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Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 17 (Live Updates)

Bradley Manning defense team. Image by Clark Stoeckley.

1:00 PM EST Professor Benkler observed that Deense. Secretary Gates’ statement response was “overwrought”. Gates is seen as important, which shows that someone in the administration saw the response as “implausible”.

12:56 PM EST Professor Benkler highlighted how news organizations had incorrectly reported that WikiLeaks had dumped 260,000 diplomatic cables. Benkler stated that “WikiLeaks played a critical role of that critical component of what muckraking and investigative journalism have always done.”

The coverage by journalists attending the Manning trial today will reflect whether they and their respective organizations understand evolving journalism.

12:52 PM EST The government objected, but the judge overruled and has allowed Prof. Benkler to testify on the US government reaction to the WikiLeaks releases from Manning. Coombs noted that the “actual release was wrongful and he (Manning) has accepted responsibility for that, but the release was not wanton.”

12:42 PM EST Professor Yochai Benkler has been the best thing ever for Manning’s defense thus far. His testimony, in general, could be the difference between whether Manning is convicted of the “aiding the enemy” charge or not.

11:36 AM EST The government is claiming that there is no evidence that Manning knew any of the information Benkler is giving in his testimony today about WikiLeaks being a legitimate journalistic organization.

11:34 AM EST Defense lawyer David Coombs says that the government’s whole argument seems to be premised on creating the idea that WikiLeaks a ‘bad’ organization and that Julian Assange is a ‘bad’ person. He continues by arguing that the idea of WikiLeaks not being a journalistic organization was only advanced after the information that Manning is charged with disclosing began to be published. The government has tried to portray WikiLeaks as an organization that would give information to the enemy, not a journalistic organization.

11:29 AM EST The government objected to the defense questioning Benkler on how WikiLeaks was viewed after it began to release the information that Manning is charged with disclosing. The defense said it is relevant. The government says that by giving info to WikiLeaks, Manning was giving intelligence to the enemy. The judge overrules the government objection; sees relevance on the type of journalistic organization it is as being relevant to whether it is reckless.

11:27 AM EST Prof. Benkler presents the judge with a history of WikiLeaks as a media organization; -what it released and how it was regarded favorably.

11:20 AM EST It is well-known that the government entered evidence that Osama bin Laden sought WikiLeaks documents. But until today it was unknown why. Apparently, in the stipulated evidence that was entered as fact, bin Laden asked for it because US government officials were describing the WikiLeaks organization as a website that was publishing material that could help America’s enemies. So, naturally, bin Laden wanted to see what this was about so he could confirm if this was material worth knowing to attack the United States.

The implication of this is that if the US government had not hyped the organization up as some group, whose acts of publishing could aid terrorists, bin Laden would never have been interested in the material Manning has taken responsibility for disclosing.

11:15 AM EST Professor Yochai Benkler of Harvard University was successfully qualified as an expert on the networked Fourth Estate. He is giving testimony on how WikiLeaks fits into the networked Fourth Estate and is, in fact, a legitimate journalistic organization and not a site the “enemy” would go to for US Government information.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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