There was a hearing last week in the pending Court-Martial of PFC Bradley Manning. I was going to write it up, but then…well.
There were two developments that were interesting. The main take-aways from the hearing are that Judge Lind (COL, JA) has instructed the Trial Counsel that they will have to prove that PFC Manning “knowingly and with specific intent that the Taliban and/or Al Quaeda receive the documents” he stole and passed to Wikileaks in order to get a conviction on the specification of Aiding the Enemy (UCMJ Art. 104) and not merely that he knew or should have known that Taliban or AQ would avail themselves of the documents after Wikileaks presumably posted them. This is a higher standard than the TC originally proposed, but TC did not object to this instruction. The second development from the hearing was that Trial Counsel sought and received permission from the Judge to call a member of SEAL Team 6 who took part in the Bin Laden compound raid to testify for the government during the findings phase (when guilt or non-guilt is determined.)
Presumably, he will testify that documents that originated with Manning’s activities were found in the compound. I’m not sure what that accomplishes given the ruling above, but that’s what happened in the hearing. IANAL, so your guess is as good as mine.
Additionally, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the highest military appeals court, above the service courts but below the SCOTUS, has ruled in Center for Constitutional Rights, et al v US and Lind. This suit concerns a writ of Mandamus that CCR, Wikileaks, Jeremy Scahill, and others were seeking to compel Judge Lind and the US to provide daily trial transcripts and verbatim transcripts of MRE 802 conferences. MRE 802 concerns conferences that are taken in judicial chambers or sidebars. The appellants sought to compel the government and the Judge to provide these records as well as reserve seats in the gallery to their representatives. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals originally sided with the government and Judge Lind and turned down this writ on the grounds that Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests have served adequately in the past for news agencies and others seeking records of military courts-martial and there was no reason to change that now. This policy/process differs significantly from federal civil courts, apparently. There were also some grounds for turning down the request on military logistical grounds that are not really relevant but basically come down to who’s going to pay for the real time transcription and so on. The accused (PFC Manning) and his counsel were invited by CAAF to submit a brief on this issue, but declined. The CAAF found that since their jurisdiction was limited to appeals after ACCA would theoretically hear appeals, that did not give them enough jurisdiction to issue a writ in the case. The majority specifically noted the fact that the accused did not join CCR, et al in the case and this weighed against them.
You can read their ruling here.
Also, NRA lobbying makes it a LOT harder to catch terrorists. This is something of which the NRA is well aware. UPDATE: Mistermix already beat me to it.
Game update 2.0, “Scum and Villainy” is out for Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ll be playing that tonight as soon as I get off shift babysitting server upgrades.