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Entries in Wikileaks (56)

Wednesday
Jan112012

Billboard in Washington Supports Alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The group supporting Bradley Manning, the Army private who is accused of releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, has unveiled their latest effort to gain widespread support for Manning -- a billboard in Washington, D.C.

The billboard at 1240 New York Ave. NE displays a picture of Manning with the words “Free Bradley Manning” and “Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime.”

“Our goal was to basically display broad public support for Bradley,” said Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist. “We think Bradley deserves the same amount of support that Daniel Ellsberg received when he released the Pentagon papers.”

The group’s decision to post the billboard comes a week before a recommendation to court-martial Manning is expected. The Investigating Officers recommendation is expected on Monday, but could come later if an extension is requested.

Paterson said they will keep the billboard for at least one month, probably two, which costs the group $16,000 a month. They already have two billboards in Kansas City near Fort Leavenworth, where Manning is being held.

“We are doing everything we can to support Bradley both inside and outside the courtroom,” Paterson said. “We asked supporters if they wanted to see a billboard and 300 people came forward and contributed.”

The group is also hoping to do a series of DC Metro ads in support of Manning, if the case is recommended for court-martial.

Courage to Resist hosts the defense fund for Bradley Manning and are paying all of his legal expenses. Paterson estimates that they have spent around $130,000, and expect to spend another $50,000 through the court-martial proceedings. This cost includes David Coombs, Manning’s civilian defense expert, co-counsel and consultants.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec222011

Court Martial for Bradley Manning in Wikileaks Case?

Hemera/Thinkstock(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- After a week of testimony, PFC 1st class Bradley Manning's fate for now lies in the hands of a military officer who will determine if he should face a court martial for releasing more than 700,000 confidential government documents to Wikileaks.

The seven-day Article 32 hearing came to a close Thursday after final arguments from both the defense and the prosecution. Although this hearing would not determine the guilt or innocence for Manning, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza's recommendation will be sent to senior military officers who will determine whether the charges against Manning should proceed to a court martial.

A recommendation is expected to be made by Jan. 16, a date based on the right to a speedy trial. It is possible, however, that Almanza could request additional time because of the large amount of evidence.

In making his recommendation, Almanza will weigh the testimony presented this week, as well as more than 300,000 government pages of documents, chat logs and classified documents.

The defense began its brief closing arguments by asking Almanza to dismiss most of the charges against Manning, saying the government has "overcharged in this case."

The most serious charge Manning faces is aiding the enemy; if he's found guilty, it carries the death penalty. But prosecutors have said they will not request it and opt for a recommendation of life in prison.

David Coombs, Manning's lead defense attorney, said the charge has no basis and was overblown.

Coombs accused Secretary Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials of overstating the harm the release of the documents has had, "claiming the sky is falling." Coombs said, "The sky is not falling, the sky has not fallen, and the sky will not fall."

He even went so far as to ask for Clinton to "come into the courtroom under the pains of perjury," adding he "would enjoy that cross examination."

The prosecution countered this claim during closing arguments with a video of al Qaeda urging "followers in the West to collect and archive Wikileaks" and that the "solution for jihadists is to head to the free Internet."

Capt. Ashden Fine said that Manning "gave enemies unfettered access to those documents," and his "absolute indifference" to classified information "is prejudicial and brings discredit upon the United States armed forces."

Fine cited a PowerPoint presentation Manning gave when he was an intelligence analyst, where he pointed to the Internet as a common source of security leaks. Adding that as a trained all-source intelligence analyst, Manning "wrongfully and wantonly" gave information to Wikileaks knowing the enemy would receive it.

He said that Manning knew that "information on the Internet is helpful to the enemy, and not just declared enemies of the United States." Fine said, "Information is accessible to all other enemies with Internet access."

Coombs asked for the total dismissal of all charges related to unauthorized software, as Manning's unit was a "lawless unit when it comes to information assurance."

He also requested that the charges of publishing classified information on the Internet be reduced in number. If Almanza agrees with Coombs' requests, that would mean the maximum punishment Manning could face would be 30 years.

Until a decision is made, it is most likely that Manning will be transferred back to Ft. Leavenworth, Kans. As an active duty Army soldier, Manning will continue to receive pay and benefits while in pre-trial confinement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Manning Defense Focuses on Female Alter Ego and Erratic Behavior

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Bradley Manning's defense team breezed through testimony from the only two witnesses they called Wednesday, setting the stage for closing arguments Thursday that will likely focus on Manning's female alter ego, Breanna, his violent erratic behavior and the leadership failures within Manning's unit.

Manning did not testify or provide a written statement on his own behalf, as part of the Article 32 pre-trial hearing that will determine whether Manning's case will be recommended for a court-martial.

From the start of the six-day hearing, defense attorneys consistently raised the issue of his gender-identity disorder.

Early on Maj. Matthew Kemkes, Manning's military attorney, said raising Manning's homosexuality and his gender identity disorder was important because it would show "what was going on in my client's mind."

Manning is accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks while he was deployed to Baghdad as an intelligence analyst in late 2009 through mid-2010. In 2010, the anti-secrecy website published hundreds of thousands of military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than a hundred thousand State Department cables.

Prosecution witnesses were routinely asked about whether they knew about Manning's sexuality and alter ego, whom he named Breanna. One Army computer forensic investigator recalled seeing a purchase order for a book on feminine facial surgery from Amazon with billing and shipping information for Manning.

Another investigator said she had seen gender identity documents inside Manning's living quarters in Baghdad, but at the time didn't think they were relevant to the investigation.

Capt. Steven Lim, Manning's commander during his service in Baghdad, testified that it was not until after Manning's arrest that he became aware of an email Manning had sent to his senior enlisting officer. In the April 2010 email, Manning said he suffered from gender identity disorder and included a photo of himself dressed as a woman. Lim said had he known about this email it would have raised red flags for him and would have probably resulted in his being removed from his job and denied access to sensitive information.

As the defense focused on gender identity, the prosecution was quick to point out the training Manning and his co-workers had received prior to security clearance. These included awareness of security protocols that restricted the movement of secure documents outside their classified office; and Manning had to sign a non-disclosure form stipulating classified information must not be disclosed for a period of 80-100 years.

In questioning prosecution witnesses, Manning's defense attorneys also raised the issue of his erratic, violent behavior, which led one superior to conclude he was "a threat to himself and to others." The defense raised questions about why Manning's superior officers allowed him to deploy to Iraq and continue to have access to classified materials.

Former Army specialist Jihrleah Showman said she was "furious" when she saw Manning's name on a deployment roster after two disturbing incidents, prior to the unit's deployment to Iraq, in late 2009.

In one of the incidents, he began to act aggressively, "screaming at the top of his lungs, waving his hands, with saliva coming out of his mouth" at the sight of his the unit's senior ranking non-commissioned officer.

Showman said she recommended that Manning receive an Article 15 non-judicial punishment to deal with a minor infraction, because he "was a threat to himself" and a "threat to others" and had disrespected his superiors. However, to her knowledge, superior officers took no action.

In a separate incident, Manning told her he "constantly felt paranoid" and "felt people were listening to his conversations, felt he could not trust anyone in the unit or around him."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Bradley Manning Accuser Adrian Lamo Takes the Stand

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Adrian Lamo, the former computer hacker who first identified Bradley Manning to federal authorities as the source of hundreds of thousands of classified documents leaked to Wikileaks, was challenged Tuesday by the Army private’s defense over his history as a hacker, his criminal record and his problems with drugs.

Lamo was among the prosecution’s final witnesses Tuesday at the pre-trial hearing that will determine whether Manning will face a court martial for allegedly leaking the classified documents.

Lamo told prosecutors how over a span of five days in late May 2010 he received a series of encrypted emails from Manning, providing him with information that suggested the sender was in the Army.

The contacts soon progressed to encrypted chats using AOL Instant Messenger, where Manning used the handle “bradass87.”   Lamo said he could only speculate as to why Manning was using encrypted contacts to reach out to him.

Lamo described how he made multiple attempts to verify that the person who was contacting him was actually in the Army and in Iraq.  He also verified that bradass87 was Bradley Manning after Manning sent him a “friend” request on Facebook and he saw information and photos on the site that matched.

Lamo, who acknowledged to prosecutors that he suffers from Asberger Syndrome and that he has a history of drug use, said that at the time he was communicating with Manning medication had reduced his symptoms and allowed him “to function more normally.”  He also admitted he had been a source in certain media reports.

Manning’s lead attorney David Coombs then led a blistering line of questioning, focusing on Lamo’s past drug use and his convictions for computer hacking.

“You are a convicted felon?” he began, to which Lamo replied: “That is correct.”

Coombs noted a string of 2007 hacks on large companies and a 2004 conviction for computer fraud.  Lamos then confirmed that he had been involuntarily institutionalized in April 2010, after over-medicating on prescription drugs.

Lamo told Coombs that he had not been offered immunity in return for his testimony: “I am here to ensure that the truth is presented,” he said.

What ensued was a detailed discussion of Lamo’s contacts with Manning that ultimately led him to contact federal authorities about what he had learned from Manning.

Manning’s defense attorneys are expected to call three witnesses on Wednesday when the hearing resumes.  Final arguments could come right after that.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec202011

Bradley Manning WikiLeaks Hearing Nears End

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing to determine whether he should face a court martial for leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks is nearing its conclusion.  The fifth day of the Article 32 hearing promises to build on Monday’s testimony that linked Manning to the anti-secrecy website and its founder Julian Assange.

Government prosecutors are expected to wrap up their witness list Tuesday as they present their final six witnesses. Manning’s defense team is expected to then call its three witnesses.

At Monday’s hearing, Army investigators described how they had found evidence that Manning might have been in communication with WikiLeaks and Assange.

One said a review of Manning’s personal computer turned up two email addresses linked to Assange as part of an Internet chat buddy list. They also discovered an email Manning had sent to an acquaintance in which he claimed to have provided WikiLeaks with video from a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that resulted in civilian casualties.

One of the investigators described having found hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports on a data card that Manning used on his secure work computers. Accompanying the files was a message from Manning describing the documents as, “possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

He even recommended sitting on the documents for three to six months to determine the best way of distributing them to a wider audience and to protect the source.

Once the government calls all of its witnesses, it will rest its case, giving the defense the opportunity to call the first of its witnesses. On the first day of the hearing last Friday, Manning’s attorneys complained about how the investigating officer presiding over the case had accepted all of the prosecution’s 21 witnesses, but granted only a fraction of the 48 witnesses the defense wanted to testify.

Manning’s defense team is expected to call three witnesses. After a recess, both sides will be given time to create their closing arguments.

The Article 32 hearing taking place at Fort Meade, Md., is the military’s version of a grand jury to decide whether to take his case to a court martial.   The only outcomes would be a recommendation for a court-martial proceeding or “other disposition,” which means some other Army demotion or the sort, or dismiss the charges.

If the investigating officer recommends the case to court-martial the sworn testimony in these hearings could be used; but more likely they would call everyone back to the witness stand.  

The charges against Manning call for the death penalty, but government prosecutors have repeatedly said that they will seek life in prison instead.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec192011

Evidence Shows Bradley Manning Links to Wikileaks

Hemera/Thinkstock(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Prosecutors in Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing Monday provided the first evidence linking the Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents with Wikileaks and the site’s founder, Julian Assange.

Army investigators said they had found Assange’s name on Manning’s personal computer, an email in which Manning claimed to have leaked a video to the site and a message in which he boasted that hundreds of thousands of military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan were “possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

In 2010, Wikileaks, published hundreds of thousands of military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than a hundred thousand State Department cables.

Army Special Agent David Shaver testified Monday that a review of the data card Manning used with two secure computers he used in Baghdad contained hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Shaver said he found the reports in an encrypted file after using the password "TWink1492!!" which was also the log-in for Manning’s personal computer. He agreed with the prosecution when they said, “So you got kind of lucky.”

Upon accessing the file, Shaver said, he found 91,000 Afghanistan battlefield reports and more than 400,000 similar reports from Iraq.

He also found a small text file that referred to the reports as being “Iraq and Afghanistan significant activities (SIGACTS) between 000001 on 31-jan 2004 and 23:59 am on 31 Dec 2009.”  Presumably the note was intended for Wikileaks and recommended sitting on the information “for 90-180 days to figure out how best to send and distribute such a large amount of data and to a large audience and protect the source. ”

It closed, “File is possibly one of the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

Mark Johnson, a computer forensic analyst working for the Army, said he had reviewed Manning’s personal computer for instant messaging and Internet chat logs.

His search recovered a buddy list that included a contact for Adrian Lamo, the hacker who notified federal authorities about Manning’s boasts of transferring thousands of classified documents.

The list also contained the email address pressassociation@jabber.ccc.de that was found to be associated with aliases for both Assange and Nathaniel Frank.  Johnson stated that it was “unusual to find two different aliases” assigned to one email address.

From the computer’s deleted files Johnson said he was able to recover 14 to 16 pages of chat logs between Manning and the alias Nathaniel that dealt predominantly with the sending of government information, but also mentioned Wikileaks.

When asked if he believed from these chats that the two parties knew each other Johnson responded, “They talked about ‘did you receive information’” and it appeared they “had known each other in the past.”

A second email address, dawgnetwork@jabber.ccc.de,  was also found to be an alias for Assange.

Johnson also said he had recovered computer data that indicated Manning had uploaded materials from his personal computer to the Wikileaks website.

Additional archived information found on the computer indicated he had documents “clearly marked classified or secret.” Johnson also found that the laptop had been erased in early January 2010.

Johnson also examined Manning’s external hard drive, which contained contact information, a November 2009 text file with a phone number for “24 hour service, Ask for ‘Julian Assange.’”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec182011

Intelligence Officer: Alleged Wikileaker Manning a ‘Go-To’ Analyst

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- An all-source intelligence officer who worked with Pvt. Bradley Manning in Iraq, called the man who allegedly leaked a trove of diplomatic cables and classified information to Wikileaks a “go-to” analyst who was skilled with computers but needed help with some of his analysis.

“He had a good understanding of the enemy threat,” Capt. Casey Fulton said Sunday at the ongoing Article 32 hearing at Fort Meade, Md. “He had a better understanding than any of the other analysts.”

Fulton also said she and Manning discussed the 2007 video of an Apache gunship attack on civilians that had been posted by Wikileaks.

She said the video, which showed the infamous attack on civilians and a Reuters TV cameraman, was available and viewed by soldiers on the shared SIPRNet system where she oversaw a team of analysts. Fulton said that after the video was posted by Wikileaks, she told soldiers in her intelligence unit that she believed the videos were different. Manning told her he believed they were the same and sent her a link with a comparison showing that the videos were identical, she said.

Fulton also described a violent outburst by Manning in May 2010, when he struck another soldier in their secure office or SCIF (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility). Fulton said she ordered a derogatory report against Manning and that he be stripped of his weapon and was then barred access to the SCIF area.

Under cross examination by Manning’s defense lawyer David Coombs, Fulton testified that soldiers working in the SCIF had shared music and video games on their shared network computers.

“No one ever told you that music on the shared drive was a violation of information assurance procedures?” Coombs asked.

“No,” Fulton said.

In her testimony, Fulton said that soldiers in her intelligence unit had wide access to files in the Combined Information Data Network Exchange (CIDNE) Iraq database.  According to the charge sheet, the CIDNE database contains more than 380,000 records.

Asked about protecting the data, Fulton said that everyone had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

“It’s impossible to supervise 100 percent of the time,” Fulton said. “You have to trust they will safeguard the material.”

Fulton testified that soldiers in the SCIF had the ability to burn CDs on their computers show that US military officials could share intelligence information with Iraqi officials.

Following Fulton’s testimony prosecutors called Sgt. Paul Adkins, one of Manning’s supervisors. Adkins had failed to notify his superiors about Manning’s gender identity disorder after Manning sent him a photo of himself dressed as a woman.

Adkins took the witness stand but when asked his name invoked his right to remain silent and was dismissed by investigative officer Lt. Col. Paul Almanza.

Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek, another supervisor to the analysts who worked with Manning, was reached over a teleconference to testify, but also invoked his right to remain silent.

Following these two brief witnesses who chose not to testify prosecutors called Sgt. Chad Madaras who testified via teleconference that he worked the night shift in Manning’s unit and that Manning worked the day shift.

Madaras said that his DCGS-A computer often would have problems at the beginning of his shift and would crash numerous times.

The prosecutors asked if he had ever searched the subjects Wikileaks, Iceland, Julian Assange, Icelandic politician Birgitta Jónsdóttir , Joint Task Force Guantanamo,  or the State Department’s Net-Centric databases. Sgt. Madaras said he never searched for any of these topics.

Under cross examination, Madaras said Manning was viewed as an outcast by other soldiers.

“He separated himself,” Madaras said. “I don’t know if he was picked on.”

Madaras also testified that music, movies and games were on the shared computer networks inside the SCIF.  When he was asked about the computer crashes, Madaras told the investigative officer: “We told him [Manning] to remove items from his desktop.”

Coombs moved on to focus on the items being on the intelligence analysts computers.

During his cross examination, Coombs had a testy exchange with Almanza, who said the questions were not focused on the direct examination.

“I would caution the investigating officer,” Coombs told Almanza as he grabbed a lawbook and cited military code. “The defense should be allowed to conduct discovery.”

“I’ve given you leeway,” Almanza said.

“I’m not going off into the ozone layer,” Coombs said. “The IO [investigative officer] should not limit cross-examination.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec172011

Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing Underway in Fort Meade

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing commenced Saturday morning in Fort Meade, Md. Proceedings were supposed to start Friday, but Manning's lawyer filed a motion requesting that the presiding investigative officer recuse himself from the case because of perceived bias in granting witnesses for the government but denying many of the defense's witnesses.

That motion was denied Friday night and so the process known as an Article 32 hearing will begin Saturday. The hearing will determine whether Manning should be referred for a court marshal or not.

Saturday marks Manning’s 24th birthday.

There will be no opening statements and the government is expected to begin by calling its first witnesses and presenting evidence.

Manning is facing 22 total charges, including counts of aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, and wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec162011

Bradley Manning Trial Underway; Defense Seeks Recusal of Judge

A protester, wearing an anonymous mask, holds up a sign demanding the release of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing restricted material to the website WikiLeaks, during a demonstration. Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Court proceedings against suspected WikiLeaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning got underway in Maryland Friday with defense attorneys arguing that the reserve officer presiding over the hearing should recuse himself for perceived bias.

Defense lawyers said that because the reserve officer overseeing the Article 32 hearing, who is known in the military as the investigating officer, works a day job at the Department of Justice, he cannot be impartial. The Justice Department is also investigating Manning.

But after a recess, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza denied the request and said he would not recuse himself because a reasonable person would believe he could remain unbiased.

The pre-trial hearing started shortly after 9 a.m. but quickly went into recess a half hour later after defense attorneys requested the recusal. The proceeding Friday is the equivalent of grand jury hearings in the civilian world.

Manning is making his first court appearance after more than a year and a half of detention. Of slight build, Manning wore his camouflage uniform and sported thick black-rimmed glasses. He sat between his civilian and military defense attorneys. The hearing is taking place in a small courtroom at Fort Meade. Protesters who support Manning gathered outside the gates of the base.

The hearing began normally enough with the investigating officer, Almanza, going through the charges against Manning.  He asked Manning some procedural questions such as whether he had a copy of the charges against him.

“Yes, sir, I do,” Manning replied.

Asked whether he had any questions, Manning replied, “No, sir.”

Asked whether he was comfortable with his legal counsel, Manning said, “Yes, sir.”

Almanza then gave David Coombs the floor so the defense attorney could ask questions about his suitability to preside over the hearing.  Coombs asked Almanza about his professional background and how much he knew about Manning’s case.

After his line of questioning, Coombs said he was filing a motion that Almanza recuse himself also "because Almanza has granted the prosecution’s request for its 21 witnesses.  But he has only granted two of the 38 witnesses they had called.  Coombs said, an individual looking at this form the outside would say that clearly in this case the investigating officer is biased. ”

Coombs suggested Almanza would allow unsworn statements to be heard from the prosecution side on the classification of materials being presented in the case. He said the reason the case had taken so long to get to this stage is because the prosecution has repeatedly been granted delays so it could get clarity about the classification of materials that might be presented in the case.

Coombs then walked toward the witness stand and, pointing at it, said, “Why is this stuff classified?”

He said, “A year and a half later, where is the damage? Where is the harm?”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

WikiLeaks: Pfc. Bradley Manning to Make First Court Appearance

Denis Doyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Accused WikiLeaks leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning will have his first day in court Dec. 16 at Fort Meade in Maryland. It will be the first time Manning has been seen in public since his May 2010 arrest. He is accused of handing classified diplomatic cables and other secret information to WikiLeaks.

Manning will have the military’s equivalent of a civilian grand jury, an Article 32 hearing where military prosecutors will present evidence and witnesses that could lead to a court-martial where he could face life in prison if found guilty.

“Our office is committed to providing the best representation for PFC Manning during this upcoming hearing,” said Manning’s attorney, David Coombs. “Achieving this goal is the sole focus of the lawyers, experts, and administrative staff working on this case.”

After a troubled detention at the Marine Brig in Quantico, Va., Manning is now being housed at a prison facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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