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November 30, 2012

Bradley Manning’s ‘Unlawful Pretrial Punishment’ Hearing, Day 4

Posted in: Whistleblowers,WikiLeaks

10:25 PM EST Report on Bradley Manning being ordered to sign “voluntary statements” here.

7:15 PM EST  Here’s my appearance on HuffPost Live giving an update on Bradley Manning’s testimony from today (Drag to 8:30 minute mark):

7:13 PM EST I went on HuffPost Live. I just did an interview with KBOO. I have a couple reports to type up, but we’re done before 8:45 PM EST tonight. I am going to take advantage of that and leave the base. In a couple hours, when I get some dinner, there will be more for you to read and digest. There is much of Manning’s testimony to share. I especially want to detail what the Brig was doing with “voluntary requests.”

4:45 PM EST Have to say what most fascinates me right now is what I heard Manning describe about wanting to win case in military court and not “court of public opinion.” I’ll have more. For now, visitors list came up again. The government made an issue out of it. He acknowledged press had First Amendment right to publish stories on him.

2:20 PM EST Going back on record now. Fein will resume his attempt to show Manning was the problem when he stood at parade rest naked on March 3.

2:12 PM EST Fein is grasping for air trying to argue Manning did not have to put his blanket on his bed on March 3, 2011, when he stood at parade rest naked without his underwear after an incident on March 2 involving a comment he made. Fein is asking him in all ways possible to see if he can get him to say he did not have to put the blanket down or was not ordered to put the blanket down.

Manning amazingly said at one point:  ”The wording that had been given by the staff was that any order that you’re given unless it immediately causes you danger or harm is a proper one until you execute it. Tarantula jar was an example used a lot. If guard orders you to put your hand in a tarantula jar, don’t do that. Anything else that is not immediately harmful or dangerous you execute then complain about it later.”

2:05 PM Fifteen minute break. Fein opened up an incredible line of questions with Manning that do not obviously appear to benefit the government’s case that he wasn’t unlawfully punished. He asked about “voluntary statements” he signed except they weren’t really voluntary. Officers would come up to Manning and say, “Here is a voluntary statement. Sign this.” They did this when recreation calls had to be canceled because they could not arrange them.

“I was uncomfortable” with this, Manning said. “I didn’t know if they were trying to cover themselves” because they could not fit in recreation call. Sgt. Garnett was giving him these forms saying this was a direct order. He admitted he caved a couple times. He also went through and crossed out portions. He would cross out “sworn” because a “sworn statement” is very serious. It is a declaration “under penalty of perjury,” he said. He “wasn’t sure of the legal status of this document.” It made him uncomfortable.

1:05 PM EST This hearing, by the way, is not going to end on December 2 as previously scheduled. It will stop, there will be a break on Monday and Tuesday and then we will resume proceedings on Wednesday, December 5. On the 5th, 6th and 7th, the cout will be in session. The December 10-14 session has been canceled.

12:52 PM EST We are coming back from lunch. Manning is likely to be asked about key incidents in January 2011 and March 2011 by the government. In March 2011, he had his underwear taken away after a comment about how he could use his underwear waistband and flip-flops to commit suicide if he really wanted to kill himself.

12:50 PM EST Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on “Democracy Now!” this morning talked about Manning’s testimony yesterday. They considered having me on the program but, with Manning still testifying, it was logistically easier for the program to speak with Ratner.

Ratner is well-spoken. Watch the segment.

12:46 PM EST When Manning arrived at Quantico, during the intake process guards had him write down something about being a suicide risk.  They told him he had to write something down. He wrote, “Always planning, never acting.” The guards apparently coerced him into writing down this statement, which the classification & assignment (C&A) board that reviewed his confinement conditions cited as a key aspect of why they would not remove him from POI status.

When he went before the C&A board for the first time in January, he had to explain this statement. They confronted him and one member of the board said if that statement was false, if he just put it down and it was kind of sarcastic as he said, why should they believe him today? Manning acknowledged he concurred with the concern, but he said he concurred in a “philosophical” sense.

“I accepted that as a philosophical question. It was a more intellectual answer.”—As he has demonstrated, he can and could think on many different levels, not just the level he was conditioned to think on by the military.

12:38 PM EST Bradley Manning in December 2010 requested an emergency meeting with his attorney for a matter related to Vice President Joe Biden. He said he “had heard something strange going on.” On December 19, 2010, he was on “Meet the Press” and spoke about WikiLeaks calling Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” Perhaps that is why Manning was interested in meeting with his attorney.

12:35 PM EST Just did two radio interviews. One for Pacifica Radio, one for Free Speech Radio News. I will share both if they are posted online.

11:45 AM A request Manning made of his aunt early in January was for books from his aunt. He used a “shotgun approach” and listed a bunch of books he would like figuring he would get at least one. The books he asked for included Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and a book that has played a role in this case, David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, which the defense has said contains a verbatim transcript of the “Collateral Murder” incident.

11:43 AM December 10, 2010 –  Manning needed underwear and t-shirts. He still had what he wore during his deployment. “They still smelled like Iraq…No matter how many times it got washed it just never went away.” The gallery laughed. Maj. Ashden Fein, cross-examining him, appeared to be holding back a laugh too.

11:40 AM Glenn Greenwald came up during testimony. Major Ashden Fein was going through requests Manning made from Quantico. On November 21, 2010, Fein read a request that Glenn Greenwald, “a friend from NYC,” put him on list authorizing Greenwald to send mail to him. He was authorized to add Greenwald to his list.  

11:30 AM Bradley Manning has taken the stand again. The government is in the middle of cross-examining. He has been very calm and collected about the questions. Fein has not been adversarial and has been restrained in his questions. They were aggressive at one point when he wanted to know why Manning wrote on a form during the intake process at Quantico that he was, “Always planning, never acting,” to commit suicide.

Original Post

Pfc. Bradley Manning testified yesterday and will be returning to the witness stand in moments. The government will cross-examine him. The defense will then have an opportunity for rebuttal.

Following cross-examination, if the defense rests, the government will be bringing two of the guards that handled Manning while in the Quantico Marine Brig. They will also be calling a doctor that was used to the witness stand to talk about Manning’s mental health.

Yesterday, I began to fully present Manning’s testimony. I intend to continue to plod through while still keeping up with the proceedings.

From detainment at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq to Kuwait, here is a story on Manning being held in detention.

From detention in Kuwait to his arrival at Quantico, here is a story on that portion of his testimony.

And then, from arrival at Quantico to the first months of his confinement, here is a post about his initial experiences.

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Less media here today than yesterday. Manning took the stand so some fair weather reporters, who only have covered Manning during the most sensational parts of his pretrial, are not here.

I will continue to cover the proceedings. Check here and at the top of the post for updates throughout the afternoon/early evening. Also, follow @kgosztola for the latest developments in the court martial.

Also, a quick note because David House was mentioned yesterday and he was going to Firedoglake to share information on Manning’s confinement: without House’s reports on Manning, much of the world would not have become aware that Manning was being held in conditions that were essentially solitary confinement. Whatever one thinks of how Manning views House and whatever others think, he deserves credit. Also, one day, after this is over and Manning is not faced with the prospect of life in prison, he might realize how the controversy in the media around Quantico contributed to his transfer from that facility to Leavenworth in April 2011.


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