The trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning will finally conclude next week, as the military judge at Fort Meade issues a sentencing verdict.
Earlier this week, Manning took the witness stand to deliver a statement to Judge Army Col. Denise Lind after sitting through testimony from his sister and two psychologists, which had clearly shaken him up.
I’d like to take a moment now to highlight some of the stories on the major day of proceedings on Wednesday that everyone should be reading. This is also a tribute to the few reporters, who have consistently shown up to the gates of Fort Meade daily to cover the trial whether there was a guarantee there would be “breaking news” or not.
[Note: All selected writings or reports are from people who actually were present at Fort Meade during proceedings.]
—”The Ethical Consistency of Bradley Manning” by Alexa O’Brien:
By now, you might know that O’Brien is an independent journalist who suspended her life to not only create a public record on the court martial of Manning but to ensure that every aspect of what was happening in proceedings was shared with the public, even as the military sought to maintain a gross level of secrecy. She deserves credit for this post because, unlike other reporters, she correctly concluded that Manning’s apology was in line with his prior statement in February (something Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, gave her credit for on Friday).
—”The Pentagon’s Transgender Problem” by Adam Klasfeld:
Here’s another journalist who put his life on hold and traveled to the area in and around Fort Meade to spend an entire summer covering the Manning trial. He writes for Courthouse News and, though he normally writes independently, I have selected this piece he co-authored with Brett Brownell for Mother Jones. It provides context to testimony heard in court on Wednesday on Manning’s gender identity disorder, which military psychologists concluded he had suffered from while in the military.
—”A Decade of Pentagon Struggles Bared at Trial” by David Dishneau & Pauline Jelinek:
This story written by Dishneau & Jelinek for the Associated Press really captured some of the themes of the trial thus far, which could have provided a basis for media to give this trial more extensive coverage. It highlights how the “Pentagon’s internal conflict over gays in the military; the wisdom of counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, which often frustrated even the highest military commanders; and the struggle to find enough troops to fight both wars at once.” (Dishneau of AP deserves credit for being one of the only establishment news reporters to attend the Bradley Manning court martial daily to produce coverage.)
—”An Apology to Bradley Manning” by Scott Galindez:
This heartfelt piece begins, “First of all Bradley, it is the court, the Army, and the American people that should be apologizing to you. We failed you, not the other way around.” Galindez has taken the train to get to Fort Meade just about every day of the trial. He’s been covering the trial for Reader Supported News. This properly acknowledges Manning’s decision to take responsibility all throughout the trial and stand tall in the face of prosecution.
—”What’s Bradley Manning Sorry For? Secrecy Surrounds Evidence of Harm From WikiLeaks Disclosures“ by Matt Sledge:
For Huffington Post, Sledge has become one of the few reporters covering the trial. It appropriately contextualizes Manning’s statement by pointing out that the sentencing phase of the trial ”has produced little public evidence about whether his leaks of videos and battlefield logs from Iraq and Afghanistan on balance helped or hurt the world.” (Sledge followed-up on this report with a story featuring comments from Coombs that he sleeps “soundly at night” because he knows what was presented and “there really wasn’t that much information that came out.”)
I have been there daily covering the trial for Firedoglake too. What I wrote reflecting on Manning’s statement can be found here. And for Firedoglake’s complete coverage of the trial so far, visit this page (which was put together by my assistant, Jeff Creamer).
I’ll also acknowledge the reporting Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network has been doing daily from Fort Meade. You can find his most recent update here.