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Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 16 (Live Updates)

Col. Morris Davis Image by C. Stoeckley.

6:05 PM EST Full report on defense motion for a finding of “not guilty” on the “aiding the enemy” charge here.

6:00 PM EST Recess for the night. The government and defense, after long recess, decided to sit down and go over information defense security expert Charles Ganiel reviewed—the charged diplomatic cables.

The information is classified. It will be entered into evidence. The public will probably not hear it presented in court but the information will be compared to open source information.

5:55 PM EST The cell phone found in the court room belonged to the wife of David Coombs. Coombs jokingly suggested his wife be arrested. Everyone in gallery had a laugh and the court was back in session soon after.

4:29 PM EST  Defense security expert Charles Ganiel reviewed the charged diplomatic cables. He is testifying right now. Mr. Ganiel “felt a lot of information was already in the public domain by doing my research” on the charged cables.

Nathan Fuller: Ganiel found that all but 2 of the cables had correlating information in available open sourced material. @nathanLfuller

3:44 PM EST  A court security officer says that someone in the gallery has a cell phone. Judge puts court into recess to “figure this out”.

2:26PM EST  It is possible that Moazzam Begg is the GITMO detainee released in January 2005 whose detainee assessment the government has charged Manning with releasing.

2:15 PM EST Mr. Cassius Hall, US Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) reviewed 102 charged SIGACTs or “war logs.” He testified that he found that 60 of the charged military incident reports had open source information in them. He did not find anything too detailed that was public but he also said SIGACTs weren’t generally too detailed anyways.

The reports just said if someone was, for example, killed in action or wounded in action. He mentioned that this kind of information could be in Defense Department press releases.

1:10 PM EST Defense’s motion to dismiss the “aiding the enemy” charge: Government has failed to adduce evidence, which, together with all reasonable inferences and applicable presumptions, shows that PFC Manning had “actual knowledge” that by giving information to WikiLeaks, he was giving information to an enemy of the United States.”

12:55 PM EST Col. Morris Davis has said multiple times that detainee assessments were referred to as “baseball cards.” Well, the government decided to literally compare them to show how they were different. Cpt. Joe Morrow listed off how actual baseball cards have player’s name, picture, position, team, height, weight, when born, batting average, other statistics, when they entered the Major League, where they played in the Minor League, maybe a factoid, etc.

Detainee assessments have aliases that are not public. They have estimates of birth dates, circumstances of capture, where they were captured, who they were captured with, which Morrow said was “kind of like their teammates.”

Davis said to this comparison, “I didn’t coin the term ‘baseball cards.'” But Morrow kept going saying known affiliations to terrorist groups could be like the team they played for. Information about the detainee receiving training at a camp and being picked for a mission could be like they were “picked for an all-star team.”

Anyways, he arrived at this point: “Baseball cards” sort of a bad analogy.

12:50 PM EST What we know about the 5 detainee assessments that Manning is charged with releasing and who these detainees are: one of the Guantanamo detainee assessments charged is for a detainee who was the subject of a major Supreme Court decision. It was one of the first important decisions and involved habeas rights. It was, based off this information, probably Yaser Esam Hamdi or it could be Shafiq Rasul.

Four of the detainees, whose assessments are charged, were transferred before Col. Morris Davis became chief Guantanamo prosecutor in August 2005. One of these four detainees was released in January 2005. Only one of the detainee assessments charged is for a detainee still imprisoned at Guantanamo. He is cleared for transfer to a country that is classified.

12:35 PM EST David Coombs of the defense argued that if the government had not taken steps to secure or protect information—particularly the detainee assessment briefs, which contain information that is publicly available—the fact that information is public would be relevant to whether it was “closely held.”

By “closely held,” that means whether the government actually took steps to prevent the information from being disclosed or to respond to the information’s release when it did become public to protect individuals, etc.

Coombs said this because the government objects to admitting Col. Morris Davis’ comparison of open source material or publicly available information to the contents of the detainee assessments.

12:25 PM EST The defense moved to enter into evidence the documents Col. Morris Davis used for his review of the detainee assessment briefs so the judge could do a comparison and see “verbatim word for word of what is in open source material.” The government asked to review the binders of information with highlights before deciding whether to formally object to their admission in court.

Cpt. Joe Morrow of the government added that the government would object the information not officially released by the government but in the public domain would not be relevant to the Espionage Act offense. He added that only government information that was “lawfully available” would contribute and be relevant to the defense over whether information disclosed did relate to “national defense information.” But, the judge asked the government to look at another of her instructions: she is to consider whether disclosure would be potentially damaging to the United States.

On this, Morrow mentioned there’s a court filing in a case that was released this morning relevant to this issue. The case, the press pool figured out, is the Stephen Jin-Woo Kim case, the case of the former State Department employee accused releasing classified information on North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen. That ruling is under seal. How is it prosecutors in the Manning case can have access to this ruling?

12:20 PM EST Col. Morris Davis went through and highlighted portions of 5 detainee assessments that Manning is charged with releasing to show where he had found publicly available information. He looked at Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) filings, which were setup to assess whether a detainee was an “enemy combatant” or not. He looked at filings f rom Administrative Review Boards (ARB). He also reviewed Andy Worthington’s book, The Guantanamo Files, and the film directed by Michael Winterbottom, Road to Guantanamo.

12:15 PM EST Retired Colonel Morris Davis returned to the witness stand this morning. Qualified as an expert on Guantanamo detainee policy and information used in their detention, the defense had him go over the process he undertook to review the 5 detainee assessment briefs that Manning is charged with releasing to WikiLeaks without authorization in violation of the Espionage Act.

The detainee assessment briefs were released by WikiLeaks in April 2011 as the “Gitmo Files.”


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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."