waters.

trapeze on November 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Bradley Manning looks for an escape hatch

The only escape hatch Bradley Manning deserves… Is one constructed of of Stout Hemp rope…

Requiem for the Mainstream Media, All hail the New Media.

SWalker on November 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

The only hatch Manning should pass thru is that of the gallows.

rayra on November 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Judging from other soldier espionage cases (Walker excepted), I guestimate he’ll get 15-20 years.

Blake on November 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Wait. I thought all he had to do was resign and all the charges are automatically dropped.

Or does that only work for generals?

logis on November 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

I’d like to give him an escape hatch too. Out the cargo bay of a C-5 while it’s 8,000 feet off the ground.

Call it modern art.

john1schn on November 10, 2012 at 2:11 PM

And if a member of the military were to leak classified information regarding Benghazi that politically destroyed Obama, what then? Should we hang that service member as well? Oh, and for the record, I agree with the majority on this forum that Obama is without a doubt the worst president in US history. Just food for thought.

hatecraft on November 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Who’s up for some plea and pardon?!?!?

After all “I WON…AGAIN”

John Kettlewell on November 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Jazz Shaw,

I have watched with increasing amusement at your commentary on this Manning stuff. Do you have any actual experience with military justice?

Because I’ve been on both sides of the aisle prosecuting and defending Soldiers under the UCMJ for the last 5 years. I also know Dave Coombs, and he’s an excellent attorney. What basis do you have to say that he’s making blunders here other than just bare assertion? COmpared to other high profile (and not so high profile) cases, everything up to this point has been pretty par for the course.

Muswell Hillbilly on November 10, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Different deeds. They don’t compare.

tuffy on November 10, 2012 at 2:50 PM

MuswellHillbilly: I testified in a few military trials in the 1990s. The word back then was they didn’t take anything to trial that they would have a chance of losing. Is that true today?

SurferDoc on November 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

was an MP for few years doing alternating garrison (LEO) duty and nuclear (lance missles and nato sites) security.
I took my oath seriously.
shoot this bastard.

dmacleo on November 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

SurferDoc,

I’m not sure how true that was in the 90s, but nowadays there are a lot of acquittals. Part of that is the push to prosecute more sexual assault cases, where the government “win” rate is around 30-40%. That’s just one example, and by far the most egregious one.

On the whole, however, if you’re sitting in the place of the Accused, you are likely to be convicted of something. The question becomes what that something is, and how much punishment you receive.

In Manning’s case, I would be shocked if he wasn’t convicted, with the caveat that I can’t assess the actual evidence from the outside. The question becomes how well does he and his defense counsel limit his punishment. Coombs seems to have been employing a lot of tactics that have at least partially the aim of merely delaying the ultimate judgement. There is a perfectly good reason for this: Manning is already in confinement. He is gaining sentence credit right now. And the longer this goes on, the more people are likely to forget why what he did was such a big deal.

I’m not sure exactly which charges and specs he’s offering to plea to now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is taken.

Muswell Hillbilly on November 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM

I’m not sure exactly which charges and specs he’s offering to plea to now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is taken.

Muswell Hillbilly on November 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Were this not a high-profile case, I suspect you would probably be right. Were this not the wilful disclosure of national secrets you would probably be right. In short, the DoD needs a conviction and not a deal if only to deter some other homosexual soldier who wants to impress a boyfriend that stealing classified information is not the best of ideas.

Where I fault the DoD is that Manning shouldn’t be the only one being prosecuted. It is clear that whatever the hell was going on, there are others above the rank of PFC that should be having to answer for the conditions and procedures that allowed this situation to occur. The rules for SCIfs (even temporary ones) are clear and, apparently, Manning was able to sneak out information over a long period of time. Why? Who was responsible for that?

Happy Nomad on November 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

“This is the Army”

Well it appears that the military dealing with that rop type terrorist murderer in Ft Hood killings is headed NO WHERE because of his beard? It has been over two years since this happened and still nothing is happening.

letget on November 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Yeah, and let’s not forget Gen. Casey and his “we can’t hurt our diversity” routine in response to that terrorist mass murder of our troops. “This is the Army” doesn’t mean much anymore. The military’s been co-opted just like everything else in the federal government.

Django on November 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM

I took my oath seriously.
shoot this bastard.

dmacleo on November 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

In the meantime, let’s remember that the government considers the FT. Hood shooting a case of workplace violence and is prosecuting it as such. This administration is shameless when it comes to harboring criminals.

Happy Nomad on November 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

This administration is shameless when it comes to harboring criminals.

Happy Nomad on November 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

It’s not so much about harboring criminals as it is about undercutting America and its military at every opportunity. I guess Benghazi was workplace violence also.

Django on November 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Jazz thinks whistleblower = traitor.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Jazz Shaw,

I have watched with increasing amusement at your commentary on this Manning stuff. Do you have any actual experience with military justice?

Because I’ve been on both sides of the aisle prosecuting and defending Soldiers under the UCMJ for the last 5 years. I also know Dave Coombs, and he’s an excellent attorney. What basis do you have to say that he’s making blunders here other than just bare assertion? COmpared to other high profile (and not so high profile) cases, everything up to this point has been pretty par for the course.

Muswell Hillbilly on November 10, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Jazz is a statist, big government authoritarian who thinks its silly that an accused person have an attorney, because the accused is guilty of whatever the government says he’s guilty of. Therefore, whenever the attorney moves for dimissal of charges, and does hiis job, Jazz thinks its incompetence.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 5:54 PM

The young man should have thought about what he was about to do and the possible consequences BEFORE he did it.

What , did he think he was playing some kind of video game ?

He got what he deserved..

RockyJ. on November 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM

The young man should have thought about what he was about to do and the possible consequences BEFORE he did it.

What , did he think he was playing some kind of video game ?

He got what he deserved..

RockyJ. on November 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM

He deserves a medal for exposing government and its lies to us at great personal risk.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

He deserves a medal for exposing government and its lies to us at great personal risk.
Dante on November 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

And you deserve a battery acid enema. Doesn’t mean it will happen.

trapeze on November 10, 2012 at 6:23 PM

And you deserve a battery acid enema. Doesn’t mean it will happen.

trapeze on November 10, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Says the man with an ironic link in his handle. You “conservatives” sure love you some force, tyranny, and your government murdering people as it denies it.

I bet you would’ve been a British Loyalist. Jazz most certainly would have.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 6:26 PM

He deserves a medal for exposing government and its lies to us at great personal risk.
Dante on November 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Well, we know at least TWO people that disagree with you: Manning and his Lawyer. Otherwise, he’d be claiming credit for what he’s done, no?

BTW, you DO know the materials he released also may be responsible to the deaths of people that actually cooperated with the US…shouldn’t he at least answer for that? Or don’t those folks count, in your world?

Not to mention: he released classified material…he knows/knew the risks of doing so…he signed the forms and documents that state he WOULDN’T do just that…so if he had the confidence of his convictions shouldn’t he take responsibility?

As for a medal, he SHOULD get one hung around his neck….one made of hemp and attached to a sturdy tree.

BlaxPac on November 10, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Well, we know at least TWO people that disagree with you: Manning and his Lawyer. Otherwise, he’d be claiming credit for what he’s done, no?

No. Government is like the mafia; it operates through force and coercion. Many innocent people plead to lesser charges, even though they’re innocent.

BTW, you DO know the materials he released also may be responsible to the deaths of people that actually cooperated with the US…shouldn’t he at least answer for that? Or don’t those folks count, in your world?

May be responsible? That’s some rock solid stuff. Let’s throw people in jail and execute them because something may have happened.

Not to mention: he released classified material…he knows/knew the risks of doing so…he signed the forms and documents that state he WOULDN’T do just that…so if he had the confidence of his convictions shouldn’t he take responsibility?

As for a medal, he SHOULD get one hung around his neck….one made of hemp and attached to a sturdy tree.

BlaxPac on November 10, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Yes, the info was classified. I couldn’t care less that it was. He’s a whistleblower.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Regardless what you think of military courts, you have to remember that they are still federal courts, many people forget that. As such, they are supervised by the politicians in power, they always have been. With that in mind;

I wouldn’t expect it to receive much of a sympathetic ear.

The same person who jailed an inept film maker on trumped up charges to cover Benghazi also wields significant influence with the military courts.

To have expectations that being a US Military court would make it exempt from the powers that be, would be naive at best.

I would think that after all of the trouble he caused the currant chain of command, and it’s overlords that Bradley Manning’s lifelong incarceration would a forgone conclusion, but don’t forget, Bradley Manning is pretty much doing what liberals and progressives want done.

My hope is that justice is done to Bradley Manning, even if it is done for the wrong reasons.

Rode Werk on November 10, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Yes, the info was classified. I couldn’t care less that it was. He’s a whistleblower.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Nice to see what you really think of the rule of law, neoanarch.

gryphon202 on November 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

What did he do wrong, again? Oh yeah? We’re living in a police state. My bad.

RightXBrigade on November 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Nice to see what you really think of the rule of law, neoanarch.

gryphon202 on November 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Another one who would be a British loyalist in 1776.

What did he do wrong, again? Oh yeah? We’re living in a police state. My bad.

RightXBrigade on November 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Someone gets it.

Dante on November 10, 2012 at 9:51 PM

So let’s see, Manning released information that “the most transparent government evah!” wanted kept secret? Good. Manning is a martyr for the truth about the most corrupt and criminal government evah.

America is dead. Long live Amerika!

woodNfish on November 11, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Regardless what you think of military courts, you have to remember that they are still federal courts, many people forget that. As such, they are supervised by the politicians in power, they always have been. With that in mind;

I wouldn’t expect it to receive much of a sympathetic ear.
The same person who jailed an inept film maker on trumped up charges to cover Benghazi also wields significant influence with the military courts.

To have expectations that being a US Military court would make it exempt from the powers that be, would be naive at best.

I would think that after all of the trouble he caused the currant chain of command, and it’s overlords that Bradley Manning’s lifelong incarceration would a forgone conclusion, but don’t forget, Bradley Manning is pretty much doing what liberals and progressives want done.

My hope is that justice is done to Bradley Manning, even if it is done for the wrong reasons.

Rode Werk on November 10, 2012 at 7:54 PM

You have no idea what you are talking about. First, military courts are not supervised by politicians. Second, if Obama tried to get involved with the case at all, there’s a good chance the judge would dismiss it for Undue Command Influence. Third, (for Jazz’s sake) the entire case has proceeded exactly like most other cases. Submitting motions to dismiss charges is done in virtually every case, whether it’s a simple Article 91 case or a complex Article 120 case. Finally, the Judge would not actually accept the deal on what he perceives as fairness. The deal would be agreed upon between the Trial Counsel and the TDS attorney. The Judge would accept the guilty plea only if he is satisfied that the Accused’s admissions in the plea inquiry established each element of the charge.

Bravesbill on November 11, 2012 at 6:32 AM

EXECUTE THAT LITTLE TRAITOR….

ARIZONAVETERAN on November 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

GUILTY= FIRING SQUAD

ARIZONAVETERAN on November 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

EXECUTE THAT LITTLE TRAITOR….

ARIZONAVETERAN on November 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

GUILTY= FIRING SQUAD

ARIZONAVETERAN on November 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Sad.

Dante on November 11, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Bradley Manning looks for an escape hatch

OK…provided the escape hatch leads to the courtyard containing the firing squad!

landlines on November 12, 2012 at 3:27 PM