Tag Archive: Manning

The Washington Post

Daniel Ellsberg: ‘I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case’

In 1971, an American military analyst named Daniel Ellsberg gave a New York Times reporter a copy of “United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense,” a multi-volume work that became known as the Pentagon Papers. The massive, classified study painted a candid and unflattering portrait of the military’s conduct of the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court rejected the government’s request for an injunction against its publication later that year in a 6-3 ruling.

Ellsberg became the first person prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for releasing classified information to the public. But the case was thrown out after the judge learned that the government had engaged in the illegal wiretapping of Ellsberg and other misconduct.

Today, Ellsberg is one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s prosecution of leakers. Under President Obama’s tenure, the government has prosecuted six individuals for releasing classified information to media organizations.

Ellsberg is particularly fierce in his support of Bradley Manning, a young soldier who released a large amount of classified information to WikiLeaks. Manning was arrested in 2010, and his military court-martial began this week. Ellsberg considers Manning a hero, and he argues that there is little difference between what Manning did in 2010 and what Ellsberg did four decades earlier. We spoke by phone on Friday. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Daniel Ellsberg at an event supporting Bradley Manning in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2013. (Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post)

Daniel Ellsberg at an event supporting Bradley Manning in Washington, May 2, 2013. (Timothy B. Lee, Washington Post)

Timothy B. Lee: Why are you publicly supporting Bradley Manning?

Daniel Ellsberg: There are two reasons. One is to educate the public on the wars that he was exposing and the information that he put out. He has said his goal was to help the public make informed decisions. We’re grateful for that, and we’re trying to extend that word and bring that about.

Also, I and a lot of other people feel that we need more whistleblowers, and that to allow the government simply to stigmatize them without opposition does not encourage that. I think we’ve got to convey to people appreciation for the information that we do get, the idea that someone can make a difference.

In a military trial there isn’t a whole lot of possible influence, but the general atmosphere in the public is bound to make some influence on the judge. [We want the judge to] stop and think that there were some benefits [to Manning’s actions].

TL: In a 1973 interview, you said that a “secondary objective” of releasing the Pentagon Papers was “the hope of changing the tolerance of Executive secrecy that had grown up over the last quarter of a century both in Congress and the courts and in the public at large.” How has that “tolerance of secrecy” changed over the last four decades?

DE: There was a period after the Vietnam war, partly due to the Pentagon Papers, and largely due to Watergate, that made people much less tolerant of being lied to, much more aware of how often they were lied to and how the system operated to make that lying possible without accountability. We got the Freedom of Information Act. The FISA court was set up. The FBI was reined in a great deal. The NSA was forbidden to do overhearing of American citizens without a court warrant. That lasted for some years.

But 40 years have passed, and after 9/11 in particular, all of those lessons have been lost. There’s been very great tolerance that if the magic words “national security,” or the new words “homeland security” are invoked, Congress has given the president virtually a free hand in deciding what information they will know as well as the public. I wouldn’t count on the current court with its current makeup making the same ruling with the Pentagon Papers as they did 40 years ago. I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case.

Various things that were counted as unconstitutional then have been put in the president’s hands now. He’s become an elected monarch. Nixon’s slogan, “when the president does it, it’s not illegal,” is pretty much endorsed now. Meaning not only Obama but the people who come after him will have powers that no previous president had. Abilities on surveillance that no country in the history of the world has ever had.

Interestingly, after the AP revelations and the [revelations about] Fox News reporter [James Rosen], who was actually charged with aiding and abetting a conspiracy with a source, every journalist has suddenly woken up to the fact that they’re under the gun. That may actually have the effect of waking people up to the fact that, for example, Attorney General Holder has been violating the Constitution steadily, and that he should be fired. But fired for what? For doing what had the approval of the president.

Holder should be fired for a whole series of actions culminating in this subpoena for James Rosen’s cellphone records. I think that would be the first step of resistance in the right direction, of rolling back Obama’s campaign against journalism, freedom of the press in national security.

TL: Is government surveillance of journalists more alarming than prosecution of leakers?

DE: Absolutely, but the two go together a little more than might be obvious. First of all, there’s no question that President Obama is conducting an unprecedented campaign against unauthorized disclosure. The government had used the Espionage Act against leaks only three times before his administration. He’s used it six times. He’s doing his best to assure that sources in the government will have reason to fear heavy prison sentences for informing the American public in ways he doesn’t want.

In other words, he’s working very hard to make it a government where he controls all the information. There will be plenty of leaks of classified information, but it will be by his officials in pursuit of his policies. We will not be getting information that the government doesn’t want out, that [reveals government actions that are] embarrassing or criminal or reckless, as we saw in Vietnam and Iraq.

I think the newspapers really need to address the fact that they’re going to be put in the position of printing nothing more than government handouts. There will be in effect a state press, as in so many other countries that lack freedom of the press. I don’t think they have really awakened to that change. There would be a lot of newspaper people who would be comfortable with that. But there are a lot who would not.

Daniel Ellsberg speaks to reporters about the Manning case on June 2, 2013. (Timothy B. Lee / Washington Post)

Daniel Ellsberg speaks to reporters about the Manning case on June 2, 2013. (Timothy B. Lee / Washington Post)

TL: Do you think Bradley Manning is in a different category than the other people President Obama has prosecuted?

DE: Bradley Manning’s case might seem to have no relevance to some of these other civilian disclosures because it’s a military court-martial. But the charge they’re using against him, the specific one of aid and comfort to the enemy, is one that puts virtually all dissent in this country for government policies at risk. Not only leaks in general, like WikiLeaks, or the New York Times for that matter, but people who aren’t in journalism at all. He’s charged with giving aid and comfort to the enemy, a charge that has no element of intention or motive, simply by putting out information that the enemy might be happy to read.

I think they’re going to put into the trial for example, indications that Osama bin Laden downloaded the New York Times, as anyone in the world could do. No doubt Osama was happy to have the world realize that his enemies were committing atrocities that they weren’t admitting and that they weren’t investigating. It was no intention of WikiLeaks or Bradley Manning to give comfort to Osama bin Laden. That was an inadvertent effect of informing the American public of that, which definitely did need to know it.

Specifically, they’re charging Bradley with the video. [A video of a 2007 helicopter strike in Baghdad released by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder.”] That was not in fact classified. But whether it was or not, it was wrongly withheld from Reuters who twice made Freedom of Information Act requests knowing it existed. David Finkel at The Washington Post quoted from the video. Bradley Manning was aware that Reuters had made that request and had been denied and that The Washington Post had access to the video and he believed that they had the video. I don’t think it’s ever been established whether the Washington Post reporter had the video.

That video depicts a war crime, an unarmed, injured civilian being deliberately killed. A squad was going to be in the area in minutes. They also shot at people who were trying to help the victims, including a father and two children.

Manning sees this, knows it’s a crime, knows the evidence has been refused to Reuters. He knows there’s no way for the American public to see that except to put it out. By any standard that’s what he should have done. For them to charge him with that shows an outrageous sensibility. Going after the man who exposes the war crime instead of any of the ones who actually did it, none of whom were indicted or investigated.

TL: I think some people have the impression that recent leaks have posed a greater threat to national security, and that the government’s prosecutions were therefore more justified, than what you did in the early 1970s. Do you think that’s true?

DE: There’s a very general impression that Bradley Manning simply dumped out everything that he had access to without any discrimination, and that’s very misleading or mistaken on several counts. He was in a facility that dealt mainly in information higher than top secret in classification. He put out nothing that was higher than secret. [Information he published] was available to hundreds of thousands of people. He had access to material that was much higher than top secret, much more sensitive. He chose not to put any of that out. He explained that in his statement to the court. He said what he put out was no more than embarrassing to the government.

There was more meat in the material [that Manning released] than I as a Pentagon official would have expected to find in material that was only [classified as] secret. There was information about torture and deaths of civilians. Apparently that is so routine in these current wars that it wasn’t regarded as sensitive.

So far the Pentagon has not been able to point to a single example of information that led to harm to an American. If they had, I think we’d have seen pictures of victims on the cover of Time magazine.

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The Daily Caller


‘Pentagon Papers’ leaker: Obama an ‘elected monarch,’ trying to ‘control all the information’

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst whose leak of the “Pentagon Papers” precipitated a landmark Supreme Court case, says President Barack Obama “has become an elected monarch” who is leading “an unprecedented campaign against unauthorized disclosure.”

“The government had used the Espionage Act against leaks only three times before his administration,” Ellsberg told The Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday. “He’s used it six times. He’s doing his best to assure that sources in the government will have reason to fear heavy prison sentences for informing the American public in ways he doesn’t want.”

“In other words, he’s working very hard to make it a government where he controls all the information,” Ellsberg added.

Ellsberg’s leak of a top-secret history of the Vietnam War to New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan in 1971 revealed that the U.S. government had systematically lied about the nature of the conflict since its involvement. The Nixon administration charged Ellsberg under the Espionage Act of 1917 and obtained a federal injunction to stop the papers’ publication, but lost the case on appeal after it reached the Supreme Court.


image source

Activist Post

We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at Bradleymanning.org who has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports. Day 3 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.

At the heart of Day 3 was the inability of Bradley Manning’s supervisor, Captain Casey Fulton, to issue the same statement of authority as the U.S. government that WikiLeaks = Al Qaeda. In fact, she couldn’t mention WikiLeaks as a specific source at all, but only that social media was a known general hangout of America’s enemies. As Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, illustrates: social media, Google, Google Maps and other news outlets could easily be “aiding the enemy” in much the same way.

“The prosecution has specified Al Qaeda and one of its affiliates, as well as a third organization whose identity, also disturbingly, it classified. (Overclassification is one of the scandals of this story.) At what point could “enemy” mean anyone who doesn’t like us? Can it mean us ourselves, at moments when we think that something has gone wrong, and has to be exposed?”

The prosecutors intend to bring in a witness from the Navy Seals to testify that he found a published document from the WikiLeaks website in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad. But just how can one news agency, or public online forum control who their readers are and how can they avoid the government’s harassment if their readers are considered the “enemy” ? (Source)

Furthermore, it appears that some of what Manning was collating and preparing for distribution were specific assignments from his superiors and not a premeditated plot. This is fundamental in the government’s central “aiding the enemy” argument. Rather, it seems that Bradley Manning had been cited often by other intelligence analysts for his extraordinary natural abilities. As Fuller states below, that means it is likely that Manning “was simply doing his job” — and excelling at it. In short, he was working for the Army, not for WikiLeaks.

Many more essential details are provided by Nathan Fuller’s excellent coverage of this trial, as it enters Day 3, and will recess until the 10th. This trial will determine whether telling the truth should be punishable by life in prison. It is a determination that is guaranteed to affect us all.

Manning supervisor undercuts aspect of aiding the enemy charge: trial report, day 3

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 5, 2013.

On day 3 of Bradley Manning’s court martial, one of his supervisors didn’t mention WikiLeaks when asked about specific websites the military warned that the enemy might visit. Bradley’s fellow soldiers relayed that Iraq War Log documents didn’t reveal source names and that an Excel spreadsheet he created was done for intelligence work, not for WikiLeaks. Read reports from day 1 and day 2.

Captain Casey Fulton testified at the end of today’s Bradley Manning trial proceedings that there were no specific websites, other than social media sites, that intelligence analysts knew that America’s enemies visited. Capt. Fulton deployed to Iraq with Bradley in November 2009 and was in charge of Bradley’s intelligence section.

The government’s aiding the enemy charge relies on the claim that Bradley knew that giving intelligence to WikiLeaks meant giving it to Al Qaeda. Prosecutors have cited several times this Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which asks,

Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site?

But when defense lawyer David Coombs asked Capt. Fulton what websites the enemy was known to visit gathering intelligence, she merely said that it was general knowledge that the enemy goes to “all sorts” of websites. Pressed to name something specific, Capt. Fulton said that they were briefed on social media sites like Facebook, where people generally post lots of personal information, and Google and Google Maps. Once more Coombs asked if there were any specific websites that she and her fellow analysts had “actual knowledge” that the enemy visited, and Capt. Fulton said no.

Intelligence work for Army, not WikiLeaks

She also provided more information on an Excel spreadsheet that Bradley created as an analyst in Baghdad, which included all of the Significant Activities (SigActs) later released in the Iraq War Logs. The government has referred to this spreadsheet as an indication that Bradley was culling information and preparing it to be sent to WikiLeaks. But Capt. Fulton said that the spreadsheet was used for an intelligence analyst assignment: she had asked him to compile all SigActs from the entire Iraq War to discern any patterns and increases or decreases in violence throughout the war. Bradley was simply doing his job.

That testimony corroborates what we heard from other witnesses today. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hondo Hack and Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek testified to Bradley’s exceptional organizational abilities and impressive work for such an inexperienced analyst.

CW3 Hack rarely saw Bradley since they had opposite work shifts, so he looked into the shared drive where analysts posted reports and files they were researching. He called Bradley’s folder perhaps the most organized he’d ever seen, providing far more detail than more experienced analysts.

That revelation came after government questioning that attempted to paint Bradley as neglectful of his duties, presenting an email from him to CW3 Hack providing the name of a high-value target several months after he started his work. Prosecutors admitted when prompted by Judge Denise Lind that they were trying to show a dereliction of duty, and Coombs recalled their effort to characterize him as working for WikiLeaks when he should have been doing his job.

But CW3 Hack told the defense that he was frustrated with the entire intelligence analyst squad, and didn’t expect Bradley, as a junior analyst, to provide “actionable” information and in fact expected more from his more senior colleagues.

War Log reports didn’t reveal source names

CW Balonek was one of those more experienced analysts, who worked in Bradley’s division. He testified about keeping classified information secret, since he witnessed Bradley’s signing of the Non-Disclosure Agreement vowing to protect sensitive documents. He told government lawyers that it wasn’t common practice for those in Iraq to look at Afghanistan SigActs or other files, but he told the defense that there wasn’t any provision that he knew of prohibiting it.

He gave more insight into what those SigActs or HUMINT (Human Intelligence) files contained. The SigActs typically provided the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why an incident occurred, documenting basic information about incidents like IED attacks. Both types of files didn’t name U.S. sources by name—HUMINT reports cited sources by number, and SigActs would protect the source from identification as well. SigActs have some names, but those are witnesses, for example, to violent incidents, and not reliable sources with exact information.

Supervisor Showman’s conversations with Bradley

Specialist Jihrleah Showman was Bradley’s team leader at Ft. Drum before he deployed to Iraq, interacting with him daily. She testified with slight but visible disdain about their personal conversations, which she said typically involved “his topic of choosing,” and that he talked about social interests including “martini parties” in the D.C. area, having friends with influence in the Pentagon, and his interest in shopping.

She also said he liked to talk about politics, and that he would often debate with others about broad U.S. policy and that she found him “very political” and on the “extreme Democratic side,” responding affirmatively to Coombs’s phrasing.

When she oversaw him at Ft. Drum, most soldiers uploaded video games, movies, and music to their computers, which weren’t explicitly authorized but which she believed her superiors knew about. Bradley was so “fluent” with computers, she said, that she asked him to install the military chat client mIRC to her computer, and that he once mentioned that military portals’ passwords “weren’t complicated” and that he could always get through them.

Because the government moved through its witnesses so quickly, court is recessed for the week and will return on Monday, June 10.

You can donate to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund Here.

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 WikiLeaks.org 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


Read Full Article  and  Watch Additional Videos Here


Jun 4, 2013 19:53

Photo Credit: ©RIA Novosti

Photo Credit: ©RIA Novosti


FORT MEADE, Md. (AFP) – The computer hacker who turned in Bradley Manning said Tuesday the tormented US soldier had never talked about helping al-Qaida after he leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

On the second day of Manning’s court martial, witness Adrian Lamo agreed with a defense attorney’s portrait of a tortured soul who acted out of a desire to inform the public rather than to aid US enemies.

Under cross-examination from defense lawyer David Coombs, Lamo said that a highly emotional Manning was also in the grip of a sexual identity crisis, which made him fear for his life.

Military prosecutors allege that Manning — who admitted to leaking a vast cache of classified information to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks between 2009 and 2010 — directly and knowingly aided al-Qaida through his actions.

However, Lamo said under questioning on Tuesday that the subject of helping America’s enemies had never arisen during his contacts with Manning.

Lamo engaged in online chats with Manning for six days between May 20 and May 26, 2010, shortly before the soldier was arrested.

Lamo, who answered many questions simply with a “Yes” or a “No”, told the hearing he had contacted police over his exchanges with Manning because he feared for the soldier’s life.

Asked if Manning had ever uttered “a word against the United States” or whether “he wanted to help the enemy,” Lamo replied: “Not in those words, no.”

Later Tuesday, a second witness, soldier Jose Anica, also said he had never heard Manning express anti-American sentiment.

“Did PFC Manning say anything anti-American to you?” Coombs asked Anica, who responded: “No sir.”

Lamo had earlier agreed with defense suggestions that Manning had been acting out of a sense of civic duty when he decided to leak the cache of secret files, and that Manning had been struggling with gender identity issues.

“He told you about his life, that he was struggling because of his gender identity issue? … He told you he made a huge mess?’ … He was emotionally fractured?” Coombs asked Lamo.

“He needed moral and emotional support? … He wondered if he didn’t get it he might end up killing himself? (That he was) feeling desperate?… A broken soul?… Honestly scared?”

Lamo — who was convicted in 2004 of unauthorized access to computers — said he suspected Manning contacted him because he was a known computer hacker and a supporter of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Defense League.

Lamo also confirmed Coombs’ statements that Manning had leaked the hundreds of thousands of incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and secret diplomatic cables out of a sincere desire to inform the public.

The U.S. government has portrayed the leaks as an act of betrayal that put lives at risk, while Manning’s supporters present him as a whistle-blower who gave the public a rare glimpse at the front lines of U.S. wars and inside the halls of powers where U.S. foreign policy is made and carried out.

Lamo also indicated that Manning had no interest in trying to sell information to countries such as Russia or China, but instead believed the information belonged in the public domain.

Lamo said Manning had admitted having contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who condemned the court martial on Tuesday as a “show trial.”

Assange — who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations — described the hearing as “a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience.”

“This is not justice; never could this be justice. The verdict was ordained long ago,” he wrote on the WikiLeaks site.

Rights activists meanwhile said the case hinged on the prosecution claim that Manning “aided” the enemy by releasing information to WikiLeaks.

“This trial is not about whether Manning leaked the documents to WikiLeaks; he’s already admitted that he did,” said Ben Wizner, of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“What’s really being tested is the government’s dangerous theory that leaking information to the press is equivalent to delivering it to the ‘enemy.'”

Manning’s trial at a military base outside Washington is expected to last 12 weeks. Some evidence will be given behind closed doors for national security reasons.



Patrick Semansky/Associated Press


Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Md., in May.



FORT MEADE, Md. — The court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, whose secret release of a vast archive of military and diplomatic materials put WikiLeaks into an international spotlight, opened here Monday with dueling portrayals of a traitor who endangered the lives of his fellow soldiers and of a principled protester motivated by a desire to help society who carefully selected which documents to release.


National Twitter Logo.
Larry Downing/Reuters

Protesters outside the main gate at Fort Meade, Md., on Monday.



The contrast between the government’s description of Private Manning and his lawyer’s underscored the oddity at the heart of the trial, which is expected to last as long as 12 weeks: There is no doubt that he did most of what he is accused of doing, and the crucial issue is how those actions should be understood.

In February, Private Manning pleaded guilty to nine lesser versions of the charges he is facing — and one full one — while confessing in detail to releasing the trove of documents for which he could be sentenced to up to 20 years.

But his plea was not part of any deal and prosecutors are going to trial because they hope to convict him, based on essentially the same facts, of 20 more serious offenses — including espionage and aiding the enemy — that could result in a life sentence.

Since his arrest three years ago, Private Manning, 25, has been embraced as a whistle-blower and hero by many on the political left, including Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers four decades ago. On Monday, dozens of supporters demonstrated in the rain outside the base’s main entrance, many holding placards with his picture.

His case has inspired social media activism that has helped raise $1.25 million for his defense from more than 20,000 people, according to the Bradley Manning Support Network. Supporters have planned rallies this week in three dozen cities, including sites in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and South Korea.

Inside the courtroom on Monday, as Private Manning sat quietly, David Coombs, his defense lawyer, told the judge that his client had been “young, naïve, but good-intentioned” and that he had tried to ensure that the roughly 700,000 documents he released would not cause harm.

“He was selective,” Mr. Coombs said. “He had access to literally hundreds of millions of documents as an all-source analyst, and these were the documents that he released. And he released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place.”

But a prosecutor, Capt. Joe Morrow, said that Private Manning was no ordinary leaker who made a particular document public, but rather someone who grabbed classified databases wholesale and sent them to a place where he knew adversaries like Al Qaeda could get to them.

“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,” Captain Morrow said.

The court-martial comes amid a focus on the Obama administration’s aggressive record on leaks. The administration has overseen an unprecedented six leak-related prosecutions, and last month it emerged that the Justice Department had secretly obtained calling records for reporters with The Associated Press and for a Fox News reporter; the department also portrayed the Fox reporter as having violated the Espionage Act as part of an application for a search warrant seeking his personal e-mails.

In his 58-minute opening, Captain Morrow cited logs of searches and downloads from Private Manning’s classified work computer, deleted files from his personal laptop including chat logs he contended were between Private Manning and a person he said was the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and other such records to show the pace and scale of his downloads.

Most of the assertions in Captain Morrow’s portrayal dovetailed with Private Manning’s confession in February, but there remain a few factual disputes. Among them is that he has pleaded not guilty to leaking to WikiLeaks some 74,000 e-mail addresses for troops in Iraq, but Captain Morrow said that list had been downloaded on a computer Private Manning had used.

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Bradley Manning on trial: LIVE UPDATES


Published time: June 03, 2013 13:08
Edited time: June 04, 2013 01:13

Signs lay on the ground at rally was held in support for PFC Bradley Manning on June 1, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland (Lexey Swall / Getty Images / AFP)

Signs lay on the ground at rally was held in support for PFC Bradley Manning on June 1, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland (Lexey Swall / Getty Images / AFP)

US Army Private Bradley Manning faces trial more than three years after his arrest for transmitting 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks. The US is pursuing further accusations of aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence.


20:19 GMT:


19:35 GMT: The court begins to file back in to hear the second witness testimony.

19:25 GMT: Special Agent Tom Smith has finished testifying at the Bradley Manning court-martial. Discussion focused around Smith’s arrival at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Hammer, Iraq, and going through Manning’s bunk. Smith said that he photographed it, and went through his possessions, collecting two SIPRnet computers and a CD from 2007 marked with the words ‘SECRET’ and ‘Reuters FOIA req.’ It is widely thought to be the ‘Collateral Damage’ Apache helicopter video, which showed the gunning down of civilians and a Reuters photographer.  Prosecutors will call the second witness shortly.

19:15 GMT: Defense started cross-examining Smith.

18:38 GMT: Glitches appear to be resolved as people return to the courtroom.

18:30 GMT: Brief recess in Manning court-martial due to technical difficulties in the courtroom. The court transcriber was experiencing audio problems, after which Judge Lind said “we need a verbatim.”

18:30 GMT: The first witness for prosecution has been describing his job. Special Agent Tom Smith describes himself as a “senior enlisted case agent and evidence custodian,” and reports to have investigated some 250 cases, having been the lead agent on around 150 of them.

Early discussion has been focusing on storage of hard drives and computers, with prosecution stating “cameras, paper bags, we gathered tape measures, paper, pen and out computers so that we’d be able to work once we got down there.”

18:03 GMT: USG said that that they have in their possession forensic evidence collected from Manning’s computer, and will place a heavy focus on it. Strong reference has been made to Manning’s arrogance

17:56 GMT: Prosecution alleged that Manning sought notoriety and fame, saying he was driven by arrogance.

17:55 GMT: Bradley Manning court-martial about to be back in session. Three of the prosecution’s witnesses are to the stand over the afternoon.

17:47 GMT: Cornel West and Chris Hedges both spent the morning at Ft Meade attending Bradley Manning’s court-martial.

17:47 GMT: RT’s website is suffering some technical difficulties.

17:25 GMT: Manning’s trial is in recess for an hour for lunch, after which the three witnesses will be called.

17:10 GMT:

16:40 GMT: Defense reiterated that Manning was unsetteled by what he saw, and that “he believed that if the American public saw it they too would be troubled,” going on to add that the country doesn’t ‘always’ do the right thing.

16: 38 GMT: Manning defense attorney David Coombs has just wrapped up brief opening statements.
Coombs said Manning was ‘selective’ with the documents he released, saying that “he had access to literally hundreds of millions of documents,” stating that he released them “because he was hoping to make the world a better place.”

16:17 GMT: The court is back in session to hear defense opening statements. High profile defense attorney David Coombs is expected to make a 40-45 minute opening statement.

16:05 GMT:
The prosecutors stated: “Manning knew the danger of unauthorized disclosure to an organization like Wikileaks and he ignored those dangers,” going on to claim that bin Laden requested and received the Afghan War Logs attributed to Pfc. Bradley Manning and published by WikiLeaks.

16:00 GMT:
Prosecutors on Manning: “This is a case about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.” Prosecutors opened and closed initial statements with quotes from Manning to Adrian Lamo made during May 2010 online chats.

15:50 GMT:
Nineteen major media organizations have joined together to request the Military District of Washington to “issue two press passes to allow professional court stenographers access to the media room,” in order to ensure that transcriptions of official public parts of the court martial are available to aid the public in assessing the court’s process and decisions. It also suggests that the trial should be broadcast in an “appropriately-sized overflow theater” to allow journalists to effectively report on the trial – over 280 were refused credentials.

15:40 GMT: The prosecution’s Captain Joe Morrow has declared that Bradley Manning dumped classified documents on to the Internet and into enemy hands, according to Associated Press. They also alleged that Manning helped to edit Collateral Murder.

15: 25 GMT: Prosecutor’s opening statement declares that classified information Bradley Manning gave to WikiLeaks fell into enemy hands.

14:45 GMT: The court reconvenes. Following prosecution and defense statements, the order of the aforementioned three witnesses will be Special Agent Tom Smith, then Special Agent Toni Graham, followed by Manning’s former roommate Special Agent Eric Baker.

14:35 GMT: The court remains undecided over whether the slide show will be used.

14:30 GMT: Manning judge asks, “What are the procedures that have been put in place for public access to this trial?” to a few chuckles from the media.

14:24 GMT: The trial has been arranged to take place between the hours of 9:30 am and 6pm local time, every day this week. Time has been put aside for 12 weeks. Space for viewers is expected to remain a problem.


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Court-martial trial for Bradley Manning over WikiLeaks starts Monday

Published time: June 03, 2013 04:09
Edited time: June 03, 2013 13:59

The United States Army private responsible for the biggest intelligence leak in US history finally begins trial in a military court on Monday, after more than three years of pretrial detainment.

The court-martial of Private first class Bradley Manning began in Ft. Meade, Maryland this week and is slated to run throughout the summer. Manning, 25, could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the more than 20 counts he’s been charged with by Army prosecutors.

US authorities arrested Manning in May 2010 and accused him of sending hundreds of thousands of sensitive government files to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Earlier this year Manning admitted to sharing the documents, including State Department diplomatic cables and military war logs, and pleaded guilty to a number of lesser counts carrying a maximum sentence of only 20 years. Prosecutors say those files benefited the operations of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, however, and are asking for life in prison.

Dozens of witnesses will be called during the trial, including a handful of military personnel whose testimonies will be conducted behind closed doors to protect the sensitive nature pertaining to Manning’s alleged crimes. Pretrial hearings in the case have been conducted off and on at Ft. Meade since late 2011, but Manning himself has only had the opportunity to address the court at length on a few occasions, including in February when he testified to leaking the documents.


Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (Reuters)

Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (Reuters)

Speaking of the Iraq and Afghan war logs that were leaked by Manning, he said at the hearing, “I believe and still believe that these tables are two of the most significant documents of our time.”


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Shiftfrequency – Worldwide Protests Ahead Of Bradley Manning’s Monday Trial – 3 June 2013

Protesters march to call for the release of jailed U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, a central figure in the Wikileaks case, outside the gates at Fort Meade, Maryland, June 1, 2013 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst) 

Demonstrations are taking place all over the world in support of Bradley Manning, the US army private whistleblower who leaked intelligence to WikiLeaks.

Manning’s trail will start Monday at the Fort Meade military base in Baltimore, some three years after having been accused of the largest leak of classified materials in the history of the United States. Among other things, he has been charged with ‘aiding the enemy’ – which could potentially land him in jail with a life sentence without parole.

Already the stenographers who were meant to create daily transcripts of the trial have been denied press passes and will not now be at the trial.

The number of protesters at Fort Meade was over 3000 by Saturday with many of them shouting ‘We are all Bradley Manning!’ And globally, people are holding events in over 24 cities on four continents over the course of the weekend. Aside from American cities, people as far as Toronto, Berlin, Paris and even South Korea’s Seoul have joined in a chorus of support for Manning.

A number of high profile people have come out in support of Manning including Daniel Ellsberg, a former Department of Defense employee who leaked Pentagon papers during the Vietnam War. Ellsberg has said that Manning’s trail is one of the “defining issues of the 21st century” and believes that the “transparency and accountability of government are at stake”.


A protester leads chants as marchers call for the release of jailed U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, a central figure in the Wikileaks case, outside the gates at Fort Meade, Maryland, June 1, 2013 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)


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Pentagon Papers’ Ellsberg backs Bradley Manning


Published on May 30, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle on the Vietnam War by releasing the “Pentagon Papers”. He has now taken up the case of another whistleblower, Bradley Manning, who released troves of classified documents to WikiLeaks and now faces life in prison for it.Duration:02:24


Worldwide protests planned on eve of Bradley Manning trial

Published time: May 31, 2013 16:22

Supporters of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning protest during his scheduled motion hearing, outside the gates of Fort Meade. (Reuters / Jose Luis Magaua)

Supporters of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning protest during his scheduled motion hearing, outside the gates of Fort Meade. (Reuters / Jose Luis Magaua)

Rallies are planned this weekend in dozens of cities across the globe in support of Private first class Bradley Manning as the former Army intelligence analyst prepares to stand trial for the largest intelligence leak in United States history.

The military court-martial against the 25-year-old soldier begins Monday in Ft. Meade, Maryland and is expected to continue throughout the summer. Manning faces a life in prison if convicted of the most serious of the counts against him — aiding the enemy — but presiding judge Col. Denise Lind previously said she’d credit the alleged leaker with 112 days due to the egregious conditions he endured while held for roughly nine months in a US Marine brig.

Manning is charged with uploading hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including US State Department diplomatic cables, war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and detainee assessment files for men held at the military’s controversial Guantanamo Bay prison. He admitted to leaking the documents during pretrial testimony presented in February. Army prosecutors say al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula benefited by WikiLeaks’ publishing of the documents, and a member of the Navy SEALs team that executed the lethal raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan compound is expected to take the stand during a closed-door court hearing in the coming weeks.

Last week marked three years to the day since Manning was captured by US authorities in Iraq while on duty and brought into custody. He spent nearly two months inside of a cage in Kuwait before being transferred to Quantico Marine Base in Northern Virginia, where for most of a year he was subjected to treatment considered by a United Nations special rapporteur to be tantamount to torture. He has spent the last two months imprisoned at an Army facility in Leavenworth, Kansas, though he’s been carted to-and-from Ft. Meade outside of Baltimore since December 2011 when his pretrial hearings began.

Supporters of the soldier and his defense counsel asked the court to drop charges against the soldier not just due to the conditions at Quantico but because of the more than 1,000 days he’s been held in pretrial confinement. Demonstrators will gather at Ft. Meade on the eve of the court-martial and at other sites around the globe this weekend to pay tribute to a man hailed as a whistleblower by some but condemned by the country he swore to protect.

Demonstrations have been held at Quantico, Ft. Meade and other sites since Manning was apprehended in May 2010, but organizers of this weekend’s event near the military court expect it to be the largest of its kind ever. Rallies elsewhere will occur on at least four continents.

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Department of Defense employee who infamously leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, is expected to speak at Ft. Meade on Saturday and in nearby Washington, DC on Sunday.

Americans who care about the future of our country need to be involved in Bradley’s defense,” Ellsberg wrote in a statement this month. “The defining issues of the twenty-first century, including the transparency and accountability of our government, are at stake. I believe history is on the side of those who seek to reveal the truth, not on the side of those who seek to conceal it.”

 Daniel Ellsberg, a former Department of Defense employee. (Reuters)

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Department of Defense employee. (Reuters)

Organizers expect as many as 1,000 supporters at Saturday’s rally at the Army base, and the military acknowledged this weekend that the number of press credential requests submitted for the trial is five times what Ft. Meade’s media center can accommodate. Offsite, however, rallies are expected to be held in more than two dozen major American and international cities.

On June 1, events in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy and South Korea will coincide with the rally outside of Ft. Meade as well as others planned in cities across the US.

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Bin Laden raid member can be witness in Manning court-martial

Patrick Semansky/AP – Judge rules Bin Laden raid member can testify as part of prosecution’s effort to link al-Qaeda leader to material leaked by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, pictured.

A military judge ruled Wednesday that a member of the team that raided Osama bin Laden’s compound would be allowed to testify at the court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, part of the prosecution’s attempt to link the slain al-Qaeda leader to material leaked by the soldier.

Manning, who pleaded guilty to some charges last month, is scheduled to face a court-martial in June for leaking 700,000 documents and other materials to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors, who have alleged that Manning’s actions damaged national security, say digital media found at bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan show that the terrorist leader received access to some of the WikiLeaks material through an associate.

Manning’s defense team has argued that evidence obtained from the raid was not relevant to the charges against Manning, which include aiding the enemy. But on Wednesday, Army Col. Denise Lind disagreed, ruling that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the “enemy received” the material.

The witness, identified as “John Doe” and as a “DoD operator,” will testify in a closed session at an undisclosed location, Lind said, and will appear in “light disguise.”

It is presumed that the witness is a member of the Navy SEAL Team 6 that raided bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. Only one member of the raid team has been publicly identified — Matt Bissonette, who was named shortly after publishing an account of the raid under a pseudonym.


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The 25-year-old Army Private, this generation’s Daniel Ellsberg, pleads guilty today to some charges and explains his actions

Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland

Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

(updated [Friday])

In December, 2011, I wrote an Op-Ed in the Guardian arguing that if Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then he is a consummate hero, and deserves a medal and our collective gratitude, not decades in prison. At his court-martial proceeding this afternoon in Fort Meade, Manning, as the Guaridan’s Ed Pilkington reports, pleaded guilty to having been the source of the most significant leaks to WikiLeaks. He also pleaded not guilty to 12 of the 22 counts, including the most serious – the capital offense of “aiding and abetting the enemy”, which could send him to prison for life – on the ground that nothing he did was intended to nor did it result in harm to US national security. The US government will now almost certainly proceed with its attempt to prosecute him on those remaining counts.

Manning’s heroism has long been established in my view, for the reasons I set forth in that Op-Ed. But this was bolstered today as he spoke for an hour in court about what he did and why, reading from a prepared 35-page statement. Wired’s Spencer Ackerman was there and reported:

“Wearing his Army dress uniform, a composed, intense and articulate Pfc. Bradley Manning took ‘full responsibility’ Thursday for providing the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks with a trove of classified and sensitive military, diplomatic and intelligence cables, videos and documents. . . .

“Manning’s motivations in leaking, he said, was to ‘spark a domestic debate of the role of the military and foreign policy in general’, he said, and ’cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.’

“Manning explain[ed] his actions that drove him to disclose what he said he ‘believed, and still believe . . . are some of the most significant documents of our time’ . . . .

“He came to view much of what the Army told him — and the public — to be false, such as the suggestion the military had destroyed a graphic video of an aerial assault in Iraq that killed civilians, or that WikiLeaks was a nefarious entity. . . .

“Manning said he often found himself frustrated by attempts to get his chain of command to investigate apparent abuses detailed in the documents Manning accessed. . . .”

Manning also said he “first approached three news outlets: the Washington Post, New York Times and Politico” before approaching WikiLeaks. And he repeatedly denied having been encouraged or pushed in any way by WikiLeaks to obtain and leak the documents, thus denying the US government a key part of its attempted prosecution of the whistleblowing group. Instead, “he said he took ‘full responsibility’ for a decision that will likely land him in prison for the next 20 years — and possibly the rest of his life.”

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 Bradley Manning says U.S. ‘obsessed with killing’ opponents

Soldier: Leaks meant to enlighten on U.S. policy

By Richard A. Serrano This post has been corrected, as indicated below.

LA Times

February 28, 2013, 9:39 a.m.

FT. MEADE, Md. – Army Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 charges that he illegally acquired and transferred highly classified U.S. materials later published by WikiLeaks, saying he was motivated by a U.S foreign policy that “became obsessed with killing and capturing people rather than cooperating” with other governments.

“I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us due to the mistrust and hatred on both sides,” Manning said, reading a 35-page, hand-written statement describing his angst over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I began to become depressed with the situation we had become mired in year after year,” he added.

In a plea arrangement with military prosecutors, Manning agreed to serve a 20-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to 10 lesser charges. But he also pleaded not guilty to 12 more serious criminal charges, including espionage, and will face a court-martial in June.  If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

Manning, now 25, was posted as a low-level intelligence analyst at a base outside of Baghdad until his arrest three years ago.

He said was angered at one point when 15 Iraqis were arrested as protesters, yet none were known terrorists or involved in anti-government activities. When he complained to his superiors, he said, “no one wanted to do anything about it.”


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 The Miami Herald

In this photo taken Dec. 22, 2011, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. An Army officer is recommending a general court-martial for Manning, a low-ranking intelligence analyst charged in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS


Associated Press

FORT MEADE, Md. — An Army private suspected of sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website was illegally punished at a Marine Corps brig and should get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he receives if convicted, a military judge ruled Tuesday.

Army Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing that authorities went too far in their strict confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning for nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., in 2010 and 2011. Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials said it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.

Lind said Manning’s confinement was “more rigorous than necessary.” She added that the conditions “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”

Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars. His trial begins March 6.

The 25-year-old intelligence analyst had sought to have the charges thrown out, arguing the conditions were egregious. Military prosecutors had recommended a seven-day sentence reduction, conceding Manning was improperly kept for that length of time on highly restrictive suicide watch, contrary to a psychiatrist’s recommendation.

Lind rejected a defense contention that brig commanders were influenced by higher-ranking Marine Corps officials at Quantico or the Pentagon.


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Published on Jul 16, 2012

Second only to Julian Assange, Bradley Manning is the most important figure in the Wikileaks controversy; his is alleged to have handed over hundreds of thousands of secret US war files and diplomatic cables. But, while the world watches Assange’s trial with baited breath, Manning is already wasting away in solitary confinement; this is the story of his daring intelligence heist. We hear the only recording of Bradley Manning’s voice and we listen to the logs of alleged conversations with the man who ultimately betrayed him. Brought to you by Journeyman Pictures: http://www.youtube.com/user/JourneymanVOD?feature=mhee

Whistle Blowers

Counselor: Manning’s History Showed Self-Harm Risk

By By DAVID DISHNEAU Associated Press

An Army private charged with sending U.S secrets to the website WikiLeaks had a history of suicidal thoughts and aloof behavior that outweighed a psychiatrist’s opinion that he was no risk to intentionally hurt himself, two former counselors testified Sunday.

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Jordan and Marine Master Sgt. Craig Blenis testified on the sixth day of a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The hearing is to determine whether Manning’s nine months in pretrial confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., were so punishing that the judge should dismiss all charges. The 24-year-old intelligence analyst is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the secret-spilling website in 2009 and 2010.

The counselors, both of whom worked in the brig, sat on a board that recommended to the brig commander that Manning remain in maximum custody and on either injury-prevention or suicide-risk status — conditions that kept him confined to his cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing.

Jordan said under cross-examination by defense attorney David Coombs that besides the mental-health report, he considered evidence that Manning had contemplated suicide after his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. The evidence included a noose Manning had fashioned from a bedsheet while confined in Kuwait, and a written statement he made upon arrival at Quantico in July 2010 that he was “always planning and never acting” on suicidal impulses.

Manning Wikileaks.JPEG
FILE – In a Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 file… View Full Caption

Jordan acknowledged Manning had been a polite, courteous and nearly trouble-free detainee at Quantico.

“Wouldn’t his past six months of performance be an indicator of his potential for future behavior?” Coombs asked. But Jordan maintained that Manning’s unwillingness to converse with him and other brig staff was a warning sign he was at risk of self-harm.

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Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning admits making noose

This artist rendering of  Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, being shown a bedsheet at Fort Meade, Maryland, 30 November 2012

A US Army court has seen a noose made from a bed sheet by alleged Wikileaks source Private Bradley Manning as he considered suicide.

Pte Manning, 24, told the hearing he had made it while being held in Kuwait, shortly after his arrest in May 2010.

But the former intelligence analyst said he was no longer suicidal after he was taken to a US military prison.

He says charges he faces for allegedly giving secret files to Wikileaks should be dropped because of his jail ordeal.

The military argues that stringent measures, such as keeping him in isolation, were necessary to prevent Pte Manning from harming himself.

Naked prisoner count

His lawyers argue that the procedures lasted well past the time when he was having suicidal thoughts and therefore amounted to illegal punishment.

I certainly made a noose”

Private Bradley Manning

Pte Manning faced prosecutors’ questions on the second day of his testimony at Fort Meade, Maryland.

He said his incarceration in Kuwait was the worst period of his entire confinement.

“I certainly made a noose,” Pte Manning said. “The sheet noose in particular.”

But he said he no longer posed a serious risk of taking his own life after he was transferred in July 2010 to a military prison in Quantico, Virginia.


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WikiLeaks suspect Manning mistreated by military, psychiatrist says

    Bradley Manning

    WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning should not have been held in such harsh conditions, his psychiatrist says. Photograph: AP

    The psychiatrist who treated the WikiLeaks suspect, Bradley Manning, while he was in custody in the brig at Quantico has testified that his medical advice was regularly ignored by marine commanders who continued to impose harsh conditions on the soldier even though he posed no risk of suicide.

    Captain William Hoctor told Manning’s pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade that he grew frustrated and angry at the persistent refusal by marine officers to take on board his medical recommendations. The forensic psychiatrist said that he had never experienced such an unreceptive response from his military colleagues, not even when he treated terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo.

    “I had been a senior medical officer for 24 years at the time, and I had never experienced anything like this. It was clear to me they had made up their mind on a certain cause of action, and my recommendations had no impact,” Hoctor said.

    The psychiatrist was testifying at Manning’s court martial for allegedly being the source of the massive leak of hundreds of thousands of confidential US government documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The 24-year-old soldier, who worked as an intelligence analyst until his arrest in Iraq in May 2010, faces 22 counts and possible life in military custody.

    Manning’s defence lawyers are attempting to have the charges thrown out or any eventual sentence reduced by seeking to prove that the soldier was subjected to unlawful pre-trial punishment at Quantico. During the nine months he was in custody at the marine base in Virginia he was put on suicide watch and a “prevention of injury” order, or PoI, that kept him in solitary confinement and exposed him to extreme conditions that were denounced by the UN and Amnesty International as a form of torture.

    Hoctor began treating Manning from the day after he arrived at Quantico on 29 July 2010, seeing him initially every day and then later once a week. At first he recommended that the soldier be put on suicide watch – the most stringent form of custody – given that he had mentioned killing himself while previously held in Kuwait and that nooses that he had made were found in his cell.

    But within a week of seeing Manning he changed his recommendation, reporting to officers that in his medical opinion the soldier could be put on the lesser PoI status. His advice was ignored for a couple of weeks, Hoctor told the court. “At Quantico they often did not immediately follow, or sometimes did not follow at all, my recommendations.”

    The failure to act on the doctor’s recommendation was an apparent violation of the instructions under which marine installations operate. The regulations state that “when prisoners are no longer considered to be suicide risks by a medical officer, they shall be returned to appropriate quarters.”

    By 27 August 2010, Hoctor testified, he had spent enough time with Manning to recommend a further easing of conditions. From then on he advised in a regular weekly report that Manning should be taken off PoI altogether and returned to the general brig population.

    “I was satisfied he no longer presented a risk. He did not appear to be persistently depressed, he was not reporting suicidal thoughts, in general he was well behaved.”

    Specifically, Hoctor was convinced that Manning no longer needed to be subjected to restrictive conditions that included: no contact with other people, being kept in his cell for more than 23 hours a day, being checked every five minutes, sleeping on a suicide mattress with no bedding, having his prescription glasses taken away, lights kept on at night, having toilet paper removed.

    Only on two occasions did Hoctor report that Manning appeared upset and should be put temporarily under close observation. The first incident occurred in December 2010 when Fox News erroneously reported that Manning had died, and the second in January 2011 when the soldier broke down in tears while in the exercise room.

    Yet the psychiatrist’s recommendation that other than these isolated incidents Manning should be treated like other inmates was consistently ignored. The soldier was kept on PoI throughout the rest of his time at Quantico.


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