PFC Bradley Manning court martial: Prosecution to present rebuttal on Thursday

FORT MEADE, Maryland — Prosecutors will present their rebuttal case in the court martial of PFC Bradley Manning on Thursday, July 18th.

Manning, 25, is accused of leaking classified government records – such as the Apache “collateral murder” and Granai airstrike videos, significant activities (SIGACT) reports by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, State Department cables, and the Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs – to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Manning is being tried on charges of aiding the enemy, stealing classified government databases, and adding and using unauthorized software (namely, WGet, an open-source software that automates the download of contents from web servers) on his Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) computer in Iraq.

The government plans to call four witnesses to:

  • disprove the defense’s evidence on Manning’s “noble” motives for releasing classified documents and videos to WikiLeaks;
  • refute the defense’s argument that Manning considered WikiLeaks to be a “legitimate” journalistic organization and did not know that the terrorists used WikiLeaks to gather information about the U.S.;
  • clarify how WGet was introduced on Manning’s computer and whether WGet was allowed or authorized to be operated from a CD on a secure government computer.

Judge Col. Denise Lind on Monday rejected the prosecution’s request to call an “unidentified forensic investigator or witness” to discuss “how [the] website appeared in 2009 and 2010” to challenge defense witness Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler’s assessment that WikiLeaks was a legitimate journalistic website.

“I’m not going to allow the government to do that. You had months to figure this out,” said Lind. “You knew Professor Benkler was testifying for months. You made no effort to pull any of these website, either cross-examine him or have somebody potentially online in rebuttal. You knew what he was going to testify about.”

Scope of the prosecution’s rebuttal case approved by Judge Lind on July 15, 2013:

1. Specialist Jihrleah Showman will be recalled to rebut the motive evidence elicited from Lauren McNamara (formerly known as Zachary Antolak).

Last week, McNamara testified that Manning approached her over AOL Instant Messenger in February 2009 and shared his interests in philosophy and politics and his concerns about “saving the lives” of soldiers in his unit as well as the local nationals in foreign countries.

Manning wrote to McNamara: “I’m reading a lot more. Delving deeper into philosophy, arts, physics, biology, politics than I ever did in school. What’s even better with my current position is I can apply what I learn to provide more information to my officers and commanders and hopefully save lives.” He also wrote: “I’m more concerned about making sure that everyone soldiers, Marines, contractors, even the local nationals get home to their families.”

2. Specialist Marshal will be called to rebut the testimony of Sergeant David Sadtler, who testified that Manning expressed concern on a report that Iraqis were being arrested for allegedly printing anti-Iraqi literature.

Marshal is expected to testify that Manning said, “I would be shocked if you were not telling your kids about me 10 to 15 years from now”.

“The defense has offered that there has been some sort of noble motive based on what the accused saw occurring in Iraq,” said Prosecutor Capt. Angel Overgaard. “It would show that instead of having a noble motive, he was seeking notoriety. And it goes again to motive and his state of mind.”

3. Special Agent David Shaver will be recalled to discuss the specific SIGACT (dated March 2010) referenced in Sergeant David Sadtler’s testimony.

Sadtler testified that he was shown the report by Manning “sometime after I arrived in Iraq” in December 2009. Sadtler said Manning “seemed to be concerned over the event…He was upset over the situation.”

According to Manning’s written statement dated Jan. 29, 2013, he was asked to investigate a report on the detention of 15 individuals who were arrested by Iraqi Federal Police for printing “anti-Iraqi literature”. Manning found that none of the 15 individuals had previous ties with terrorists or militia groups and the printed materials contained “scholarly critique of the then-current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki”. Manning expressed his concerns to his superiors but was told to “drop it”.

Shaver’s testimony is expected to clarify the timing of the events related to the Iraqi Federal Police arrest report.

4. Special Agent David Shaver will be recalled to testify about the emails that Manning sent to members of the media as well as the WikiLeaks tweets that were found on Manning’s person Macintosh computer to “rebut evidence that WikiLeaks operated as a journalistic organization”.

Lind noted that “what’s really relevant here is…whether PFC Manning thought WikiLeaks was a legitimate journalistic organization”.

5. Special Agent David Shaver will be recalled to rebut the testimony of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Ehresman, who told the court that Manning and his colleagues were allowed to run executable files from a CD on their D6A computers. Ehresman said, “As long as it was not downloaded to the actual D6A we could use it. As long as it was on a CD, yes, we could.” Shaver is expected to clarify how Manning introduced WGet to his D6A computer.

6. Allen (Jason) Milliman, who was a field software engineer contractor at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq, will be recalled to clarify what types of programs were authorized or not authorized on D6A computers used by Manning and other analysts. Milliman is expected to testify that he did not tell Ehresman that he could “run unauthorized programs and executable files from a CD”.

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