Govt’s closing arguments; judge allows charge sheet change: trial report, day 21

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. July 25, 2013.

Photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky

Photo credit: AP/Patrick Semansky

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.

11 thoughts on “Govt’s closing arguments; judge allows charge sheet change: trial report, day 21

  1. I’m trying to ascertain whether there will be court proceedings next Mon and Tues. Does anyone know yet? And, I gather from the above that the verdict may not be handed down next Wed?

    • Seems that this depends on Judge Lind allowing David Coombs to argue against allowing the Government to change the charges (after the fact!). If he is allowed to do that, it’ll likely happen on Monday.

  2. They changed the rules, because the US government does not want its secrets known, nor do its allies.

    Even the judges seem corrupt. Judge Lind was most likely admonished and instructed by the powers that be, as to how this case must play out. Should Lind fail to meet their expectations, there my be severe consequences.

    Manning serves as an example of what can happen, should anyone else have similar ideas! What you you think this all means? It means we are “Prisoners in a Free Society”. The Patriot Act and Marshal Law can be called into force, at any time, led by the current administration. The sickest part is that our tax dollars continue go towards all kinds of activities we do not even know about, nor would we indorse, given the choice.

    Most of us eat the brain candy fed us by the mainstream media, like children.

    We must pray and inspire the best possible outcome. However, it is hard not to expect far less.

    • Praying and inspiring will not do it. Those nearby, show up at the trial. Everyone else, take to the streets and the parks on Saturday.

  3. Prayers offered all day for Bradley Manning to be set free. What he did, he did for humanity, which includes people in the USA. God bless him for sacificing so much so we would all know the truth. He is Braveheart, but I truly hope his movie doesn’t end the same way.

  4. Revealing a crime is not a crime. Shielding war criminals is a crime. The Manning’s trial is an example of injustice. Mahatma Ghandi said: “When injustice becomes a law civil disobiedience is a moral obligation”. Government criminals beware!

  5. What happened to the governmental honesty, responsibility and obedience to the US constitution? Are we now ruled by a bunch of lying crooks?

  6. When the verdict is read, or before, I call on every soldier in all branches of the military to pay down weapons, strip uniforms & leave the base without saying one word to anyone. Let Bradley be the last martyr! Without violence, stop war!

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