After spending three years in custody, the man accused of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history will learn Tuesday whether he has been found guilty of aiding the enemy.
A verdict from the judge in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning will be announced at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the military district of Washington.
If found guilty on the aiding the enemy charge, Manning could be sentenced to life in prison. He has pleaded guilty to nearly a dozen lesser charges that carry a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.
Whether Manning is a whistle-blower or a traitor who betrayed his country has been hotly debated.
Army Says Bales Should Face Death Penalty for ‘Despicable’ Crimes; Defense Disagrees - KansasCity.com
An eight-day hearing for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales wrapped up Tuesday with an Army prosecutor saying Bales should face the death penalty for committing “the worst, most despicable crimes a human being can commit, murdering children in their own homes.”
Maj. Rob Stelle’s argument concluded a preliminary hearing in which the Army laid out eyewitness testimony, surveillance video and DNA evidence connecting Bales, 39, to the slaughter of 16 civilians, including nine children, in southern Afghanistan.
But Bales’ attorney and family urged caution by the officers responsible for deciding whether the Joint Base Lewis-McChord combat veteran should advance to a full court-martial that could put him on death row.
“As a family, we all grieve deeply for the Afghani families who lost their loved ones on March 11, but we must not rush to judgment,” Bales’ sister-in-law Stephanie Tandberg said outside the Lewis-McChord court building after the hearing. She stood next to Kari Bales, the defendant’s wife.
Last spring’s massacre amounts to the worst alleged war crimes of the 11-year conflict in Afghanistan. It took on a human face over the past week as the Army called on four children Bales allegedly wounded to testify against him through a video link from Kandahar province.
The women assaulted by their Air Force training instructor don’t sleep much these days and when they do, he sometimes haunts their dreams.
They testified Saturday about being suddenly unable to relate to husbands, boyfriends and even fathers and brothers after they were sexually assaulted. One said her fear during a tour of duty in Afghanistan was heightened by soldiers who reminded her of her instructor, and she warned her younger sister not to enlist in the Air Force. Another said she’s now afraid to be behind closed doors with any man.
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker was sentenced to 20 years in prison Saturday for crimes that included rape and sexual assault. He is among 12 instructors investigated for sexual misconduct toward at least 31 female trainees at one of the nation’s busiest military training centers. Six have been charged with crimes, and the counts against Walker were the most severe. He could have faced life in prison.
Prosecutors say he used his position as a military trainer at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio to gain female recruits’ trust, and then he made illicit sexual advances. Walker’s court-martial included testimony from 10 women, one of whom wept as she described him luring her into his base office and sexually assaulting her on a bed, ignoring her pleas to stop.
An Air Force instructor convicted of raping a female recruit and sexually assaulting several others cried Saturday as he asked a military jury not to sentence him to life in prison.
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker is among 12 Lackland Air Force Base instructors investigated for sexual misconduct toward at least 31 female trainees, and he faced the most serious counts among the six instructors charged in a sex scandal that rocked one of the nation’s busiest training bases.
A military jury convicted Walker on Friday on all 28 counts including rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. Trial judge Col. Wesley Moore consolidated those charges into 20 on Saturday morning, saying some counts duplicated others, but the change did not affect Walker’s maximum sentence.
Walker submitted a written statement during the sentencing hearing, but he also spoke from a podium directly to the jury while his two sons, ages 7 and 4, looked on quietly.
“I ask for my family’s sake, for my two boys right there,” Walker said, wheeling around and sobbing. “I ask that I am allowed to have a future with them.”
Walker tried to mention having taken a polygraph test, but the prosecution objected before he could divulge the results.
“I promise you,” he said of any sentence, “I’ll accept it humbly and with the commitment to move forward positively.”
Prosecutors say from October 2010 through January 2011, Walker sexually assaulted or had improper sexual or personal contact with at least 10 female recruits. Lackland is where all Air Force recruits go through basic training.
Several of Walker’s alleged victims testified during his court-martial, including one who described how Walker lured her into an office and sexually assaulted her on a bed, ignoring her pleas to stop.
Once, Col. James H. Johnson was an honor graduate of West Point, on his way to a storied career capped by his command of the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. While leading the brigade, he had an affair with an Iraqi Kurdish woman that cost him his command, his career, and his honor.
Next week, Johnson will face a court-martial in Germany. He pleads not guilty to a host of charges ranging from bigamy to making false statements to financial misconduct. He is one of the most senior officers to be charged with misconduct during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
It all started in 2005, when Johnson, a married man, met a woman in northern Iraq — also married — while in battalion command. Allegedly, to win her over he used thousands of dollars in government money over the years to pay for a variety of favors for her family, and falsified receipts to cover his tracks, as Nancy Montgomery recounts in Stars and Stripes.
After the 173rd deployed to Afghanistan in late 2009, Johnson assured the public that he was spending his brigade’s wartime reconstruction cash in a more transparent way than ever before. But according to Johnson’s charge sheet, he was diverting some of it to his paramour’s family. He filed an invoice for nearly $60,000 to pay her father for services ostensibly rendered on Forward Operating Base Shenk. According to the charge sheet, “the deliverables were not produced nor received as required by the contract, and was then known by the said Colonel James H. Johnson to be false and fraudulent.”
Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website, will be court-martialed on charges that could lead to a sentence of life in prison, the Army said Friday in a statement.
Manning, 24, faces charges that include aiding the enemy, 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.
If convicted of all charges, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison, reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, E-1; forfeiture of pay and allowances; and a dishonorable discharge. Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, but the investigating officer endorsed the view of military prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.
The U.S. Army Trial Judiciary will appoint a military judge who will set the date for Manning’s arraignment, motion hearings and trial, the statement said.
Manning is accused of orchestrating the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. During the Article 32 proceedings in December, prosecutors presented evidence that Manning allegedly communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a series of Internet chats about uploading 700 Guantanamo Bay detainee interrogation reports.
Prosecutors charge that Manning put software on secure computers that allowed him to download classified material and burn it to a compact disc. Manning was assigned as an intelligence analyst in Iraq and had a top-secret clearance. He worked in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, known as SCIF.
Manning is being held in military custody.
At the Article 32 hearing, Manning’s defense lawyer, David Coombs, focused most of his attention on two issues: lack of security at the SCIF and the Army’s lack of response to Manning’s emotional and behavior problems.
WikiLeaks, the international online group that publishes secret government documents it receives from outside sources, set off a firestorm a year and a half ago when it made public on its website U.S. diplomatic cables and other sensitive documents, most of them pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The disclosure of hundreds of the documents continues to cast a shadow over the U.S. intelligence community.
Camp Pendleton, California (CNN) — Staff Sgt. Frank G. Wuterich, the Marine facing a court-martial who has pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty in the shooting deaths of 24 Iraqis, told surviving families Tuesday that “it was never my intention (to) harm you.”
Further, in a statement that he was going to read in court before his sentencing Tuesday, Wuterich said: “I never fired my weapon at any women or children that day” in 2005.
“When I told my team to shoot first and ask questions later, the intent wasn’t that they would shoot civilians, it was that they would not hesitate in the face of the enemy,” his statement said, made available to reporters beforehand.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials condemned Wuterich’s plea deal, and one U.S. military law expert said a public explanation by the court-martial or attorneys is needed.
A colonel described by friendly witnesses as “old Army” listened during his court-martial on Tuesday as women testified he had sexually harassed them in 2010 while commanding a combat hospital in Afghanistan.
Col. Michael Robertson commanded Fort Bliss’ 31st Combat Support Hospital at Camp Dwyer, a military base and airfield in the Helmand River Valley used by U.S. Marines. It was described as austere, with tent structures, cots for beds and latrine toilets. The hospital, which was built by the unit’s soldiers, is credited with saving numerous lives, because it is close to an area known for persistent and intense fighting.
Fort Bliss officials refused to provide information on the charges filed against Robertson. However, an online court docket said he was facing one charge of failure to obey order or regulation, three charges of cruelty and maltreatment, seven charges of assault, 16 unspecified charges that fall under the category of prejudicing good order and discipline, and other charges.
More details here.
Before noon today, a military judge began deliberating the fate of Col. Michael Robertson, a Fort Bliss solider accused of sexual harassment.
Second Update [same link]:
Col. Michael Robertson, a Fort Bliss solider accused of sexual harassment was convicted by a military judge of sexually harassing three women and assaulting five others.