Recap: Bradley Manning’s July 16-19 motion hearing

NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake (left), and Jesseln Radack, a DoJ whistle-blower (middle), with another Bradley Manning supporter outside the Fort Meade courtroom, July 19, 2012.

July 20, 2012. By the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Motions hearing recap includes Judge Lind’s ruling to block Manning’s whistle-blower defense, next month’s hearing surrounding Bradley’s torture at Quantico, and supporters’ vigils and rallies.

Bradley Manning’s motion hearing this week focused on Manning’s computer authorization, evidence and witnesses surrounding his abusive confinement conditions at Quantico, and discussion of alleged damage (or lack thereof) due to WikiLeaks’ releases. Yesterday, military judge Denise Lind ruled that the defense will not be allowed to show that WikiLeaks’ releases brought little or no harm to national security.

This ruling blocks defense lawyer David Coombs from using the lack of harm to argue that Bradley Manning is a whistle-blower – that as an intelligence analyst he understood that these documents wouldn’t cause harm and instead wanted to educate the public.

Lind also said U.N. torture investigator Juan Mendez won’t be allowed to testify during the August 27-31 hearings, wherein the military could be held to account for PFC Manning’s torture at Quantico. Mendez’s 14-month investigation concluded that Manning was subjected to “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” treatment. Mendez won’t be allowed to testify because he didn’t visit with Manning personally, but he didn’t meet with Manning because the military refused to allow an unmonitored visit.

Earlier in the week, Coombs and the prosecution debated whether “exceeds authorized access” is the proper definition for what Bradley’s accused to have done. The defense notes that Bradley was authorized to use the computer and access the information he was on, but the prosecution says the use of the unauthorized program Wget means he “exceeded” the access allowed.

Also, Coombs requested Judge Lind instruct the prosecution on how to argue the Article 104 “aiding the enemy” charge, so that the government must prove Bradley “had actual knowledge that he was giving intelligence to the enemy through the indirect means.”

Coombs explained further in his motion: “An accused has actual knowledge that he is giving intelligence to the enemy through indirect means only when he knowingly and intentionally provides intelligence to the enemy through the indirect means. Providing intelligence to a third party with reason to believe that the enemy might receive it, could receive it, or even would likely receive it, is insufficient. Rather, you must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, using the third party as a mere conduit, knowingly and intentionally gave intelligence to the enemy.”

Lind is taking those instructions under advisement.

Sitting just ten feet behind Bradley in the courtroom yesterday were NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake and his lawyer Jesselyn Radack, a whistle-blower herself. Drake is another of the six whistle-blowers the Obama administration prosecuted under the Espionage Act. In an interview after the hearing with Alexa O’Brien, Drake recapped his case and noted similarities with the way the military is prosecuted PFC Manning.

Others, including local CodePink members, held a vigil outside the base Monday and filled the courtroom throughout the week, many wearing ‘Truth’ shirts. Manning supporters are preparing for larger demonstrations outside of Ft. Meade ahead of the next hearing, August 27-31, to highlight the abuse Manning was subjected to at Quantico. The day before the hearings, David Coombs will speak at a Support Network event in Washington D.C.

Vigil at the Fort Meade Main Gate, July 16, 2012.

One thought on “Recap: Bradley Manning’s July 16-19 motion hearing

  1. It is very unsettling to see these kinds of abuses by the military. We are supposed to be the Land of Freedom. Are we going to continue to be the land of bullies, greed and stupidity, as we have evolved, or I should say, devolved, into. It’s really a shame. Our future, at one time, was quite brite. It no longer is.

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