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January 16, 2013

Bradley Manning’s Speedy Trial Motion Hearing, Day 1

Posted in: WikiLeaks

UPDATE – 10:55 PM EST The judge granted the defense’s motion to have former Ambassador Peter Galbraith testify during the sentencing portion of the trial (if Manning is convicted). He would testify about the information in the cables and provide details on whether they were improperly classified.

UPDATE – 10:30 PM EST Judge Army Col. Denise Lind took notice of the fact that the State Department considers Al Qaeda as the “greatest terrorist threat.” She took notice of Al Qaeda figurehead Adam Gadahn as a “most wanted terrorist.” She took notice of a Winter 2010 issue of Inspire magazine and a line from it where an Al Qaeda propagandist wrote  “anything useful from WikiLeaks can be archived and used to help the mujahideen.”

For more on how the government is trying to tie Manning to terrorism, go here.

UPDATE – 9:52 PM EST Coombs went through and outlined how original classification authorities (OCAs) in responses to defense questions submitted failed to answer why it took so long to complete classification reviews. He specifically highlighted four agencies: CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, INSCOM and OGA (“other government agency,” which may or may not be the CIA).

On CENTCOM, he said they had told the defense the agency conducts 300 classification reviews on average on a yearly basis, which range from a few pages to a thousand pages. This took place after “compromised documents” were approved for use by the prosecution. CENTCOM reviewed approximately 100 documents. Officers worked on the review between September 21, 2010 and October 31, 2011. There were no daily, weekly or monthly updates on the review provided. The agency completed a review on February 15 and then another review on October 21, 2011.

For SOUTHCOM, the agency indicated it does not track the number of classification reviews it does on a yearly basis. It didn’t provide updates or track the work done on the classifiation reviews. It produced an initial review February 2011 that was for “some reason deemed insufficient.” A second review was conducted after Mar 18, 2011 on five documents consisting of twenty-two pages that was completed on November 4.

UPDATE – 9:45 PM EST The defense reported the State Department had used retired foreign service officers (FSOs) for the classification reviews. These were people who worked less than 40 hours per week. The department could not say what percentage of time they devoted to assignments. No updates were provided. The department completed a 51-page classification review. It said it first discussed the need for a classification review in August 2010.

INSCOM didn’t track the number of classification reviews it did or the hours it spent. The first time the prosecution approached INSCOM was March 9, 2011. It reviewed four documents, one a charged document. It prepared no updates on the reviews. It completed a review by October 2011.

“OGA” began a classification review on March 18, 2011. It provided a preliminary review confirming classification on March 24, 2011. It consented to the government disclosing to the defense the same day. It conducted a review of three documents that took until November 8 2011. “OGA” claimed attorney work product privilege or attorney client privilege so didn’t respond to a number of the questions.

UPDATE – 9:30 PM EST Report on speedy trial argument here.

UPDATE – 5:30 PM EST Speedy trial argument wraps. Preparing report on proceedings now. We’re done with this hearing. The judge is going to make a few rulings in next half hour but other than that there will be no further litigation in court until February.

UPDATE – 4:10 PM EST The defense is now making its speedy trial argument. David Coombs is focusing on the classification reviews because that is what the prosecution has focused on when making its case that it was within its right to delay proceedings. Defense questioned individuals at CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, INSCOM and OGA and received no answers, which it found gave a reasonable explanation for why classification reviews took so long to complete.

UPDATE – 1:30 PM EST In the PowerPoint, the government listed what has taken place in the case as follows:

Investigation (25 May 10 – Present Day)

Discovery (25 May 10 – Present Day)

RCM 706 [Sanity Review Board] (11 Jul 10 – 22 Apri 11)

Security Measures (28 Jul 10 – Present Day)

Classification Reviews and Approval for disclosure (25 May 10 – Present Day)

Op Plan Bravo (11 May 11 – Present Day)

Op Plan Bravo is being carried out right now. It’s what the military is calling the execution of procedures that are allowing for this court martial to happen at Fort Meade.

UPDATE – 1:25 PM EST In the record so far there are more than 30,000 pages of motions, unclassified and classified. There have been 27 witnesses who testified. More than 80 hours of testimony has been given. But none of the thousands of pages of motions are available to the press or the public. Despite FOIA requests, the government has refused to release anything, even though it is supposedly a remedy for this kind of secrecy in the proceedings.

UPDATE – 12:25 PM EST Military prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein said, “In Iraq, trial counsel and command tried to assemble” a sanity review board “in theater and could not without affecting combat operations.” This was one of two contributive reasons why he was moved out of theater. The other was to provide mental health care he required.

Of course, he was sent to Quantico — one of the worst facilities where a soldier dealing with mental health issues could have been sent.

UPDATE – 12:20 PM EST Meticulously, the government is going through a timeline of activity to show that it was never in a “waiting posture” that would have delayed the trial and violated Manning’s speedy trial rights.

UPDATE – 10:50 AM EST The conviction of John Kiriakou, former CIA officer, is paying off. Judge cited this case when saying the government only had to prove he had “reason to believe” he was

UPDATE – 10:45 AM EST Military judge Army Col. Denise Lind granted the government’s motion to preclude motive evidence in part. She found knowledge would be relevant to the “aiding the enemy” charge so the government would have to prove he knew he was dealing with the “enemy” and the defense could rebut this evidence.

Original Post

bradley manning

Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier being prosecuted by the military for allegedly releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is back in court at Fort Meade in Maryland. The defense will be making its case that Manning has had his speedy trial rights violated.

The defense contends the government has shown a “tremendous lack of diligence in the processing of this case violated that fundamental right.” With regards to request for delays, Court Martial Convening Authority, Carl R. Coffman, “abandoned any attempt to make an independent determination of the reasonableness of any government delay request”:

…Instead, the Convening Authority operated as a mere rubber stamp by granting all delay requests, which totaled 327 days, without being provided with or itself providing any reasons that justified the excluded delay as reasonable… [emphasis added]

The defense believes, “A military accused’s right to speedy trial is fundamental. The government’s processing of this case makes an absolute mockery of that fundamental right.”

Manning is currently scheduled to go on trial on June 3, 2013. By then, Manning will have been in pretrial confinement for 1101 days. Months ago, the defense mentioned, “The Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring Pfc. Manning to trial.”

The governrment defends the length of time it has taken by emphasizing how this case involves so much classified information or “national defense information.” Seven hundred thousand documents were allegedly released by Manning. Five hundred and twenty thousand pages of discovery evidence has been turned over to the defense. One hundred thousand of those pages are classified. The scale of material has taken a long time for the gears of government bureaucracy to process.

The government also believes they had to complete classification reviews before he had his Article 32 hearing in December 2011 (a hearing all soldiers must have before their charges can be referred to a court martial). They also do not think the Sanity Board review of Manning took too long to complete.

Back in November, witnesses, including Col. Coffman, took the stand to give testimony in a speedy trial witness hearing. Bert Haggett, a classification review expert who worked on the classification review of the unclassified portion of the Army CID investigation into Manning, testified. Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the investigative officer (IO) who presided over Manning’s Article 32 hearing, testified telephonically.

This hearing is scheduled to go through tomorrow. The Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Courthouse News, Washington Post, Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Alexa O’Brien and Clark Stoeckley, courtroom sketch artist, are all here. So is Scott Shane of the New York Times. The combination of letters to the Times from people who follow Manning coverage at FDL and editorials from Times public editor Margaret Sullivan finally pushed the newspaper to send a reporter to cover the hearing on a regular basis.

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