The Bradley Manning Hearing: What's Likely to Arise

Wired magazine has a long-ish report on what to expect from the upcoming "Article 32" pre-trial hearing for Bradley Manning, accused Wikileaker:

The Article 32 hearing, a cross between a grand jury hearing and preliminary hearing in civilian courts, will be the first time the prosecution and defense have an opportunity to present a skeleton case around the charges, allowing them both to call witnesses, cross-examine them and present arguments.

Such hearings typically last from a few hours to a day or two, but the military has indicated that Manning’s hearing could run five days or more, including throughout the weekend and the Jewish Hanukkah holiday, depending on the number of witnesses called and motions raised — giving the proceedings an odd and sudden sense of urgency considering the lengthy time Manning has been confined.

The hearing’s significance will rest largely on its strategic value to the prosecution and defense, who will each be looking for the other side to tip its hand and reveal glimpses of its action plan....

The Army side has it easier:

The evidentiary bar for getting to a court-martial is fairly low, says military justice expert Lisa Windsor, and the prosecution will want to limit the evidence it presents to the minimum needed to show reason to believe Manning committed the offenses, and nothing more. “That he had access, that he had the ability to do it, that he had the motive, and that he bragged about having committed the offense afterward” is all the prosecution will likely present at this point, she told Wired.com.

But not a total cakewalk:

At least one element might give the government trouble, Windsor warned, referring to charges that Manning aided the enemy. WikiLeaks, as a private entity and not a government entity or an agent of a government entity, “does not fit into the definition of the enemy under [the Uniform Code of Military Justice],” Windsor says.

What does Manning's side have in their arsenal?

Defense attorney David E. Coombs has cautioned against making assumptions about his strategy based on court papers he’s made public so far. But a proposed witness list he published, and motions for evidence he filed, hint at some of the defenses he might bring up at the hearing, and suggest a more pragmatic approach than the pro-leaking position advocated by Manning supporters.

The latter, such as Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, have largely defended Manning’s actions by arguing that he was a whistleblower of conscience, and that his alleged leaks were justified because they exposed government wrongdoing.

But court filings from Coombs have avoided that stance, seeming to argue instead that the data Manning allegedly leaked caused no substantial harm to U.S. national security, and that the military shares blame for the leaks since it failed to secure the data properly and didn’t revoke Manning’s access to classified networks despite warning signs about his emotional instability.....

 it appears the government is opposed to the defense calling military mental health experts who worked with Manning, as well as other witnesses who can testify to Manning’s deteriorating emotional health before and during the time the alleged leaks occurred. Those witnesses would be able to testify, the defense hopes, to the failure of the Army to address these issues at the time. The defense’s focus on witnesses who will testify to Manning’s mental health is likely an effort to mitigate any punishment Manning will face if convicted....

And what happens after these hearings, and who decides?

The hearing will be presided over by a senior officer, generally referred to as the investigating officer, who is presumed to be an impartial officer chosen by the convening authority — in this case the Military District of Washington, where the hearing will be held.

The investigating officer will listen to the evidence and arguments presented in court and make a recommendation to the convening authority – generally the commanding general of the district. That officer then decides if the case should proceed to a court-martial and, if so, whether any of the charges should be dropped or modified.

A decision would likely come within a couple of months following the hearing, according to Windsor.

Wired reporters have played a special role in this case's history, as blogged by me last December.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We've all seen JAG. We know what happens at an Article 32 hearing.

  • foie gras||

    We've all seen JAG. We know what happens at an Article 32 hearing.

    Jerk off to Catherine Bell?

  • Bingo||

  • CalebT||

    There's a Marine I'd like to fuck.

  • Apatheist||

    One of the earliest entries into my spank bank along with Lucy Lawless in Xena.

  • RoboCain||

    I always liked her sidekick better.

  • Pip||

    ^^THIS^^

  • Ellen Degeneres||

    Hands off, Lucy's mine!

  • Xenocles||

    You mean Harm?

  • Bingo||

    Lucy Lawless has the jawline of a dude, wtf man!

  • Apatheist||

    As a preteen boy I was mostly focusing on the upper portion of h er armor. I disagree though, she is still fucking hot and showing her tits in Spartacus.

  • RoboCain||

    Everyone shows tits in Spartacus. It's basically just a topless bar with gladiators. Two guys will be talking some fake Elizabethan bullshit, and there will be random boobage tossed in the background.

  • Apatheist||

    and?

  • ||

    Scientologist Catherine Bell.

    What a fucking shame.

  • ||

    God that is a shame. She is just unbelievably hot. And in her 40s now. Still smoking hot. Talk about aging well.

  • Bingo||

    Half-Persian dude, of course she's smoking!

  • RoboCain||

    So she is an Iranian spy?

  • ||

    Yeah. Persian women are just amazing. But batshit crazy I have been told by two different people who were married to them.

  • RoboCain||

    As opposed to some magical island of sane women?

  • ||

    Please direct me to the isle of sane women.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Please direct me to the isle of sane women.

    Problem with sane women is they're all ugly and/or boring. Hot women are almost always crazy because they know (subconsciously) they can get away with it.

  • Old Salt||

    Island of Sane Women?

    I think that call it Lesbos...

  • ||

    Well, Bell is obviously not insane since she's removed all her thetans and audits herself daily.

  • Bingo||

    I wonder if thetans can be sexually transmitted...

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Persian women are just amazing.

    Persian men as well. Finally, something me and John agree on.

  • Apatheist||

    That's why you go with half-Persian dude. Total smokes.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Shame about the whole Scientology thing.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Shame I was beaten to that observation.

  • Brian Doherty||

    I've never seen JAG, believe it or don't...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's about Lt. Cmdr. Harmon Jag who flies around the country in his F-14 Tomcat solving crimes. He is accompanied by Col. Catherine Bell, who is not unattractive.

    Twice a night on HDNet. Be there or be unpatriotic.

  • ||

    I never watched it, but I always thought it was about the chick walking around in tight clothes, solving things by being more attractive than everyone else.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No, nothing tight, she wore a Marine service uniform. Only VERY seldom did they slip her dogs of war. (CBS was geared to an older audience which they couldn't have dying of heart attacks.)

    Little known fact: Jag had a different lady partner in the first season when the show was at NBC and they (illegally) made frequent use of stock footage from every Tom Clancy movie they could.

  • ||

    Really? I thought it was just about her walking around. Like that science fiction movie about the naked woman and her naked nakedness.

  • Gojira||

  • ||

    Like that, but more nude.

  • ||

    That's the one with that really hot chick too, right?

  • ||

    Yes. Not wearing anything. That's the only part I remember.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I thought it was just about her walking around. Like that science fiction movie about the naked woman and her naked nakedness.

    Best description of Lifeforce I've ever read.

  • ||

    Yes, that's it. I remember one other thing. She wasn't wearing any clothes at all.

  • Gojira||

    OT, but interesting: gibbon attacks 2 children in Malasia zoo escape.

    It bit a little girl, and then, "Minutes later, the ape attacked a 3-year-old boy and ripped off part of his right thigh...".

  • Brian Doherty||

    is the U.S. govt propping up the gibbon?

  • Gojira||

    No, I've heard reports that the Gibbons were revolting because the US gov't was subsidizing their hated enemies, the Orangutan Confederation.

  • Almanian||

    I wouldn't call Gibbons revolting, although ZZ Top are getting a little long in the tooth beard.

  • ||

    is the U.S. govt propping up the gibbon?

    The federal government has always been in the pocket of Big Tree Ape, Brian.

  • RoboCain||

    That's because racist rednecks won't let us have sane baboon control laws.

  • ||

    Gibbons are lesser apes, not monkeys, you fool! Baboon control laws would not apply. What we need are more stringent ape controls.

  • Binky||

    There's an ape for that.

  • Bill the Gibbon||

    "Gibbons are lesser apes"

    Speciesist!

  • Chief Justice Gojira||

    Gibbons don't have any rights that a Gorilla is bound to respect.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    racissstttt!

  • The Ghost of Edward Gibbon||

    That ape is but distantly related, I must say.

  • ||

    I hope that part wasn't "the middle"

  • Raston Bot||

    hopefully it just bit him in the leg hoping to get his middle. poor kid. probably traumatized for life.

  • ||

    First, it is a dog and pony show. The convening authority doesn't have to follow the investigating officer's recommendation. Second. Combs' claim to fame is defending Akbar, who got the chair. I am not sure that bodes well for Manning.

    The defense in this case has two things going for it. First, Manning wasn't the only one involved. There were a bunch of his friends who were students at MIT who were just as guilty as he was. But DOJ stopped Army CID from investigating them. And instead decided to hang the lone private. That won't go over well with a military jury.

    Second, Manning was a young soldier who was totally unsupervised. The fact that a private was able to get access to all of this is a major indictment of the command and the Army. A military won't like that either. And that will cause them to go lighter on Manning.

    Third, the military has been total assholes about pre-trial punishment. There will be an unlawful pretrial punishment motion and I expect the judge to give Manning some serious credit. There was no reason to hold him in solitary or do half the stupid shit they did to him.

    Manning defense is going to be that he was young, unsupervised and cracked under the pressure in Baghdad and had no idea the full damage he was doing. The government will never prove the mens rea necessary to establish that he intentionally aided the enemy.

    If I had to bet, I bet he gets convicted on various dereliction of duty charges, acquitted on the aiding the enemy charge and gets five to ten years and a BCD which is reduced by a couple of years as a result of the unlawful pre trial punishment.

  • RoboCain||

    Akbar?

  • ||

    He was the clown who threw the grenade into the tent killing several people and wounding others on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.

  • RoboCain||

    It's a trap!

  • Spoof handle||

    I think I won

  • Admiral Akbar||

    It's a trap!!

  • shamalamadingdong||

    ...unsupervised and cracked under the pressure in Baghdad...

    I thought he was stationed in Kuwait, not Iraq?

  • Jennifer||

    The government will never prove the mens rea necessary to establish that he intentionally aided the enemy.

    I hope you're right, but seriously: since when has mens rea mattered a damn to the government? This is a country where, if your friend asks you to mail a package you sincerely believe is a Christmas gift for his mother-in-law, but it turns out to be drugs, you still go to prison for decades.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    This is a country where, if your friend asks you to mail a package you sincerely believe is a Christmas gift for his mother-in-law, but it turns out to be drugs, you still go to prison for decades.

    Or have sex with a women you sincerely believe to be over sixteen.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If my swiss cheese slices taste like someone spit in my mouth, is it time to throw it out? Is it still safe to eat? Because I already made a sandwich, and I'm going to eat it anyway.

  • Binky||

    It's OK, Colonel. Cheese never goes bad.

  • Berr||

    The cheese is fine. Whatever it is growing on the cheese may kill you.

  • Bingo||

    Just add more mustard and have an extra beer (as a disinfectant).

  • ||

    Or hot sauce and tequila, for that south-of-the-border experience.

  • ||

    If it still looks like cheese, it's OK to eat.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    Dude, my dirty socks look and smell like cheese. Slap 'em tween two slices of bread and throw 'em in the pan.

  • Almanian||

    The only fucking Manning who couldn't make it as a pro quarterback, so he went all "aiding and abetting the ene...Wikileaks" on his Army mates.

    I bet Archie's real proud of you, BRADLEY.

    Have fun on the Taxi Squad in Guantanemo, rookie!

  • Bingo||

    BTW reddit's /r/politics has been shedding some deliciously yummy tears the last few days since their favorite politicians are (suprise!) actually fully in favor or both SOPA and NDAA. TEAM BLUE has betrayed their useful internet idiots and it's delightful to watch.

    How d'ya like them statist apples, ya fucking gullible twits? WE TOLD YOU SO.

  • RoboCain||

    For a bunch of geeks they can be awfully stupid.

  • Bingo||

    My favorite is the thread demanding an explanation from Al Franken about why he voted for NDAA. If we just upvote and tweet enough maybe he will change his mind and apologize!

  • foie gras||

    Geeks? I never got that impression from reddit. Over confident yes. Left wing. yes. But geeks not so much imo. Were they geeks 3-5 years ago?

  • Raston Bot||

    too bad their solutions all amount to more government.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Its as if someone having a (D) after their name doesn't make them any less likely to be a massive statist tool then an (R).

  • ||

    Cue all the big military right wing bootlickers gleefully fantasizing about murdering Manning who slapped their god in the face.

  • Mr. Mark||

    How 'bout left-wing sissy-fairies who fantasize about Bradley Manning and never had the stones of the folks who served in the military?

  • ||

    haha right on cue.

  • foie gras||

    The Five has forgotten about the 4th amendment. Oh well. The girl in blue is cute.

  • RoboCain||

    I like Dana better.

  • ||

  • Xenocles||

    I don't get it.

  • ||

    Sloop, a bit of a thread jack, but I know that you are looking forward to Sunday's game at the New Mile High.

    You would not (perhaps you would?) believe all of the New England fans whining about Tebow's thanking his lors and savior.

    IMO, his invocations of Christ are far less annoying to me than the CONSTANT exhortatory pleas to give thannks to the troops to which one is subjected before, during and after NFL games.

    If I was the commish or an owner, I would put a stop to it immediately.

    BTW, I am pulling for the Broncos.

  • ||

    I'm a hardcore Steelers fan, so my glee at watching Tebow is only due to the massive amount of butthurt it causes in fans of other teams.

    And his constant praising is fine by me because he's sincere and it's harmless. As far as the military bootlicking that goes on in stadia across the country, I too wish it would come to an end. If you want to raise awareness for a cause, it probably doesn't need to be the cause of "death from above" with fighter jets roaring over the stadium.

    And one of those jets doing a flyby will eventually crash into the stadium and thousands will be killed. And who will get the blame?

  • shamalamadingdong||

    "And one of those jets doing a flyby will eventually crash into the stadium and thousands will be killed. And who will get the blame?"

    An act of God?

  • ||

    An act of God?

    Aaaaaaand, we're back to talking about Tebow.

  • ||

    "I'm a hardcore Steelers fan"

    You are dead to me. Go 9ers!

  • Mr. Mark||

    The casket thing isn't as bad as the human remains sent to the garbage dump fiasco, or the double-burials at Arlington, or the problems at Walter Reed, or the incompetence of the VA, or the...

  • ||

    The important question: was Manning a Democrat, or was Manning a Republican?

  • ||

    can we hang this fucker already

  • ||

    Yes, yes, the state is my god.

  • Mr. Mark||

    I lack Reason's irrational affinity for Bradley Manning.

    If he did what he is accused of, slam him.

    Regarding: "At least one element might give the government trouble, Windsor warned, referring to charges that Manning aided the enemy. WikiLeaks, as a private entity and not a government entity or an agent of a government entity, “does not fit into the definition of the enemy under [the Uniform Code of Military Justice],” Windsor says."

    That's meaningless. You put it out in the public domain, you effectively gave it to every enemy with an internet connection.

  • ||

    you army lovers are hilarious.

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