| Updated at: 0424 PST, Sunday, March 06, 2011|
WASHIGNTON: Bradley Manning, the alleged source of the WikiLeaks US cables is facing 22 additional criminal charges. While the US government seem unwilling or unable to get their hands on Julian Assange at this stage, the man who allegedly released the initial leaks is now facing the death penalty.
Manning was first charged in July 2010, after he was allegedly discovered obtaining over 150,000 diplomatic cables and sending a military video to an unauthorised person. He is now in a military jail outside of Washinton, D.C, and with these new charges he doesn't look like leaving any time soon.
The most serious of the new charges is an allegation of aiding the enemy, a crime that is punishable by death. In the description of this charge, the term "enemy" is not only defined as an opposing force, but any "hostile body", a vague term that includes "civilians as well as members of military organizations."
There is no mention at all of WikiLeaks or Julian Assange in the charge sheet, which is "not surprising since the Justice Department has opened an espionage case against Assange and would not want to give away any details of its investigation until it's completed." said CBS national security correspondent David Martin.
Manning was discovered partly due to a tip-off from Adrian Lamo, a hacker who pleaded guilty to breaking into the New York Times' computer network in 2004. Lamo has said he considers Manning to be a spy, but doesn't expect him to be put to death.
Manning is now being kept in solitary confinement, with heavily restricted activities and minimal human contact. He has made a complaint about his conditions, part of which reads "I sit in my cell for 24 hours a day. I am stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses are taken away from me. I am forced to sit in essential blindness.Additionally, there is a guard sitting outside of my cell watching me at all times."(AFP)