Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing: first day.

  1. December 16, 2011 4:03:04 AM EST
  2. Almost 19 months have passed since Intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been arrested in Iraq for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands classified documents to whistleblowing site WikiLeaks. Detention has been harsh, «inhumane» until transfer from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth. More than 500 days without a trial. Until dec. 16, when an article 32 hearing took place at Fort Meade, Maryland.

    Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, called for the recusation of the Army’s investigating officer at the evidentiary hearing. As the New York Times reports,
  3. «Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the investigating officer who works as a Justice Department prosecutor in civilian life, was preventing the defense from calling witnesses to show that little harm was done by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents provided to WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy organization.»

    «“All this stuff has been leaked,” Mr. Coombs said. “A year and a half later, where’s the danger? Where’s the harm?”».

  4.  But the investigating officer refused to recuse himself and the hearing continued:
  5. Judge at #BradleyManning hearing has REJECTED defence request that he recuse himself on grounds of bias. Case will continue
    December 16, 2011 1:48:19 PM EST
  6. Manning is facing the risk of life imprisonment. Alexa O’Brien (@carwinb) and Kim Zetter (@kimzetter) wrote on Twitter what has happened inside the courtroom, describing the situation in details. Several restrictions were in place:
  7. Today, I felt like a witness to history. What an honor and privilege. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 3:43:01 PM EST
  8. 2 rear camera, 6 frontal cameras for stream to theater. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 4:50:57 PM EST
  9. In the courtroom, 50 x 50 room. 4 small pews in gallery at back. (more on that later). #Manning
    December 16, 2011 4:33:18 PM EST
  10. 50 ppl in gallery. 20 media, 30 public. in theater out of 100 seats, 35 I was told. More expect tomorrow, Sunday etc. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 4:57:16 PM EST
  11. Courtroom is small – about 50′ by 50′. Eight pews for spectators, some of them peace activists, other just interested in the legal issues
    December 16, 2011 2:55:16 PM EST
  12. No food or beverages. No electronic or Rec devices. No firearms. No chewing gum. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 6:53:58 AM EST
  13. There is no live tweeting. No recording or electronic devices are allowed in public viewing theater.
    December 16, 2011 6:29:21 AM EST
  14. Soldier told me I will get in. Opens at 7am no one in line. I came back to car to smoke a cigarette. No gum allowed either. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 6:52:24 AM EST
  15. Obviously no smoking. :( #Manning
    December 16, 2011 6:52:49 AM EST
  16. One report says he was taking photo against rules; other report says he was Turkish cameraman who hadn’t registered to cover the hearing
    December 16, 2011 2:51:00 PM EST
  17. Not live tweeting. Just tweeting during recesses – of which there are a lot today. Not allowed to file during sessions.
    December 16, 2011 2:55:47 PM EST
  18. Not allowed to have cell phones, recorders, cameras in Manning media room. Computers okay for taking notes, but no filing during sessions.
    December 16, 2011 3:01:36 PM EST
  19. Have to be escorted everywhere – from media center to courtroom and back. No computers allowed in courtroom. #Manning
    December 16, 2011 3:02:10 PM EST
  20. This is how they describe the Army private, who is turning 24 on dec. 17, when the hearing will begin with witnesses:
  21. The prosecution has 20 witnesses, the defense has 4-5 witnesses in the #Manning case. The hearing begins with witnesses tomorrow.
    December 16, 2011 5:12:18 PM EST
  22. #Manning was seated next to one of his military defense on entering courtroom. He did not engage at all, perhaps on advice.
    December 16, 2011 4:27:24 PM EST
  23. He looked healthy, like he had an exercised upper physique. He only spoke to answer investigating officers answer, “Yes, Sir.” #Manning
    December 16, 2011 4:30:05 PM EST
  24. Manning looks healthy. Sitting in courtroom now chatting w/ one of his attorneys waiting for session to resume.
    December 16, 2011 2:57:09 PM EST
  25. Similar remarks are made by the Washington Post, speaking of a «long-delayed military court case» against Manning:
  26. The article stresses how Manning behaved at the hearing:

    «“Yes, sir,” Manning responded when asked if he understood the charges against him. “No, sir,” he said when questioned if he had any questions about them.»

  27. Family is not showing up, Zetter notes:
  28. Not sure if Manning has any family here today. Haven’t seen his father. He hasn’t turned around to speak with anyone in the courtroom.
    December 16, 2011 3:05:30 PM EST
  29. Camille Elhassani (@celhassani) confirms:
  30. Apparently no #Manning family members at the hearing, but there were some Occupy members there.
    December 16, 2011 3:48:57 PM EST
  31. Most reports talked about one attorney for Manning, Mr. Coombs. Zetter remarks he has three:
  32. Manning has three attorneys – one civilian attorney (David Coombs) and two Army attorneys
    December 16, 2011 3:08:09 PM EST
  33. Kevin Gosztola liveblogged the pre-trial hearing on Firedoglake:
  34. The Guardian did a liveblog too:
  35. The hearing sparked many reactions and comments. To Pj Crawley, the former US Assistant Secretary of State who resigned after saying that Manning was being «mistreated» by the DoD, this is a «vital prosecution»:
  36. John Gerstein, on Politico, notes that Manning’s case amounts to «a legal black hole». And makes many other interesting remarks on the lack of transparency of US authorities, who refused to give the full set of filings from the Army to Politico after the news organisation filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act:
  37. Al Jazeera writes: «The US government has made an example of Bradley Manning to prevent others from challenging the American empire.»
  38. To WikiLeaks supporters, Manning is «a hero»:
  39. Manning will go down as a hero in American history | RT rt.com/news/bradley-mannin… #wikileaks #freebrad
    December 16, 2011 5:43:24 PM EST
  40. The word even appeared at the end of the hearing:
  41. After the hearing adjourned, someone in the audience yelled, “Bradley #Manning you’re a hero.” The man was escorted out.
    December 16, 2011 3:47:42 PM EST
  42. But Manning didn’t respond:
  43. #Manning didn’t respond when the protester burst out in the hearing. He was a Veterans for Peace person.
    December 16, 2011 3:50:15 PM EST
  44. The same thinks famous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers published in 1971. Ellsberg has been interviewed by Democracy Now to update on a rally in support of Manning outside the base where the hearing took place:

  45. Glenn Greenwald, who’s been following the Manning case from it’s early steps, thinks the Army private deserves a medal, not prison:
  46. Some are troubled:
  47. #BradleyManning trial has closed for the day. Day One, and we’ve got nowhere. Hey ho
    December 16, 2011 3:31:35 PM EST
  48. While Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) highlights:
  49. No mention of Bradley #Manning on the ABC news
    December 16, 2011 6:59:00 PM EST
  50. Plus, as the BBC notes, there might be an Assange link:
  51. Manning’s support network has scheduled an International Day of Solidarity on dec. 17. Events are planned all over the world:
  52. Some of the many accounts referring to Anonymous and Lulzsec have a better idea on how to celebrate Manning’s birthday, though:
  53. How to celebrate Bradley Manning’s birthday? By exposing more previously unpublished secret government documents, of course. #antisec
    December 16, 2011 6:06:19 PM EST
  54. How to celebrate Bradley Manning’s birthday? By exposing more previously unpublished secret government documents, of course. #antisec
    December 16, 2011 5:12:18 PM EST
  55. The pre-trial hearing, according to the defence team, is expected to last 5 days.