Clark Stoeckley, Court Sketch Artist & WikiLeaks Truck Driver, on Being Banned From Manning’s Trial

Clark Stoeckley, court sketch artist & WikiLeaks Truck driver

Note: Firedoglake has been relying on Clark Stoeckley’s courtroom sketches in its coverage of Bradley Manning’s court martial.

The courtroom sketch artist and activist, who had been driving the WikiLeaks Truck on to Fort Meade just about every day of court proceedings in Bradley Manning’s court martial, was banned from the military base on July 26.

It was the day of the defense’s closing argument and Clark Stoeckley did not want to upstage the defense by trying to grab headlines with his side of the story on what happened, but that day Stoeckley was escorted after being told he was banned by the garrison commander because he had sent out what had been perceived as threatening tweets.

Stoeckley described how he had walked back into the courtroom when a paralegal officer pulled him aside and walked to a location near the courtroom, where had never been before. Essentially, he said it was where Manning goes every time he is taken out of court.

The paralegal officer told him he had been banned from the trial and was losing his credentials. That day Stoeckley had worn a “Free Bradley Manning” t-shirt. He thought this might be why he was being banned because he was wearing it in the jury box with other press. But, it turned out it was because he had included the location of the hotel where military prosecutors are staying in tweets he sent out the previous night.

Stoeckley told Firedoglake he did not know the location for certain, but, based on information he heard through a chain of sources, he felt like calling attention to the fact that this might be the hotel where the prosecutors were staying. He asked the paralegal officer if he was confirming the prosecutors were staying in this hotel by banning him. The paralegal officer made a face at him but said nothing verbally in response.

A military public affairs car drove Stoeckley to get what he had left in the courtroom, to retrieve his phone from a van that had brought him over to the courtroom originally and then he was driven to the media center where military police officers were waiting to escort him off base.

One of the officers working for public affairs came out of the media center with Stoeckley’s computer and other belongings. This officer told Stoeckley he would be taken off base and there was nothing they could do about this. This was a court decision.

A police car followed him as he drove his WikiLeaks Truck from the media center off base for the last time during Manning’s court martial. [cont’d.]

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