Bradley Manning and similarities with the Pentagon Papers (Daniel Ellsberg) case

Reblogged in full on January 4, 2013 from darkernet.in <<< follow!!

image

With more pretrial hearings scheduled for this month and next we examine the similarities between the Bradley Manning case (and Wikileaks) and that of Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated whistleblower who, together with Anthony Russo, was charged and tried for leaking the Pentagon Papers. At the trial all charges against Ellsberg and Russo were dropped and Bradley Manning’s supporters argue that the charges against him should be dropped too. Below is a summary of what happened to Ellsberg and Russo, their trial and the irregularities identified that led to the outcome..

1. Introduction

“I was the Bradley Manning of my day. In 1971 I too faced life in prison for exposing classified government lies and crimes. President Obama says “the Ellsberg material was classified on a different basis.” True. The Pentagon Papers were not Secret like the Wikileaks revelations, they were all marked Top Secret—Sensitive. Ultimately all charges in my case were dropped because of criminal governmental misconduct toward me during my proceedings. Exactly the same outcome should occur now, in light of the criminal conditions of Manning’s confinement for the last six months.” Daniel Ellsberg.

Daniel Ellsberg was described by Henry Kissinger as “the most dangerous man in America.” His actions directly contributed to the end of the Nixon presidency and the Vietnam War.

2. The Pentagon Papers

To see the Pentagon Papers in full (all 7000 pages were only made available in May 2011), click here .

The papers were officially known as United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense. The Papers showed that the US had deliberately expanded its war with the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks. Four administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had misled the public regarding their intentions.

Ellsberg provided material from the Papers to the New York Times and the Washington Post (both went ahead and published).

3. The charges

On June 28, 1971, Ellsberg (who had gone into hiding after distributing copies of the Pentagon Papers to newspapers) surrendered in Boston to face criminal charges. Under the Espionage Act, Ellsberg was charged with theft and unauthorized possession of classified documents. Anthony Russo, a former RAND colleague of Ellsberg’s who had helped photocopy the documents and urged Ellsberg to distribute them, was subpoenaed in August 1971 and imprisoned for six weeks after refusing to testify against Ellsberg before a grand jury. In December 1971, a second indictment was issued against the two men, listing them as co-conspirators in the matter. Ellsberg faced five counts of theft and six of violations of the Espionage Act, for a maximum total of 115 years; Russo faced one count of theft and two of violating the Espionage Act, for a maximum total of 35 years.

4. The trial

Their trial began on January 3, 1973. Five days later, the Watergate burglary trial commenced in Washington, D.C. The Ellsberg/Russo trial continued for more than four months. In late April, Watergate prosecutor Earl Silbert submitted a memo that revealed that two members of a special investigations unit known as “the plumbers” that had been created by President Nixon — G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt (who had just been convicted in the Watergate burglary trial) — had illegally entered the offices of Lewis Fielding, Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalyst, in search of files that could be used to discredit Ellsberg. A few days later the judge revealed that John Ehrlichman — one of Nixon’s top aides — had offered him the job of director of the FBI. It was also revealed that the FBI had secretly and illegally recorded conversations between Ellsberg and Morton Halperin, who had supervised the Pentagon Papers study. Meanwhile the Government admitted that telephone conversations of Ellsberg were picked up by wiretapping in late 1969 and early 1970, but that all records and logs of those conversations had disappeared from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Given the irregularities that had occurred the judge declared a mis-trial and the charges against both Ellsberg and Russo were dropped. The Government’s action in this case, Byrne said, “offended a sense of justice,” and so “I have decided to declare a mis-trial and grant the motion for dismissal.” The judge also made it clear that Ellsberg and Russo would not be tried again on charges of stealing and copying the Pentagon papers. He said, “The conduct of the Government has placed the case in such a posture that it precludes the fair, dispassionate resolution of these issues by a jury”.

Note: it was the revelation of the Fielding break-in that Nixon feared the most. When the House Judiciary Committee, in 1974, adopted three articles of impeachment against Nixon, two of them directly concerned the Fielding break-in. After that, Nixon had no choice but to resign.

5. Similarities/differences to Manning case

A. The (apparent) differences:
1. Manning is being court-martialled and is not facing charges via the criminal courts system. The rules and procedures are therefore different from those that applied to Ellsberg/Russo.
2. At the time of the Ellsberg/Russo trial the public mood was not in favour of President Nixon, whereas today President Obama still, arguably, enjoys popularity.
3. While Ellsberg provided extracts from the Pentagon Papers directly to the media, Manning is alleged to have used Wikileaks as a conduit.
4. More..?

B. The (apparent) similarities:
1. Both cases involve irregularities. With Ellsberg/Russo it was about break-ins, unauthorised surveillance, corruption, etc. With Manning it is more to do with the way he has been treated – or mistreated – since his arrest.
2. With both the Manning and Ellsberg/Russo cases the raison d’etre is/was all about revealing uncomfortable truths and acting according to conscience.
3. The files Manning is alleged to have leaked were published in part by several well known newspapers, including the New York Times; NYT and the Washington Post similarly published extracts from the Pentagon Papers.
4. More..?

Bradley Manning treated like a “zoo animal”

WikiLeaks suspect treated like ‘zoo animal’: lawyer

FORT MEADE (USA), Dec 12: In his final plea to have charges dropped against WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning, a defence lawyer on Tuesday compared his harsh detention conditions to those of a “zoo animal”.

Manning’s solitary confinement — under 24-hour watch, forced to sleep naked in a tiny cell for all but 20 minutes a day — was “a clear violation” of the US code of military justice, defence lawyer David Coombs said.

“There was this eight-by-six (foot) cell, that was PFC (Private First Class) Manning’s life,” Coombs said, as both the defence and the prosecution wrapped up arguments to close off a dramatic phase of pre-trial hearings. “Every moment of your life is going to be subjected to being watched… watched or viewed almost as a zoo animal,” Coombs said.

The 24-year-old private faces a slew of charges, including “aiding the enemy,” for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive US military and diplomatic documents to Julian Assange’s anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks. He was arrested in May 2010 while serving as an intelligence analyst near Baghdad and subsequently charged over the largest leak of restricted documents in history.

Manning was sent briefly to a US jail in neighbouring Kuwait, before being transferred to Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia in July 2010.

After nine months in the brig, he was moved in April 2011 to a US Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was allowed to interact with other detainees as detention conditions were relaxed.

During pre-trial hearings at Forte Meade in Maryland, the defence has focused on getting the charges dropped on the basis that Manning’s detention conditions at Quantico were unfairly harsh.

“It was arbitrary, month after month,” Coombs said. “If the conditions are not necessary that could give rise to illegal punishment,” which would justify dropping all the charges, he said.

The court has heard from the full hierarchy of figures involved in Manning’s incarceration — from the prison chief to the guards that kept watch over his cell.

The suspect took the stand himself, admitting he had broken down early on his detention and contemplated suicide but adding that he had recovered only for his pleas for better conditions to fall upon deaf ears.

“I had no socks, no underwear, I had no articles of clothing, I had no glasses,” testified Manning, who also complained bitterly about the uncomfortable suicide-prevention smock he was made to wear.

During about five hours of testimony, Manning showed flashes of humour as he calmly recounted the severe restrictions and monotony he faced during his pre-trial confinement in both Kuwait and Quantico.

The boyish-looking soldier recounted how he was forced to stand at attention naked in his cell and encountered angry responses when he questioned his detention regime.—AFP

CWO2 Denise Barnes continues whining about superiors’ oversight of her abusive orders – Day 10

Brig Boss: Manning’s Treatment Closely Watched

December 10, 2012 6:52 PM

bradley manning
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The former head of a Marine Corps brig testified Monday that she was shocked when the base commander asked for advance notice of any orders she planned to give regarding the confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with sending classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The request was surprising because brig commanders have sole authority to determine the custody status of detainees, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Barnes said. She testified on the 10th day of a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, near Baltimore, to determine whether the nine months Manning spent in tight confinement at Quantico, Va., amounted to illegal pretrial punishment, possibly warranting dismissal of his case.

Barnes was the 11th of 14 government witnesses. Lawyers plan to make their closing arguments when the hearing resumes Tuesday.

Barnes testified that Col. Daniel Choike, then garrison commander at Quantico, made the request after Barnes ordered in early March 2011 that Manning be stripped of his underwear each night as a suicide-prevention measure. Manning stood naked at attention the next morning, resulting in news coverage that embarrassed the military and heightened worldwide interest in his case.

Barnes said Choike called her to say that Lt. Gen. George Flynn, then the highest-ranking officer at Quantico, wanted her to run any orders involving Manning up the chain of command before executing them.

“I was kind of shocked,” Barnes said. “The base commander does not control the brig OIC.”  The acronym stands for “officer in charge,” which was Barnes’ position.

Barnes said she never received any orders regarding Manning’s confinement conditions. He continued to be stripped of his underwear at night until he was moved to medium-security pretrial confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in April 2011.

Barnes acknowledged that nothing in the military corrections manual authorizes removing clothing from detainees who aren’t on suicide watch. Manning was on less-restrictive “prevention of injury” status at the time, and remained so until he left Quantico.

Barnes was the brig commander during the last three months of Manning’s confinement at Quantico. For all of his nine months there, he was held in maximum custody, with additional restrictions ostensibly aimed at preventing suicide or self-injury. The restrictions kept him confined to his cell at least 23 hours a day.

Defense attorney David Coombs claims those conditions were controlled by Flynn. Choike has denied that Flynn influenced Manning’s confinement.

Two members of Manning’s Army chain of command testified that he told them almost weekly that he didn’t understand why he was on the heightened restrictions. Capt. Joe Casamatta said he followed up on the matter and was told by brig commanders that Manning was at risk of harming himself. Manning had acknowledged having suicidal thoughts shortly after his arrest nine months earlier.

Casamatta said he became skeptical of the explanation after the underwear seizure, which was prompted by a remark Manning had made to a guard about the dangerous waistband. Casamatta said he regarded Manning as an intelligent, articulate soldier who made a tongue-in-cheek comment.

“I just believed he wouldn’t have such thoughts as to actually kill himself with his underwear, sir,” Casamatta said during cross-examination by defense attorney David Coombs

The hearing is scheduled to end Wednesday. To prevail, the defense must show either that Manning was punished or that the restrictions were so egregious they were tantamount to punishment. To quash the claim, the government must prove by a preponderance of evidence that brig officials justifiably believed the strict conditions were needed to keep Manning from hurting or killing himself.

The 24-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. He is charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. He is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

He is also charged with leaking a 2007 video clip of a U.S. helicopter crew gunning down 11 men later found to have included a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The Pentagon concluded the troops acted appropriately, having mistaken the camera equipment for weapons.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

reprinted without asking permission from http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2012/12/10/brig-boss-mannings-treatment-closely-watched/

Thank you, Congressman Ron Paul

Two days after Farewell speech, Ron Paul condemns “terrible treatment” of Bradley Manning from House Floor

From LibertyFight.com

December 8, 2012

Ron Paul gave his epic farewell speech to Congress on November 14th 2012, referring notably to “psychopathic authoritarians”- getting in one last subtle dig to the establishment:

“The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned – or especially when well-intentioned – the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.” [ Paul.house.gov.]

However, that was not Ron Paul’s final speech on the floor of Congress! Paul gave two more speeches, on Friday Nov. 16th. In his Statement opposing HR 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (November 16, 2012), Paul stated, in part,

“…By attaching the so-called “Magnitsky” bill to the Jackson-Vanik repeal, Congress will direct the State Department to draw up a list of Russians it believes are responsible for human rights abuses. These people will be denied entry into the United States and have their assets seized by the US government. The implications of this reckless move are stunning….

…If Congress really is concerned about the human rights of prisoners, perhaps they might take a look at the terrible treatment of US Army Private Bradley Manning while incarcerated and awaiting trial. Last year Amnesty International wrote to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Manning’s “inhumane” treatment while in custody “undermines the United States’ commitment to the principle of the presumption of innocence.” Congress remains silent.

… When it comes to human rights, the United States should most definitely lead the world by its own example. On that measure, we still have a lot of work to do.”

Paul was one of six Republicans in the House who voted no on the bill. Rand Paul, conversely, was one of the 92 Senators who voted YEA on the bill.

PBS has a lot of good information on Manning’s history, including a collection of 20 photos throughout his life and a timeline. Frontline conducted an interview with his father Brian Manning, who raised Bradley in Oklahoma. Manning said his son was “spoiled rotten” after he returned from his high school years in Wales with his mother. According to his father, Bradley was not able to pay his bills or carry his own weight. Brian recounted that he told his son “If you get into a place at Army, you know, you’re going to have three square meals a day; you’re going to have a place to sleep and a roof over your head. And as long as you follow the path, you know, it’s all you have to do” … “You don’t have a place to live. You’re camping at your aunt’s house. You don’t have any transportation. You’re working at a dead-end job, and you’re looking at going to a community college that you won’t even have transportation to and from. What’s your plan?”

PBS also interviewed Bradley’s friend Jordan Davis whom he met in kindergarden and described Manning as “Patriotic. Always supportive of the military”, with a tendency to be “opinionated”, “a little bit smarmy”, and sometimes “came off as arrogant”. He further describes Manning as a capitalist and athiest, although at one time said he still considered himself to be Roman Catholic. Davis adds that “in the 2000 elections, he was very pro-[Sen.] John McCain.”

On 3/29/06, Manning’s stepmom called 911 on Bradley and told police that he pulled a knife on her. Audio of that 911 call is available here. The police report can be seen here. The 911 call was made at 4:13PM, police arrived at 4:20PM and listed the “incident under control” at 5:44pm. Manning was not arrested.

In 2010 Manning allegedly told a computer hacker “If you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time – and you saw incredible things, awful things – things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington, D.C. – what would you do?”

The eggregious, inhumane and sadistic way Manning was treated in captivity in the aftermath of his arrest is nothing short of brutal torture, as indicated even in mainstream news accounts. The Guardian has a detailed account in Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness. [Also see Bradley Manning Gets No Love From The New York Times.]

Paul Craig Roberts, who served in the Reagan Administration, wrote Bradley Manning: A Window Into The American Soul (12/3/12) and states

“Bradley Manning, a member of the US military, complied with his oath of office, with the US Military Code, with the Nuremberg standards set by the US government, with the strictures expressed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the George W, Bush administration, and with his own conscience. Manning, allegedly (we will never know), released to WikiLeaks the video of the US military murdering two journalists and a dozen innocent people walking down a street. http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/video_shows_murder_of_journalists_and_iraqi _civilians_20100405/ After the murder of these people by the US military playing video games with live people, a father with two young children stopped his van to help the survivors crawling in the street. The US military, due to either blood-lust, incompetence, or total evil, killed the father and sent high caliber bullets into the bodies of the two small children. The murderers then blame the father for bringing children into the combat zone created by the incompetence or evil of the US troops, who obviously get their jollies from murdering people. TV cameras are claimed to be weapons and justifications for murdering 15 people. Subsequently, a few people, whom the video shows to be unarmed, walk into a building. The US troops claim the unarmed people have weapons and RPGs and send three hellfire missiles into the building. The US troops then report that all the “targets” are dead. Any real patriotic American who saw this video would be compelled to release it. If Manning released it to Wikeleaks, then Manning is the most morally responsible American alive. What has Manning’s moral conscience cost him? It has cost Manning 900 days held incommunicado illegally by the US government. President John F. Kennedy’s presidency lasted 1,000 days. Manning was held and tortured for almost the entire length of Camelot. And the US government has got away with it. Americans don’t care. It is not them. They are too stupid to understand that once law is gone, they can be next. In their desire to punish Manning, US military and civilian authorities failed to realize that the lesson for soldiers is that crimes against humanity will not be punished, but those who reveal the crimes will be punished.”

Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network points out that a horrible photograph circulating on the internet alleged to be Manning post-captivity is not: This is not a photo of PFC Bradley Manning (8/14/12) It was previously reported by drumsnwhistles.com a year prior: Meet the “Other” (Kenneth) Bradley Manning(3/18/11)

The Humiliation of Bradley Manning

by , November 29, 2012

Originally published by ConsortiumNews.com

It is a bitter irony that Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, whose conscience compelled him to leak evidence about the U.S. military brass ignoring evidence of torture in Iraq, was himself the victim of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment while other military officers privately took note but did nothing.

That was one of the revelations at Manning’s pre-trial hearing at Ft. Meade, Md., on Tuesday, as Manning’s defense counsel David Coombs used email exchanges to show Marine officers grousing that the Marines had been left holding the bag on Manning’s detention at their base in Quantico, Va., though he was an Army soldier.

At Quantico, Manning, who is accused of giving hundreds of thousands of pages of classified material to WikiLeaks, was subjected to harsh treatment. He was locked in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell for 23 hours a day and was kept naked for long periods. His incarceration led the U.N. rapporteur for torture to complain that Manning was being subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

According to the email evidence, the controversy over the rough handling of Manning prompted Quantico commander Marine Col. Daniel Choike to complain bitterly that not one Army officer was in the chain of blame. Choike’s lament prompted an email reply from his commander, Lt. Gen. George Flynn, offering assurances that Choike and Quantico would not be left “holding the bag.”

However, concerns about possible repercussions from softening up Manning did little to ease the conditions that Manning faced. His Marine captors seemed eager to give him the business and make him an example to any other prospective whistleblowers. Only after a sustained public outcry was Manning transferred to the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Though his treatment was less harsh there, Manning still has faced 2 and a half years of incarceration without trial and could face up to life imprisonment after a court-martial into his act of conscience, i.e., releasing extensive evidence of wrongdoing by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan and questionable foreign policies carried out by the U.S. State Department.

The release of the documents led to hundreds of news stories, including some that revealed the willful inaction of U.S. military brass when informed of torture inflicted on Iraqi prisoners held by the U.S.-backed Iraqi military.

Manning’s Conscience

As a young intelligence analyst in Iraq, Pvt. Manning grew disgusted with evidence passing through his computer terminal revealing the secretive dark side of the U.S. military occupation, including this pattern of high-level disinterest in Iraqi-on-Iraqi torture, which resulted from a directive known as Frago 242, guidelines from senior Pentagon officials not to interfere with abusive treatment of Iraqi government detainees.

As the U.K. Guardian reported in 2010 based on the leaked documents, Frago 242 was a “fragmentary order” summarizing a complex requirement, in this case, one issued in June 2004 ordering American troops not to investigate torture violations unless they involved members of the occupying coalition led by the United States.

When alleged abuse was inflicted by Iraqis on Iraqis, “only an initial report will be made.… No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ,” theGuardian reported, adding: “Frago 242 appears to have been issued as part of the wider political effort to pass the management of security from the coalition to Iraqi hands. In effect, it means that the [Iraqi] regime has been forced to change its political constitution but allowed to retain its use of torture.”

Some cases of torture were flagrant, according to the disregarded “initial” reports. For instance, the Guardian cited a log report of “a man who was detained by Iraqi soldiers in an underground bunker [and] reported that he had been subjected to the notoriously painful strappado position: with his hands tied behind his back, he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists.

“The soldiers had then whipped him with plastic piping and used electric drills on him. The log records that the man was treated by US medics; the paperwork was sent through the necessary channels; but yet again, no investigation was required.…

“Hundreds of the leaked war logs reflect the fertile imagination of the torturer faced with the entirely helpless victim — bound, gagged, blindfolded, and isolated — who is whipped by men in uniforms using wire cables, metal rods, rubber hoses, wooden stakes, TV antennae, plastic water pipes, engine fan belts, or chains.

“At the torturer’s whim, the logs reveal, the victim can be hung by his wrists or by his ankles; knotted up in stress positions; sexually molested or raped; tormented with hot peppers, cigarettes, acid, pliers, or boiling water — and always with little fear of retribution since, far more often than not, if the Iraqi official is assaulting an Iraqi civilian, no further investigation will be required.

“Most of the victims are young men, but there are also logs which record serious and sexual assaults on women; on young people, including a boy of 16 who was hung from the ceiling and beaten; the old and vulnerable, including a disabled man whose damaged leg was deliberately attacked. The logs identify perpetrators from every corner of the Iraqi security apparatus — soldiers, police officers, prison guards, border enforcement patrols.

“There is no question of the coalition forces not knowing that their Iraqi comrades are doing this: the leaked war logs are the internal records of those forces. There is no question of the allegations all being false. Some clearly are, but most are supported by medical evidence and some involve incidents that were witnessed directly by coalition forces.”

Possessing such evidence — and knowing that the U.S. high command was systematically ignoring these and other crimes — Manning was driven by a sense of morality to get the evidence to the American people and to the world.

Punishing Morality

For his act of conscience, Manning has become the subject of harsh incarceration himself, as some U.S. pundits and even members of Congress have called for his execution as a traitor. At minimum, however, he has been made an example to anyone else tempted to tell hard truths.

Many in Official Washington find nothing wrong with humiliating Manning with forced nudity and breaking down his psychiatric health through prolonged isolation. After all, they say, his release of classified information might have put the lives of some U.S. allies at risk (although there is no known evidence to support that concern).

There also are legal constraints upon the United States dishing out particularly nasty treatment to Pvt. Manning. Cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners is expressly banned by the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and ratified by the Senate in 1994.

And there are no exceptions for “wartime” whistleblowers like Manning. Here’s what the Convention says: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture” and “an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture” (Art. 2 (2-3)).”

Personally, when I attended the Tuesday proceeding, I dreaded sitting through another “pre-trial hearing,” having been bored stiff at earlier sessions. But it was a welcome surprise to witness firsthand proof that military courts can still hold orderly proceedings bereft (on Tuesday, at least) of “command influence.”

Most illuminating at Tuesday’s hearing was the central fact that the virtually indestructible nature of email facilitates the kind of documentary evidence that lawyers lust after — whether they be attorneys, FBI investigators, or just plain folks fed up with lies and faux history.

To the Marine Corps’ credit, I suppose, there was no evidence at the hearing that anyone had tried to expunge the email correspondence revealing the fears about being left “holding the bag” on the harsh treatment of Manning.

Email vs. Petraeus

So the availability of email is the major new reality playing out in several major ways. As we have seen, former Gen. David Petraeus is a notable recent victim of the truth that can turn up in email.

I used to call him “Petraeus ex Machina” for the faux success of the celebrated “surge” in Iraq, which cost almost 1,000 additional U.S. troops dead (and many more Iraqis) to buy a “decent interval” for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to get out of town without a clear-cut military defeat hung around their necks.

As it turned out, “Petraeus ex Machina,” after a little more than a year as CIA director, was undone in a sex scandal exposed by the modern “machine” of e-mail.

More to the point, the torrent of email and the “Collateral Murder” video that Manning now acknowledges giving to WikiLeaks as a matter of conscience were, of course, highly illuminating to students of real history. And the emails (and State Department cables) also were rather unflattering regarding the aims of U.S. policy and military actions around the globe.

So how did the White House, the State Department, and military brass respond? There was a strongly felt need to make an object lesson of Bradley Manning to show what happens to people whose conscience prompts them to expose deceit and serious wrongdoing, especially through official documents that can’t be denied or spun.

In Manning’s case, he was delivered to the Marines, famous for their hard-headed determination to follow orders and to get the job done. So his jailers took Manning’s clothes away and made him stand naked, supposedly out of concern that otherwise he might be “a risk to himself.” To further “protect” him, he was kept in a 23-hour lockdown in a tiny cell.

The treatment of Manning at Quantico was too much for State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley, a 26-year Air Force veteran and former colonel. Crowley was of the old school on the treatment of prisoners; his father, a B-17 pilot spent two years in a German POW camp.

On March 10, 2011, Crowley went public, telling an audience that Manning was being “mistreated” by the Defense Department; Crowley branded Manning’s treatment “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Three days later, Crowley resigned with this parting shot: “The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.”

At Ft. Meade, the pre-trial hearings are continuing, including testimony about how the advice of health professionals regarding Manning was disregarded by the Marine officers and his jailers at Quantico. Later this week, Manning himself is expected to take the stand.

Again, the fair and orderly manner in which Tuesday’s hearing was conducted was a reassuring sign that not everyone is prepared to cave before “command influence.” The judge, Col. Denise Lind, upon whom all depends, listened attentively and asked several good questions at the end.

Let’s hope the kangaroos can be kept at bay.

Originally published by ConsortiumNews.com.

Read more by Ray McGovern

Almost in the Army

I have a long story if you have some time to read it.   Back in 1999, my best friend and I had this grand scheme that since we had nothing better to do we were going to join the army.  So, we both took the ASVAB at slightly different times but since we were living in the same county, we both had the same recruiters and office we were going out of.  This was a long time ago, so my memory is a little foggy.  I remember this young recruiter and myself driving to La Crosse, WI and his cell phone ringing every so often.  He explained that his wife had mental health issues, which had her calling him almost every hour.   I met some of the other recruiters, there was this one I’ll never forget.  They called him Fudd and for good reason; he walked, talked, and acted like Elmer Fudd.  I looked around the office and thought it would be cool since the people were so mellow.  Bear in mind, I grew up in the 90′s.  Movies like Tank Girl, In the Army Now, among a dozen others I’m probably forgetting portrayed that tanks, guns, blowing shit up as being cool.  At our school, which was in a small town, had recruiters at it all the time.  I think they knew because people are in smaller towns and less opportunities, that their situation may even get them to enlist for the benefits and getting away.

So, my best friend takes the ASVAB and gets a score slightly higher than mine.   She was going to be in intelligence.  I was told I could have been a journalist, if the position had been open for a female (I was kind of irked) due to a near-perfect English language score.  But, they wouldn’t give me too many details about what I would be doing.  Since my best friend had taken the test first, she was first up.  She signed all her papers, packed her stuff, and went to Basic.

My mother and I, before she started drinking again, discussed my joining the army at length and when I see her I’ll owe her a “thank you” for this.  She said she didn’t think it was a good idea.  I had been diagnosed with clinical depression and PTSD.   She said I was too sensitive to violence and my disdain for authority would immediately get me in trouble.   I don’t know what would or could have happened but that now brings me again to the subject of Bradley Manning.

What I’m basically trying to say is, the Army doesn’t have an exceptional screening process when it comes to weeding out people that may be unfit.  If I could just about be in the Army, who else could be? I know it was a long time ago, but things couldn’t have changed all that much.  The various stories that have come out since the war began are the basis for my assertion (like killing rampages against civilians, systemic mistreatment of prisoners).

By the way, Happy belated May Day all.  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?  Rep. Napolitano has more to tell you:

(BTW I started writing this in May)

Like she said, substance abuse and spousal abuse have been a problem.  We owe it to our men and women who serve in the military to drop stigmas and petty nonsense to prevent problems.  Prevention is far better than a cure and we could prevent tragedies like this one:

http://news.yahoo.com/us-soldier-kills-16-afghans-deepening-crisis-164242200.html

And there have been many other controversies that have embarrassed the United States far, far more than Bradley Manning could have managed on his own.  And if you think war is a good thing, take a look at these numbers:

http://antiwar.com/casualties/

And there are many, many videos just like this one on youtube that makes America look bad without Bradley Manning’s help:

Does this make us look like kind, compassionate, helpful people?  Is this what YOU voted for?

Listen to the guy about one minute in.  You think war doesn’t cause mental problems?  The floor is yours, argue any points that you have.  I’m sure we’re all eager to hear it.

Here’s another documentary I recently found:

Basically, to sum up my point (you’re probably now wondering if I’ll ever get to it) is that not only does the Armed Forces have a problem in screening people before they enlist, they have a problem now of how they are going to deal with all these people that will undoubtedly have PTSD.  Some people internalize their pain and don’t ask for help until it’s too late.  What we’ve asked our young men and women to do is to be robots, to not feel.  That’s an extremely unreasonable expectation.  This is a part of the reason I support Bradley Manning.  I encourage others to share their opinion, whether they agree or disagree.  There needs to be more discourse about this subject.

All the Harm

Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.

-Plato

No people do so much harm as those who go about doing good.

-Mandell Creighton

Regardless of whether or not you believe in the NWO/conspiracy theories, you must admit that the US government is getting bolder and it could be argued that they are causing a great deal of harm to the world.  Gun runs to Mexico, running drugs, executing citizens without a trial, war mongering,  secret trials, sealed indictments… oh yes, here comes the end of America as we know it.  Unless of course, we do something about it.  Bradley Manning tried and now we are seeing the government’s true intent.

In the event you’ve not been following along, the judge in the case has decided on a trial date tentatively.   Here are some articles with the latest information.  Thanks Kevin Gosztola, David F. Powell, and Kai Wargalla for your articles.  I know there’s a lot of others out there too.

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/04/25/government-argues-bradley-manning-knew-al-qaeda-frequently-visited-wikileaks/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/04/26/the-harm-done-by-bradley-manning%E2%80%99s-alleged-leaks

http://thebradleymanninghearingslive.blogspot.com/

http://storify.com/KaiWargalla/bradley-manning-motion-hearing-day-2-april-25-2012

What can we do?  Well, there are a lot of people doing things on their own.  Art is always good, writing is always good, tweeting is always good.  Let’s not break the law on Manning’s behalf, as to not sully the reputation of the cause.  IMO graffiti is art, making it an acceptable medium.  But there’s no good in causing harm.  Can we at least agree on this much?

The reason I harp on this now is Sabu.  He had stated, before he was revealed to be a vile turncoat, that some of those releases of dox were for Bradley Manning.  We all know that the CIA/NSA/some other government entity more than likely instructed him to say that.  Beware of psyops like this.  What else can we do?  I say, talk to your friends and family about it.  Hearts and minds are won with active engagement, not by just sitting on the internet and preaching to the choir.

Here are some recent examples of groups or individuals trying to raise awareness

http://wiseupforbradleymanning.wordpress.com/get-involved-events-for-bradley-manning-in-wales-11-28-april/
This is from Wales.

http://www.bradleymanning.org/featured/nine-days-to-bring-bradleys-case-to-washington-support-the-dc-ad-campaign
This is REALLY something.  This is probably one of the best ideas I’ve seen so far.

http://www.zazzle.com/opmanning/
This is something that was made recently to raise awareness for Bradley Manning, intended originally to be combined with OccupyTheMail, if you feel so inclined.  10% of proceeds go directly to Bradley Manning Support Network in the form of a check payment.  We wanted to keep the cost down, as to limit participation as little as possible.

What you do is up to you.  Never have it in your mind that you need to follow anyone to make a difference.  You can think, do, and act for yourselves.  We all have choices.  We can choose to let our government punish us for daring to point out their flaws, or we can tell them that we’ve had enough.  Enough of ACTA, CISPA, illegal activities by unregulated “security” firms, enough of the war mongering, and/or endless bank profiteering.  Choose your message, say it loud.  Say it before none of us can say a fucking thing at all.

Her Majesty The Red Queen Presiding – Kangaroo Court Martial news roundup

Bradley Manning prosecution incurably infected by government misconduct

by Kevin Zeese at www.bradleymanning.org

excerpts – read full article here

Last week I spent two days in court for a pretrial motions hearing in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks that showed widespread unethical and illegal behavior by the Department of Defense and State Department.  Manning has suffered the fate the Queen put on Alice when she was in Wonderland, “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.” By the time his court martial is actually held he will have been incarcerated for more than two years, one of those years was spent in solitary confinement. But, that is only one of many obvious injustices Manning is being subjected to.

In fact, just before the pretrial motions were heard the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez completed a 14 month investigation and published a lengthy report on torture and otherwise abusive punishment. He wrote: “The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence.”

Further, Mendez concluded that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.

Coombs specifically wanted to know whether the prosecution alleged that Manning had hacked into the SIPRnet, or stolen a password, or simply used the access he already had. Judge Lind interjected herself, asking an Alice in Wonderland-Queen like question: “Does the government have to prove how he did it?” Coombs responded that this type of specificity is what the Bill of Particulars was designed for, explaining, “I don’t want a trial by ambush.”

PWNED: Adrian Lamo – Part 1 here

Pressure Mounts for Transparency in Pfc. Manning’s Court-Martial

by ADAM KLASFELD

MANHATTAN (CN) – A lawyer from a civil libertarian group representing Wikileaks and Julian Assange urged a military judge to release records related to the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for the biggest leak in U.S. history.

     “As the Manning court-martial purports to be a public trial, we cannot understand why critical aspects of the proceedings are being withheld from public view,” the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Michael Ratner wrote in a three-page letter released Thursday.
Manning has been held in pretrial detention since May 2010 on suspicion that he sent Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of files exposing global diplomatic cables, incident reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and footage of a July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.
Last December, Manning stepped into a court in Fort Meade, Md., for the first time in an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury.
The government has not released motions, rulings and transcripts of those and subsequent proceedings.
In a March 12 letter to Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson, more than 40 news organizations wrote that the government showed greater transparency with the cases of Guantanamo detainees than with that of Manning.
“As such, the coalition respectfully urges the government to implement similar reforms in its regulations governing court-martial proceedings generally and that of Manning specifically to ensure that military personnel tried stateside have the same rights to a public trial as those afforded accused terrorists,” the letter states.
Ratner, on behalf of Assange and Wikileaks, joined that effort on Thursday, in a letter to the presiding military judge, Col. Denise Lind, which he copied to the Pentagon.
    The letter quoted 6th Circuit Judge Damon Keith’s grim warning, “Democracies die behind closed doors,” from an opinion in the case of Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, which forced immigration courts to open proceedings of defendants with suspected ties to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Ratner said that it is difficult for even lawyers to follow the Manning court-martial without access to these records.
“For example, undersigned counsel attended the motions hearing on March 15, 2012, and determined that it was not possible to understand fully or adequately the issues being litigated because the motions and response thereto were not available,” he wrote.
Ratner appeared at several hearings in the Manning case to see how they might impact his client, Assange, who may already be named in a sealed federal indictment.
“Mr. Assange notably has a particular personal interest in this case because it appears that federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia have obtained a sealed indictment against him concerning matters that, based on prior official statements, will likely be addressed in Pfc. Manning’s court-martial,” Ratner wrote.
Ironically, Assange found out about the possible existence of this indictment from emails between employees for the private intelligence firm, Stratfor, which Wikileaks recently made public.
     The integrity of military law and constitutional law is also at stake, Ratner added.
“We do not understand how a court-martial proceeding can be deemed to comply with the [Uniform Code of Military Justice] or the Constitution unless its proceedings are accessible in a timely fashion,” he wrote. “The public and our clients must be given access to the legal filings when filed and prior to arguments before the court.”
Ratner also criticized Judge Lind’s decision at pretrial hearings last week to argue classification matters in her chambers, rather than in court.
“In addition, substantive legal matters were argued and decided in secret,” Ratner said in a statement. “It’s shocking that secrecy should be the order of the day in one of the most important cases of the last half-century.”
Courthouse News placed a Freedom of Information Act request on Feb. 23 requesting several rulings related to Manning’s Article 32 hearing. The FOIA office that received that request replied the same day that it had forwarded the request to U.S. Army Investigation Command.
On Thursday, a specialist from that office returned the second follow-up phone call about that request, which he said was never received. He added that the original recipient should have forwarded the original request to the U.S. Army Judiciary, and indicated that he had sent a renewed request there for processing.
Ratner’s letter seeks an order making such rulings publicly available without resorting to FOIA. He asked the judge to make such a ruling, or otherwise reply to his letter, by March 30. 

Update 3/18/12: U.S. officials question “aiding the enemy” charge, UN torture chief interviewed, U.S.’s abusive WikiLeaks policies

excerpt reposted from http://www.bradleymanning.org

Bradley Manning exiting the Ft. Meade courtroom.

U.S. official pushes back on Manning’s “aiding the enemy” charge. Three current and one former U.S. national security officials, speaking anonymously, are questioning the prosecution’s decision to charge Bradley Manning with aiding Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula:

these officials said they had no information about how specific items acquired by WikiLeaks might have aided AQAP.

“The alleged disclosure of classified information, while deplorable, does not in and of itself constitute an act of terrorism,” said one current official.

The “aiding the enemy” charge, the most severe, carries a potential death sentence. The government is seeking to prevent damage assessments, concluding little to no harm came from WikiLeaks’ releases, from coming to light in Manning’s trial. (Read more…)

Juan Mendez is interviewed, reporting on Manning’s abusive treatment. UN torture chief Juan Mendez’s statements shed more light on the heinous nature of solitary confinement, and the U.S. government’s efforts to block him from visiting Manning:

continued here

An appeal from Ethan McCord for Bradley Manning’s defense

March 16, 2012

Ethan McCord appears in the “Collateral Murder” video released by WikiLeaks–the subject of the 2012 Academy Award nominated short documentary “Incident in New Baghdad.” Bradley Manning, who is accused of providing WikiLeaks with the video, sits before a hearing this morning at Fort Meade (near Washington DC) that will determine the time line for his upcoming court martial. Please join Ethan in supporting Bradley by making a tax-deductible donation today to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund.


From left: Bradley Manning, image from “Collateral Murder”, Ethan McCord

From Ethan McCord. March 15, 2012

Serving with my unit 2nd battalion 16th infantry in New Baghdad, Iraq, I vividly remember the moment in 2007, when our Battalion Commander walked into the room and announced our new rules of engagement:

“Listen up, new battalion SOP (standing operating procedure) from now on: Anytime your convoy gets hit by an IED, I want 360 degree rotational fire. You kill every [expletive] in the street!

We weren’t trained extensively to recognize an unlawful order, or how to report one. But many of us could not believe what we had just been told to do. Those of us who knew it was morally wrong struggled to figure out a way to avoid shooting innocent civilians, while also dodging repercussions from the non-commissioned officers who enforced the policy. In such situations, many of us fired our weapons into rooftops or abandoned vehicles, giving the impression that we were following procedure.

On April 5, 2010, American citizens and people around the world got a taste of the fruits of this standing operating procedure when WikiLeaks released the now-famous Collateral Murder video. This video showed the horrific and wholly unnecessary killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists.

I was part of the unit that was responsible for this atrocity. In the video, I can be seen attempting to carry wounded children to safety in the aftermath. I carried a young girl and a young boy away from the horrible scene. Both were shot and severely wounded. Much later, after WikiLeaks released the video, I saw both of them interviewed on television—they both survived. But they lost their father. The video released by WikiLeaks belongs in the public record. Covering up this incident is a matter deserving of criminal inquiry. Whoever revealed it is an American hero in my book.

Private First Class Bradley Manning has been confined for nearly two years on the government’s accusation that he released this video and volumes of other classified documents to WikiLeaks, and ultimately to the public.

If PFC Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then it is clear—from the chat logs that have been attributed to him—that his decision was motivated by conscience and political agency. These chat logs allegedly describe how PFC Manning hopes these revelations will result in “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”

The contents of the WikiLeaks revelations have pulled back the curtain on the degradation of our democratic system. It has become completely normal for decision-makers to promulgate foreign policies, diplomatic strategies, and military operating procedures that are hostile to the democratic ideals our country was founded upon. The incident I was part of—shown in the Collateral Murder video—becomes even more horrific when we grasp that it was not exceptional. When soldiers have a hard time swallowing the horrors of the realities we are regularly ordered to operate within, we are told to toughen up—and there are repercussions if we don’t.

When I spoke with my sergeant after the incident, he berated me, telling me that I needed to suck it up, and a lot of other horrible things. There aren’t adequate mechanisms for soldiers to take issues higher up the chain of command. Bradley Manning allegedly described (in the chat logs) an incident where he was ordered to turn over innocent Iraqi academics to notorious police interrogators, for the offense of publishing a political critique of government corruption titled, “Where did the money go?” His commander told him to shut up and do his job.

We have to change these kinds of policies and operating procedures. To do so, we need to know the truth about what’s really happening. We need information. That’s why we need whistle-blowers.

We all need to speak out for Bradley. We can’t let our government punish a true hero because they are embarrassed by the truth.

Donate now to the Bradley Manning defense fund.

For more information about the defense fund click here.

Thank you for supporting PFC Bradley Manning.

One thought on “An appeal from Ethan McCord for Bradley Manning’s defense”

Motion hearing day 1 – March 15

Bradley Manning Support Network report

DAY ONE

(entirely reprinted from above link)

Bradley’s attorney insists all charges must be dismissed after the government’s refusal to provide vast amounts of evidence and key witnesses. Criticizing “gamesmanship,” David Coombs said the prosecution “has so hopelessly confused discovery in this case so as to prejudice my client.”

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. March 15, 2012

I’ve attended Bradley Manning’s pretrial hearing in December, his arraignment in February, and now his motion hearing – all in Fort Meade, but each time has been a little different. Notable new developments this time include a bomb-sniffing dog at vehicle inspection, an announcement prefacing the session that “attire” deemed “disruptive” would warrant ejection, and a Support Network member being denied entry to the base temporarily for wearing a Bradley Manning t-shirt.

Today began Bradley Manning’s motion hearing, a pretrial procedure designed to reintroduce and debate some issues that arose from PFC Manning’s pretrial hearing in December and his arraignment in February. The military judge is expected to announce a timeline for the court martial to come.

The foremost issues discussed today were the defense’s motions to compel discovery and to compel deposition, meaning the evidence and witnesses that were denied at the pretrial hearing.

First, military judge Denise Lind asked PFC Manning if he’d like to retain his current defense team, comprising David Coombs and military officers Bouchard and Kemkes, who was absent today. Manning confirmed that he would. Lind proceeded to summarize the RCM 802 conferences held between Lind, the defense, and the prosecution since the arraignment.

A publicity order was filed and agreed upon, which bars potential jury members from accessing media coverage relating to Manning’s case. Then the judge moved on to the protective order for classified material which is a highly contentious issue but one plagued by the prosecution’s technical issues. The military claimed to have not received vital government emails and that it’s requesting a new email address, and a spam filter had obscured a government email about the protective order. Later on we learned that all emails with the word “WikiLeaks” in them were automatically blocked.

Still, Lind said, the defense and prosecution could not agree on the protective order, as both had filed orders separately. The defense withdrew its request, however, upon learning the prosecution would not reveal “due diligence.”

Bill of particulars — specifying the prosecution’s claims

Lind moved on to the bill of particulars, which the defense filed to force the prosecution to answer questions clarifying and specifying elements of its arguments. Coombs announced that the defense did not understand which documents the prosecution intended to disclose. The prosecution responded that the government had already disclosed all documents except those protected by the classification order.

Then the post-hearing calendar was briefly addressed, but we got few answers about the actual court martial – notably, though, on Bradley Manning’s 660th day in prison without a court martial, the judge assured Coombs that she was “very sensitive” to Manning’s right to a speedy trial. She admonished him immediately after, though, saying that in filing a bill of particulars, Coombs can’t expect to have both reply filings that add time to the proceedings and request a speedier trial simultaneously. Coombs responded that he was not intending to add time but was merely requesting specificity to avoid potential surprises.

Then we moved on to the government’s responses and non-responses to the defense’s questions in the bill of particulars. Asked again, “Who is the alleged enemy?” the government responded, “Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” Asked how Manning “knowingly” transmit information to the enemy, the government replied that it was via WikiLeaks, on WikiLeaks’ website. The government would not answer “How did Manning get access?” because they believed doing so would require them to preview their arguments to come.

Coombs replied that he was not requesting the government’s legal theory, but merely the facts they’re asserting to make them. Coombs wanted to know whether the prosecution alleged that Manning had hacked into the SIPRnet, or stolen a password, or simply used the access he already had. Before the government could respond, Lind interjected herself, pushing back against Coombs’ question, asking, “Does the government have to prove how he did it?”

Coombs responded that this type of specificity is what the bill of particulars was designed for, explaining, “I don’t want a trial by ambush.”

Members of the Bradley Manning Support Network and other supporters demonstrated outside Fort Meade Thursday.

The government contended that their allegation that Manning accessed the SIPRnet was sufficient explanation. Both sides argued back and forth, with Coombs repeating his reasoning for the request and the prosecution ultimately saying, “It’s not a mystery how he accessed the computer.” The judge ruled in favor of the government, that the given explanation was sufficient.

The whole back and forth was repeated with regards to the ‘Wget’ software, with Coombs asking whether the prosecution alleged it was among the computer’s programs, added with a hard drive, or on the desktop temporarily. No resolution could be reached, so the judge asked the prosecution to produce a forensic expert’s report on the matter.

Next on the bill of particulars, Coombs asked the government whether it alleged Manning had “stolen,” “purloined,” or “knowingly converted” the information. More than a semantic issue, this encompasses the proof required for each theory. The prosecution said it “maintained both theories,” Lind replied that there were three at hand, and the prosecution responded that it made no distinction between steal and purloin. Coombs argued that “purloin” is different in that it requires deception. Lind requested the prosecution produce a more complete answer by March 23.

Motion to compel discovery — the defense requests vital evidence

Lind proceeded to the defense’s motion to compel discovery, starting with an ex parte filing (one which the prosecution doesn’t get to see). The government had asked if the filing was a motion or a supplement, and the defense replied that it was the latter. The government requested that Lind reconsider hearing the motion and instead deny it, which the judge granted. She did note that the defense is allowed to redact the ex parte and submit it openly.

The next motion to compel discovery produced the most extensive controversy. The defense argued that the prosecution fundamentally misunderstands the Brady rule it cites, which mandates evidence disclosure, because it cites Brady’s appellate standard where it means to cite Brady itself. Coombs reminded that he’s been requesting the government’s damage assessments, internal reviews of the alleged damage caused due to WikiLeaks’ releases, since October 10, 2011, but that the government hasn’t provided them. This is especially of concern given Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates’ public statements acknowledging that very little if any harm had been caused.

The prosecution said it had searched thoroughly for material meeting the Brady standard and had found none it deemed relevant to the defense’s case. But Coombs parsed their argument to elucidate the standard needed: in a motion to compel discovery, the information need only be “material,” or helpful, to the defense. Helpful could mean that it reflected positively on and helped confirm the defense’s argument, or that it reflected negatively and thus informed the defense to pursue alternate arguments. Either way, Coombs said, a damage assessment would clearly be of interest, and that it more than cleared the low bar needed for discovery – a bar, Coombs quipped, so low that you could trip over it. The prosecution, he said, was misinterpreting Brady to force the defense to show how the damage assessment was necessarily relevant to its case, when the assessment only need to be deemed “material.”

Coombs also took issue with the prosecution’s “gamesmanship” regarding the damage assessments. They’re contending both that he needs to prove their relevancy and that they’re irrelevant. They referred to the “alleged” damage assessments, which Coombs said they know full well exist, and are “playing fast and loose with the word ‘completed’,” as these damage assessments could theoretically go on for years. Coombs argued the government “continues to hide behind the complexities of this case.” Deriding the prosecution for “obscuring reality,” Coombs said, “We in the military pride ourselves on not playing games with discovery.”

Vigil for Bradley Manning, outside his motion hearing at Ft. Meade.

Lind didn’t address the Brady standard distinction, and instead asked, “So you’re shifting the burden to the government? You have no burden of proof?” Observing this surprising interjection, the Support Network’s Kevin Zeese said, “the government is fighting Coombs every inch of the way and it feels like the judge really wants to rule against Manning.”

Coombs reiterated his reasoning several times, explaining that the burden of proof would only be on the defense if he was asking to produce the evidence in court. He was motioning, Coombs clarified, only to discover the material, which requires a far lower bar. Again criticizing the prosecution’s use of the Brady standard, Coombs said, “Citing the wrong standard for twelve pages is not a mistake. That’s intentional.”

Emphasizing the dire nature of this misuse, Coombs said, “We’re now at a very late stage in the game, with at least two years of applying the wrong standard.” Even if the prosecution were to now hand over the documents, totaling three million pages in all, the defense would need at least an additional six months to review them, further delaying Bradley’s already extremely long pretrial confinement. As Zeese noted, “this discovery battle is critical to the case.  If the government can hide the evidence there is no way for there to be a fair trial.”

But Lind didn’t engage that argument either, saying, “I don’t agree that you can ask for anything,” meaning she agreed with the prosecution’s interpretation of the Brady standard.

She then reintroduced the Quantico videos – videotapes of Manning’s abuse at the marine brig, which incurred international outrage. The prosecution stated they did not believe such video exists. Coombs said he’d been given some videotapes but that they were not the tapes he’d requested.

Lind also asked for Allen Milliman’s testimony. Milliman is a network engineer who, at the Article 32 pretrial hearing, discussed his work fixing soldiers’ computers. Without hesitation, Coombs replied, “If we had a verbatim transcript, we could provide that.”

Returning to the damage assessments, the judge asked Coombs why he thought they’d be helpful. He reiterated that the assessments would be of use whether they were positive or negative, and that they would be used with regards to the merits of the case or a potential sentencing argument. He added again that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had publicly claimed no sources were compromised as a result of WikiLeaks’ releases. He took his argument a step further, contending that this was such a fundamental misunderstanding of Brady that it had become “irreversibly” detrimental.

Asked to respond, Ashden Fein claimed that everything the defense is requesting is classified, and thus isn’t subject to discovery disclosure. Fein said the prosecution has options – it could turn the material over, redact it, or invoke the classification privilege – but only if it was deemed relevant could it make a decision.

Lind pressed him on this: “Is there any Brady?” Fein said he didn’t have the authority to answer that question. Lind asked why not, and Fein’s response provoked audible chortles in the courtroom: “Because it’s classified.”

Elaborating, Fein said the prosecution couldn’t comment on the relevance of classified documents, attempting to send the burden of proof back to the defense. He continued, saying the defense had requested four damage assessments, and some of those were “not complete.” Coombs said he requested those that were complete, and pushed back again on the use of “complete,” because “if they’re never completed, they can never be requested.”

Coombs said the government is incorrect in arguing that classification requires proffering necessity or relevance, observing that the prosecution has provided other classified material without the relevance established in court. He said the prosecution’s misunderstanding of their obligations is “beyond curing,” and that the government “has so hopelessly confused discovery in this case so as to prejudice my client.”

“Therefore, I motion to dismiss all charges with prejudice.”

Coombs submitted the motion to dismiss, bringing copies to the judge and the prosecution.

Motion to compel deposition — defense witnesses improperly denied from Article 32 hearing

Lind then carried on to the motion to compel deposition – the defense’s filing protesting the denial of witnesses at the pretrial hearing and re-requesting their testimony. He argued these witnesses, Original Classification Authorities (OCA), should be reconsidered for three reasons – (1) their testimony is essential, (2) they were improperly denied from the hearing in December, and (3) the government has impeded the defense’s access to them.

Coombs said these “vital witnesses” were determined to be unavailable for the hearing, despite the fact that two of them were located here at Fort Meade, and weren’t even asked to attend. Instead of asking them, the government had decided independently that they weren’t available, and that the defense’s requests were “premature.”

Coombs explained that he’d asked for the contact information for the two civilian OCAs, to contact them on his own. A month passed with no response, so he asked again — Coombs said the government provided one indirect point of contact, and nothing else.

The prosecution stood to announce several, somewhat disparate explanations for their response to the defense’s request. The prosecution disagrees with the defense on the Investigative Officer’s findings, namely that the deposition denials were improper. Also, the prosecution promised to “endeavor to find” proper witnesses for the defense, and military “housekeeping rules” prevented giving information for those outside the military.

With that, Judge Lind dismissed the court for the day, and scheduled tomorrow’s hearing for 10 AM.

Photos

WL Central

Speaking to RT on Thursday about that afternoon’s hearing, Zack Pesavento of the Bradley Manning Support Network said that the prosecutors in the case continue to defend their right to withhold material from the defense, something he says is just “one more absurd allegation in a long train of absurdities.”

Coombs says he has repeatedly asked the government to supply him with documents that pertain to the case, but the military is defaulting to the claim that the material in question is classified and therefore must be shielded from civilian eyes. For two years, Coombs says, he has asked for documents that the government has still refused to deliver and, at this point, he believes the US should forfeit their case.

Capt. Ashden Fein, a prosecutor for the US military, defended the military’s role by saying they have tried to produce “as much as possible” and that the defense has waged a “fishing expedition” for information, according to the Associated Press.

Pesavento adds to RT that in addition to the court keeping the files out of the hands of the defense, reporters covering the case are often shielded from documents that are discussed before the judge but not introduced to the media. “The defense team really pleading with the prosecution to produce these impact assessments,” he tells RT, adding that even basic court dockets and transcripts are being purposely withheld from the press.

“These are mainstream organizations and outlets saying that were not getting the basic access that we ought to have here.”

“Coombs was really making a point today that it appears that by any clear assessment of the situation that the prosecution is basically sort of deliberately misunderstanding what it means to produce this evidence so that’s why they went ahead to file a motion today to dismiss all charges with prejudice,” he says.

David House, friend of Bradley Manning and a co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network speaks out on The Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC, about the retaliation against the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower. House had met with his friend Brad in prison before he was moved out of inhumane conditions that have now drawn the condemnation of United Nations investigators.

Uploaded by on Mar 15, 2012

House: Sounds like something that would happen in China.” Yeah, it sure the fuck does….

Live Blog: Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Motion Hearing

By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday March 15, 2012 8:27 am

exerpted from Kevin’s blog at firedoglake.com

UPDATE – 9:00 PM

Art Superhero @WikiLeaksTruck drew this courtroom sketch of Col. Denise Lind – the judge

UPDATE – 8:55 PM This the exact quote from Judge Lind on Lamo: “Please remember I just joined this case. Who is Adrian Lamo?” She officially became the judge on February 23. It is March 15 and she didn’t know of Lamo.

What is she doing? How has she prepared for this case? This motion hearing? She has little awareness of what was said during the Article 32 hearing. Why?

UPDATE – 3:53 PM I have to get to Washington, DC, to do “The Alyona Show” on RT. But, here is a quick update on what just happened when the court reconvened—

Coombs got up and stated that OCAs were 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 testified at 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.

The prosecution has had access to these witnesses to produce sworn declarations. However, the defense has not had the same access to the OCAs. And, in fact, Coombs claims they have not been allowed to contact the OCAs because the government has denied them access to such contact information improperly.

UPDATE – 3:09 PM There is a possibility that Manning testifies. Coombs says his client knows there is video that exists because he was being videotaped in Quantico Marine brig. The government says the video does not exist. Judge wants the defense to prove it exists. So, for limited purpose, Manning could take the stand.

UPDATE – 3:07 PM Full report on the defense’s motion for dismissal of charges posted here.

UPDATE – 2:03 PM The defense is trying to get disclosed damage assessments, FOIA requests for documents containing an investigation into the Apache helicopter attack in 2007 (“Collateral Murder”), computer forensic images and a Quantico video, which the government contends does not exist.

UPDATE –  1:58 PM I will be appearing on “The Alyona Show” on RT at 6 pm ET. I’ll be in studio to talk about Bradley Manning’s hearing today.

UPDATE – 1:45 PM Lunch recess now. Significant development—

Hearing the government’s explanation for why it was not producing information that the defense has tried to compel through discovery, Coombs decided to file a motion for all dismissal of charges prejudiced by the fact that certain information has not been provided. The explanation for why was not sufficient to Coombs. He waited for the response to his testimony on why he thought the government was utterly failing and then decided Manning has probably been prejudiced. So, the motion was handed to the judge.

UPDATE – 11:33 AM We heard during the arraignment that emails had been blocked. The government was complaining that it had not received emails. The problem was that some of them included the word “WikiLeaks” and were blocked by the spam filter. This is what Coombs said. It is part of the reason why the government was asked by Lind to address how it is going to ensure it is not missing communications between the judge, defense and others involved in the case from this point forward.

UPDATE – 11:20 AM Back-and-forth on proposed timelines for “time for motions.” Lind says response would be two weeks and then a week to consider all filings (after each hearing). She says “court had not considered reply briefs,” suggests those will be a “norm” for proceedings. Coombs mentions this may not be necessary and could infringe upon his client’s right to “speedy trial.” Lind answers by saying she is concerned, too, and knows Manning has been in confinement since May 2010. But, “the defense cannot request a speedy trial and then also make voluminous filings.”

UPDATE – 10:15 AM Five minute recess so the prosecution can locate some documents they cannot find. (evidently almost 700 days wasn’t enough)

UPDATE – 9:42 AM We are beginning now.

Original Post and summary

A two-day motion hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is scheduled to conclude today (March 16). 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 first day of the hearing, March 15:

—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.

A handful of Bradley Manning supporters were at the gates of Fort Meade when I arrived.

I am here to cover the pre-trial motion hearing and will be reporting on day two of the hearing. Updates will be posted at the top. There isn’t a lot of media here at all. That makes the coverage Firedoglake is producing even more important. And, it means FDL is getting attention that it might not typically receive if other outlets happened to be present.

I cannot find my RT America appearance last night. I’m going to ask if they plan on posting it at all.

In case you didn’t get to see it, this is my appearance on “The Alyona Show.”

2012-03-15 Live Blog and Transcript in Process #Manning Motion Hearing Fort Meade, MD

Exerpted from WLCentral.org go there regularly for updates. Note that this may be the only transcript of this historic trial since the people in charge of the December Article 32 Hearing evidently produced no transcript. Fucking mind boggling.

Submitted by Alexa O’Brien on Thu, 03/15/2012 – 13:04

Live Blog March 15, 2012

  • 9:05 a.m. I am situated in the press pool at Fort Meade, MD, preparing to transcribe a live transcript of Bradley Manning’s Motion Hearing. WiFi is not allowed during proceedings. I will compose throughout and post, when I am able.
  • 9:38 a.m. proceedings begin.

Live Transcript March 15, 2012

This transcript was typed from the press pool at Bradley Manning’s motion hearing on March 15, 2012 at Fort Meade, MD.

Please send corrections to carwinb@hushmail.com.

Bradley Manning’s motion hearing is held in same court room as his Article 32 Pretrial Hearing. You can read transcripts from the first three days of that proceeding, as well as transcriptf of his arraignment here.

This transcript may have errors and is an incomplete work in progress that I am updating LIVE. Once the proceeding is finished, I will edit and correct.

Military Judge: Col. Denise R. Lind After the arraignment the Government learned that it had not been receiving emails. And the court notes…Government will use of an alternate email address. Government had a server issue. Prosecution: Captain Ashden Fein please explain.

Prosecution: Captain Ashden Fein After realizing that the Prosecution did not receive emails…worked with the IT department…certain emails were blocked because they were marked as spam…the spam filter is now checks every day He specifics regime for spam filter checking.

Exerpted from Alexa’s blog on WLCentral.org go there regularly for updates

Blocking WikiLeaks emails trips up Bradley Manning prosecution

By JOSH GERSTEIN

3/15/12 11:48 AM EDT

The federal government’s vigilance at preventing anything relating to WikiLeaks from appearing on a government computer has tripped up military prosecutors, causing them to miss important emails from the judge and defense involved in the case against an Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to the web-based transparency organization.

At a hearing last month, prosecutors in the case against Pfc. Bradley Manning noted that they didn’t receive the messages but could not explain why. Chief prosecutor Capt. Ashden Fein said at a hearing Thursday that the messages had been “blocked by a spam filter for security.” However, it fell to defense attorney David Coombs to explain precisely why the e-mails about evidence issues in the Manning case never made it.

“Apparently, they were blocked because the word ‘WikiLeaks’ was somewhere in the e-mail,” Coombs said.

Fein said there is now a procedure in place to check the spam filter on a daily basis for errant e-mails. In addition, military Judge Col. Denise Lind said prosecutors had set up an alternate e-mail account that shouldn’t encounter the same problem.

- continued here at Politico.com

A Global Call to Action In Support of Transparency and Justice

Second anniversary of  Collateral Murder – April 5

April 5th will mark the two year anniversary of the release of Collateral Murder – a U.S. intelligence video that depicts the indiscriminate slaying of at least twelve civilians in Iraq including two correspondents for Reuters. The airstrike also grievously injured two young children of a Good Samaritan who stopped to help the wounded.

Bradley Manning – accused of uploading this video to WikiLeaks – has since been arrested, detained for nearly two years, and is currently undergoing a court-martial.

His Supposed Crime?

Releasing vital information to us, the public, regarding vicious war crimes committed by the United States Army.

For ten months, from July 2010 until April 2011, Manning was held in solitary confinement in a U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia, where he endured treatment which Amnesty International has claimed was both harsh and punitive. A large group of legal and human rights scholars continue to lobby that the conditions under which he was being held – including severe, months-long sleep deprivation and solitary confinement, forced nudity and other humiliations – breached the Constitution, as well as the Geneva conventions against torture.

Following worldwide outrage and protests, he was transferred to the Army medium security facility at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where pre-trial detainees are normally held. To date, the U.N. rapporteur on torture has continued to be denied access to Manning.

In February 2012, Manning was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his alleged role, credited with being honorable and brave.

On Friday, April 6, 2012 a collective of individuals from around the world will stand up in support of Bradley Manning. Innocent or guilty, he deserves justice: namely, a fair trial.

And you can help.

In cities across the globe, individuals –including you – are being called to action. We are asking that you link with others and use public spaces to educate people about the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, and the cause he has come to symbolize. Help people understand what is going on with Manning, what it means, and what they can do about it.

Banner drops at high-visibility locations, public demonstrations and rallies, street art, guerrilla theater, posters, leafleting, phone calls to appropriate parties, sit-ins and teach-ins, Occupy actions… Get creative, and run with it!

Let the world know: Bradley Manning’s supposed ‘crime’ is whistleblowing. The United States is punishing him, and completely ignoring the war crimes revealed by Collateral Murder.

Manning deserves a fair and just trial. The U.S. officials responsible for those war crimes should also be on trial. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!

For More Information:

Tumblr: http://opmanning.tumblr.com/  Art archive

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/OpManning

Global Awareness Stencil Campaign http://anoncorpwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/bradley-manning-global-awareness-campaign/

Bradley Manning Global Awareness Campaign

Let the Sunshine In!

Image

Global Awareness Stencil Campaign 

http://anoncorpwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/bradley-manning-global-awareness-campaign/

The computer-generated stencil above, made from a photo of Bradley Manning, is a demonstration of what we are looking for.

1. Find an image of Brad. The ones posted on our www.opmanning.tumblr.com have been selected partly because of their suitability.

2. Create an image that can be used as a single-color stencil. Keep wording and detail to a minimum to make it easier to cut the stencil.

3. The image can be artistic and interpretive, but it has to look like Bradley Manning. The point is to create an iconic image that anyone anywhere can reproduce.

Click SUBMIT on the menu bar at the right on the Tumblr,  Submit a Photo. Add source/attribution and contact information, if desired, in the Post section. Or you can post it and put a link in the Comments, below.

The Tumblr has several submissions already, so feel free to get started spreading the message! Images of Assange, Wikileaks, Arab Spring, Campanadas, Occupy, NDAA, ACTA, SOPA, anything relevant to transparency and censorship are also suggested. Please add them to the Tumblr as a submission or post a link to it.

Guerrillartista Security for IRL [defacements]

  • Vinyl or plastic tablecloths and placemats make great stencils. Lay the printout over it, tape in place and cut out black areas with a razor or exacto knife. Smaller stencils are obviously easier to handle especially when you are just starting or in a risky or windy location. Bigger ones can be made by tiling the printout of a letter-size image.

  • For banners, old sheets or blankets from a thrift store work well, remember you will likely NOT be able to retrieve it so go cheap. The bottom will need to be weighted or tied down. Regular house paints work for big ones, acrylic paint for smaller, spray paint can be useful but messy, it will bleed through the back of most fabrics more than the other two. It is less messy to paint banners on a cheap plastic dropcloth from the paint department of any store selling paint.

  • Graffiti toolbag: spray paints, duct tape or other heavy tape, disposable gloves, stencils, two-way radios if you have a team. Pack supplies in a cheap bag you can ditch. When painting dark surfaces, spray a light color background first, then spray stencil as usual. Practice first.

  • Scope targets out in both day and night before attempting action. Take notes on cameras, ATM machines, police stations and hangouts, nosy-looking neighbors, etc. Above all, be discrete, don’t set off alarms for neighborhood watch people. The best places are not residential neighborhoods, but more public spaces that will be seen by pedestrians or easily visible driving.

  • MAKE SURE you have an ESCAPE ROUTE that will be hard to follow in a car. This is why highway overpasses are useful, highly visible and good for fast getaways.  The simplest arrangement is a driver to drop off the artist in a discrete location close to the target. The driver then goes to a good lookout position and communicates by two-way radios, headsets are ideal.

  • Never carry any real ID. Wear dark or black clothing, working in teams with a lookout is best. Avoid neighborhoods you are not familiar with. If you are being pursued, DITCH anything incriminating once you are out of sight. Have a good back story for what you are doing in the event you are caught. DO NOT say anything more than something utterly vague, as little as possible is best. Believe your own story.

  • If you are arrested, refuse to say ANYTHING AT ALL until you have a lawyer present.

*W3* R teh rEv0luti0N ~ be stealthy ~ lUv&LuLz ~ <3


Project Inception @OpManning

 http://occupii.org/profile/operatioNManning

http://www.youtube.com/user/operatioNManning

http://www.opmanning.tumblr.com

Ft. Meade, Maryland motion hearing – March 15-16

Ray McGovern, senior veteran CIA analyst, adviser to seven U.S. Presidents, antiwar activist, founder of Veteran IntelligenceProfessionals for Sanity and BMSN Steering Committee member, has announced that he will be attending the next phase of Bradley Manning’s Kangaroo Court proceeding at Ft. Meade this week, March 15-16. Manning is expected to enter a plea, and to address procedural issues from the December arraignment, including the judge’s denial of defense witnesses.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend, and Mr. McGovern requests that you bring your kangaroos.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS UP TO YOU

There are many things that YOU can do to increase awareness about US Government mistreatment and continuing legal abuse of one of the most important alleged whistleblowers of our time. Please see our Actions page for some suggestions and links to other supporters.

Ray speaking about Manning at TruthCon recently

News updates

from the Bradley Manning Support Network site

Ft. Meade announces Manning’s next court date is March 15. In an official news release email, the Ft. Meade media desk announces that military judge Denise Lind scheduled Bradley Manning’s motion hearing for March 15, at 10 AM EST, at Ft. Meade, MD. It could last two days, as the media advisory email notes, “For planning purposes, this hearing is scheduled for March 15 and 16. The hearing is open to the public.

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has requested a May start date for the court martial, while at last month’s arraignment it was revealed that the prosecution has pushed for an August date. It’s expected that the military judge will announce a finalized date at the March 15 motion hearing.

U.S. Government vs. PFC Bradley Manning Motion Hearing

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

NEWS RELEASE The U.S. Army Military District of Washington Guardians of the Nation’s Capital FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE#12-06

U.S. GOVERNMENT VS. PFC BRADLEY MANNING MOTION HEARING SCHEDULED

FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. – The military judge has scheduled a motion hearing in the case of United States vs. Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, beginning on Thursday, March 15 at 10 a.m., at Fort George G. Meade, Md. Pfc. Manning is charged with aiding the enemy; wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; theft of public property or records; transmitting defense information; fraud and related activity in connection with computers; and for violating Army Regulations 25-2 “Information Assurance” and 380-5 “Department of the Army Information Security Program.” If convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum punishment of reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, E-1; total forfeiture of all pay and allowances; confinement for life; and a dishonorable discharge. Media queries and information on credentialing for the arraignment may be emailed to the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office at mediadesk@jfhqncr.northcom.mil.

Complicit in War Crimes by Ed Ciaccio

by Ed Ciaccio Dandelion Salad Featured Writer
December 21, 2011
Protect Free Speech Wikileaks = Pentagon Paper...

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

The Bush-Obama War on Iraq, based on lies and “fixed” intelligence, funded continually by BOTH Corporatist-Militarist Parties in Congress, and hardly ever questioned by what Ray McGovern aptly calls “the Fawning Corporate Media”, is one of the first massive war crimes of this new century (the War on Afghanistan is another). As McGovern reminds us, it is the “supreme international crime,” differing from other war crimes only inasmuch as it contains within itself the “accumulated evil of the whole.”

Accordingly, Bradley Manning was doing his duty as well as obeying his conscience by exposing some of the crimes within this “supreme international crime.” Also accordingly, all those who continued to support, fund, propagandize for (the media), and prosecute this war after the lies which duped them into it were exposed, are also guilty of war crimes and complicit in these crimes to varying degrees. No wonder they, starting with Obama and the military, want to shut up Bradley Manning for life. And I have no doubt they will succeed, with the Fawning Corporate Media parroting the official lies and cover-ups.

If there were true justice here, ALL of Congress, the White House, ALL the members of the Bush administration, and most of the corporate media hacks would be in prison for life for complicity in these war crimes, and we would be honoring Bradley Manning and war critics for doing their duty to uphold the law.

News and actions

For updates and ACTIONS, go to Bradley Manning Support Network

What we can be doing right now, for the next few months, to help Manning: organizational support (join BMSN or assist them) – push for awards, Nobel & Human Rights awards – educate and inform the public – weekly call-ins to select person(s) involved in the trial – sign petitions – and more…

Artists! We are currently requesting stencils to use in the Bradley Manning Global Awareness Campaign. Please make submissions on the Tumblr. Everyone else, start planning your paint, chalk, banner campaign now, it will begin around April 6. Updates soon. The tumblr also welcomes other submissions of anything related to Manning.

Very thoughtful and important article on the question of Manning’s gender identity in The Washington Blade, “America’s Leading Gay News Source.” Note that no conclusion is drawn about Manning’s gender identity, but a cogent argument is laid out that it is currently simply not possible to know what Manning wishes. Also please note that this is published in a gay news source, so it isn’t part of a hidden agenda to downplay the issue.

Feminist, trans advocates should support Bradley Manning

By Rainey Reitman

[Excerpt - click title for full article]

Some thoughtful feminist scholars have recently called on the Bradley Manning Support Network to begin referring to the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower with a female pronoun. Emily Manuel’s essay in Global Comment highlighted why many of us who strongly support transgender rights are sensitive to the pronouns we use when we refer to Manning.

As an ardent supporter of Bradley Manning and a feminist, I have given this issue a great deal of thought.  Given the unusual and perhaps unprecedented circumstances of the situation, I wanted to explain why I’m still calling him Bradley. In so doing, I also hope to demonstrate why folks who care passionately about queer and transgender rights should come out in support.

full article at http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/02/23/feminist-trans-advocates-should-support-bradley-manning

Arraignment news summary:

Bradley Manning’s Quest for Justice

by Logan Price – theguardian

[Excerpt - for full article, click title]

Before the charges were read, Manning’s attorney asked the judge about her prior knowledge of the case, the issues surrounding it, and any previous opinions she may have had about it. She stated that she had known nothing of the case besides Manning’s name “and that it involved classified material”. When asked if she had spoken to friends or colleagues about the case, she said she hadn’t. She held no prior opinion, we were told.

For what must be the biggest controversy of the decade, I found this hard to believe. It reaffirmed my skepticism and brought to mind what many have already said: this trial is a sham.

President Obama, ultimately the judge’s commander, does have an opinion about the matter – as he told me when I asked for his view at a fundraiser in San Francisco last April, at the end of Manning’s extended solitary confinement at Quantico Marine Base.

In his mind, Bradley Manning was already guilty. The conversation was caught on tape, and legal experts have argued that the president’s statement should be grounds for dismissal.

“We’re a nation of laws,” Obama told me. “He broke the law.”

Some people are held to the law and others are not. Recalling the killing of journalists working for Reuters in the “Collateral Murder” video allegedly released by Manning, this is exactly this kind of selective enforcement that motivated WikiLeaks‘ revelations – and which brought me and my peers to Zuccotti Park last fall to use the only means we have to hold accountable those whose criminal acts brought us to economic crisis.

Report from Bradley Manning’s arraignment

Reports from the arraignment

Arraignment coverage, Occupy 4 Prisoners, Manning’s gender identity

Bradley Manning’s attorney to call 50 witnesses at December 16 hearing

Bradley Manning’s defence plans to call 50 witnesses

This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 18.23 GMT on Tuesday 22 November 2011.

Bradley Mannings father speaks out over Pentagon’s treatment of his son

Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 16 December. Photograph: AP

The defence team for WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is planning to call 50 witnesses at next month’s military hearing, promising to turn the proceedings into a detailed legal battle over the merits of the prosecution case against him.

The Bradley Manning support network, a group of sympathisers of the US soldier that has paid for the bulk of his legal fees so far, revealed that attorneys are preparing to launch a vigorous defence at the pre-trial hearing scheduled to take place at Ford Meade in Maryland on 16 December. Many legal angles will be pursued, with witnesses ranging from experts on whistle blowing to IT specialists who can comment on technical details relating to Manning’s access to intelligence databases.

The strategy is unusual for such pre-trial hearings, known in the army as Article 32 proceedings. It is common at this stage for defence teams to limit their engagement to a minimum, in order to withhold from the prosecution elements of their approach that could be crucial in any eventual trial.

Manning’s defence is being led by a civilian lawyer, David Coombs, who has avoided contact with the media ahead of the start of the military process. The support network, which has been in close contact with Coombs, says it it has contributed about $130,000 towards his legal fees.

Jeff Paterson, a founding member of the network, told a telephone press conference that Coombs would call as many of the 50 witnesses he has identified as the army will allow. If he is permitted to call all 50 – which is considered unlikely – the hearing will take much longer than the five days earmarked for it.

If he is not allowed to call many of the witnesses, Paterson said, Coombs will release the entire list of names for the public to see.

“Coombs intends to present a pretty vigorous defence on many different angles, which is how Bradley Manning himself envisioned being represented,” Paterson said.

Manning was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 on suspicion that he was the source of the huge database of US embassy cables that was passed without permission to WikiLeaks. He has spent the past 18 months in confinement, much of it in the early stages in conditions that some say were tantamount to torture.

Ahead of the Article 32, the army has released details of the precise charges against Manning. The most serious count is “aiding the enemy” – a charge that technically carries the death penalty though prosecutors have indicated they will not press for that.

In addition, Manning is accused of 16 counts of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy; five counts of theft of public property or records, eight of transmitting defence information, two of fraud in connection with computers and five of violating army information security.

If convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum sentence of confinement for life.

His support network plans to hold a rally outside the Article 32 at Fort Meade on the morning of the hearing, followed by a march the following day – Manning’s 24th birthday.

The five counts of theft of public records are being brought against Manning under the Espionage Act, the same law under which Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers on Vietnam, was prosecuted in 1971. Ellsberg, an adviser to the support network, said that if Manning were found to be the source of the WikiLeaks documents, “he deserves our thanks and has my admiration. He is unreservedly a hero.”

Ellsberg added that the WikiLeaks exposure of illegal war crimes by US forces in Iraq had been crucial to the decision of the Iraqi government to insist on legal jurisdiction over all American soldiers, which in turn forced the Obama administration to pull all remaining troops from the country.

“So there have already been major benefits from these disclosures,” Ellsberg said.

Coombs has yet to indicate what legal arguments he will pursue in defence of Manning. Kevin Zeese, the main legal adviser to the Bradley Manning support network, said that one line of defence might be that Obama had rendered it impossible to stage a fair trial because he had improperly commented on the case.

In April Obama was engaged in a conversation at a fundraising event in which he appeared to suggest that Manning was guilty. The president said: “If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorised to release, I’m breaking the law. We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate.”

Zeese said that Obama’s comments amounted to “undue command influence”. “President Obama is commander in chief, and the judge and all the jurors at Manning’s trial will be under his command. That’s a very serious problem.”