Bradley Manning Hearing Begins

Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused of aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act by leaking the Wikileaks documents and other material, is finally getting a hearing in military court.

Firedoglake has bloggers in the overflow media center. They can't post while court is in session, but are posting during recesses with a running live blog. The Guardian also has a running live-blog. [More...]

What's happened so far (via BBC): Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, asked the investigative hearing officer (he's the judge) to recuse himself. Combs questioned his bias since he's a current civilian prosecutor for DOJ and DOJ has a pending investigation into Wikileaks. The military prosecutors asked to present 20 witnesses, the defense asked to produce 38. The judge approved all 20 prosecution witnesses but only 2 for the defense.

The hearing, which is like a preliminary hearing in civilian court, is to determine whether Manning must stand trial, is expected to last a week.

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    I haven't commented (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sj on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 01:33:14 PM EST
    But I am trying to get information so thank you for posting.

    What were the reasons for denying 36 out of 38 witnesses?  And in general, who were they?

    I suspect it has something to do (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 03:26:39 PM EST
    with the fact that some of them served with him in Iraq.  When Wired put up the conversations with Lamo I couldn't believe how badly Manning was speaking about Intel being secured.  He also spoke of his supervisors being more concerned about their sexual relationships with their coworkers than what was going on....lots of fighting and drama, and uhhh, his superiors weren't securing $hit while they were all sleeping with each other!  Two huge violations all wrapped up together.

    My husband started out doing exactly what Manning did.  It wasn't what he wanted for himself so he put in a packet for WOC school and moved out quickly, but it was where the Army wanted him to be based on his test scores.

    I bookmarked the Lamo/Manning conversations for him to read and it seems to me that it was all as bad as I thought it was.  My husband kept saying over and over again as he read it Holy $hit, Holy $hit, Holy $hit.  I can't remember the name of one of the specific systems that Manning explained was supposed to be secured but wasn't really.....but it was HUGE that it could even be wide open to all like that.  He shouldn't even have had access to it himself, but he did.  And it sounded like anyone serving with him did, however many whoever that may have been rolling in and out and in and out of there.


    Yeah, that's what stuns me.... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:32:28 PM EST
    " He shouldn't even have had access to it himself, but he did."

    How important was the intel when someone so inexperienced, and so low ranked, and so poorly vetted, had unfettered access to it?

    40 years ago I had a security rating (fairly low on the totem pole) and, yet, compared to what Manning apparently was required to pass, was equivalent to those holding ICBM launch sequence codes.

    Something is nuts here.


    I'm sure they will want to keep as much (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:14:37 PM EST
    of all that out of this hearing that they can.  It could make the evidence against Manning look too shaky if anyone and their dog could have walked out of there unfettered with what he is accused of leaking.

    Such a black eye on the intel community.  It was shameful reading those logs.  He was just a kid, in an extremely stressful job, with no leadership that he trusted or who gave a rip about him.  All too busy doinking and bickering about doinking.  This had better have destroyed careers because it destroyed his life.

    My husband takes being a leader and mentoring very seriously.  So do so many of his peers.  They would never leave a kid in a war zone struggling the way that kid so so obviously was.  I read those logs and it broke my heart.  He was let down and abandoned by his leaders.  I hope they are so ashamed of themselves today they can hardly stand themselves.


    This is not a hearing on Manning (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 07:29:47 PM EST
    and if it results in a trial it will not be a trial of Bradley Manning.

    It will be a trial of the US Government, of the Administration, of the Pentagon, and of of the US Justice System.

    Only from the far side of the looking glass could it be considered a trial of Bradley Manning.


    True, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sj on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:48:02 PM EST
    but he is the one that will pay.

    He is? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:51:11 PM EST
    It looks to me that the whole country is paying....

    ::sigh:: (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by sj on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:37:40 PM EST
    Well, there's that...

    there's a really weird vid on Boing Boing (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 05:26:30 AM EST
    regarding Manning and the guy who supposedly turned him in.

    Sorry, I can't get the link working, but just look up BB and scroll about 5 stories down.

    weird, but interesting, love to get some opinions


    A huge sadness (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:42:20 AM EST
    I don't see how he won't die at this point before he ever really lived.  I don't know that they will execute him, but I don't think he'll ever see the light of day.  He had spoke to a counselor too.  People knew the sort of stresses he was under.  His command wasn't exactly straight either, but I guess it just wasn't their problem.  It wasn't okay for him to be gay yet either though and need people, and he had no support system.

    Soldiers have breakups all the time and in those situations the command watches them closely, spends extra time with them.  When my husband was very very young and in Korea, his wife cheated on him and then as well had decided she wanted to be with the other guy.  He said he tried to isolate.  Would sit in his room alone and cry, but the chaplain and those senior would keep coming to get him.  Take him to get something to eat.  He was not abandoned.  If you were gay in the military then though, nobody was coming to get you.


    He also had gender conflicts (none / 0) (#14)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 07:57:16 AM EST
    He claims to have dressed in female clothes and suffered some pretty damaging humiliations.

    Guy needs help, not torture


    He seemed to have his gender needs (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 08:08:31 AM EST
    compartmentalized though.  He had placed them in the "when I get home box", and that happens to all of them because their lives aren't their own when they are deployed.  They at least all share that.

    If things had been different for gays he would have found a lot more support though I think.  And gender identity issues are big, but I would think that judging from some of the gay parades we've all seen, he wouldn't have been in Siberia alone if he'd just had someone to talk to who gave a $hit about him as a person.  There is no guarantee of that though.  My husband went to a farewell yesterday where the Chaplain said during private conversation that he listened to Rush all the time.  My poor husband was shocked that any Chaplain would consider Rush someone to study with and he told him so.  He told him that Rush taught so much hate and dehumanization and thought it was okay to insult so many people daily that he couldn't believe a Chaplain would listen to Rush.  I love my husband :)


    Would you consult Limbaugh (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:11:10 AM EST
     in diagnosing, and treating, a stage 4 cancer? And, yet, with an Exxon Logo tattooed on his sweaty forehead  his proclaiming the settled science of climate change a hoax is taken as gospel by millions.

    And so, with my absolute belief that no one capable of negotiating a 350 million dollar contract for himself can be deemed stupid, it leaves only one conclusion: the man is a traitor to the people of America.


    The judge did not recuse himself (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:06:39 PM EST
    As to what's next, the Guardian reported:

    If Lt Col Paul Almanza does not recuse himself, the defence has indicated that it will file a writ with the army court of criminal appeals, the legal expert said. At that point the presiding office will face a choice of either continuing with the preliminary hearing while awaiting the appeal verdict, or halting proceedings until the ruling comes down.

    Who determines, and how (none / 0) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:43:39 PM EST
    do they determine if a defendant  can even have a fair hearing with all those exclusions?

    I assume that's the basis of the "writ," but the mere fact that an appeal has to be filed is troubling. Or, put another way, were they actually going to go forward allowing Manning only two witnesses? And, assuming, "yes,"  were they de facto claiming the hearing would be "fair?"


    a better link (none / 0) (#2)
    by sj on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 02:45:25 PM EST
    h/t Firedoglake.  It has more info than FDL's live blog also.  According to this report the defence witness count was 46 out of 48 witnesses denied.