Judge calls for court martial for suspected WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning

A military judge has recommended that Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks, face a court martial, reported the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Manning, 24, faces more than 20 criminal charges, including aiding the enemy and espionage. While the charges could bring the death penalty, prosecutors have said they will only seek life in prison, reported Reuters. Manning allegedly downloaded more than 700,000 secret government files that led to WikiLeaks disclosures, such as those related to diplomatic cables and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is forcing Twitter to hand over account records related to three WikiLeaks supporters, reported Mashable. A U.S. District Judge has refused to block the DOJ's order pending a ruling from a federal appeals court, arguing that "the appeal has little chance of success because existing case law 'overwhelmingly' supports the government’s position," according to Bloomberg.

The ruling means Twitter must disclose the records of three alleged WikiLeaks supporters: Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament; Jacob Appelbaum, a researcher who represented WikiLeaks at a 2010 hacker’s conference in New York; and Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch activist and businessman. The three had wanted to delay turning over any records until the appeals court made a ruling, but prosecutors claimed any further delay would hinder the grand jury's criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, according to Wired.

The Computer Business Review noted that the judge's ruling is just one more example of why "the protection of civil liberties needs to be clarified in light of the digital age and civil rights in relation to technology needs to taken into consideration...The growth of social media and the voice it provides has caught the attention of many governments. Thus, the rights of private citizens needed to be extended and established in the technological sphere."