May 012013
 

There is zero legal or ethical justification for denying a suspect in custody this fundamental right
Guardian
Glenn Grenwald

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Photograph: Reuters

(updated below – Update II [Tues.])

The initial debate over the treatment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev focused on whether he should be advised of his Miranda rights or whether the “public safety exception” justified delaying it. In the wake of news reports that he had been Mirandized and would be charged in a federal court, I credited the Obama DOJ for handling the case reasonably well thus far. As it turns out, though, Tsarnaev wasn’t Mirandized because the DOJ decided he should be. Instead, that happened only because a federal magistrate, on her own, scheduled a hospital-room hearing, interrupted the FBI’s interrogation which had been proceeding at that point for a full 16 hours, and advised him of his right to remain silent and appointed him a lawyer. Since then, Tsarnaev ceased answering the FBI’s questions.

But that controversy was merely about whether he would be advised of his Miranda rights. Now, the Los Angeles Times, almost in passing, reports something which, if true, would be a much more serious violation of core rights than delaying Miranda warnings – namely, that prior to the magistrate’s visit to his hospital room, Tsarnaev had repeatedly asked for a lawyer, but the FBI simply ignored those requests, instead allowing the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group to continue to interrogate him alone:

“Tsarnaev has not answered any questions since he was given a lawyer and told he has the right to remain silent by Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler on Monday, officials said.

“Until that point, Tsarnaev had been responding to the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, including admitting his role in the bombing, authorities said. A senior congressional aide said Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule.”

Delaying Miranda warnings under the “public safety exception” – including under the Obama DOJ’s radically expanded version of it – is one thing. But denying him the right to a lawyer after he repeatedly requests one is another thing entirely: as fundamental a violation of crucial guaranteed rights as can be imagined. As the lawyer bmaz comprehensively details in this excellent post, it is virtually unheard of for the “public safety” exception to be used to deny someone their right to a lawyer as opposed to delaying a Miranda warning (the only cases where this has been accepted were when “the intrusion into the constitutional right to counsel … was so fleeting – in both it was no more than a question or two about a weapon on the premises of a search while the search warrant was actively being executed”). To ignore the repeated requests of someone in police custody for a lawyer, for hours and hours, is just inexcusable and legally baseless.

As law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky explained in the Los Angeles Times last week, the Obama DOJ was already abusing the “public safety” exception by using it to delay Miranda warnings for hours, long after virtually every public official expressly said that there were no more threats to the public safety. As he put it: “this exception does not apply here because there was no emergency threat facing law enforcement.” Indeed, as I documented when this issue first arose, the Obama DOJ already unilaterally expanded this exception far beyond what the Supreme Court previously recognized by simply decreeing (in secret) that terrorism cases justify much greater delays in Mirandizing a suspect for reasons well beyond asking about public safety.

But that debate was merely about whether Tsarnaev would be advised of his rights. This is much more serious: if the LA Times report is true, then it means that the DOJ did not merely fail to advise him of his right to a lawyer but actively blocked him from exercising that right. This is a US citizen arrested for an alleged crime on US soil: there is no justification whatsoever for denying him his repeatedly exercised right to counsel. And there are ample and obvious dangers in letting the government do this. That’s why Marcy Wheeler was arguing from the start that whether Tsarnaev would be promptly presented to a federal court – as both the Constitution and federal law requires – is more important than whether he is quickly Mirandized. Even worse, if the LA Times report is accurate, it means that the Miranda delay as well as the denial of his right to a lawyer would have continued even longer had the federal magistrate not basically barged into the interrogation to advise him of his rights.

I’d like to see more sources for this than a single anonymous Congressional aide, though the LA Times apparently concluded that this source’s report was sufficiently reliable. The problem is that we’re unlikely to get much transparency on this issue because to the extent that national politicians in Washington are complaining about Tsarnaev’s treatment, their concern is that his rights were not abused even further:

“Lawmakers were told Tsarnaev had been questioned for 16 hours over two days. Injured in the throat, he was answering mostly in writing.

“‘For those of us who think the public safety exemption properly applies here, there are legitimate questions about why he was [brought before a judge] when he was,’ said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), a former federal prosecutor who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

“Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the committee, wrote Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for a full investigation of the matter, complaining that the court session ‘cut off a lawful, ongoing FBI interview to collect public safety information.'”

So now the Washington “debate” is going to be whether (a) the Obama DOJ should have defied the efforts of the federal court to ensure Tsarnaev’s rights were protected and instead just violated his rights for even longer than it did, or (b) the Obama DOJ violated his rights for a sufficient amount of time before “allowing” a judge into his hospital room. That it is wrong to take a severely injured 19-year-old US citizen and aggressively interrogate him in the hospital without Miranda rights, without a lawyer, and (if this report is true) actively denying him his repeatedly requested rights, won’t even be part of that debate. As Dean Chemerinsky wrote:

“Throughout American history, whenever there has been a serious threat, people have proposed abridging civil liberties. When that has happened, it has never been shown to have made the country safer. These mistakes should not be repeated. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be investigated, prosecuted and tried in accord with the US Constitution.”

There is no legal or ethical justification for refusing the request for someone in custody to have a lawyer present. If this report is true, what’s most amazing is not that his core rights were so brazenly violated, but that so few people in Washington will care. They’re too busy demanding that his rights should have been violated even further.

UPDATE

In March of last year, the New York Times’ Editorial Page Editor, Andrew Rosenthal – writing under the headline “Liberty and Justice for Non-Muslims” – explained: “it’s rarely acknowledged that the [9/11] attacks have also led to what’s essentially a separate justice system for Muslims.” Even if you’re someone who has decided that you don’t really care about (or will actively support) rights abridgments as long as they are applied to groups or individuals who you think deserve it, these violations always expand beyond their original application. If you cheer when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s right to counsel is denied, then you’re enabling the institutionalization of that violation, and thus ensuring that you have no basis or ability to object when that right is denied to others whom you find more sympathetic (including yourself).

UPDATE II [Tues.]

For those who are still having trouble comprehending the point that objections to rights violations are not grounded in “concern over a murderer” but rather concern over what powers the government can exercise – just as objections to the US torture regime were not grounded in concern for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – perhaps the great American revolutionary Thomas Paine can explain the point, from his 1795 A Dissertation on the First Principles of Government:

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

That’s the same principle that led then-lawyer-and-revolutionary John Adams to vigorously defend five British soldiers (of the hated occupying army) accused of one of the most notorious crimes of the revolutionary period: the 1770 murder of five colonists in Boston as part of the so-called Boston Massacre. As the ACLU explained, no lawyers were willing to represent the soldiers because “of the virulent anti-British sentiment in Boston” and “Adams later wrote that he risked infamy and even death, and incurred much popular suspicion and prejudice.”

Ultimately, Adams called his defense of these soldiers “one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.” That’s because Adams understood what Paine understood: if you permit the government to trample upon the basic rights of those whom you hate, then you’re permitting the government to trample upon those rights in general, for everyone.

This is not a platitude they were invoking but an undeniable historical truth. Governments know that their best opportunity to institutionalize rights violations is when they can most easily manipulate the public into acquiescing to them by stoking public emotions of contempt against the individual target. For the reasons Paine and Adams explained, it is exactly in such cases – when public rage finds its most intense expression – when it is necessary to be most vigilant in defense of those rights. Continue reading »

Apr 252013
 

Willy Loman
Scott Creighton

UPDATE April 24: Boston Bombing: Who Says it Had to be Two Men? Who Says they Had to be Young?

UPDATE April 23rd: Boston Bombing: Newly “Enhanced” Photos of the “Shootout” bring the influence peddlers out on Reddit

You don’t need conspiracy theorists. Just take the Feds at their word and you’ll see it.

If you believe the official story of what happened on April 15th at the finish-line of the Boston Marathon, then you have to know that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent of the charges leveled against him. You cannot avoid it.

According to the new official story (remember the “Bag Men” story that was fed to the New York Post by officials?) Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went down to the finish-line of the Boston marathon carrying bombs in their backpacks and planted them in two locations about a block apart and then hung around and watched the carnage unfold.

They claimed they had video proof of at least one of them, Dzhokhar, dropping his bomb and an eyewitness who saw Tamerlan drop his at the feet of the witness while making eye contact with him and walking away.

They then, according to the story they have video evidence of this, hung around, watched the carnage only to slowly walk away from the scene.

That is the official story. And that story proves Dzhokhar is innocent. And if Dzhokhar is innocent, more than likely, so is Tamerlan. Let me show you why.

 

1. Circumstantial but based on hard evidence

First of all, the Feds have produced neither of the two videos they claim to have showing 1. Dzhokhar planting a bomb and 2. them hanging out watching the aftermath then slowly walking away. In fact, the evidence we have suggests a totally different story. The new story about all of this drops any mention of those two videos down the memory hole.

The second thing to remember is the fact that the FBI pretended to need our help to identify the two men while the entire time their own local field offices had been in steady contact with the boys for at least two years. The FBI has come out since and admitted their involvement with the boys and several congressmen are asking how they “dropped the ball” on this one. The FBI is avoiding answering congress’ questions.

I have found evidence to suggest that they were in fact being handled by an FBI confidential informant and I believe that fact is likely to come out very soon. The congressmen are starting to ask for the FBI’s files on these boys. Family members, even the one trying to help the Feds, suggest that they were being manipulated by “mentors” which is standard operating procedure for the FBI’s domestic terrorism task force. In fact, it appears from the official photos of the boys, they were indeed waiting for quite a while in front of a restaurant in the area to meet someone… someone who told them to be there. Someone who deliberately put them in the wrong place at the right time.

As damning as all of this is, the lies, the connections to the boys, the artifice of not knowing who they were, their being brought there by someone… as damning as it is, it’s primarily circumstantial. Though that is not to say it does not qualify as potential evidence in a court of law, it is not hard physical evidence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s innocence.

Not to worry, the official story itself provides that.

2. Hard evidence

The new narrative is that one of the victims, Jeff Bauman, identified the older brother Tamerlan as being the one who placed his bomb down at Jeff’s feet while making eye contact with him and then he walked away. He said he had a dark ball cap and glasses and that is Tamerlan in the photos.

Honestly, that story is ripe with wrong. Were anyone to do that to you would you just stand there next to the backpack waiting to see what happened? I doubt it. But take him at his word (and remember, the FBI has teams trained to illicit the kinds of witness statements they need). And also remember, they claim this information came to them on Wednesday, while Jeff was still heavily drugged.

But let’s take them at their word. After all, it is their official story and thus the one some of the people in this country accept as the gospel.

Jeff was injured in the first explosion, the one closest to the finish line. Of that there is no question. That means the bag that was dropped there was Tamerlan’s bag. Let’s look at the evidence.

First, their bags respectively – Tamerlan has a darker colored bag while his younger brother is carrying a light grey bag. Also notice the color of Tamerlan’s pants. This will be important later trust me.

bag 13

If you take the FBI’s recounting of Jeff’s statement at face value, then that means
Tamerlan’s bag is this one, from the official evidence of the crime scene:
Continue reading »

Mar 182013
 

Bank-of-Greece

by A.C. Johnson

The EU is demanding that Cypriots dip into their own cash to save the economy of Cypress.  Citizens will be called on to pay for this next bailout by forking over a portion of the money in their bank accounts.  Those citizens with 100,000 euros will pay a 10% tax, those will less will pay between 6-7% tax sucked directly out of their private accounts.

In response to Cypress’s 2012 emergency bailout request,  Shepard Ambellas at Intellihub writes:  “the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank, and the European Commission have now imposed a new surprise tax that will take monies directly from the bank accounts of savers, in what some would say is a mafia style strong-arm maneuver against the best interests of Greek citizens.

“In fact people are flocking to banking institutions and ATM’s like madmen to withdraw as much loot as they can from their accounts as the decision has been made from above.

“The president President, Nicos Anastasiades calls the decision ‘painful’.”

The tax will be imposed tomorrow and people are desperate to withdraw money — only to find cash points empty and withdrawals halted.

This is unprecedented. Those who can invest in hard assets or precious metals, or anything other than fiat money should do so now. If Cypress can’t nip this despicable trend in the bud, it will spread like a cancer throughout the EU and inevitably to the US.

Related: EU Steals Nations Private Bank Accounts: Starts EU Wide Bank Runs

Mar 052013
 

 

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Internment camps for political dissidents in the U.S. aren’t a conspiracy theory. The Department of Defense document entitled “INTERNMENT AND RESETTLEMENT OPERATIONS” or FM 3-39.40 proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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Download link for FM 3-39.40: http://info.publicintelligence.net/US…

Army hiring for these internment camps:
http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-job… Continue reading »

Feb 222013
 
Global Research

Nicola Nasser
palestine (2)

The “unbreakable alliance,” which will be confirmed by the upcoming visit of President Barak Obama to Israel , will disqualify the United States as an honest broker of peace in the Arab – Israeli conflict in Palestine , a Palestinian veteran peace negotiator says.

This “unbreakable alliance” will doom whatever hopes remain during Obama’s visit for the revival of the U.S. – sponsored deadlocked “peace process,” on the resumption of which depends the very survival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ leadership, and explains as well the Palestinian frustration, low expectations, unenthusiastic welcome and the absence of celebrations for their most cherished among world celebrities, in a stark contrast to the euphoria that is sweeping Israel in waiting for what the U.S. and Israeli officials are describing as an “historic” visit.

On February 19, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released the official blue, red and white logo that will be on all documents and signs during Obama’s visit late in March. The logo shows the words “Unbreakable Alliance” written in English and Hebrew under a combined Israeli and U.S. flags.

During his visit, Obama will become the first ever serving U.S. president to receive Israel’s presidential medal to honor the fact that he has “established the closest working military and intelligence relationship with Israel in the country’s history: Joint exercises and training, increased security assistance every year, unprecedented advanced technology transfers, doubling of funding for Israel’s missile defense system, and assistance in funding for the Iron Dome system,” according to Steven L. Spiegel in Huffington Post late last year.

Speaking exclusively to RFI Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian veteran peace negotiator and member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel’s partner in signing the defunct Oslo peace accords, said the first – term Obama administration “have just managed to buy more time for Israel” to “create facts on the (Israeli – occupied Palestinian) ground.”

“Our experience has been really tragic with this American administration,” which “started with such high hopes and tremendous promises,” but “they backed down so quickly it was incredible,” she added, to conclude: “The U.S. has disqualified itself as a peace broker.”

Therefore, “there are no plans to celebrate” Obama’s visit to Ramallah, because “they haven’t forgotten the part he played” in aborting the PLO’s efforts in 2011 to win the United Nations’ recognition of Palestine statehood as a full member and in opposing its UN recognition as a non – member observer state the next year, according to Shlomi Eldar in Al-Monitor on February 14. Still, to make a bad situation worse, Obama will convey the same message to Abbas during his upcoming visit, because “our position has not changed” neither to Palestinian statehood nor to Palestinian national reconciliation according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Olivia Nuland on February 19.

Obama will visit on the backdrop of a two –year old simmering Palestinian – U.S. political crisis, which potentially could explode in the aftermath of his visit.

The U.S. subscription to the UN recognition of Palestinian statehood would establish irrevocably the prerequisite to make or break the only viable “two – state solution” for the almost century – old conflict, because it would confirm the 1967 borders as the basis for such a solution and, consequently, will for sure defuse the time bomb of the Israeli illegal settlement enterprise in the Palestinian occupied territories and pave the way for the resumption of negotiations. However neither Obama nor the U.S. is forthcoming and they continue to “manage” the conflict instead of seriously seeking to solve it.
Continue reading »

Feb 212013
 

That the US is objectively “the greatest country ever to exist” is as irrational as it is destructive, yet it maintains the status of orthodoxy

The Guardian
Glenn Greenwald

A US flag waves within the razor wire-lined compound of Camp Delta prison at Guantánamo Bay in 2006

A US flag waves within the razor wire-lined compound of Camp Delta prison at Guantánamo Bay in 2006.

(updated below)

Last week, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, and the US – the country with the world’s largest stockpile of that weapon and the only one in history to use it – led the condemnation (US allies with large nuclear stockpiles, such as Britain and Israel, vocally joined in). Responding to unnamed commentators who apparently noted this contradiction, National Review’s Charles Cooke voiced these two assertions:

cooke tweetHe followed that with this:

cooke tweetNobody can reasonably dispute that North Korea is governed by a monstrous regime and that it would be better if they lacked a nuclear weapons capability. That isn’t what interests me about this. What interests me here is that highlighted claim: that the US “is the greatest country in world history”, and therefore is entitled to do that which other countries are not.

This declaration always genuinely fascinates me. Note how it’s insufficient to claim the mere mantle of Greatest Country on the Planet. It’s way beyond that: the Greatest Country Ever to Exist in All of Human History (why not The Greatest Ever in All of the Solar Systems?). The very notion that this distinction could be objectively or even meaningfully measured is absurd. But the desire to believe it is so strong, the need to proclaim one’s own unprecedented superiority so compelling, that it’s hardly controversial to say it despite how nonsensical it is. The opposite is true: it has been vested with the status of orthodoxy.

What I’m always so curious about is the thought process behind this formulation. Depending on how you count, there are 179 countries on the planet. The probability that you will happen to be born into The Objectively Greatest One, to the extent there is such a thing, is less than 1%. As the US accounts for roughly 5% of the world’s population, the probability that you will be born into it is 1/20. Those are fairly long odds for the happenstance of being born into the Greatest Country on Earth.

But if you extend the claim to the Greatest Country that Has Ever Existed in All of Human History, then the probability is minute: that you will happen to be born not only into the greatest country on earth, but will be born at the precise historical time when the greatest of all the countries ever to exist is thriving. It’s similar to winning the lottery: something so mathematically improbable that while our intense desire to believe it may lead us on an emotional level wildly to overestimate its likelihood, our rational faculties should tell us that it is unlikely in the extreme and therefore to doubt seriously that it will happen.

Do people who wave the Greatest Country in All of Human History flag engage that thought process at all? I’m asking this genuinely. Given the sheer improbability that it is true, do they search for more likely explanations for why they believe this?

In particular, given that human beings’ perceptions are shaped by the assumptions of their culture and thus have a natural inclination to view their own culture as superior, isn’t it infinitely more likely that people view their society as objectively superior because they’re inculcated from birth in all sorts of overt and subtle ways to believe this rather than because it’s objectively true? It’s akin to those who believe in their own great luck that they just happened to be born into the single religion that is the One True One rather than suspecting that they believe this because they were taught to from birth.

At the very least, the tendency of the human brain to view the world from a self-centered perspective should render suspect any beliefs that affirm the objective superiority of oneself and one’s own group, tribe, nation, etc. The “truths” we’re taught to believe from birth – whether nationalistic, religious, or cultural – should be the ones treated with the greatest skepticism if we continue to embrace them in adulthood, precisely because the probability is so great that we’ve embraced them because we were trained to, or because our subjective influences led us to them, and not because we’ve rationally assessed them to be true (or, as in the case of the British Cooke, what we were taught to believe about western nations closely aligned to our own).

That doesn’t mean that what we’re taught to believe from childhood is wrong or should be presumed erroneous. We may get lucky and be trained from the start to believe what is actually true. That’s possible. But we should at least regard those precepts with great suspicion, to subject them to particularly rigorous scrutiny, especially when it comes to those that teach us to believe in our own objective superiority or that of the group to which we belong. So potent is the subjective prism, especially when it’s implanted in childhood, that I’m always astounded at some people’s certainty of their own objective superiority (“the greatest country in world history”).

It’s certainly true that Americans are justifiably proud of certain nationalistic attributes: class mobility, ethnic diversity, religious freedom, large immigrant populations, life-improving technological discoveries, a commitment to some basic liberties such as free speech and press, historical progress in correcting some of its worst crimes. But all of those virtues are found in equal if not, at this point, greater quantity in numerous other countries. Add to that mix America’s shameful attributes – its historic crimes of land theft, genocide, slavery and racism, its sprawling penal state, the company it keeps on certain human rights abuses, the aggressive attack on Iraq, the creation of a worldwide torture regime, its pervasive support for the world’s worst tyrannies – and it becomes not just untenable, but laughable, to lavish it with that title.

This is more than just an intellectual exercise. This belief in America’s unparalleled greatness has immense impact. It is not hyperbole to say that the sentiment expressed by Cooke is the overarching belief system of the US political and media class, the primary premise shaping political discourse. Politicians of all types routinely recite the same claim, and Cooke’s tweet was quickly re-tweeted by a variety of commentators and self-proclaimed foreign policy experts from across the spectrum.

Note that Cooke did not merely declare America’s superiority, but rather used it to affirm a principle: as a result of its objective superiority, the US has the right to do things that other nations do not. This self-affirming belief – I can do X because I’m Good and you are barred from X because you are Bad – is the universally invoked justification for all aggression. It’s the crux of hypocrisy. And most significantly of all, it is the violent enemy of law: the idea that everyone is bound by the same set of rules and restraints. Continue reading »

Feb 202013
 

Green Left
Duncan Roden

February 23 marks the 1000th day in which alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, 24-year-old US Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning, has been jailed by US authorities without trial.

A pre-trial hearing in January in the case of Manning, concluded that his defence would be restricted to arguing motive during his trial, scheduled for June 3.

Manning has been accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which revealed a wide range of US war crimes, as well as evidence of corruption and lying by a range of governments.

BradleyManning.org said Manning is “accused of releasing the Collateral Murder video, that shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also accused of sharing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and a series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables.

“These documents … illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, along with a number of human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy.

“Given the war crimes exposed, if PFC Bradley Manning was the source for these documents, he should be given a medal of honor.”

The US government, however, responded to the leaked evidence of serious US crimes by charging Manning with several offences, alleging that he “aided the enemy”. Judge Army Colonel Denise Lind’s January 17 ruling, like previous rulings in Manning’s case, remains unavailable to the public. Information can only be gleaned from reporters who were present at the hearings.

Kevin Gosztola, a journalist who has been diligently covering Manning’s case, was present at the hearings. He said the ruling means the defence cannot discuss whether Manning had “good faith” when arguing against charges that he “wrongfully and wantonly cause[d] to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the United States government”.

Nor can the defence use the argument in relation to charges where the government has to prove he had “reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation”.

However, the defence can discuss motive when addressing charges that Manning aided the enemy, to put the case that he did not know passing information to WikiLeaks would constitute “dealing with the enemy”.

It will also be allowed for sentencing, in which case he will have already been found guilty of very serious crimes that carry the potential for life imprisonment, or even potentially the death penalty. The question of motives could, at best, be used only to appeal for leniency in sentencing.

Manning’s defence team hoped to argue that he had the motive to “select information he believed could not be used by the enemy to harm the US”. However, the judge ruled that Manning’s subjective conclusions were “immaterial”.

This means that what Manning believed when carrying out the alleged offences will not be considered, only what is “objective”. As Gosztola points out: “What would an objective person know about classified information that would be kept secret for twenty-five years?”

The ruling also closed off the defence’s attempt at having damage assessment reports allowed in the trial. These are reports conducted by US security agencies that investigated damage caused by the leaked documents.

The reports concluded that there was no or very little harm caused, so the government prosecutors are eager to keep the reports out of the trial. Lind determined that Manning could not have known what measures agencies of government would have taken to mitigate damage so such evidence was not relevant.

These rulings greatly limit the defence’s line of argument. Gosztola described the primary line of defence for Manning as “odd”. Defence will argue that the military let Manning down by not practising good information security and also pointing to Manning’s mental health issues and claiming that the military was derelict in providing care.

This is a “litigious” defence, he says, which isn’t actually aimed at saying Manning is not guilty, but rather trying to get the charges thrown out.

The hearing has also renewed interest in how the final judgement will impact the mainstream press’ publication of the leaks.

Scott Shane in the New York Times quoted an exchange where “Colonel Lind, the judge, asked a prosecutor a hypothetical question: If Private Manning had given the documents to The New York Times rather than to WikiLeaks, would he face the same charges?” The prosecutor answered yes.

The NYT, along with many other mainstream publications, published hundreds of the documents that Manning allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks. The Justice Department continues its investigation into whether WikiLeaks head Julian Assange and his associates can be charged over publishing secret US cables.

Hearings also considered the defence’s charge that Manning’s rights had been violated due to unjustified delay of the trial. If the judge rules in the defence’s favour, there is the potential for the charges to be dropped.

Manning was first jailed on May 27, 2010. The defence put forward examples of when they believed the government had failed to act or acted improperly.

Defence and the judge seemed to agree that there was no case in military justice history that took so long to go to trial. If the defence succeeds in pushing this argument, all the charges against Manning could be dismissed due to the speedy trial violations. Lind is due to make her ruling before the next hearing begins on February 26.

Meanwhile, Manning languishes in solitary confinement in Fort Levenworth, Kansas. The Bradley Manning Support Network reports events are being planned around the world, including the US, Germany, Canada, Britain and Italy on February 23, to mark Manning’s 1000th day of jail.

[For more information, visit www.bradleymanning.org.] Continue reading »