Government seeks to block reference to Bradley Manning’s whistle-blower motives

In this week’s January 8-11 hearing at Fort Meade, the government brings multiple motions that attack the core of Bradley Manning’s defense: namely that he blew the whistle on war crimes and that the documents released shouldn’t have been classified in the first place. We’ll summarize each day’s proceedings here at

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. January 7, 2013.

Government prosecutors speaking to Judge Denise Lind. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley (BMSN).

Government prosecutors speaking to Judge Denise Lind. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley (BMSN).

The next hearing for PFC Bradley Manning may not appear to have to the same dramatic flair that the Article 13 hearing had – with long hours of vital testimony, courtroom presentations of Bradley’s tiny cell and coarse blanket, and Bradley himself taking the stand – but it could have a major impact on the remainder of the trial. At Fort Meade, MD, from January 8-11, the government will argue multiple motions that could change the way Bradley is allowed to defend himself in court.

The government is moving to remove discussion of Bradley Manning’s motive in the merits (guilt/innocence) portion of the trial, contending that motive doesn’t change whether an act occurred or not and is therefore irrelevant to determining Bradley’s guilt. This is yet another attack on Bradley Manning’s whistle-blower defense, because the government doesn’t want the court to hear why Bradley released documents, that he observed high-level crimes and abuse and couldn’t abide by them as other soldiers did.

In a similar vein, the government is also moving to preclude discussion of overclassification. If Judge Denise Lind granted this motion, Bradley couldn’t explain that the U.S. suffers a massive secrecy problem and that these documents should not have been classified in the first place.

Judge Lind could make a ruling on these motions this week, and she could also rule on last month’s Article 13 motion. She could throw out the charges altogether if she recognizes that Bradley was unfairly punished, or she could grant multiplied credit at sentencing (for example, 10 days of credit for every day he was in solitary confinement), or she could grant merely the seven days total credit for the days Bradley was on Suicide Risk against psychiatrists’ orders, as the government proffered.

We believe that since Article 13 was clearly violated and Bradley was punished before trial, the charges against him should be dismissed. However, we would see Judge Lind awarding extensive credit for potential sentencing as a step in the right direction: if she later decides to throw out the egregious and pernicious ‘aiding the enemy’ charge, sentencing credit could severely reduce the remaining sentence.

Following this hearing, the defense will conclude its speedy trial motion on January 16-17. Next month, shorter hearings will deal with discussion of how to handle classified information during trial, and when to close sessions to the public. By the time Bradley gets to trial, currently scheduled for March 6, 2013, he’ll have been in prison awaiting court-martial for more than 1,000 days.


16 thoughts on “Government seeks to block reference to Bradley Manning’s whistle-blower motives

  1. usa’s massive secrecy problem? Does this mean their warmongering, dollar protectionnism, big corporation led country is vulnerable – oh I do hope so.

  2. With an Alice-in-Wonderland, metaphorical, nonsensical, fantasy world of abstract ideas and a Catch-22 world of irreconcilable concrete reality, the Government reduces the UCMJ to a quagmire in a morass like Dante’s allegorical Round Four of the Ninth Circle of Inferno. The phrase “Catch-22” refers to “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule.”

    Government argument: If a soldier fires a rifle on the target practice range to warn others of an emergency situation, but without appropriate supervision pursuant to USMJ (US Mumbo Jumbo) and injures no one, he is still deemed guilty of breaking the rules and committing a crime.

    Thanks for your succinct reporting.


    • You are a role model, Brad, for young folks here and across the globe. Telling truth is critical now, with, as you well know, dreadful curses and, yes, torture awaiting any and all who dare let the truth out.

      God bless and keep you, dear Brad. You are an inspiration to all of us with an ounce of humanitarian bent, certainly those of us who seek liberty and justice for all.


  4. If their goal is to prove that our government has been hijacked by cold, heartless, murderous individuals; mission accomplished.

  5. There are ways to report your concerns through the chain of command. PFCs (or any soldier for that matter) can’t just take things into their own hands. In fact I don’t want to call him PFC anymore in my book. I can’t respect his actions. I’ll say “Bradley,” tisk -tisk – shame – shame. He got caught with his pants down. Soldiers in theater could be in even more danger based on some of the info he was passing out. bad guys are always watching and changing their tactics. If the military is letting you handle sensitive info, you have an obligation not to give out this info to anyone who’s not on a need-to-know with the proper clearance. All military personnel, especially ones in the intelligence community, know this. And he decides to give it to an Australian news editor who obviously doesn’t have our country’s best interest at heart. Now his lawyer is trying to get the case dismissed because he wasn’t treated well in jail. smh. For all the comments that support Bradley, and talk down towards our gov, I wonder how many of you have ever been on a battlefield. I wonder because if Bradley’s leaks were used to motivate the enemy to try to kill your battle buddies or your life could be directly threatened, would you feel the same way. If he had a problem, he could have just talked to his NCO or mental health and simply not reenlisted when his time comes up. I know the public wants to know everything but reporting our every move to world media is never a good idea in war. Thanks for allowing me to vent. Just one opinion from a proud old military guy.

    • Hey proud old military guy. Thank you for your service. I think you have been misled about Bradley Manning. This is not surprising, because there have been lies reported in the US media about him numerous times.
      One especially dangerous lie is that Manning leaked the helicopter video and other information without trying to go through the appropriate channels. This is absolutely not true. Manning tried to address the injustice he saw going on around him by going through the chain of command, as is appropriate. He was told in no uncertain terms to stuff it. For example, a group of Iraqis were being persecuted by the US simply for criticizing their government’s handling of financial issues.

      No one was endangered by the leak of cables. The cables were two years old at the most recent. If Manning’s alleged leaks had endangered anyone, we would have all heard about it by now, over and over.

      I would like you to consider the reckless and dangerous behavior of Cheney and Bush, who sent our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters to war in Iraq based on lies. They were known to be lies. Bush stood up in front of the US and lied during the SOTU speech about the yellow cake memo. The memo was known to be false and had been for some time. News commentators ignored this.

      If you read about Iraq and what happened there, you must understand by now that Bush and Cheney sent our men into battle at numbers much reduced from what their military advisors told them was safe. They also did not provide them with basic protections like body armor and armored vehicles.
      If you are going to cry “treason” then I suggest you look to the highest levels of government, and ask why 9/11 was not properly investigated, while you’re at it.

    • Your real hard. Would you tell the person who,s doing the evil anything, no wander he reached for person in another country. And besides that he,s just a child as far as I am concerned and did not need to be in the service. They made the mistake . Why were the documents allowed to go to where they did, why did not the computor shut down, if you are on a casino and do something wrong they shut you down in a min. It is all the gove fault. Not only that would you like to go naked in a cold jail and be humilated. He has been tortured extremely and now US has to pay Abu Ghrain prisnors 5 mill for their torture, and we cannot defend our own young soldiers, after all his torture. Ther is a conspiricy here.

    • The murders and other crimes revealed by the leaked documents HAD BEEN REPORTED and were being COVERED UP BY THE PENTAGON ! UN officials were trying to get the US military to own up to some of the allegations, but the facts were kept buried.

      THE WAR SHOULD NOT HAVE BEGUN IN THE FIRST PLACE, AS ANYONE KNOWS WHO HAS FOLLOWED THE HISTORY OF IT. Saddam Hussein was built-up by the Reagan administration, as was the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

      Corporations are making billions off of no-bid contracts, shafting the American public for bills that the rich refuse to pay taxes for, while killing tens of thousands/hundreds of thousands including many of our own.

      HEAD OUT OF ASS, “retired Mike”.

    • Hello, retired Mike,

      I wondered if you realised that Brad apparently DID try to ‘report’ up through the chain of command?

      See: where you can read this account of Brad’s ‘epiphany’ when he realised that this ‘reporting’ approach just wasn’t going to work:

      “I think the thing that got me the most… that made me rethink the world more than anything was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police for printing ‘anti-Iraqi literature’…”

      [NOTE: it was known that the Iraqi Federal Police were torturing detainees]

      CONT: “The Iraqi Federal Police wouldn’t cooperate with US forces, so I was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the “bad guys” were, and how significant this was for the Federal Police…

      It turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against Prime Minister Maliki…

      I had an interpreter read it for me… and when I found out that it was a benign political critique titled “Where did the money go?” and following the corruption trail within the Prime Minister’s cabinet… I immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on…

      He didn’t want to hear any of it…

      HE TOLD ME TO SHUT UP and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* DETAINEES…

      Everything started slipping after that… I saw things differently”

      I hope that you can view his actions in a better light by understanding what happened, and seeing that that incident was a moment of conscience and conviction for the 21 year old that he could not ignore, though many would have done and did; but surely their ‘turning a blind eye’ approach is not commendable? Rather a lack of courage and a failure to take responsibility.

      Also re your idea that Brad should have asked his NCO and mental health for help – I wonder if you have heard Ethan McCord’s account of what happened when he asked for help dealing with the trauma he experienced after he was one of the foot patrol which came onto the scene after the Apache helicopter shooting seen in the ‘Collateral Murder’ video?

      Ethan is the soldier you see rescuing the severely wounded children. His request for help dealing with the turmoil he was thrown into was met with a more aggressive version of ‘just get the hell on with it’.

      See his video testimony on the page if you want to hear it from him – it’s REALLY worth hearing, honestly.

      Also, there are multiple reasons (including damage assessments, statements from govt members, and the complete lack of citing any incidents at all) which indicate that there has been no harm to the troops on the ground (and, in fact, one of the cables was cited as being instrumental in aiding a quicker withdrawal from Iraq than might otherwise have been the case, which is surely really GOOD news for the troops!).

      This issue of lack of harm should be coming up in the trial itself as well hopefully and there should be further proof of that, so WATCH THIS SPACE!

    • 1. If a Nazi soldier leaked their own information, will you still say the same thing that the soldier should go through the command chain? If not, then why is that? Simply because what Nazi did is wrong and it is actually admirable to risk himself to leak the information.

      Bradley Manning just once again let the world know that US military is one of the most big and corrupted threat to people on earth, killing countless innocent people in injustice wars. In fact US military is the biggest threat to US people, it enhances terrorism and hate in other country which will one day fight back to US itself and at that time, those who pay the price will not be those criminal war loads but those innocent US people will suffer from the revenge.

      I suggest Noam Chomsky’s book “the failed state” as a good reference. It just shows you the military actions hardly in any sense fit the nation’s interest and the “noble goals” they claimed .

      2. There is no need to follow the command chain. When you see a systematic hiding using the method of classification for war crimes committed by the military, then it just shows the whole system is corrupted and there is no way you can fix it inside the system. Bradley’s behavior just again verified that. He did ask but was ignored. Another example is the female soldiers being raped or harassed
      , not to 5% was investigated. Ya, command of chain just did nothing but covering crimes.

      3. No one is endangered, or more precisely, those innocent people in the countries being invaded and US citizens are endangered by the military operations.
      If you judge solely form “innocent people are endangered” then I guess you should try to put every US presidents and their crews into jail for life in prison.

      I would not doubt your intention to protect the country but what US military has done is far from ‘defend your country’ stuff. I believe Nazi soldiers also believed they were doing the right thing, however we knew they were so wrong.

      4. Reveal crimes did by US government may
      harm US so people shouldn’t do it? I think every dictator has the right to execute those people fighting for democracy and freedom then, since they are “harming the country” and the “country’s interest”. Ironically, those people who are fighting their own government are the reason US government usually use to militarily intervene other country. A nice demonstration of double standard of US government and military.

      5. Wikileak help firing Arab Spring and helped US withdraw all the regular military unit from Iraq , reveal US state secretary order embassy to serve as intelligence unit, and lot more; the documents Daniel Ellsberg leaked helped stopping Vietnam War. They do serve the interest for all human which is peace, for US and other countries.

      As for the soldiers, except for many of them have good intention, what they bring to other people were nothing but more severe atrocities. Vietnam, Korea, Kosovo, Iraq(since 1990), Afghan, Libya, and now Syria and Iran, all show the same thing.

      6. You only saw your buddies lives but Manning saw the “buddies” were misguided/ill-used to screwing innocent people’s lives. Iraq had a million widow families after the 2003 invasion and how many “buddies” US lost? Are these shxts which was nothing to do with national defense your initial purpose for serving in the army?

      You assume the war is justice in advance so that’s why you came up with your comment, however what Manning showed was that the war itself is injustice.

      Lets even assume that Manning did this purely from his “unstable mental condition” which I don’t think that’s the case. Guess what? He did talk to people about his condition and the military still threw him to Iraq.

      Having fighting on battle fields proved your courage and probably your good will to serve the country (which I always respect to, so that’s why I don’t blame too much about those Nazi soldiers) but that did not guarantee what you did is correct.

      You have the courage fighting on battle fields and therefore, I believe you also have the courage to face the ugliness of US government and military.

      Again, I highly recommend Noam Chomsky’s book “the failed state” as a starting point. He refer to large numbers of references and present his view in an easy-to-read and a well organized way.

  6. Waterboard prisoners are permanently brain damaged..left to starve in locked sheds or waunder off into desert to die of dehydration..chopped up when found into head and limbs..death forever..but returned to medic helicopter available..NO PRIORITY!! FRANK NELSDN!!,,NO MEDIA EITHER?? NATO RECOVERY!! AS IN PRINCE WILLIAM/HARRY!!

  7. jessica lynch hospital rescued for being unconscious..two companions with her killed for Questioning..opening the door!!Tower guard Raped for being GAY?? and isolated..commited suicide..(murder) three civilian contractors hanged from bridge for all to see..death to anyone trying to recover bodies..Bob Woodruff assassination shot target..for entire tank..Pat Tillman declared dead two different times!!!!!seriously..Frank Nelson supervisor Bagdad..1,000 miles away!! Donald Russtead lost his job to Condaleeza Rice..blame everything on a 20 year old gay kid..get real!!

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