Motion hearing day 2 – March 16
Alyona rocks!!! <3
It is day two of the latest Bradley Manning hearing at Fort Meade. The whole thing wrapped in about 25 minutes. However we did learn the fate of the motion filed by Coombs yesterday. The judge ruled against the defense’s motion to gain access to classification authorities. She said she’s quite happy with the way authorities have determined who the defense can and cannot use as a witness. She said the government did a bang up job during the Article 32 hearing back in December, and if they did their job then, then she just blindly trusts that they’ve done their job this time around too.
Bradley Manning Support Network report
(entirely reprinted from above link)
Vigil outside Ft. Meade for the second day of Bradley’s motion hearing.
Military judge denies another motion filed by Bradley’s attorney. After lengthy delay, motion hearing ends with no court martial date set. Next hearing: April 24-26.
Though the second day of PFC Bradley Manning’s motion hearing at Fort Meade was scheduled for 10 AM, extensive private conferencing between the judge, Denise Lind; Manning’s defense, led by David Coombs; and the prosecution pushed the proceedings back to 1 PM. Meanwhile, supporters continued a vigil outside the front gate, holding signs for Bradley Manning.
When the hearing finally commenced, the judge explained that the private conference was devoted to reviewing and discussing an appropriate protective bill for classified information, which shields classified documents from the public in a closed session. Lind announced a protective bill had been “finalized” that “balances” the national security interests of the prosecution and the defense’s right to a fair trial.
Then the judge introduced the two major motions discussed yesterday, the defense’s motion to compel discovery and the defense’s motion to compel deposition. First, Lind said that the motion to compel discovery, or potential evidence, was still “under advisement” and that she will email a decision on it before the next session.
Lind proceeded to the motion to compel deposition – the defense’s protest of the improper denial of witnesses at the Article 32 pretrial hearing. This motion focused on Original Classification Authorities (OCAs), who would testify about the classification of material PFC Manning is accused of releasing, such as three Apache videos. These include Capt. Culkey, Adm. Kevin Donegan, Robert E. Bets, Robert E. Schmittle, Robert S. Harward, Patrick Kennedy, David Woods, and Robert Rolland.
The judge reviewed the defense’s various deposition requests (beginning in October 2011), the pretrial hearing Investigating Officer’s (IO) denial based on “availability,” and the defense’s subsequent appeals and repeated requests. The IO denied the potential witnesses saying they were “unavailable,” meaning the “delay, expense, and impact on the military” if they were to testify “outweighs” their relevance to the case. Part of the military’s definition for “available” means within 100 miles from the court – despite the fact that two of the civilian OCAs are at Fort Meade itself.
In her analysis, Judge Lind ruled against the defense, denying the motion to compel deposition. She argued the IO’s denial was not improper because she agrees their testimony does not “outweigh” the “delay, expense, and impact on the military.” Lind also contested Coombs’ argument that the government had impeded his access to the civilian OCAs, saying that an affidavit was still permissible.
Signaling that this ruling concluded Manning’s motion hearing, Lind scheduled the next court dates for April 24-26, explaining that today’s delays proved that three days were necessary for these hearings instead of two. And less than half an hour since it’d begun, the court was dismissed.
This account of Bradley Manning’s motion hearing on March 15 and March 16, 2012, is based on Nathan Fuller’s courtroom notes, as no official transcript is publicly available. Please send questions or corrections to NathanLFuller(at)bradleymanning.org
By: Kevin Gosztola Friday March 16, 2012 9:35 am
(reprinted in full from the link above)
2:03 PM Here’s a partial list of OCAs named today, who the defense want to depose: Kevin M. Donegan, US CENTCOM director; Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, US CENTCOM deputy commander; Patrick F. Kennedy, under secretary of management for the State Department; Rear Admiral David Woods, JTF GTMO commander. There are more and I will try to get more of them in here as I am able to decipher names I heard through searches on Google. (Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if the media had better access to court records?)
2:01 PM Judge did not find that the government had impeded the defense’s access to OCAs.
1:57 PM The next dates for proceedings are April 24-26. They decided, based on what happened today, it would be best to have three-day proceedings instead of two-day. It is not known what will be litigated exactly.
Lind said, “What will be litigated is ‘not firm.” Parties will submit what they propose to be litigated. Once we finalize that, I believe parties are prepared to announce to the public.” Upon sharing that, the court went into recess.
1:47 PM The judge denied the motion to compel depositions. She concluded the IO had “properly balanced the reasonability” of OCAs appearing in court. She said he had “properly considered” codes and guidelines. The judge seemed to think they were asking for depositions as a “remedy where the IO denied witnesses.” Since she didn’t think the IO improperly denied OCA testimony during the Article 32 hearing, it is not difficult to see why she ultimately denied them.
Additionally, the judge found they were “not essential witnesses.” Many of the OCAs requested—who she named, which may be surprising since they were redacted in the request document that Coombs posted on his website—are high-ranking government officials. There is “no evidence that any of these OCAs “would be unavailable.” So, there was, in her opinion, “good reason to deny the motion.”
1:45 PM After twenty-five minutes, Day 2 of hearing wraps. We get reports on what was delaying the proceedings. The judge was meeting with defense and prosecution to develop a protective order for classified information. That was agreed upon, signed and submitted to record. Details were not presented in court.
1:17 PM Finally, beginning Day 2 of hearing
12:30 PM The San Jose Mercury News publishes an op-ed from John Mutch, a security software firm CEO, on Obama-created Insider Threat Task Force that includes the blatantly inaccurate line, “Private Bradley Manning was the impetus for the task force, after he was found guilty of transferring classified data onto his personal computer, and communicating national defense information to WikiLeaks.”
Good of Mutch to follow President Obama’s lead and pronounce him guilty before his trial, but I and many others are going to wait until the verdict. Also, Mercury News, did an editor read this before publishing? Was anyone struck by this phrasing? Seems like Mercury News must print a correction.
12:27 PM Cryptome posts Reuters photos of Bradley Manning from yesterday.
12:19 PM Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project on how “the government has created its own monster with its abusive WikiLeaks policies.” Radack focuses on the issue over the emails including the word “WikiLeaks” not getting through to prosecuting attorneys.
11:14 AM While we are waiting for the second day of the hearing to actually begin, here’s my appearance on RT America. I particularly raised the issue of how media should be getting much more access to records during the court martial proceedings.
11:00 AM We are not starting until 1 pm. Secret conferencing between the prosecution, defense and judge will go on until then and hearing will not begin until after lunch.
10:40 AM Nathan Fuller (@nathanlfuller) has some photos from the gates of Manning supporters.
10:30 AM We have just been told that the conferencing or secret portion of the hearing involving the prosecution, defense and judge will be going on until at least 11 AM.
Original Post on FireDogLake
A two-day motion hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is scheduled to conclude today. Three motions involving discovery of evidence, depositions and particular details surrounding the case were deliberated over in court yesterday and Col. Denise Lind, the judge, is expected to rule on those motions. She also is expected to release a calendar for upcoming dates, including when the trial will begin.
Key details from the hearing yesterday:
—The government was not receiving certain emails because “WikiLeaks” appeared in them. The government experienced issues involving emails up until March 11 because the word “WikiLeaks” was appearing in them. A “spam filter”—or, perhaps, a security block, was not letting the emails through. The prosecution worked with tech and now, of course, instead of ensuring emails with “WikiLeaks” do get through, they are just going to have a tech person check spam every day at 10 am to see if there are emails related to the Manning case. [POLITICO's Josh Gerstein had a good short write-up.]
—The defense outlined the information they are trying to get the government to disclose. The damage assessments, FOIA requests for documents containing an investigation into the Apache helicopter attack in 2007 (“Collateral Murder”), computer forensic images and a Quantico Marine brig video, which the government contends does not exist. The government claimed the FOIA requests were actually delivered to them at 7:30 pm on Wednesday night. (Of course, that suggests some shenanigans were happening. Because, why are they delivering evidence the night before motion hearings? No justification for withholding from the defense?)
—Manning could potentially testify on the existence of the Quantico video. Specifically, the defense could put Manning on the stand as a witness to testify and present evidence that he, in fact, knows for certain a video exists. The government denies the video exists. The defense believes it does because Manning says he knows he was being recorded. This means an upcoming hearing is likely to see the first cross-examination of Manning on the stand.
—Coombs continued to challenge the government’s denial of access to OCAs. Manning defense lawyer David Coombs has repeatedly requested access to original classification authorities (OCAs), who reviewed the material alleged to have been released to WikiLeaks and produced reports on the information in the documents that would potentially harm the United States. He said OCAs are essential witnesses, they were improperly denied at the Article 32 hearing and the government has “impeded access” to them. He pointed out that the witnesses should have testified at the hearing as this was why the court martial process was delayed. They were waiting on the OCA reports up until the last one was filed in November 2011.
Coombs added he believes the OCAs would say there was no “compromise of sources or methods and minimal damage.” He also conceded that “it could be the opposite.” They could say it has been “very terrible and x, y and z happened.” Regardless, this testimony from OCAs is critical to formulating a defense for Manning.
—Defense filed a motion to dismiss all charges with prejudice. After hearing the government defend their denial of defense discovery requests, Coombs found he had no choice but to conclude that the government has wholly failed. He believes they do not understand the rules for discovery evidence requests. Because of denials of access to key evidence, he filed a motion to dismiss. The judge said she would need time to look it over. The government may respond today. This will be the subject of a future hearing and will not be deliberated over today.