The US government claims to have proof that WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning knowingly passed state secrets to a location where it was bound to be obtained by enemy groups, a military court has heard.
The insistence by the US government that it could prove Manning had knowledge that the WikiLeaks dump would be used by enemy groups was disputed by the lead defence lawyer who demanded evidence to which it was alluding. This is the most serious of the 22 charges facing the soldier that carries the death penalty.
The five-strong prosecution team although did not mention al-Qaeda, though the terrorist network has been explicitly mentioned in the previous hearings.
Manning, 24, has been in military jail for more than two years after he was arrested at the Forward Operating Base Hammeroutside Baghdad.
The legal argument between the two sides is of supreme significance — both to Manning personally and potentially to many other parties.
For Manning, the legal standard that will be set in his case on the charge of “aiding the enemy” could seal his fate.
The Article 104 count carries the death penalty, though the prosecution has indicated that it will not pursue a capital sentence against Manning. That still leaves the possibility, should he be found guilty of the charge, that he will be sentenced to life in military custody with no chance of parole.