Army blocks access to information about Bradley Manning Support Network, citing an “active investigation”

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. July 4, 2012.

The Bradley Manning Support Network rallying for Bradley

A letter dated May 18, 2012, which purports to originate from the US Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID), rejects a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted for data the government has collected on the Bradley Manning Support Network. The letter states that “an active investigation is in progress with an undetermined completion date.” At this time, the Bradley Manning Support Network has no reason to believe that the investigation in question refers to our Network (as compared to the investigation against Manning himself), but we object to any efforts by the government to block public access to documents pertaining to our organization.

Three calls were made to a number listed on the document in order to independently verify its authenticity. Each call was met with a persistent busy signal. The document was brought to our attention by a blogger operating under the pseudonym “Robert Paulson,” an apparent reference to the 1999 film Fight Club.

The letter cites a number of FOIA exemptions:

“This section does not apply to matters that are
(b)(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of
which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(b)(7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but
only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records
or information
(A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement
(C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted
invasion of personal privacy;

(F)  could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical
safety of any individual[.]

A Department of Justice document adds that exemption (7)(F) is intended to protect government witnesses and “undercover agents.”  Nowhere does the exemption require that authorities need to consider the organization under investigation to be a threat.

It’s important to understand that government agencies routinely over-cite exemptions, especially in their initial denials of FOIA requests. A review conducted by the Associated Press in 2010 found that the Obama administration had issued more FOIA exemptions in its first full year in office, compared to the Bush administration during its final year, despite an overall decrease in FOIA requests. This pattern of obfuscation has only gotten worse, according to a report issued last year by the open government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which found that the Obama administration was using FOIA exemptions 33% more often than during the Bush administration’s last year in office. This stands in stark contrast to the promises of unprecedented openness which were the hallmark of President Obama’s presidential campaign and the first days of the administration. Most of these highly touted open government initiatives have since suffered significant budget cuts.

Our government’s massive problem with over-classification was itself a hallmark of the WikiLeaks releases that have been attributed to Bradley Manning. Furthermore, as Vice President Biden has noted, there was no substantive damage to national security from the revelations. Government prosecutors have actually gone so far as to try to preclude any discussion of the documents’ impact from being heard during Bradley’s court-martial. According to the terms of President Obama’s own executive order, the fact that there is no evidence of harm to national security means that the WikiLeaks documents never should have been withheld from the public in the first place.

To put it simply, our government routinely cites any number of spurious exemptions to avoid producing information that belongs to the American people.

At this time, it is unclear whether the investigation cited in the FOIA denial simply refers to the government’s ongoing legal retaliation against Bradley Manning, or whether there is actually some other separate investigation targeting the Support Network.

We are nonetheless concerned that the Army may be investigating or overreacting to First Amendment-protected legal speech of Support Network members. For example, when hundreds of supporters were demonstrating in support of Bradley outside the front gates of Fort Meade during the December Article 32 hearings, over a hundred members of regional law enforcement were suited up in full riot gear just inside the base perimeter. They were on hand to back up a full mobilization of all available military police on base. And during a hearing in March, several Manning supporters were photographed while eating lunch outside a sandwich shop at Fort Meade.

Military officers have also taken retaliatory action against Bradley Manning activists.  In December, they ordered noted gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi to be tackled and removed from Bradley’s hearings, sending him to the hospital with an injured wrist. That same day, they moved to evict famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg from the courtroom, and relented only after attending journalists intervened on his behalf.

These actions by the government will have no effect on our commitment to supporting Bradley Manning, a whistleblower who brought light to egregious harms committed by the United States government.

We are continuing to investigate this matter. Please check back to for future updates. If you have additional information to provide regarding this FOIA request, please email [email protected].


11 thoughts on “Army blocks access to information about Bradley Manning Support Network, citing an “active investigation”

  1. I will continue to support Bradley no matter what. Actions like this by the government convince me even more that I amm right.

  2. Perhaps the Bradley Manning Support Network should investigate the US Army? Is the First Amendment just plain DOA? I don’t think President James Madison would like that idea.

    • All of the branches of the military need to be investigated start at the recruiting stations, then on to basic training, then onto AIT don’t stop there cause half of their medical doctors will say and do anything for a promotion. The top blames the bottom and the bottom blames the top cut off the head and put the other half on a boat to some far off island and see if that works. Only honest men should be in charge that means oh no No one in command.
      It is quite apparent that they say and do whatever they want to. What is needed is to convince all the people to lay down their guns and walk away together. Let the rich fight their own battles.

  3. Honor Winter Soldier Private Manning Today-Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Save Private Manning-Make Every Town Square In America (And The World) A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley to Berlin-Join Us In Davis Square, Somerville -Beginning July 4th The Stand-Out Will Be Every Wednesday From 4:00-5:00 PM

    Click on the headline to link to a the Private Bradley Manning Petition website page.

    Markin comment on our new day and time starting on this Fourth Of July:

    Veterans for Peace is always proud to stand with those who stand against America’s imperial wars. I am proud to have spent part of the Fourth of July standing in solidarity with Winter Soldier Private Manning at our Bradley Manning Square location (a.k.a. Davis Square at other times) in Somerville. The crowd was fairly receptive, we have speeches and songs as always, and we collected some signatures. All of this accrues to Private Manning’s benefit as we move forward with the new day and time. Other Veterans for Peace marched this day in the Rockport, Ma Fourth of July Parade and I will join them on Sunday July 8th in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a “Welcome Home” parade for New Hampshire’s Iraq and Afghan war veteran. Today though, I was very glad to stand with Winter Soldier Bradley Manning. Join Us In This Struggle! Free Private Manning! President Obama Pardon Private Manning Now!

    Markin comment:

    The Private Bradley Manning case is headed toward a late fall/early winter trial. Those of us who support his cause should redouble our efforts to secure his freedom. For the past several months there has been a weekly stand-out in Greater Boston across from the Davis Square Redline MBTA stop (renamed Bradley Manning Square for the vigil’s duration) in Somerville on Friday afternoons but we have now changed the time from 4:00-5:00 PM on Wednesdays. This stand-out has, to say the least, been very sparsely attended. We need to build it up with more supporters present. Please join us when you can. Or better yet if you can’t join us start a Support Bradley Manning weekly vigil in some location in your town whether it is in the Boston area, Berkeley or Berlin. And please sign the petition for his release. I have placed links to the Manning Network and Manning Square website below.

    Bradley Manning Support Network

    Manning Square website

    The following are remarks that I have been focusing on of late to build support for Bradley Manning’s cause.

    Veterans for Peace proudly stands in solidarity with, and defense of, Private Bradley Manning.

    We of the anti-war movement were not able to do much to affect the Bush- Obama Iraq War timetable but we can save the one hero of that war, Bradley Manning.

    I stand in solidarity with the alleged actions of Private Bradley Manning in bringing to light, just a little light, some of the nefarious war-related doings of this government, under Bush and Obama. If he did such acts they are no crime. No crime at all in my eyes or in the eyes of the vast majority of people who know of the case and of its importance as an individual act of resistance to the unjust and barbaric American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sleep just a shade bit easier these days knowing that Private Manning may have exposed what we all knew, or should have known- the Iraq war and the Afghan war justifications rested on a house of cards. American imperialism’s gun-toting house of cards, but cards nevertheless.

    I am standing in solidarity with Private Bradley Manning because I am outraged by the treatment meted out to Private Manning, presumably an innocent man, by a government who alleges itself to be some “beacon” of the civilized world. Bradley Manning had been held in solidarity at Quantico and other locales for over two years, and has been held without trial for longer, as the government and its military try to glue a case together. The military, and its henchmen in the Justice Department, have gotten more devious although not smarter since I was a soldier in their crosshairs over forty years ago.

    These are more than sufficient reasons to stand in solidarity with Private Manning and will be until the day he is freed by his jailers. And I will continue to stand in proud solidarity with Private Manning until that great day.

    Immediate Unconditional Withdrawal of All U.S./Allied Troops And Mercenaries From Afghanistan! Hands Off Iran! Free Private Manning Now!

  4. Please take my name, if you’re taking names.

    John Francis Lee
    age 64
    born NYC, NY 26 Aug 1947

    There’s no doubt in my mind who is the American Hero, the Lamplighter, the Whistle blower, the man standing up for what the United States of America always said it was about. That man is Bradley Manning.

    Conversely, there is no doubt in my mind who are the bad guys here, starting with president and reaching all the way down. Just as the House Un-American Activities Committee was the self-referential epitome of what it sought to ‘end’, so too is the Obama administration profoundly inimical to all that most of us would say are core American values.

    At least we used to say that they were core American values. Times like these start you reading history, to see how things got this way, and when you do that … you begin to wonder if what we all took as core American values weren’t merely core American eyewash.

    Makes no difference. It’s time to establish or re-establish the values we hold within our own cores

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men and women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

    That’s definitely what is required in my view today. Fortunately, the constitution which followed the document quoted above affords us the means to amend it and to organize our government’s powers in a form that seems more likely to effect our safety and happiness than what we have now.

    Have a look at for my suggestions in the restructuring arena, and please, put forward your own suggestions.

    I also have tried my hand at a tactical response to our present sorry state …

    The key is not my particular suggestions, the key is the surfacing and discussion of all of our particular suggestions and of our subsequent actions to peaceably seize control of our country.

    And when we do, to immediately free Bradley Manning, to apologize to him for his treatment at the hands of his and our government, to thank him for his valor and his heedlessness for his own safety in the face danger in performing what he recognized to be his duty, and to award him a Congressional Medal of Honor for having done so.

  5. typical gubmint crack move…as if they are untouchable…these cloak&dagger clowns forget they work for me and are paid by me…there are NO agents that could be exposed etc
    Textbook stonewalling. Is anyone looking at the ‘False Claims Act’ which is a law that supports Whistleblowers…this Act speaks to this kind of stonewalling and has aided successful WhistleBlower litigation recently

  6. Re: Army blocks access to information about Bradley Manning Support Network, citing an “active investigation”

    Seems a similar scam to

    Informants’ actions key in Fort Dix terror plot case; entrapment defense seen as possible

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, May 10, 2007
    CHERRY HILL, New Jersey: He railed against the United States, helped scout out military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms dealer, and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
    These were not the actions of a terrorist, but of a paid FBI informant who helped bring down an alleged plot by six Muslim men to massacre U.S. soldiers at New Jersey’s Fort Dix.

    Except designed to intimidate and terrorize PFS Manning’s supported. More tyranny.

    • Patriot Act cover-up for our governments lack of ability to govern its own people. We allow Mexico to treat Mexicans like they are slaves. Who owns that country I wonder. Generate a fence line and put up a couple of hundred troops to defend against slaughter by the cartel and Mexican can’t govern themselves country. Spend millions on border patrols that can’t do anything. We allow murderers to run free in our country and won’t allow our own citizens the right to bear arms and go after the crooks and killers here at home. How many police are jailed for bribes every year here at home? How many feds in Columbia and across the globe commit crimes to only be given a big pay raise and pat on the back. How many governors go to jail here. We need to stop and clean up our own country and crooked justice system then and only then do we want to go after someone elses.

    The foundation upon which the Nuremberg principles are based besides being imposed settlement upon defeated nations is the Law of Necessity. If for example, your neighbour’s house is burning & their children are trapped inside, as an adult, you are obligated to ‘break & enter’ into the house & save them. Necessity takes into account that; a city or county fire department may be too late & that you follow personal & fire precaution. The Law of Necessity is well established over thousands of years in legal jurisprudence. Necessity trumps national, state & city laws, which a slave-to-the-beast may think is his or her only obligation.
    If one does not respond, they’re held accountable with fines & prison terms. We are obligated as human-beings to appropriately respond to the madness of the states in which we live. Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden & Daniel Ellsberg are fulfilling their greater duties under national & international law. Are the rest of us risking prison terms & in the end of things, much worse? Are we showing the required bravery & responsibility to present or future generations? Do we have another plan, which is adequate to the atrocities, which our US, Canadian, NATO & Israeli Finance-Media-Military-Industrial-Complex war-governments are performing in our name? Are we doing what we can? We are called to live every moment & dollar, which we spend in solidarity & mutual-aid. Our indigenous ancestors have laid out a template for peace & abundance.

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