[New updates will appear at the top, at The Dissenter]
9:50 AM EST Headed to courthouse now for proceedings.
9:47 AM EST Manning seemed to smile, laugh when he heard his username “bradass87″ said in court yesterday. He has been in pretty good spirits lately, laughing and joking with two of his defense lawyers during breaks.
9:30 AM EST As we get going this morning, how about an anecdote from yesterday?
The military briefer for the press is new. He was asked what would happen if the US State Embassy cables came up in court. Would the proceedings be closed? Without hesitation, the briefer said “yes.” He added, “What’s out there and representative may be different than what the government is trying to protect.” This indicates the government’s pretzel logic entails prosecuting Manning for “aiding the enemy” by releasing classified information that WikiLeaks falsified before releasing to media organizations and the public. That raises questions like, how do you prosecute someone for helping “terrorists” if what the government says helped the “terrorists” wasn’t actually what the organization published?
The briefer continued saying the court would not be open for deliberation on 206,000 cables only to be closed for one them. The press and public would figure out the one cable the government wanted to keep secret. (In a way, something like this happened already.)
The Gospel of Secrecy continued to be preached: We must “protect the national security of the United States by keeping our adversaries guessing.” Over-classification, prosecuting whistleblowers and invoking state secrets privilege so those who are victims of “war on terror” abuses are not able to pursue lawsuits—That is all done to make sure the Enemy doesn’t get any edge whatsoever.
The second day of a motion hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, resumes today. There will be deliberation over whether uncharged misconduct Manning committed is relevant to the case or admissible in court. The judge will also hear commonly known facts related to the case, like prior statements from public officials, which the defense and government think should be a part of her understanding of the alleged offenses.
Judge Army Col. Denise Lind heard argument over whether to compel the production of Quantico emails, eighty-four of which were handed over to the defense hours before their motion on “unlawful pretrial punishment” was to be filed for a critical hearing that was scheduled for August 27-31. The defense discovered new details in the emails that led to the hearing being postponed to October. In the hearing’s place, a motion hearing (which is happening now) was called to deal with issues pertaining to the notice that these emails existed and so Coombs could compel the government to hand over 1,290 more emails.
The government preempted a motion to compel the production of the 1,290 yesterday by handing over 600 emails. There are about 700 more emails the government refuses to hand over. The judge now has to look at all three sets—the 84, the 600 and the 700—and decide whether to order the government to hand over all emails to the defense or not. She has to figure out what is contained in these 700 that the government does not want the defense to see and determine if it is proper for them to be withheld.
I am back at Fort Meade covering the court martial proceedings. There are a handful of people here in the media pool. A group of Bradley Manning supporters were at the visitors’ gate entrance again this morning as I drove onto the military base.
The media pool is not in the media center. There was a conflict with previously scheduled but canceled Guantanamo trial proceedings. Therefore, there will be less updates here than during prior hearings. Updates will appear at the top. Follow @kgosztola for updates during any long breaks or just after any court recesses.
I have been traveling to Fort Meade to cover these proceedings since December 2011, when Manning had his Article 32 hearing. You can view previous coverage of the court martial process and the Article 32 hearing here. I also co-authored a book with The Nation‘s Greg Mitchell on Manning and the court martial up through March of this year. The book is available here.