USG SEEKS TO BLOCK WHISTLEBLOWER DEFENCE: BRAD BACK IN COURT 8th JAN
STAND WITH BRAD:
at: US EMBASSY, GROSVENOR SQUARE, LONDON W1:
on: TUESDAY 8TH JAN, 2PM
Come and show solidarity with Brad on Tuesday along with VFPUK and others, as he appears in court for his next pretrial hearing –Tues 8th Jan to Friday 11th Jan.
This is expected to deal primarily with the Govt motion to exclude motive.
As previously, the entire soundtrack of the important Collateral Murder video will be played at the US Embassy as supporters stand in solidarity with Brad.
Focusing again, in this place and at this time, on the shocking video that more than anything else came to symbolise the what and why of WikiLeaks and the need for courageous whistleblowers like Bradley Manning, combines at least four objectives
As we stand facing the Eagle, we are telling the powers perpetuating this ‘asymmetric warfare’ that we have not forgotten the things that have been revealed to us, the things that they hoped to keep under wraps: we will still out lies.
We are showing our respect and gratitude by standing in solidarity with Brad, the one now in the dock for standing for truth and justice, and reminding the authorities that we oppose their persecution of him.
We are bringing the issues into the public arena by taking a stand in a public place, and raising awareness.
And we are reminding ourselves of what matters, taking time out of our perpetual busyness to stop and focus, to remember, and to think about who we are and what we stand for. This is a meditation that all who seek change can ill do without.
This (or something different) is a repeated gathering usually on one of the days Brad is in court for each hearing, and usually at the US EMBASSY LONDON when supporters in the US are gathering at FORT MEADE – check the court diary below to be aware of likely dates, and watch out for advance notices of day and time. Join our email lists for planning or notifications! You can also check Upcoming Events. And on BMSN all intl. events here.
This hearing is listed as being for
‘Judicial notice motions and Defense witness litigation’,
give us a ruling on the Defence motion, argued at the last extraordinary hearing in December, to dismiss charges based on ‘unlawful pretrial punishment’,
and is expected to
deal with the prosecution’s motion to exclude motive evidence from the trial.
SOME BACKGROUND TO THIS HEARING
(some of which is from the latest news letter from Bradley Manning Support Network)
Bradley Manning returns to court next week, January 8-11, 2013, for another pretrial hearing. Judge Lind may rule on the defence motion to dismiss charges based on unlawful pretrial punishment, and prosecutors are arguing their motion to exclude motive.
Government prosecutors are due to argue their motion to block any reference of Bradley Manning’s whistle-blower motives from the ‘merits’ portion of his trial (NOTE ie they aren’t discussing whether it should be taken into account re. sentencing, just in the arguing of guilt or innocence of charged offences).
EXCLUDING MOTIVE SIMILAR TO EXCLUDING WHETHER THERE WAS ‘HARM’
please note *corrections* in this section – apologies misunderstanding
This is similar to the Govt’s motion to exclude the issue of ‘harm done’, or rather, as the defence would argue, the lack of harm done, which was previously argued in court [NOTE: it was previously argued but doesn’t seem to have been ruled on, so the *following statement* probably incorrect] *and which Judge Lind has ruled on (she accepted the govt’s motion, but with provisos)*. Again this doesn’t apply to sentencing (ie it may be taken into account for sentencing).
And this is where the ‘Judicial Notice’ part of this hearing comes in. [NOTE: No, it doesn’t! All the Judicial Notice requests were, in fact, from the prosecution not the defence, and thus the *two paras* at the end of this section also incorrect]
Judicial Notice is the acceptance by the court of something as a fact (eg because it is generally ‘known’ or well attested to) without the need to produce evidence for it.
following *two paras* incorrect
*David Coombs is expected to be pushing further on the ‘harm’ issue by seeking Judicial Notice of various damage assessments/statements etc which show that no (or little) harm has been done by the WikiLeaks disclosures Brad is accused of leaking. This means they can then be referred to in court without their existence/substance being disputed.
Presumably, perhaps as a spin off, this is also useful in that it means these damage assessments/statements etc are raised yet again in court (ie at this hearing) and everyone (including the judge, who, you remember, Brad has elected to be tried by rather than the panel or jury option) once again has their attention drawn to the lack of harm aspect of the case that the defence is wanting to highlight. It familiarises the judge (and everyone else) with the abundant evidence that shows the leaks have not been harmful.*
that’s the end of corrections
MOTIVE IS CRUCIAL TO BRAD’S DEFENCE CASE
If the prosecution motion to exclude motive is granted by military judge Col. Denise Lind, it will make it difficult for the defense to show that Bradley Manning released documents to uncover crimes and abuse and to better inform the American public. As Bradley’s lawyer David Coombs said, it could
“cut Bradley’s defense at its knees”.
In November 2012, Jeff Paterson wrote about Bradley’s plea offer made to the court in which he offered to take responsibility for releasing some of the documents, in a piece he titled:
‘Analysis: Bradley Manning accepts responsibility for act of conscience’
He surmised that this offer was preparing the ground for a ‘whistleblower defence’,
Manning needed to accept responsibility, so that he could move forward with his defense as a whistle-blower, ahead of the …..start of his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland.
and said that the offer meant Brad was then
free to explain how he was trying to do the right thing, expecting nothing in return, while sitting in that dark bunker at Forward Operating Base Hammer.
The article also reminded us that the ‘whistleblower defence’ had been on the cards from the beginning:
At the conclusion of the “Article 32” pre-trial investigative hearing back in December 2011, Manning’s attorney David Coombs explained that his goal was to show the court “why things happened, while the government was only interested in what happened.”
The outcome of this 8th to 11th Jan hearing is therefore likely to be critical to the development of the defence case, and how the case in general proceeds at trial.
Anyone with half an eye on the case can see that, most especially in this instance (and other ‘whistleblower’ cases), the absolute crux of it is ‘why things happened’, and the trial is a ludicrous sham (as others have been) without this at its heart.
Nevertheless, it is apparently the driving policy of the Obama administration in these cases to totally blank out any whistleblowing aspect of these obvious acts of conscience, and there will be enormous pressure to avoid this being a case where motive is openly seen as key.
Again, however, even if the judge technically accepts the prosecution motion to exclude motive, the arguments will presumably mean that the issue has been substantially raised in court, and the information can at least be used by the judge in sentencing.
Interestingly, David Coombs has asserted that Brad will get more justice from the military court than he would in a civilian court, and seeing how some cases have gone recently in civvy street, has he got a point?
WILL WE ALSO GET A RULING ON THE ‘UNLAWFUL PRETRIAL PUNISHMENT’?
It is also possible that Judge Lind will rule on the defense motion to dismiss charges based on the abusive and unlawful pretrial treatment Bradley Manning endured at the Quantico Marine brig prison. PFC Manning was kept in solitary confinement for over nine months, against the consistent recommendations of brig psychiatrists.
If Judge Lind finds that this treatment was intentionally punitive, she could throw out the charges against PFC Manning, or she could award him multiplied credit for sentencing, possibly as much as ten days credit for every day spent in solitary confinement.
TAKE ACTION! BE CREATIVE!
Bradley Manning’s court-martial trial is currently scheduled to begin March 6, 2013. This gives us two months to ramp up our efforts. Help us pressure the government and military to do the right thing: FREE BRADLEY MANNING!
We are asking supporters to take action to highlight Bradley’s case during the proceeding court dates, especially for the rest of the important ‘speedy trial’ motion hearing, which is expected to continue 16th -18th Jan, and leading up to and at the start of trial, expected in early or mid March.
WE DON’T ALL HAVE TO STRIP OFF: BUT WHAT A GREAT PHOTO!
New and inventive ways of drawing attention to the issues are sought especially at this stage! Creativity in taking a variety of actions is likely to have greater impact as we draw near to the trial and it would be good to try to keep up the momentum and maintain the increased level of interest shown throughout Brad’s ‘unlawful pretrial hearing’ motion.
Do something visually striking wherever you are and take photos – even if it’s just you! Organise an event, meeting, film evening (there are several good options), discussion, and if you need speakers, let us know. Please get in touch – email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up to one of our email discussion/info lists and join (or start) the conversation!
If you have ideas for relevant banners/placards/actions etc but don’t want to/don’t have the resources to create them yourself, let us know what you’re thinking so we can help. And if you have resources, skills etc that you would be prepared to contribute, please say.
Bradley Manning Support Network have just published a ‘timeline of events’ from back when Brad first joined the Army in 2007 up to date (and then projected through to the trial). So, this should serve as a memory jogger for the twists and turns of this amazing and historic case, and also be a good source of inspiration for topical actions!
DEFENCE MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF A SPEEDY TRIAL
Following next week’s hearing, PFC Manning is then scheduled to return to Fort Meade on January 16 and 17 for the continuation of the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges for lack of a speedy trial.
NEARLY 1000 DAYS
Just to underline the pertinence of this motion; when it is argued, PFC Manning will have been awaiting trial in prison for nearly 1,000 days. Clearly, by no stretch of the imagination is this ‘speedy’, yet that is what the military is supposed to guarantee any soldier facing court martial. The time from arrest to arraignment, for instance, should not exceed 120 days, and in Brad’s case it was 635…..
AND NOW, HERE IS THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING –
DUH, WHY?? Well, because David Coombs wrote on his blog:
PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010. As of the date of the filing of this motion, PFC Manning had been in pretrial confinement for 845 days.
To put this amount of time into perspecive, it took only 410 days to construct the Empire State Building. By the time the Government actually brings PFC Manning to trial….. the Empire State Building could have been constructed almost three times over. ………
the Defense will argue that the military judge should dismiss this case with prejudice due to the Government’s abject failure to honor PFC Manning’s fundamental speedy trial rights.
SPEEDY TRIAL LITIGATION COULD WIN SIGNIFICANT GROUND FOR BRAD
This is therefore another critical hearing when significant gains could be won for Brad, as the defence has argued that the exceptional amount of time Brad has had to wait for trial has almost all been caused by totally unacceptable delays.
In connection with this David Coombs has just published another redacted defence document – ‘a defence reply to a govt response to defence speedy trial motion’ from October 2012. And the original motion (19th Sept) can be read here. At a hearing on the 7th and 8th November 2012, we heard witnesses for the govt opposing this motion; with skillful cross questioning David Coombs brought out that not only did the prosecution have no good reason for requesting most of the delays, but that the convening authority (who can give permission for delays which then won’t ‘count’ towards the 120), was extraordinary lax in regulating these delays.
On the 16th and 17th January we should hear the defence witnesses.
TWO MORE MONTHS TO MAKE SURE THEY KNOW HOW WE FEEL
There are only a couple more months to make our voices heard for Justice in this landmark case – let’s make them count in any way we can, either together or as individuals.
NOTE:Thanks again to CLARK STOECKLEY for court room illustrations and ERIC BOWERS for ‘Truth is a Duty’ placard photo
LATEST COURT DIARY STANDS AS FOLLOWS:
8-11 January 2013: Judicial notice motions and Defense witness litigation, litigation of Govt Motion to exclude motive from merits, possible rulings
16-17 January 2013: continuation of Defense Motion to Dismiss for Lack of a Speedy Trial
5-8 February 2013: Providence inquiry and “Grunden” issues (re. what portions of the trial will be closed to the public due to the government’s security concerns);
27 February – 1 March 2013: Grunden issues continued (re. what portions of the trial will be closed to the public due to the government’s security concerns)
6 March – 17 April 2013: Trial (18 March 2013: Current alternate trial start date)
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