Prosecution nears completion of case against Manning

Chris Healy | Newsgathering | Feature | December 20, 2011

Military prosecutors are approaching the conclusion of their arguments against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army analyst accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, The Associated Press reported today. The military proceeding -- known as an Article 32 hearing -- is used to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of Manning's guilt to proceed to a trial on 22 counts, including aiding the enemy.

After the prosecution calls their final witnesses, Manning's defense will have the opportunity to present witnesses, and then closing arguments will be held before a military judge -- called the investigating officer -- who determines whether Manning should face court martial on the charges, the AP reports.

Wired reported that government investigators found documents on Manning's computer linking him to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. The investigators found chat logs on Manning's MacBook Pro with an online user named "Julian Assange," as well as an Icelandic phone number for Assange, according to the magazine. Investigators also found logs of a chat with a hacker inside the United States in which Manning allegedly claims to be the source for the "Collateral Murder" video released by Wikileaks, an in-cockpit video of an Apache helicopter attack that claimed the lives of two journalists.

The Baltimore Sun reported yesterday that two supporters of Manning were removed from his hearing. Former Army Lt. Dan Choi, a prominent opponent of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, claimed that he was handcuffed and removed from the hearing and may press charges. The Military District of Washington claimed that Choi was making a disturbance and refused to stop when asked, the Sun reports.

According to the Sun, Daniel Ellsburg, the man who leaked the classified history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers, was also removed from the courtroom for attempting to introduce himself to Manning during a court recess.