Bradley Manning Defense Claims Victory over Bid for Withheld Evidence

Published on
by
Common Dreams

Bradley Manning Defense Claims Victory over Bid for Withheld Evidence

by
Common Dreams staff

US Army Private Bradley Manning is escorted during an arrival to military court in Fort Meade, Maryland. (AFP Photo/Alex Wong)

Pfc. Bradley Manning's legal defense team won a partial victory on Monday as Military Judge Denise Lind ordered federal prosecutors to hand over key documents to the court that Manning's lawyer David Coombs maintains were intentionally withheld.

Lind ruled that prosecutors will have to turn over reports from the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive that show the government's assessments of the impact of Manning's actions. The prosecution has not provided any such documents, and Coombs maintains that he was only made aware of some of the documents after the last round of pre-trial hearings concluded on June 8.

Manning is accused of leaking governmental cables to the website Wikileaks, and has subsequently been accused of 'aiding the enemy' through releasing classified information. Manning's defense had requested the assessment papers in a bid to show that the Wikileaks release did not aid terrorist organizations, and thus did not damage national security.

"The Obama administration can't hide from reality forever" said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "Any ruling in favor of the truth is a victory for Bradley Manning, because the government's strategy of abuse, obfuscation and outright deception simply won't stand the light of day."

Manning faces life in prison if found guilty of the 'aiding the enemy' charge.

* * *

The Bradley Manning Support Network: Bradley Manning Defense Claims Victory on Due Process Motion

Judge Denise Lind ordered military prosecutors to provide a detailed account of their discovery of evidence that could help PFC Bradley Manning's defense. The ruling came in response to a motion by lead defense counsel David Coombs, who cited misleading statements made by government lawyers about their efforts to locate required materials.

"The Obama administration can't hide from reality forever" said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "Any ruling in favor of the truth is a victory for Bradley Manning, because the government's strategy of abuse, obfuscation and outright deception simply won't stand the light of day."

Judge Lind also ruled that the government must provide impact assessments and other reports from the CIA, the FBI, the Department of State, and the Office of the National Counter Intelligence Executive (ONCIX). Coombs complained that he was only made aware of an additional assessment produced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the last round of hearings concluded on June 8.

"They knew DHS was doing an assessment for ONCIX and didn't tell the court," said Coombs, citing earlier suggestions made by prosecutors that there was no ONCIX assessment. "The court needs to pull at the string of this argument, because if you do, it falls apart."

PFC Manning's lawyers contend that these documents would show that there was no substantive harm posed to national security by the WikiLeaks releases.

On Sunday, hundreds of supporters of the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower marched in LGBT Pride Parades in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Supporters are preparing for another round of demonstrations to coincide with pre-trial hearings scheduled for July 16 to 20 at Fort Meade.

# # #

Share This Article

More in: