Sentencing Phase of Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 5 (Live Updates)

Bradley Manning trial courtroom. Illustration by C. Stoeckley.

6:00 PM EST Here’s a post on the judge’s ruling on merging specifications (or offenses) for findings and sentencing. The potential maximum punishment was reduced. A copy of the ruling can be found embedded in the post as well.

3:30 PM EST We now have been given a copy of the ruling on the defense motion to merge charges as unreasonable multiplication of charges for findings and sentence.

The judge ruled that the following should be treated as pairs for the purpose of sentencing:

—adding unauthorized software (specification 2 of Charge III) with stealing of the “Gitmo Files” (specification 8 of Charge II)

—adding unauthorized software (specification 3 of Charge III) with stealing of “Cablegate” (specification 12 of Charge II)

—stealing of the Iraq War Logs (specification 4 of Charge III) with wrongfully storing classified information (specification 16 of Charge II)

—using an information system other than intended (specification 4 of Charge III) with stealing of the global address list (specification 16 of Charge II)

—stealing of the Iraq War Logs (specification 4 of Charge II) with Espionage Act offense related to Iraq War Logs being provided to WikiLeaks (specification 5 of Charge II)

—stealing of the Afghan War Logs (specification 6 of Charge II) with the Espionage Act offense related to the Afghan War Logs being provided to WikiLeaks (specification 7 of Charge II)

—stealing of the “Gitmo Files” (specification 8 of Charge II) with the Espionage Act offense related to providing “Gitmo Files” to WikiLeaks (specification 9 of Charge II)

—stealing of “Cablegate” (specification 12 of Charge II) with exceeding authorized access on a computer in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (specification 13 of Charge II)

Which altogether means each pair will now carry a maximum punishment and that reduces the maximum punishment Manning faces from 136 years to 90 years.

2:37 PM EST  A copy of the ruling on the defense motions to merge specifications was not given to press, which gets in the way of the ability of the press to report.

A reporter informed the legal expert that the ruling was not up today yet. He replied, “It’s still today.” (So what if we report accurately…)

2:35 PM EST  Transcripts from yesterday are now available. Patrick Kennedy was on the stand. You can find both the morning session and the afternoon session on our Trial Documents page.

2:20 PM EST Col. Julian Chesnutt of the USAF, former defense attaché in Islamabad, took the stand. It was a brief testimony. Now the court is in closed session.

2:00 PM EST  We’re about to resume proceedings. I have a new post up here, covering a discussion on Media coverage and the conditions for journalists at Fort Meade.

11:50 AM EST Major  General. Nagata: relations with Pakistan were not without “problems, difficulties or friction.” However, the Pakistan military and Pakistan government were becoming increasingly aware that the struggle with violent extremist organizations were “becoming an existential threat to the survival of the nation.”

Also, in the summer and fall of 2010, a massive humanitarian crisis occurred as a result of the worst flood the country had ever experiened. “Approximately 20% of the land mass of Pakistan” was “submerged under water.” Nagata commanded humanitarian relief efforts. Over 40,000 Pakistani citizens were recovered. The US military benefited from a “great deal of gratitude and goodwill” earned and this contributed to the “positive trajectory of the military-to-military relationship.”

11:35 PM EST Not that this information is necessarily new information, however, Maj. Gen Nagata describes the “large and robust program” for providing “security assistance” to the Pakistan military. This involves the Army, Air Force, Navy, etc; the vast majority of which were deployed to support counterinsurgency efforts.

A “growing population of US special operations personnel” were brought to Pakistan to provide “direct support” in the Northwest Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border of Afghanistan.

11:30 PM EST Maj. Gen Nagata described being assigned as a deputy commander (of ODRP) at the US Embassy in Islamabad from July 2009 to September 2011. Nagata, who has a background in US special operations, was assigned because of the “growing special operations presence in Pakistan, which the Pakistan military had requested.”

The relationship is “important to national security” because the Pakistan military is combatting the “same violent extremist” enemy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas that NATO and US forces are combatting in Afghanistan. The border is “porous” and “this adversary has the ability to flow across the border” with a “great deal of impunity.” So, anything the US can do to support the Pakistan military’s effectivness is important.

Nagata also stated that Pakistan is a “nuclear armed state” under “significant threat from violent extremist organizations.” The interest remains to secure the state to prevent a connection from being made between terrorist and extremist organizations and the nuclear arsenal. There also is a “long history of armed confrontation between Pakistan and India” and anything that destabilizes the relationship can affect the “US national interest.”

11:21 AM EST  Nagata highlighted how a majority of branches of the US military in Pakistan were supporting COIN ops with the  Pakistan military.

He emphasized that US special ops forces are in Pakistan because Pakistan’s military wants those forces to be there.

11:09 AM EST The judge says that the testimony from Kozak on the “chilling effect” on democracy, and  human rights activists talking to diplomats, is “speculative.”

11:02 AM EST Defense motions for merging offenses for sentencing has been partly granted. The maximum punishment goes from a possible 136 years to 90 years.

10:58 AM EST Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, the former deputy commander of the Office of Defense Representative to Pakistan (ODRP), testifies.

Nagata is now in a closed session describing alleged damage or harm to US-Pakistan relations as result of Manning’s disclosure of cables.

Original Post:

The press pool at the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning has dwindled to seven reporters, but one of them is from a radio station in New York City, WBAI, and has not been here to cover the trial since just over a year ago. Outlets that have been regularly covering the trial are missing in action, despite the fact that one of the biggest military justice cases in American history presses onward.

Witnesses for the government will continue to take the stand today. According to independent journalist Alexa O’Brien’s page, individuals from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) or the wider Pentagon could take the stand today. Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan might take the stand to testify on the offenses related to reports on the May 2009 bombing in the Farah province of Afghanistan that killed over a hundred innocent civilians. But, it will not be known for certain who to expect today until court proceedings begin because the military public affairs is not releasing names of witnesses testifying until they take the stand.

Yesterday, Under Secretary of State of Management, Patrick Kennedy, took the stand. What received most attention from his testimony was what he described as a “chilling effect” that developed after WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables and how that alleged “effect” interfered with “full and frank” discussions between diplomats and non-government officials.

Lost in the headlines was the fact that, when the military judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, asked Kennedy how many had expressed this “feeling” of being “chilled,” Kennedy told her a “relatively small number of people actually expressing it, but more of our colleagues have a sense that dialogue” is not “as full as it was before.” There’s a feeling diplomats are “not getting the kind of exchanges they had before WikiLeaks.”

It is significant that only a “small number” have expressed this “feeling” as getting in the way of their work. That quantifies this rather speculative allegation of a “chilling effect.” (For more on Kennedy’s testimony, go here.)

There was argument over motions yesterday on merging specifications (or offenses) Manning was found guilty of committing. The defense would like Manning to serve any sentence for stealing the Iraq and Afghan War Logs concurrently and any sentence for committing Espionage Act offenses related to communicating the Iraq and Afghan War Logs concurrently. And then they argue the stealing and violations of the Espionage Act were all part of one act and so they should be merged by the judge.

If the defense wins its motions, the maximum punishment Manning faces would go from 136 years to 80 years.


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