US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is on trial for leaking over 700,000 classified military documents and diplomatic cables to whistleblower website WikiLeaks. He faces a life behind bars for allegedly aiding Al-Qaeda in its jihad against America.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation, a project funded by the group behind Mother Jones magazine, has crowd-funded the services of a professional stenographer to cover Bradley Manning’s trial, although the US military declined to release transcripts. The organization has now posted the records for the second day of the Manning trial, a project which it says may ultimately end up costing anywhere from $60,000-120,000.
Manning confirmed he wants trial by military judge alone. Testifying in the case was Adrian Lamo, ex-hacker who shopped Bradley Manning to the authorities for WikiLeaks dump. The other witness was Special Agent David Shaver, a member of a computer investigative team for the criminal investigative division, who gave evidence as an expert in computer forensics analysis.
When asked if anything found on Manning’s computer suggested sympathy with terrorists, the pundit said: “No.” Manning’s lawyers also cited his web chats with Adrian Lamo to show soldier’s belief he was only seeking truth.
The government objected to defense cross-examination at least four times over the questions asked, citing hearsay. Defense had Lamo answer questions as to the mental state he perceived Manning to be in during the May 2010 chats. Lamo has been permanently excused as a witness after telling the court that Manning was a humanist who had entered communications with Assange.
The trial was recessed on its second day and is set to continue next Monday.
The attention surrounding Bradley Manning’s trial has attracted A-list American celebs and respected US journalists to the whistleblower’s cause. The “I Am Bradley Manning” campaign pushes viewers to consider if they themselves would release video footage of soldiers committing atrocities in the field of combat in an attempt to stop the carnage.
Campaigners, who Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg among their ranks, referred to a 2007 airstrike by a US Apache helicopter in Baghdad during its occupation that killed scores of innocent civilians.
Actors Russell Brand, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Wallace Shawn joined Oliver Stone, Rage Against the Machine Guitarist Tom Morello, journalists Chris Hedges, Matt Taibbi, and a slew of others appeared in a short trailer to raise awareness of Manning’s act of courage.
In the midst of the trial of Army Private Bradley Manning who was charged with the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history, Deborah Sweet, a director of the World Can’t Wait,talks to the Voice of Russia about Manning’s plight to humanity, his motivations, and the way the court matrial is beoing conducted.
Deborah, good day!
Good morning, Kim!
We’re here to talk about the number of protests that are scheduled nationwide and worldwide in support of Bradley Manning. Why is your organization concerned with the plight of this individual?
This is really the plight of the planet and humanity, and I think it’s the most important political trial of this century so far. And the reason is that Bradley Manning is charged with very serious crimes, such as leaking classified information about the government prosecution of two major occupations – Iraq and Afghanistan – about cable traffic showing how this government normally bullies people, at least in these two occupations, bullies other governments and tries to exert its influence as the largest economy, the largest military in the history of the world.
Here is one soldier who was very young at that time – just 22 years old – who looked at some of this traffic, this was part of his job to do reports on the incidents in Iraq, in particular, and he got struck deeply into his conscience as he saw what was being done routinely to people in Iraq.
So, he said, “I just felt that the population of the U.S. must see what their government is doing. I feel if they knew about it, they would take some actions to end support of these war crimes by the U.S. government.”
And here is someone purely motivated, he gained nothing personally, financially and knew, I believe, that he was putting his whole future and possibly his life at risk.
So Deborah, give us an idea of the scene outside of Fort Meade on Saturday. That is where Bradley Manning is being held.
It is a very huge base outside of Washington, between Washington and Baltimore. We have huge numbers of police outside of the base redirecting traffic, actually keeping some of the protestors driving in circles for hours.
It was a very hot day and we were out with no shade on Saturday.
People have come all over the country and some – from Canada just to be present and let the world know that we do not want to see this unjust military court martial proceeding going forward where the defenders have much less rights than in the civil trials.
And the fact that court martial is being conducted in secrecy with very severe restrictions to the news media tends to show that they are going to find Bradley Manning guilty, including of the crime of giving information to the enemy.
A lot of concern was expressed on that rally on Saturday and a lot of love and support for Bradley’s actions, which we feel were such an example.
And the question is why only he came out, when so many people saw the same documents that Bradley saw? Why didn’t they say that it’s completely wrong?
Very few people have done that and I think that’s why you’re seeing so much attention paid to Bradley because of his actions which were truly extraordinary and courageous.
Prosecutors say a 25-year-old Army private accused of aiding the nation’s enemies through the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history “craved” notoriety. The defense on Monday painted Pfc. Bradley Manning as “naive but good-intentioned.”
In an hour long opening statement Monday, prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow said Manning had access and incentive to provide information to the enemy, including information later found in Osama bin Laden’s hideout.
He said the government will provide evidence that material al Qaeda operators had delivered to bin Laden can be traced to Manning’s illicit downloading and transmission to WikiLeaks.
Morrow also said Manning helped WikiLeaks edit the cockpit video from a U.S. helicopter gunship attack that killed about a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters photojournalists, in 2007. An Army aviator will testify how the video can be useful to adversaries, Morrow said.
Prosecutors also said Monday that they plan to call forensic experts who recovered chat logs from computers, purported conversations between Manning and Assange, that will allegedly show how they worked together.
The government’s case hopes to convince the military judge that Manning, an intelligence analyst, “systematically harvested 700,000 government documents, and attempted to hide what he was doing.”
Manning’s civilian lawyer, David Coombs, told the military judge his client lives by a philosophy that values life, and that he had a custom-made inscription with the word “humanist,” on the back of his dog tags.
“He’s 22, excited to be in Iraq, hopefully to make Iraq a safer place,” Coombs said, characterizing his client’s mindset as he began his deployment.
Manning was affected by knowing that civilians were hurt while trying to getting out of the way of the U.S. convoy.
Manning then started selecting information to reveal, believing that it would be better if it were public, Coombs said.
Coombs said his client was selective in the information he diverted from a controlled-access computer system where he worked as an “all source” intelligence analyst. That includes U.S. State Department cables that WikiLeaks published.
The diplomatic messages, Manning felt, “showed how we dealt with other countries, how we valued life, and how we didn’t,” Coombs said in court Monday. “Unfortunately, in his youth, he didn’t think we (the United States) always did the right thing.”