Lawyers for accused Army whistleblower Bradley Manning have opened their defense at his military court-martial with a bid to dismiss a number of charges, including aiding the enemy. Democracy Now! is joined by the former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay, Colonel Morris Davis, who has just wrapped two days of testimony for the defense. Davis told the court that many of the files Manning leaked on Guantánamo were already out in the public domain and that they had no value to enemy groups and could not have harmed U.S. national security.
Colonel Davis: "Well, part of the charges in the Manning case relate to documents from Guantánamo called detainee assessment briefs, that I was familiar with from my two-year tenure as chief prosecutor. There were five particular detainees that the government had selected as kind of a representative sampling, and what I did is take those classified documents and went out to open-source material, much of it available on government websites, and was able to find the vast majority of the information in the public domain, which—you know, to try to establish that there was no harm from the release of the documents on WikiLeaks."
A full transcript of the interview with Colonel Davis is available at Democracy Now!
Part Two of the discussion, Behind the Scenes of the Bradley Manning Trial, is below the fold.
Part Two: Kevin Gosztola: Behind the Scenes of the Bradley Manning Trial
Reporter and blogger Kevin Gosztola has been one of only a handful of journalists covering the Bradley Manning trial on a daily basis. He describes the first few weeks of the historic trial. Democracy Now! also speaks to Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo, who testified for the Manning defense.
Kevin Gosztola: "There’s an Army intelligence report that Manning is accused of leaking from the Army Counterintelligence Center. It suggested that WikiLeaks might pose a threat to the U.S. military. That wasn’t a question that was answered by the report. They were able to find fact that the enemy in fact would use WikiLeaks to go find U.S. government information. But in that report, it describes WikiLeaks as an organization that is intent on basically stealing proprietary data of the United States government or even corporations, and doing this because they feel they have a commitment or desire to expose wrongdoing of governments. So they see Manning as working on behalf of this organization.
And today, after we are done with this interview, Professor Yochai Benkler is going to take the stand for the defense, and he is being put on the stand to talk about what is WikiLeaks. It’s very important in this case that the defense gets out that WikiLeaks is a media organization, that when Bradley Manning engaged in his act, which I consider classic whistleblowing, based on his statement on February 28th, that WikiLeaks is in fact a media organization and not some sort of organization that would have been possibly working and doing so for the benefit of foreign intelligence services or adversaries like terrorist organizations."
A full transcript of this half of the discussion is available here, at Democracy Now!