Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing began at 9:00 AM on Friday, December 16 and it is expected to continue until December 23. It must be noted that this is not a trial but a hearing to decide whether or not there are reasonable grounds to charge PFC Manning and continue with a court-martial hearing. That being said, there will be no “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict at the end of these hearings. Journalists who were allowed to sit in on the hearings were warned of “regular blackouts” while the court went in to private session.
There are a total of 34 counts against PFC Manning, the most serious of which is UCMJ Article 104, “Aiding the Enemy.”
Defense: Mr David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes, Captain Paul Bouchard
Prosecution: Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow, Captain Angel Overgaard
Investigative Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Paul Almanza
(Bradley Manning being escorted from a military vehicle at Ft. Meade, MD. Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)
At the end of yesterday’s hearing, LTC Almanza permitted the Government’s request to remove journalists and members of the public from viewing portions of today’s hearing. Coombs’ objected to this, but no further action was taken.
Today’s hearing did not resume at the scheduled 9AM, due to meetings with LTC Almanza and the prosecution and defense.
Prosecution Witness Testimony: Special Agent David Shaver
Shaver had testified yesterday about searching PFC Manning’s computers and was cross-examined by the defense today.
Shaver said he found an SD card in PFC Manning’s aunt’s house which contained 100,000 Combined Information Data Network Exchange (CIDNE) reports from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as some photos and videos of PFC Manning. These files were located in unallocated space, which means they had most likely been deleted. Two .csv files were found, one containing 91,000 CIDNE reports from Afghanistan, and the other containing 400,000 CIDNE reports from Iraq. Both were unlocked with the password “TWink1492!!,” which was also PFC Manning’s log-in password to his MacBook. A text file was also found which contained the following, according to Wired:
“Items of historical significance of two wars Iraq and Afghanistan Significant Activity, Sigacts, between 00001 January 2004 and 2359 31 Dec 2009 extracts from CSV documents from Department of Defense and CDNE database. These items have already been sanitized of any source identity information.
“You might need to sit on this information for 90 to 180 days to best send and distribute such a large amount of data to a large audience and protect the source.
“This is one of the most significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.
“Have a good day.”
Prosecution Witness Testimony: Specialist Eric Baker
SPC Baker served with a military police detachment and was PFC Manning's roommate in Iraq. He testified that he did not interact with PFC Manning very often, and that PFC Manning was often on the computer. He said that he never used PFC Manning's MacBook Pro.
When questioned by the defense, SPC Baker said that early on PFC Manning had said things which led him to believe PFC Manning was gay, and from then on talked to him only when necessary.
Prosecution Witness Testimony: Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson is a digital forensics contractor for ManTech International who works for the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CCIU). He did forensic testing on PFC Manning’s personal MacBook Pro laptop.
Johnson testified about finding Adium, an instant messaging program, on PFC Manning’s computer along with chat logs between him and a person using the handle “firstname.lastname@example.org,” whom Johnson believed to be Julian Assange. Another handle was on PFC Manning’s buddy list, “email@example.com,” which was associated with two names, Julian Assange and Nathaniel Frank. Johnson said it was odd for someone to assign two names to one alias. Johnson spoke of yet another set of chatlogs, this time between PFC Manning and Eric Schmiedl, assumed to be a photographer, where PFC Manning admits to being the sound of the “Collateral Murder” video.
Johnson also testified about another text file being found with contact information for “MR JULIAN ASSANGE” which listed an Icelandic telephone number.
CPT Morrow, one of PFC Manning’s defense lawyers, asked about one of the charges related to releasing the Army’s Global Address List (GAL), which contained email addresses for all soldiers based in Iraq. Johnson testified that he had found a task instruction on the computer about obtaining the GAL, as well as Exchange-formatted email addresses, but said there was no evidence of this being released.
PFC Manning Supporters Hassled
During a recess Daniel Ellsberg, famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers, approached PFC Manning to introduce himself, but was quickly escorted out of the courtroom. He was later allowed to return.
Meanwhile, former Army Lieutenant Dan Choi was arrested at Fort Meade for what the Army says was “creating a disturbance.” Choi says he was simply calling out to SSG Leo. His rank was ripped off and he was escorted off the base.
The hearing will continue at 9AM tomorrow.