Judge limits Manning’s whistle-blower defense, pretrial confinement nears 1,000 days

After partially granting the government’s motion to preclude motive from the trial, Judge Lind heard arguments from both parties for the defense’s motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. Today is Bradley Manning’s 964th day in jail without trial. Manning returns to court February 26, 2013.

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. January 16, 2013. 

Supporters rally outside Ft. Meade, MD.

Supporters rally outside Ft. Meade, MD.

Military Judge Denise Lind ruled that PFC Bradley Manning will be able to show evidence of his noble motives at potential sentencing; however, during the merits portion of the trial, to decide guilt or innocence, the defense’s abilities are very narrow. Then, she ruled, the defense will only be able to discuss Manning’s motive to show that he didn’t know giving information to WikiLeaks meant he was “dealing with the enemy.” This limits the defense’s ability to prove Manning was a whistle-blower when countering the government’s harshest charge, ‘aiding the enemy,’ which carries a life sentence.

Judge Lind deferred a ruling on whether the defense would be allowed to present evidence of overclassification to dispute the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge.

Following those announcements, both parties argued for the defense’s motion to dismiss charges based on a lack of a speedy trial. On Manning’s 964th day in prison awaiting trial, government prosecutors attempted to justify the extensive delays, contending that they were duly diligent and that the scope and complexity of the case necessitate a lengthy pretrial confinement.

Defense lawyer David Coombs followed, arguing that the government has violated Manning’s right to a speedy trial as afforded by the U.S. constitution, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the Rules for Court Martial. Under RCM 707, the government has 120 days from arrest to arraign a detainee. Prosecutors took more than 600 days to arraign Manning, but their delays have been excluded by the court-martial Convening Authority, Col. Carl Coffman. But the defense argues Col. Coffman, who’s legally bound to make an independent determination on whether the delays the government requests are reasonable, was essentially a rubber stamp, signing off on one government request after another without urging prosecutors to speed their progress.

Furthermore, the defense says prosecutors waited months and months for government agencies to complete classification reviews of documents Manning’s accused of leaking, and should have proceeded with Manning’s Article 32 pretrial hearing with the evidence it already had.

Prosecutors justifying their extensive delays. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley, Bradley Manning Support Network.

Prosecutors justifying their extensive delays. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley, Bradley Manning Support Network.

Article 10 of the UCMJ, more stringent than the Constitution’s 5th amendment, dictates that the prosecution must act diligently throughout the case, from arrest through to conviction or dismissal. The defense pointed to dozens of days where the government didn’t act at all, and far more when it “dragged its feet.” Manning was arrested on May 27, 2010, but prosecutors didn’t urge classification authorities to complete their reviews until March 18, 2011.

To rebut the defense’s claims, government prosecutor Ashden Fein downplayed the defense’s claims that it waited nearly a year to move reviews along. He said the government couldn’t have acted earlier, because WikiLeaks was releasing documents attributed to Manning throughout 2010 – even though it knew which documents it wanted to charge months before it referred the second set of charges on March 1, 2011.

Judge Lind will rule on the defense’s speedy trial motion by the next hearing, February 26 through March 1, 2013, by which time Manning will have been in jail for more than 1,000 days. Unlike last month’s Article 13 ruling, when Judge Lind awarded the defense 112 days credit toward a potential sentence, the speedy trial ruling affords no intermediary solutions. The judge can deny the motion altogether, dismiss charges with prejudice and Manning would walk free, or dismiss charges without prejudice, allowing the government to recharge the same offenses.


39 thoughts on “Judge limits Manning’s whistle-blower defense, pretrial confinement nears 1,000 days

  1. What ever you have to do, you must find SOME justice here and free, Bradley Manning. REPORTING WAR CRIMES IS NOT A CRIME : ABUSING A PRISONER, AND VIOLATING HIS RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL . . . A R E C R I M E S !!!

  2. It´s a fake court. He´ll never have a fair trial. Huge disrespect for all his rights + blocking of his defense! Outrageous.

  3. all leaking can practically amount to aiding the enemy, in so far as all information must presumably have some, even if severely limited, utility to “the enemy”. What doesn’t constitute aiding the enemy, then?

    if judged on intent alone, who knows what bradley was thinking except bradley, unless you have a confession of sorts, or behavior which appears highly suspicious.

    I hope this man goes free.

    • Could not agree more. This case is also hardly mentioned in the mainstream U.S. media…. I wonder why b/c if he is punished unfairly, it will also have a huge chilling effect on any other whistle blowers coming forward and speaking to any media person.

    • too bad Manning is not being tried in Civilian Court instead of Military–they would never convict him–it would have been thrown out because they tortured him to try to break him.

    • I fully agree with you, I am convinced that this judge is completely biased and more than eager to rule in favor of the powers that be in Washington who are no more than lackeys of the big corporations, i.e. big money…
      But like most dictatorships like Hitler’s, Germany and its communist successors in the GDR, Stalin’s Soviet Union, etc., the more they try to cling to the power by oppressing and silencing the opposition, the speedier their downfall will be, let’s hope it comes soon. This female judge lacks ethics and basic decency, just like the politicians who intend to convert the USA into a totalitarian police state. As long as the two to-the-core corrupt political parties, i.e. the Republicans and the Democraps (a.k.a. GOP “LIGHT”) are in charge, nothing will change…this two-party system is not only obsolete, it is quite the same thing as a ONE party system. Obviously they control the judges, just like the Nazi party did in Germany between 1933 and 1945 and the Communist Party did in the soviet Union and the countries of the now defunct Warsaw Pact. Let’s hope the (good)people of the USA can recover their civil liberties! I am happy that there are many people like you who don’t allow to be brainwashed by FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and all the other extreme right crooks and liars!
      All the best,

    • I think this young man has already been judged guilty, by the Army and I’m sorry to say my president. As far as I’m concerned he’s a hero, and if it wasn’t for him speak up we’d probally be in Iraq still. But once the Iraqi government saw that tape the only way we could stay is if our soldiers could be held responsable for their actions. I’m hoping the same tape will get us out of the middle east completely because all we’re doing is making more terrorist!

    • We can always appeal. Time is on our side. At least people will know what’s going on – secret government within our governments – where everyday logs are top secret – and torture is used to keep those insidious secrets.

      We are all Bradley Manning!

  4. Bradley Manning’s rights have been violated and this case should be dismissed. The government needs to understand they are not above their own laws. How are the people to interpret this unlawful detention without speedy trial? I can tell you it scares me.

  5. The Article states: “The judge can deny the motion altogether, dismiss charges with prejudice and Manning would walk free, or dismiss charges without prejudice, allowing the government to recharge the same offenses.”

    If the judge dismisses the charges WITHOUT prejudice, the government would automatically recharge the same offenses and not incur any delay in completing discovery, because discovery has essentially been completed at this late date in the proceedings.

    It may be a procedural victory but only a Pyrrhic victory.


  6. I am a 68 year old retired dentist. I support Bradley Manning because of his courage in bringing out the truth about our government at a high personal cost. If there is any justice, he will be set free. He already has been jailed for way too long.

  7. In my book Bradley Manning is a hero, a hero that did the right thing which is something our President, Senators, Congressmen & Congresswomen, and elected officials at every level of government should learn to do. I am sure that more money has already been spent on this investigation than what was spent on investigating 9-11, and I wonder why? We have embraced corruption of every kind in this country and until we break the “Good Old Boy” network it will continue. I was brought up believing that no one was considered above the law, but sadly I now realize that this is not the case. We need to make people & agencies accountable for their wrongdoing, as well as making them accountable for their in-actions. We should all be thanking Bradley Manning for standing up when everyone else around him remained silent.

  8. In the USA (as here in Australia), any link between military Law and Justice is purely coincidental.

    Successive administrations in both ‘Christian’ nations have long forgotten the commandment: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s justice, and everything else shall be added to you.”

    And BTW, when are the helicopter gunship murderers going to be tried?

  9. Who was “the enemy” Manning is accused of aiding? Was Wikileaks already a known and declared “enemy?” If so, should Bradley have known that? Are there other supposed enemies he can be accused of aiding?

  10. I hope I am not understanding this correctly. If the judge dismisses the charges without prejudice, the government can simply refile the charges and have the speedy trial limits begin anew? If so, what motivation does the gov ever have to comply with the speedy trial laws?

  11. Shooting of young activist girl by Taliban—-outrage and displayed on all media.
    Gunning down innocent men and children from an attack helicopter while laughing and saying “see that. got him right through the window” just a mistake that should be covered up and lied about and anyone who tells see what you get!!
    Armed guards at your schools—hunters needing assault weapons etc with no negotiation from arms lobby??
    Land of the brave and the free fast becoming a major
    How much has all this cost you people??
    Still chasing Julian Assange with crazy trumped up charges for publishing what everyone else published.
    What has USA become???

  12. This trial and further breaches of human rights (Guantanamo) give Putin every justification to claim that “his” judicial system is independent and complying with human rights – what a tragedy and disaster for the whole world 🙁

  13. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) so the attack on and occupation of Iraq was a crime that killed thousands of American military personnel needlessly and by killing and wounding over a million Iraqis made the world a less safe place for Americans. Bradley Manning is an honest man who should get the Nobel Peace Prize and be a future American President. Bush & Co. and Obama should be ashamed and on trial, not Bradley.

  14. It’s a shame that our judicial system is as corrupt as the Congress and Senate. Where does the corruption stop? Shame on you President Obama for allowing this sham of a trial to continue. I pray that Bradley does get the Nobel Peace Prize, how will the government look when that happens. Corruption runs rampant through the government.

  15. When I used to read about the Soviet Union and their scary tactics I thought “Thank God I live in the USA where these things don’t happen.” Well, they’re happening here now. We can ask how we let it happen but you know what? WE didn’t. It was stealthily and secretly brought upon us behind our backs and behind closed doors. Shame on all the unseemly people who have perpetrated this on us. Free Bradley NOW!

  16. The limitation on references to motive, severely hampers the defense. Ideally it is gounds for reversal of any adverse outcome. But as we have seen in other political cases, the appellate courts are now too timid to overturn these “show trials.”
    Political action is needed to bring pressure on legislators, especially those who appropriate money for the military to voice their support for allowing Bradley Manning to assert his legitimate intentions to inform the American Public of the actions of their miltary in helping to alienate the indigenous population of the country we are attempting to help embrace our forms of government. The civilians killed all have some surviving friends and relatives who are made into enemies or at least enemy sympathizers. Manning hoped to change that.

  17. You can say “judge” or “government official” or “prosecutor” or “President” when discussing public issues, but when it comes to Bradley Manning, the bottom line is that regardless of title, these are just people—being assholes.
    That is what history will show.
    They know the real threat to liberty, freedom and peace is NOT Bradley Manning.

  18. I am not convinced that Bradley will receive anything close to a fair trial. I would go so far as to say that the American government are violating Bradley’s human rights on many levels. So called ‘freedom loving Americans’ seem more concerned with their right to bear arms than with their right to defend truth.

  19. I have been reading up on the government and I watch Democracy Now for over 5 years. My take on this is they are putting on a show. Of course the judge is working on the side of the prosecution. They probably hand picked her. I don’t trust the government to give our Bradley a fare trial. I can only hope he won’t get life and perhaps some kind of reduced sentence.

  20. Let Bradley Manning go free. He provided a service to the world in releasing information. It is Time the government of the USofA followed Bradley’s lead and realised the argument that the government has to keep so much secret for the sake of National Secutity is false. We the people have a right to know what is going on behind the closed doors of government and the military. No more secrets – free Bradley Manning.

  21. Thank you, Bradley Manning, for aiding us, the American People and all World Citizens who make the effort to listen to and learn the truth. We support you for exposing the sinister realities of the hidden misconduct of the US military. I guess we are all “the enemy”.

  22. Free Bradley Manning now. Or the USA will be the enemy of the HUMANITY. Be carefull,Pres. Obama, the world peope are aware and active!

  23. Tell the truth, make sure it gets out. Aiding the enemy ! Well since when has the truth become the enemy. Truth is the enemy of the oppressive regime you have over there because it undermines their ultimate goal of absolute power.

  24. We are in the midst of an unprecedented epidemic of suicides among those who leapt to serve ‘God & Country’. The ratio of active duty soldiers and vets of the Iraq & Afghan wars who have been killed by their own hand compared to those killed by enemy fire is a SHOCKING 25 to 1. Many vets have told us of sadistic acts they were forced to be part of. Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who exposed a video shot from the gunsite of the U.S. Apache helicopter that massacred innocent Iraqi’s including two Reuters reporters. The military who performed the murders have never been investigated, nor the military that covered it up. 2 million people had access to that video, hardly making it ‘top secret’ & yet when Reuter’s asked for the video under the freedom of information act, they were denied because it was ‘classified’ information, therein a continuation of the cover-up. The military insists its doing everything it can to investigate the causes of the suicide epidemic, while in our faces torturing this soldier of conscience & denying congressmen and the UN special investigator on torture access to him. The entire Bradley Manning affair is the military’s overt and terrifying message to soldiers that they will rot in full view of the American public for exposing the military’s warcrimes. The message is ‘if you can’t live with what you’ve done,you’e better off killing yourself, than attempting to ‘right’ it, cuz we’ll torture you & put you in prison for life if you speak up. Bradley Manning is very rightly a nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  25. Some more information for the ruling……

    Bradley Manning denied whistleblower defense


    Army Colonel Denise Lind, the judge overseeing the ongoing pretrial hearings at Fort Meade, Maryland, granted a government motion that questions of conscience and “good faith” are irrelevant in the case. This strips Manning of any potential legal protection offered under a whistleblower status and prevents any discussion of the content of the leaked material from reaching the American public.

    However, this is the most important part of what Manning did! He uncover crimes covered by the government! That’s why there is acts protect whistle blowers (ironically, signed by the super hypocritical Obama), since whistle blower is almost the only way to fix a system that failed to investigate the crimes convicted by itself. If Manning is not viewed or not even allowed to discuss if he is a whistle blower or not, then he will not doubt be “guilty” under the military system.

  26. Injustice Judge,

    the world is watcing on you and
    Bradley Manning justice.
    Are you aware on this and what does this injustice representes all over the word and the USA?

  27. Leaking information can aid the enemy and cost American lives.
    An example: 2011 Navy seal team 6 executed a kill on sight mission of Osama Bin Laden. The mission was obviously a success and the president of the United States held a press briefing with several Hollywood elites and informed them of the details of the successfull mission. The main stream media was also informed. This was a security breach at the highest level as it informed the world identifying the seal team of the covert operation as well as the details of the base the team deployed from for the mission. Days later, the enemy shot down a aircraft deploying from the same base carrying seals from the same team. If the want to try a man for treason, they should start with the traitor at the top. He got a free pass and guess what? He traded lives for votes again in Benghazi.

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