*Myself pictured with Daniel Choi on December 18, 2011. Choi was also in attendance at Fort Meade, MD. You can hear him describe the abuse he experienced at Fort Meade, MD on December 19, 2021 on democracynow.org. He was reportedly thrown to the ground, handcuffed, had his rank ripped off his unifom, and was forcibly ejected from the pretrial proceedings.
I sat next to or near Daniel Choi in the courtroom on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I only saw Daniel Choi behaving in a respectful manner during the proceedings or while the court was at recess - both in the gallery or on the premises. The Federal Police Officers began watching the public in attendance more overtly - even hanging around to watch us outside the security perimeter of the courthouse - when Daniel Choi showed up on Saturday.
Unlike Friday all day, and Saturday morning, when Daniel Choi was not in the public gallery, Bradley Manning exited with armed soldiers through the public gallery when recesses were called or at the end of the day.
Starting Saturday afternoon - after Daniel Choi showed up - the public was told to leave the gallery before the guards would even move Bradley Manning, or Bradley Manning was exited through the back.
In fact, after the morning's proceedings on December 18, 2011, I moved to a back row on the defense side of the gallery, and away from Daniel and the others who were talking at a recess. I did this in order to collect myself for the task of transcription.
*Image by Michael Barczynski, artist and occupy participant, who allowed me to publish his sketches of the court proceedings.
These 37 pages of typed transcription were taken by hand, and may contain errors, misspellings of names, and or may be incomplete.
There were around 500 protesters outside the gates of Fort Meade on Saturday, Dec 17, 2011. #Occupy Wall Street had sent down a bus, and there were two bus loads from #Occupy in DC, both Freedom Plaza and McPherson. In addition Veterans for Peace were present at the rally and members of the Bradley Manning Support network. Individuals were represented from all over the country, and even the world.
I arrived at Fort Meade, Maryland at 1:20 p.m. and rushed into the theater just as defense was questioning the day's second witness, Special Agent Calder Robinson's testimony, via telephone from Germany.
After his testimony a recess was called and I conferred with four individuals about the morning's proceedings and the first witness that day, Special Agent Toni Graham.
*The arrow indicates the Federal Officer who escorted me to the courthouse, and told me he was in charge of the event. The picture comes from cryptome.org
I arrived at Fort Meade, Maryland before the Visitor Control Center was open, around 6 am. I drove right up to the vehicle inspection center, and was granted entry after they had me open every door, trunk and hood, and show them my license and registration.
One of the soldiers inspecting my vehicle did not know what I was talking about when I asked him where Bradley Manning's pretrial was being held. Another stepped in and directed me.
Arriving near the courthouse, I saw an MP walking a bomb-sniffing dog through the wooded area behind the courthouse building. A bit later I approached him, and asked him where I needed to be as a member of the public to gain access to Bradley Manning's trial. He said he didn't know. He took my Passport and walked over to an SUV to make a phone call.
Soon after another SUV with four soldiers pulled up and approached me. A female soldier directed me to a theater and told me it would open at 7am.
Metal barricades, like the kind the NYPD use for crowd control, lined the theater and the courthouse, two small one-story western style brick buildings that look like a grammar school and a small town church.
At the theater the barricades were arranged like a gerbil maze, and suggested they expected long lines. I asked a soldier if I could take in pen and paper, he had to check, "because they could be considered a 'recording device'", using his fingers to make air quotes.