Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Free Private Bradley Manning-President Obama Pardon Bradley Manning -Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us In Central Square, Cambridge, Ma. For A Stand-Out For Bradley- Wednesdays From 5:00-6:00 PM
Support And Build The Bradley Manning International Day Of Solidarity February 23, 2013 –The 1000thDay Of Pre-Trial Confinement
Beginning in September 2011, in order to publicize Private Manning’s case locally, there have been weekly stand-outs (as well as other more ad hocand sporadic events) in various locations in the Greater Boston area starting in Somerville across from the Davis Square Redline MBTA stop on Friday afternoons and later on Wednesdays. Lately this stand-out has been held each week on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 PM at Central Square, Cambridge, Ma. (small park at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street just outside the Redline MBTA stop, renamed Manning Square for the duration of the stand-out) in order to continue to broaden our outreach. Join us there in calling for Private Manning’s freedom. President Obama Pardon Private Manning Now!
The Private Bradley Manning case is headed toward an early summer trial now scheduled for June 2013. The news on his case over the past several months (since about April 2012) has centered on the many pre-trial motion hearings including recent defense motions to dismiss for lack of speedy trial. Private Manning’s pre-trial confinement is now at 900 plus days and will be over 1000 days by the time of trial. That motion, still not ruled on as of this writing, is expected to be decided by the next round of pre-trial hearings in late February.
The defense contends that the charges should be dismissed because the military by its own statutes (to speak nothing of that funny old constitutional right to a speedy trial guarantee that our plebeian forbears fought tooth and nail for against the bloody British and later made damn sure was included in the Amendments when the founding fathers“forgot” to include it in the main document) should have arraigned Private Manning within 120 days after his arrest. They hemmed and hawed for almost 600 days before deciding on the charges and a court martial. Nobody in the convening authority, as required by those same statutes, pushed the prosecution forward in a timely manner. There were no serious efforts to push the work of the classifying agencies (the agencies that would determine what level of security classification had been allegedly violated) throughout most of that time although the government knew what documents it was going to proffer at the Article 32 hearing well before that work was finished. In fact the court-martial convening authority, in the person of one Colonel Coffman, seems to have seen its role as mere “yes man, ” a “rubber stamp” in the defense’s words, to each of the government’s eight requests for delays without explanation (and without informing the defense in order to take their objection). Apparently the Colonel saw his role as a mere clearing agent for whatever excuse the government gave, mainly endless addition time for clearing various classified documents a process that need not have held up the proceedings. The defense made timely objection to each governmental request after the fact to no avail.
Testimony from military authorities at pre-trial hearings in November 2012 about the reasons for the lack of action ranged from the lame to the absurd (mainly negative responses to knowledge about why some additional delays were necessary. One “reason” sticks out as a reason for excusable delay -some officer needed to get his son to a swimming meet and was thus “unavailable” for a couple of days. I didn’t make this up. I don’t have that sense of the absurd. Jesus, a man, a presumably innocent man, was rotting in Obama’s jails and they let him rot a little longer because of some damn swim meet.). The prosecution, obviously, has argued that the government has moved might and main to move the case along and had merely waited until all leaked materials had been determined before proceeding.
We shall see but here is a good statement of the situation right now and the options for the Bradley Manning Support Network:
“Three years is not a speedy trial
On Bradley Manning’s 964th day in prison without trial, both parties argued over the defense’s motion to dismiss charges for lack of a speedy trial. Under Rule for Court Martial 707, the military was supposed to arraign Bradley in 120 days, but it took over 600. Under Uniform Code for Military Justice Article 10, prosecutors are obligated to maintain diligence in trying the accused. Defense lawyer David Coombs explained to the court that rather than being proactive, the military was reactive, waiting for months and months for other agencies to complete classification reviews, when it should have been hurrying those processes along to get to court-martial as quickly as possible. If Judge Lind finds Article 10 was violated, she must dismiss charges. If she dismisses charges “with prejudice,” meaning she finds that the military was prejudicial in denying Bradley a speedy trial, then Bradley will walk free. However, if she dismisses “without prejudice,” finding the delays were negligent but not malicious, the military could simply re-charge Bradley with all of the same offenses. She’ll rule at the next hearing, February 26 through March 1.”
The defense has also recently pursued a motion for a dismissal of the major charges (espionage/ indirect material aid to terrorists) on the basis of the minimal effect of any leaks on national security issues as against Private Manning’s claim that such knowledge was important to the public square (freedom of information issues important for us as well in order to know about what the hell the government is doing either in front of us, or behind our backs). Last summer witnesses from an alphabet soup list of government agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, Military Intelligence, etc., etc.) testified that while the information leaked shouldn’t have been leaked that the effect on national security was de minimus. The Secretary of Defense at the time, Leon Panetta, also made a public statement to that effect. The prosecution argued, successfully at the time, that the mere fact of the leak of classified information caused irreparable harm to national security issues and Private Manning’s intent, even if noble, was not at issue.
The recent thrust of the motion to dismiss has centered on the defense’s contention been that Private Manning consciously and carefully screened any material in his possession to avoid any conflict with national security and that most of the released material had been over-classified (received a higher security level than necessary).(Much of the materials leaked, as per those parts published widely in the aftermath of the disclosures by the New York Times and other major outlets, concerned reports of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan and diplomatic interchanges that reflected poorly, poorly to say the least, on that profession.) The Obama government has argued again that the mere fact of leaking was all that mattered. That motion has also not been fully ruled on and is now the subject of prosecution counter-motions and a cause for further trial delay.
Here is the latest from the Bradley Manning Support Network on this issue while will the subject of May pre-trial hearings:
“Turning whistle-blowing into treason
Meanwhile, in an attempt to curtail the defense’s ability to show Bradley Manning is a whistle-blower, the government moved to preclude discussion of his motive in determining his guilt or innocence. Judge Lind granted this motion in part: the defense will not be allowed to show Bradley’s motive, such as chatlog quotes showing that he wanted information to be free, in debating whether he knew Al Qaeda would have access to the cables he released (but it will be allowed to discuss motive during a potential sentencing portion). The military will have to prove that Bradley knew he was “dealing with the enemy” in passing information to WikiLeaks. The defense will be allowed to show that Bradley selected certain cables or types of cables to prove he knew which information would not cause harm to U.S. national security if made public. The government also moved to preclude discussion of over classification, trying to prevent the defense from arguing that documents released needn’t have been classified in the first place. Judge Lind decided to defer that ruling, and will make it at a later hearing. In this hearing, the military also said that it would still charge Bradley Manning with “aiding the enemy” if he’d released information to the New York Times instead of WikiLeaks, an argument that would effectively turn whistle-blowing into treason and one which troubled many journalists following the proceedings.”
A defense motion for dismissal based on serious allegations of torturous behavior by the military authorities extending far up the chain of command (a three-star Army general, not the normal concern of someone so far up the chain in the matter of discipline for enlisted personal) while Private Manning was first detained in Kuwait and later at the Quantico Marine brig for about a year ending in April 2011 has now been ruled on. In late November and early December Private Manning himself, as well as others including senior military mental health workers, took the stand to detail those abuses over several days. Most important to the defense was the testimony by qualified military mental health professionals citing the constant willful failure of those who held Private Manning in close confinement to listen to, or act, on their recommendations during those periods
Judge Lind, the military judge who has heard all the pre-trial arguments in the case thus far, has essentially ruled unfavorably on that motion to dismiss given the potential life sentence Private Manning faces. As she announced at an early January pre-trial hearing the military acted illegally in some of its actions. While every Bradley Manning supporter should be heartened by the fact that the military judge ruled that he was subject to illegal behavior by the military during his pre-trial confinement her remedy, a 112 days reduction in any future sentence, is a mere slap on the wrist to the military authorities. No dismissal or, alternatively, no appropriate reduction (the asked for ten to one ratio for all his first year or so of illegal close confinement which would take years off any potential sentence) given the seriousness of the illegal behavior as the defense tirelessly argued for. And the result is a heavy-handed deterrent to any future military whistleblowers, who already are under enormous pressures to remain silent as a matter of course while in uniform, and others who seek to put the hard facts of future American military atrocities before the public.
Here is the Bradley Manning Support Network’s take on Judge Lind’s decision:
“Judge ruled abusive treatment at Quantico was unlawful, awards sentencing credit
Following over two weeks of testimony from Quantico guards and higher officers about keeping Bradley in a 6×8 cell for 23 hours a day and denying him exercise time and easy access to basic hygiene items Judge Denise Lind ruled that Bradley was treated harshly and awarded him 112 days off of a potential sentence. This is a meager rebuke and a scant reduction when compared to the life sentence Bradley could face, but it is an important symbolic vindication for those who fought so hard to raise awareness of the disturbing treatment and to move Bradley from Quantico.”
Some other important recent news, this from the November 2012 pre-trail sessions, is the offer by the defense to plead guilty to lesser charges (wrongful, unauthorized use of the Internet, etc.) in order to clear the deck and have the major espionage /aiding the enemy issue (with a possibility of a life sentence) solely before the court-martial judge, Judge Lind (the one who has been hearing the pre-trial motions, not some senior officer, senior NCO lifer-stacked panel. A wise move, a very wise move.).
Since this defense ploy, an unusual one, and not commonly used or known about, according to knowledgeable sources, was the subject of some confusion, among supporters and the media so here is the Bradley Manning Support Network’s statement on the issue:
“Why, what it means, doesn’t mean, and what next
By Jeff Paterson, Bradley Manning Support Network. November 19, 2012. Published at Allvoices.com
Army Private Bradley Manning recently informed the military court that he was, in fact, the source of information published by WikiLeaks. While the 24 year old Intelligence Analyst, effectively, took responsibility for transferring classified documents, in violation of military regulations, he maintained that he was not guilty of all 22 charges against him.
“PFC Manning has offered to plead guilty to various offenses through a process known as“pleading by exceptions and substitutions,” explained Manning civilian defense attorney David Coombs on his blog. Manning is “attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses…. PFC Manning is not pleading guilty to the specifications as charged by the government,” added Coombs. Nor is he “submitting a plea as part of an agreement or deal with the government.”…
…What does such a plea actually change?
The plea offered by Manning doesn’t change the charges against him, nor does it alter the possible maximum sentence of life in prison.
The presiding judge, US Army Colonel Denise Lind, may choose to reject Manning’s plea on technical grounds (if so, technically, Manning will have to unaccept responsibility). If the plea is accepted, the prosecution is free to present its case as planned. Manning’s plea offering only addresses three lesser aspects of a couple lesser charges, so the government could easily accept Manning’s plea and still“upcharge” him.
Manning’s plea could make the prosecution’s job easier, if they are relieved of the burden of proving he accessed documents and transferred them to WikiLeaks. Without this new twist, Manning’s court martial was expected to last at least six weeks, with possibly four of those weeks dedicated to testimony covering information technology-related forensic evidence–such as computer and router logs, login passwords, network access records, and hard drive images. The court martial might now become an expedited two or three week affair.
While the government’s burden of proof may have been reduced overall, it is important to understand that Manning is only admitting to violating military regulations that cover the approved usage of secure computers and the appropriate handling of information. During previous pre-trial hearings, Manning’s defense has shown that every member of his intelligence office in Iraq also violated these same regulations. While other soldiers didn’t share documents with WikiLeaks, they did install unauthorized video games and software and they shared a library of bootleg music and movies on secure Army computers. As Manning is the only soldier charged with any of these violations, the issue of selective prosecution is raised….
Manning’s attorney has long contended that the defense will show that the release of these documents brought little to no harm to U.S. national security, and that Manning’s motives were to expose crime, fraud, corporate malfeasance, and abuse. They hope to show that this was, indeed, the outcome. The prosecution’s position will remain that Manning’s motives and the actual outcomes are irrelevant during the guilt phase of trial. …”
Also there has been increased media attention by mainstream outlets around the case (including the previously knowingly oblivious New York Times), as well as an important statement by three Nobel Peace Laureates (including Bishop Tutu from South Africa) calling on their fellow laureate, United States President Barack Obama, to free Private Manning from his jails. Check the Bradley Manning Support Network -http://www.bradleymanning.org/ for details and future updates.
*Contribute to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund- as the trial date approaches funds are urgently needed! For link go to http://www.bradleymanning.org/ for
*Sign the online petition at the Bradley Manning Support Network (for link go to http://www.bradleymanning.org/ )at the Bradley Manning Support Network site to the Secretary of the Army to free Bradley Manning-1000 days is enough!
*Call (Comments: 202-456-1111), write (The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500),, e-mail (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments)the White House to ask (or demand) President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning- In federal cases, and military cases are federal cases, the President of the United States can pardon the guilty and the innocent, the convicted and those awaiting trial- Free the whistleblower!
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