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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Trial Continues For Military Whistleblower Bradley Manning (Day 2)

Activist Post

We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at who has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports. Day 2 is posted below. We also will be adding commentary, as well as analyses from other sources to provide a constant update to what is happening in this essential trial for whistleblowers and their mission to reveal the truth. As a part of today's update, we are also including this new trailer released that includes various celebrities and well-respected media such as Chris Hedges and Matt Taibbi. "I am Bradley Manning."

Nathan Fuller's new report, as well as our previous update, are available below...

Bradley Manning’s InfoSec write-up never mentioned WikiLeaks: trial report, day 2

by Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 4, 2013.

Day 2 of Bradley Manning’s court martial covered his training in information security, his chats with Adrian Lamo, and the forensic investigation of his digital media. Day 1 report here.

Witnesses in Bradley Manning’s trial today testified about the hardware retrieved from Manning’s workstation and housing unit in Iraq, the process for examining forensics of that hardware, his training on classified information, and his online chats with hacker and informant Adrian Lamo.

The proceedings moved quickly – the military’s subject matter expert told us that the government is two days ahead of schedule – because the defense continues to stipulate to expected testimony, which allows the government to simply read what a witness would have testified to without the need for cross-examination. Bradley took responsibility for releasing documents to WikiLeaks in late February 2013, so the defense doesn’t contest much of the basic forensic information for those releases.

Manning’s PowerPoint on Information Security doesn’t mention WikiLeaks

In the first pretrial hearing in December 2011, when the government claimed that Bradley Manning knew that giving documents to WikiLeaks meant giving them to Al Qaeda, it often referred to a PowerPoint presentation that Bradley created while in Army training, implying if not stating outright that in the presentation Bradley mentioned WikiLeaks specifically as a site America’s enemies use to collect information.

But today we saw that PowerPoint, while the parties questioned Troy Moul, the instructor from Bradley’s intelligence analyst training, and nowhere did it mention WikiLeaks – it merely claims that adversaries use the Internet generally to harvest information about U.S. operations. 

In fact, Moul admitted, “I had never even heard of the term WikiLeaks until I was informed [Bradley] had been arrested.”
Moul testified at greater length about the instruction Bradley received at Advanced Individual Training (AIT) before he became an intelligence analyst, including the potential damage releasing Secret information could cause and the Non-Disclosure Agreement he signed, vowing to keep classified information secret. But the government has to show that he knew that passing information to WikiLeaks meant he was indirectly passing documents to Al Qaeda. This PowerPoint clearly doesn’t make that connection. In yesterday’s opening arguments, the government discussed an Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which delves into whether is used by adversarial organizations – but as Marcy Wheeler writes,
The report itself is actually ambiguous about whether or not our adversaries were using WikiLeaked data. It both presents it as a possibility that we didn’t currently have intelligence on, then presumes it.
Adrian Lamo confirms chat log comments, Manning’s humanist values

Computer hacker and government informant Adrian Lamo testified about his instant messages with Bradley Manning from late May 2010, which he turned over to the authorities, WIRED magazine, and the Washington Post, leading to Bradley’s arrest.

Both lines of questioning tracked opening arguments. Responding to prosecutor questions, Lamo said his chats with Manning were encrypted, that no one tampered with or manipulated them before he handed them over to Army CID, and that Manning discussed disclosing classified information and communicating with Julian Assange. Lamo frequently gave maximalist and formal responses to government questions – explaining for example that Facebook is a ‘very popular social media website where lots of people connect.’ 

In cross-examination, defense lawyer David Coombs reviewed several lines of chats that Lamo then confirmed. He recalled that Bradley was a humanist, someone who wanted to investigate the truth, and someone who wanted to disclose information for the public good. He acknowledged that Bradley never indicated an intention to help America’s enemies or intimated any anti-American sentiment.

Lamo was then permanently excused from testifying. 

Evidentiary and intelligence analyst witnesses

Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit Special Agents David Shaver and Mark Johnson testified briefly about their expertise with forensically investigating and handling digital media. They were established as experts and then temporarily excused, and I expect they’ll be called back multiple times. The government read more stipulations of expected testimony from those who stored Bradley’s hard drives and computers, and from a fellow student in the AIT.

The government is working its way through the chain of command and through Bradley’s time in the Army, in an apparent effort to show a history of disregard for classified information. But one such example turned up rather fruitless: in Moul’s testimony, prosecutors asked about his need to counsel Bradley for posting a video to YouTube in which he referenced “buzzwords” like “Top Secret,” and “SCIF” (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility). But when asked by the defense whether Bradley divulged (or even knew of any) classified information in the video, Moul said no. 

Tomorrow, Warrant Officer 1 Kyle Balonek (whom Alexa O’Brien profiled here), Specialist Jihrleah Showman (O’Brien’s profile) and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hondo Hack (O’Brien’s profile) will testify, and then we’ll be recessed until Monday – likely because the proceedings moved too quickly to schedule witnesses any sooner.

You can donate to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund Here.

The extremely disturbing video below started it all. The video was made public through WikiLeaks, and was retitled to be now commonly known as "Collateral Murder." Since then, former Army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, has given new voice to the issue of how far the government is willing to go to silence whistleblowers and make an example out of them through relentless hounding and prosecution.

Bradley Manning's case and treatment is at the heart of a new U.S. government mission that equates the revealing of truth as aiding and abetting the enemy. It is a tactic which might end up backfiring.

His trial, which could conclude with Manning spending the rest of his life in prison, started today with opening statements by the prosecution and defense.

The defense asserts that Manning sought to expose the horrific collateral damage of the war in which he was enlisted, and that he did so on humanitarian grounds. For this, he has been charged with transmitting over 700,000 classified documents, logs, and videos to the Internet via WikiLeaks and putting the troops and the nation in grave danger.
Manning was arrested at forward operating base Hammer outside Baghdad on 27 May 2010 on suspicion of being the source of the biggest leak of confidential state documents in US history. He faces 22 charges . . . 
Under the US military rule book, a soldier must be arraigned and his trial officially started within 120 days of him being put into captivity. (Source)

Manning has now been held for well over 1,000 days. The slow trial was called by Manning's lawyer "an absolute mockery" of his rights. His treatment while in custody led 250 legal scholars to sign a letter to the Obama administration that what Manning was being subjected to was tantamount to torture.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock. (Source)
The Army has essentially been treating Manning as an enemy combatant. Statements by the Army's prosecuting attorney clarify the military's view of the seriousness of Manning's alleged crimes, and presumably have justified his harsh treatment.
“This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy—material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk,” said Army Capt. Joe Morrow, who is prosecuting the case. (Source)
Manning already has pleaded guilty to 10 charges of espionage, computer fraud, and violation of additional laws for which he could receive up to 20 years in prison.

The current trial will determine the far greater crime of deliberately aiding the enemy, for which he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The prosecution emphasized that Osama bin Laden obtained some of the information that Manning released, demonstrating aid to the enemy.

The government's hardline in pursuing Manning as an enemy of the state might show more about the level of embarrassment the Obama administration has endured, as opposed to a sincere effort to assure Americans that Manning indeed put the nation at great risk. Especially since, as noted by the Washington Post, this military trial will be the biggest since the My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War in which 504 unarmed men, women, and children were killed by American soldiers after many were raped and tortured.
Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said he was shocked the government proceeded after the plea offer. “It is like hitting Manning with a sledgehammer,” he said. “They have him for 20 years, and then they go for life. Twenty years is enough for a pound of Manning’s flesh.” (Source)
There will be no public oversight of this trial due to its classified nature, which should only enhance the secrecy for which the government has been criticized throughout Manning's captivity. Unless there is a plea arrangement, the trial is expected to last for 3 to 4 months. Interestingly, Manning today reasserted his wish to a trial by Judge Denise Lind, and not a jury.

We will update this post as more information about Manning's trial becomes available.

Please leave your thoughts below if you believe Manning was presenting a threat to America, or if you agree with Manning that he wanted only to “spark a domestic debate over the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.

PDF of transcripts Day 1 can be found Here:

Week of Action June 1-8: Schedule

Relevant videos:

Other sources:

Updated June 4th, 2013
Read other articles by Activist Post Here

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