Fight over truth underway in courtroom

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. June 7, 2013. 

Report on the first week of the trial, protests, solidarity actions, and press coverage.

Rally in Sydney, Australia

International week of action. June 1-8. Rally in Sydney, Australia.

After a grueling 3 years in prison awaiting trial, 3 time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning’s court martial has begun. Supporters held actions in solidarity with the heroic whistleblower. On June 1st the largest rally of supporters yet was held at Fort Meade, and throughout the week more than three dozen events were organized around the world.

On the first day of the trial the defense and prosecution faced off with opening statements that both asked “what would you do” if you were given access to evidence of the true nature of the war, civilian murders, illegal torture, unnecessary secrecy and thousands of documents revealing government corruption? What would you do if your reports to superiors were ignored, and if you learned that the American people had been lied to?

In his opening arguments defense lawyer David Coombs highlighted that Bradley Manning is not your typical soldier – rather he is a conscientious soldier who cared more than most about people, fellow soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike. Bradley Manning, he explained, is a “Humanist,” who prior to deploying to Iraq had that printed on his dog tags as his religious preference. For Bradley Manning the horrors of civilian and his fellow soldier’s deaths were troubling and transforming: it inspired him to learn the truth about the war, a war that we now know, thanks in part to Bradley and the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has been based on lies. Read Bradley Manning Support Network correspondent Nathan Fuller’s report on the opening statements from the first day of the hearing.

Rally in Seoul

Rally in South Korea

Rally in Toledo, OH

Rally in Portland, ME

On the second day, hacker and informant Adrian Lamo who in 2010 reported Bradley to authorities and then published private chat logs via Wired and the Washington Post, confirmed for the court Bradley’s conscientious motivations for releasing the information. The remainder of the second and third days of the hearing focused largely on Bradley’s training. Witnesses testified that he performed his duties well and he was praised for being well organized and computer savvy. Many of the charges against Bradley are specified three different ways. First that Bradley was not authorized to access the information, at least in the way he did. Second that he violated regulations in transferring that information from secure to non-secure computers or media. Finally, that he gave the information to WikiLeaks. The latter is the only part Bradley has admitted to. Witnesses agreed that Bradley indeed had authorized access to all of the information, and that it was normal for additional, unauthorized programs and files, to be installed on these secure computers.  Read the Support Network’s reports from day 2, and from day 3.

Supporters were blocked from wearing Truth t-shirts in the courtroom on the first day, but the decision was later overturned.

Bradley Manning and supporters received a lot of positive press over the week. The New York Times highlights supporter efforts in its article “Manning’s supporters are loud and online!”, while Rolling Stone magazine rips into media outlets that failed to understand Bradley’s motives, or to grasp the big picture: “The debate we should be having is over whether as a people we approve of the acts he uncovered that were being done in our names.” And former US Representative Dennis Kucinich takes Bill O’Reilly to task, defending Bradley Manning’s actions on the Bill O’Reilly factor. Watch the video here.

Transcripts of the trial are now available thanks to the Freedom of the Press Foundation who have hired a stenographer. Throughout three years leading up to this court martial no transcripts have been issued from the numerous pre-trial hearings. It has been up to bloggers, journalists, and Bradley’s supporters to take notes by hand in court. The hiring of a stenographer by the public brings a touch of transparency back into the court. Read transcripts from the first week.

6 thoughts on “Fight over truth underway in courtroom

  1. Dear Mr. Manning,

    You are the finest example of a great American Hero. Thank you for what you have done for all of us. We are all Bradley Manning and you have stood up for us. We can never pay you back, so please accept my personal thanks and that of a nation that aspires to be great like you and not just sheeple.

  2. The Calculus of Altruism

    U.S.A. Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Manning-Lamo Chat Logs, May 22, 2010:
    (12:15:11 PM) bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… 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 DC… what would you do?
    (12:16:38 PM) bradass87: or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter…
    (12:17:47 PM) bradass87: things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people
    (1:13:10 PM) bradass87: i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready… i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, … .

    The humanist math of rational choice: 6.7 billion equal persons (worldwide humanity) who benefit from information disclosure versus one of those equal persons (Bradley E. Manning) who pays the price with his life or liberty for disclosing the information.

    For a great person, the rational choice is obvious. For a little person, the rational choice is equally obvious, but exactly the opposite from the great person. What is a little person?

    Listen, Little Man! (1945 essay with illustrations)

  3. In addition to the petition on the website, there’s one on the WhiteHouse website, a petition you may want to sign:, a petition that could use some more signatures before July 6th.

  4. PFC Manning was an American soldier, and as such was given access to Confidential Information. It does not give him such Information to be disseminated as he sees fit, that is why it is CLASSIFIED.
    I personally know this from first hand accounts. And that is why I am not in jail for being a trator, it does not matter how strongly we object to the Information that we were given, We took an oath to defend this country,and giving away any classified Information is TREASON, no matter what the circumstances.
    If manning is seen as a innocent, then what about CWO Walker? FBI Agent Robert Hansen? They also thought they were helping the American people.
    There is no way to sugar coat treason,
    Semper Fi

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