Govt’s closing arguments; judge allows charge sheet change: trial report, day 21
By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. July 25, 2013.
The government’s closing argument took up today’s entire Bradley Manning trial session, reviewing its evidence, inferences, and conclusions for each set of documents released, based on several weeks of witnesses. The prosecution alleged that Manning released to WikiLeaks because he felt an “utter disregard for this country…. no allegiance to any country,” which it called similar to the viewpoints of an anarchist. Prosecutors tried to sweep aside Manning’s declaration that he sought “debates, discussions, and reforms,” countering that he never mentioned the safety of the United States. Government attorney Maj. Ashden Fein was incredible repetitive, hammering home over and over that Manning wasn’t a whistleblower, naive, or well-intentioned, and that he was instead an anarchist, hacker, and traitor.
The defense will present its closing argument tomorrow, beginning at 9:30 AM.
Government says Manning sought both notoriety and anonymity
Maj. Fein painted Manning as an egotist with no regard for the United States’ national security or classified information. He said that while Manning had a “humanist” dog tag, “the only human” he cared about was himself, despite also arguing that Manning instructed WikiLeaks to protect him as their source.
Maj. Fein continued to push the allegation throughout his closing argument. “How proud was [Manning] of his actions?” Fein asked. “You’ve already seen the photo, your honor,” he said, and displayed an early 2010 photo Manning took of himself in the mirror of his aunt’s house. Maj. Fein said the photo was not of someone troubled by U.S. foreign policy but of someone who craved fame and was proud of his violation. He said Manning “put himself before his country,” and that he thought the Collateral Murder video was “cool” and so he sent it to “antigovernment activists and anarchists.”
Yet he conceded that Manning’s intent for the information to be released to the world, that he “wanted this information to be in the public domain.”
Maj. Fein reviewed Manning’s training as an ‘all-source intelligence analyst,’ including the PowerPoint he created stating that terrorist organizations are known to use the Internet for sensitive and valuable information. He said that as an intelligence analyst, he knew how valuable the war logs would be to America’s enemies.
The prosecution maintained its allegation that Manning’s disclosures began in November 2009, in an attempt to frame him has someone who culled information for WikiLeaks as soon as he deployed, despite the fact that its evidence for a Garani video transmission – which it contends was the 2009 release – is from April 2010.
Maj. Fein said that Manning knew that WikiLeaks specifically was searching for United States classified information, and chose it to reach the widest audience. He cited the 2009 ‘Most Wanted Leak’ List (which it hasn’t been proven Manning saw) as Manning’s “guiding light” for what to release. In doing so, Maj. Fein wildly mischaracterized Harvard Prof. Yochai Benkler’s testimony, saying Benkler confirmed that activism and journalism were separate and that a transparency movement was not a journalistic outlet. Actually, Benkler said that activism and journalism are not mutually exclusive, and that mass document leaking is not inconsistent with journalism.
Judge denies defense motion, allows Govt. to change charges
Judge Lind denied the defense’s motion to direct not-guilty verdicts on charges that Bradley Manning stole government property, ruling that the government provided sufficient evidence to suggest that
Further, she allowed the government to change its charge sheet to allege that Manning stole “portion[s] of” the databases in question instead of the entire databases themselves. The defense argued that this substantially changes the federal theft charges, especially considering the defense cannot go back and question prosecution witnesses regarding this articulation of the charges. Nevertheless, Judge Lind ruled that the change was minor, and therefore allowed.
The defense moved the judge to reconsider her ruling, and will notify the court over the weekend of whether it will request oral argument on that motion. That argument would take place Monday morning at 9:30.
New intimidation tactics in Ft. Meade press room
Unlike ever before, armed soldiers paced around the media center today, creepily monitoring reporters’ use of the Internet despite the fact that Ft. Meade had shut down WiFi in the center when court was in session and banned wireless hotspots. These soldiers reprimanded various journalists for simply having web pages open, and lurked over our shoulders. When asked why, they merely said they had to ensure we didn’t transmit any information while not in recess. When told they were creeping us out, they said they would continue anyway. They also used scanning wands to search us for electronic devices upon entry and emptied our bags – a first in the media center.
Press were told that Judge Lind would give 24-hour notice (to the press? to lawyers? it’s unclear) before she’ll announce her final verdict.