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Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 15 (Live Updates)

Bradley Manning defense team. Image by C. Stoeckley.

9:00 PM EST Full report on Col. Morris Davis qualifying as an expert for testimony in the trial here.

7:09 PM EST  Col. Morris Davis qualifies as an expert on Gitmo detainee policy, and can testify on nature of the detainee assessments that Manning released.

5:45 PM EST  Col. Morris Davis takes the stand. The defense intends to offer him as an expert, while the government intends to challenge that status.

5:00 PM EST Lauren McNamara, who was Zachary Antolak, had chats with Manning between February and August of 2009. She took the stand. The defense moved to admit the chats into the court record for use during testimony and the government objected. Prosecutors said the chats were authentic but were hearsay.

How are chat logs of conversations between Manning and McNamara “hearsay” when chat logs between Manning and hacker/government informant Adrian Lamo and Manning and the “pressassociation” account (which the government believes was used by Julian Assange) are not hearsay?

The answer is the government really doesn’t want these chats to be part of Manning’s defense.

3:35PM EST Sgt. David Sadtler testifies that the staff in Brigade would come to Bradley Manning “if they needed to know what was going on in the world”.

3:28PM EST  Captain. Steven Lim testifies that the information he knows on WikiLeaks being used by the “enemy” is limited to what he’s seen on TV or in the media.

1:30 PM EST Press view entire “Collateral Murder” video on feed to media center during break. This was done because media missed the beginning of the video due to malfunction.

1:25 PM EST Manning is charged with exceeding authorized access on his computer. To that charge, the defense had CW2 Ehresman testify that there was no user guidance put out against running an executable file or program off of a CD.

1:10 PM EST Clark Stoeckley, sketch artist, was in the court room and witnessed the government’s objections to playing the “Collateral Murder” video in court. He reports something the legal matter expert did not tell media: the government actually raised two objections.

First, the government did not think the video was relevant. When that did not work (because how could it not be relevant to show the video Manning disclosed without authorization), the government objected to playing only 20 minutes of the video instead of all 39 minutes of the video.

1:00 PM EST Maj. Ashden Fein conducted the cross-examination of CW2 Ehresman. It was passive aggressive and patronizing at times. The intent was clearly to get Ehresman, who has been a warrant officer for seven years, to slip up.

One critical bit of testimony came when Ehresman was being asked by Fein about why the SIGACTS (“war logs”) were classified “secret.” Fein addressed how information that was open source was typically unclassified. Then he asked, “Can it be classified if there is analysis with it?” Ehresman answered, “What makes a SIGACT classified is when it has analysis.”

12:55 PM EST Coombs had CW2 Ehresman testify about the SIGACTS—what are more commonly referred to as the Iraq or Afghanistan War Logs. Ehresman said these were “just historic references.” They were used to establish trends and make connections. Importantly, when Manning released them, it did not change how intelligence analysts used them.

He added they are “just historical information.” What was released did not show the process or things that are done with information to make intelligence products.” All WikiLeaks, the public and any “enemies” know is “what we know,” which is the facts of “what happened.”

12:50 PM EST As an analyst, Manning worked on “future operations” and helped the military establish trends and identify patterns. They were used for “real-time” on battlefield operations and to predict what might happen. For example, if an IED attack occurred, pattern analysis would be done and “current operations” would be given this information so they would know that this event probably could happen again. Ehresman added, “We could better establish tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPS) to alert soldiers and leaders going out to give a better understanding of the battlefield.”

12:45 PM EST Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ehresman, an intelligence analyst specialist who reviewed all intelligence products produced in the facility where Manning worked, was the first defense witness to take the stand. Manning’s defense attorney, David Coombs, cross-examined him on what was permitted practices for use of executable files, burning information on to a CD-R and accessing information because Manning is charged with exceeding authorized access on his government computer.

11:15 AM EST The defense has moved for a “not guilty” finding on the “aiding the enemy” charge—that he did “knowingly give intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means.” It moved for a “not guilty” finding on charges that he exceeded his authorized access on a government computer. It also moved for a “not guilty” finding on charges that he stole, purloined or knowingly converted a “thing of value” and the charge related to his alleged stealing of a US military global email address list.

11:11AM EST It turns out that the defense wanted to show only 20 minutes of the “Collateral Murder” video, but the government requested that the court view the entire 39 minute version. The video was shown in court for a comparison with David Finkel’s transcript in his book “The Good Soldiers”.  His transcript of the first 20 minutes of the “Collateral Murder” video was entered into evidence.

11:10AM EST  The government has until July 11 to respond to a defense filing of motions for “not guilty” finding for specific charges.

11:04AM EST  The defense played the entire 39 minute “Collateral Murder” video in court. The video feed to the press pool wasn’t working until at a point after the Reuters’ journalists were killed.

original post:

The defense in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who provided United States government documents to WikiLeaks, will begin its case today at Fort Meade in Maryland.

Manning’s defense has filed four motions for a finding of “not guilty” on specific charges, which Manning faces. The government has not responded to these motions. The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, is expected to rule on these days from now.

It is standard for defense attorneys to file motions like this at this point in the process. Those charged face individual violations or “specifications,” which represent individual events or courses of conduct that were in violation of the law or the military code of justice. The defense addresses where it believes the government failed to present evidence on an individual element or “specification.”

The filed motions are required to indicate where the evidence was insufficient. The judge will grant the motions only if the government cannot show that it presented evidence on each element. (She also will not evaluate the credibility of witnesses that testified in the case but will assume all testimony was true and accurate.)

Because this process is likely to take days to play out, the defense will be continuing with its case. Witnesses Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo Bay prison, and Lauren McNamara (or Zachary Antolak), who had web chats with Manning, will be taking the stand.

Other defense witnesses include: CW2 Joshua Ehresman, Cpt. Barclay Keay, Sgt. David Sadtler, Cpt. Steven Lim, Mr. Cassius Hall, Mr. Charles Ganiel and Prof. Yochai Benkler.

Last week, the prosecution rested on July 2. It spent four weeks presenting evidence to show, as Cpt. Joe Morrow said in the prosecution’s opening statement, that this was not a “case about an accidental spill of classified information.” It is “not a case about a few documents left in a barracks.” It is “not a case about a government official who made discrete targeted disclosures of classified information.” It is a case of a “soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then literally dumped that information on the Internet and into the hands of the enemy.” This was material he knew “could put the lives and welfare of his fellow soldiers at risk” because he received military training. (For a report on this, here’s a radio interview I did for Free Speech Radio News with Dorian Merina.

The evidence they presented on “aiding the enemy” in open court was not entirely new. Since January, it had been public that the government would argue because Manning had knowledge that WikiLeaks would publish the information on the Internet he was guilty of helping al Qaeda. But there was no evidence presented at any time to show that any group had ever used the information for the explicit use of launching some kind of an attack on US troops or any diplomatic outposts, etc.

As far as whether WikiLeaks was a website the “enemy” would go to for US government information that was classified, the only evidence was that the information Manning released had been highlighted in a Winter 2010 issue of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine yet that was after the act. The defense intends to show with Benkler that WikiLeaks was not, did not have and still does not have a reputation as a resource for terrorist groups. Therefore, Manning should not have known giving information to WikiLeaks would aid America’s enemies.


There are around 20 reporters in the media center today. The core group that has been here every day, for the most part, is here: Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, Alexa O’Brien, Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network, sketch artist Clark Stoeckley and AP’s David Dishneau.

In addition, The New York Times has decided today might be worthy of covering. The Guardian, The Washington Post, NBC News, AFP, The Los Angeles Times, RT and other outlets are here, as well, to cover the first day of the defense’s case.

Long Island Press recently did a cover story on the Manning case with special focus on the reporters who have been covering it since the beginning. Firedoglake and this reporter, along with editor-in-chief Jane Hamsher, were featured. A video was put together as well:


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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."