Bradley Manning's two day pre-trial hearing will conclude today. Provisions for the trial will be decided upon including the trial date and whether the US government will release 'classified' materials requested by the defense. The materials requested include an alleged video from the Quantico Marine brig. The video is said to show instances of humiliation and torture of Manning while in detention.
U.S. prosecutors have said Manning aided al-Qaida by leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to the website Wikileaks.
The whistleblower, seen as a champion for governmental transparency by many, "is being treated worse than a terror suspect," states Kevin Gosztola, reporting from the scene for FireDogLake. Gosztola has stated that unusual closed door meetings have continued to delay the start of the hearings. The prosecution, defense and judge have been conferencing in a secret portion of the hearing.
"The media is not actually allowed to have access to records during the military's court proceedings. But if you were at Guantanamo you would be able to access records during a military commission...we don't get to know the sort of things going on; we don't get to know the motions that are being filed; we don't get to know what's going on in the backroom," says Gosztola.
* * *
Live Blog: Bradley Manning Motion Hearing, Day 2 (FireDogLake):
We have just been told that the conferencing or secret portion of the hearing involving the prosecution, defense and judge will be going on until at least 11 AM. [...]
A two-day motion hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is scheduled to conclude today. 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 hearing yesterday:
—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. [...]
* * *
# # #