David Coombs delivers the closing arguments for the defense. Pic by C. Stoeckley.

11:07 AM EST “The government gave a diatribe yesterday, and a lot of it was not based in fact.”

11:00 AM EST Coombs played three clips from the “Collateral Murder” video and described what Manning would’ve been thinking when he saw 9 civilians killed.

10:57 AM EST The defense’s  closing argument focuses on the “child logic” and inconsistencies of the government’s case. David Coombs accuses the government of creating a fictitious story to fit the charges.

Original Post:

The defense for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier on trial for releasing United States government information to WikiLeaks, will deliver its closing argument today.

The closing argument is expected to last at least two hours and will follow a closing argument by the prosecution that was nearly five hours yesterday. Yesterday, Manning’s civilian defense attorney, David Coombs, told Manning supporters in attendance to attend today’s proceedings if they wanted to hear the truth.

The government spent a good part of their closing argument demonizing Manning. He was described as an “anarchist,” “hacker,” and, for the first time in the court martial, a military prosecutor used the word “traitor” when arguing what Manning had done.

Military prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein outlined what the government considered to be evidence Manning was “aiding the enemy.” He went through each piece of information Manning is charged with disclosing without authorization and described how that disclosure constituted an offense of stealing, exceeding authorized access on his computer, and wantonly causing to be published intelligence to the enemy. [Reports from yesterday can be read here and here. My Live Updates post of Thursday’s proceedings are here.]

Now, as has been typical during the court martial, media access or press freedom became a part of the story. The judge issued an order to have military police in the media center. A checkpoint was set up to screen the reporters to ensure that electronic devices that could be used to record proceedings and personal hotspot devices did not enter the media center.

Armed military police officers patrolled the aisles and walked behind reporters trying to cover the trial yesterday. Although the internet was very unreliable and not working for most of the morning and early afternoon, the military police were still leaning over shoulders of reporters to see what was on their screens.

I was told by a military police officer to not have Twitter open at all in the morning. That was not a warning to stop sending messages on Twitter. It was a warning to just not have any window up that might make it look like I was considering sending messages on Twitter.

Later in the afternoon, I was told by a military police officer not to have any windows open at all. I told him I was not doing anything. In typical police fashion, he said he was not going to discuss it with me here, but if I wanted to have a discussion, we could take this outside. I had nothing to explain. I signed no rules requiring me to not have windows open on my computer. I also do not have to make his job easier by having them closed. [cont’d]

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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