Julian Assange must never end up in US hands…

By Alexa O’Brien on June 20, 2012 9:44 AM

A just trial does not await Julian Assange in the United States of America.

Bradley Manning’s courts-martial is a travesty of justice, and I fear being denied what little access I have by expressing displeasure.

The lack of access for press and public extends to Fort Meade’s public affairs office. On June 6, I was told that the computers that contained information , which I had already been waiting 30 days to receive, were “wiped after the alleged leak,” and it would take a “very long time” for me to obtain basic facts about the US Army command structure and the names of the Iraqi Federal Police that the 2nd Brigade Combat Team had partnerships with in Iraq.

With a few exceptions, the media doesn’t care. Only a few reporters are actually present, and most are unaware of details or the larger context of the investigation and case. In fact, reporters for major US television networks can be found reading articles about George Clooney, buying shoes for their wedding, or cooing over stock photos of babies.

The Department of Justice’s has also had a historical incompetency and prejudice regarding discovery obligation to defendants, which has spilled into the prosecution of Manning.

I remind you that the DoJ had to hire Andrew Goldsmith in 2010 as national coordinator for criminal discovery initiatives, lest the Judicial Conference make the DoJ’s discovery obligations mandatory by amending Rule 16.

According to Special Agent Mark Mander’s testimony, Neil MacBride, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who is in charge of the WikiLeaks Grand Jury, has counseled the US Army’s military investigation and prosecution since early June 2010.

On July 28, 2010, the FBI officially opened a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks by partnering with the US Army investigation of Manning.

At the June 6, 2012 Article 39(a) session of US v Pfc. Manning, lead counsel for the Government, Major Ashden Fein, even lied to Judge Lind in open court to prevent Manning from getting access to the FBI impact statement.

Discovery rights are crucial to Manning’s defense because the Government has access and control over documents that could exonerate Manning or mitigate his punishment.

Judge Lind

OK. Are you calling any FBI as witnesses?

Prosecution (Fein)

No your Honor we are not. But, your Honor we do not anticipate doing this, because again the defense would run the burden then even making — So the Government would ask if the defense is not saying we want the information behind the redactions under 703, here’s why. Then we would ask that that Court give leave to the prosecution for at least a day, to determine if we would call a witness or not, or me to call a witness.

Defense (Coombs)

Just a point of clarification. The Government not more than five minutes ago had indicated that they are not calling anyone from the FBI and that now apparently they are calling a sentencing witness from the FBI.

Judge Lind

Is this expert from the FBI?

Prosecution (Fein)

First, your Honor. The question was, do we intend to call an FBI Agent to the stand for case in chief or in sentencing. No, we do not. [See above, in fact the Judge has asked “Are you calling any FBI as witnesses?”]

Judge Lind

Alright. Let me broaden that. [annoyed] Do you intend to call anyone from the FBI that is familiar with either the investigation from the law enforcement end of it or the impact statement from the headquarters end of it?

Prosecution (Fein)

We will know for sure your Honor if it is an analyst or someone who is part of the impact assessment by 22 June [When the witness lists are due.]

The entire trial is a painful to watch. I leave each session with shame that I carry on my back and an obsession to transcribe the proceedings, sometimes by hand, because I am its witness.

I refer readers to transcripts and notes taken by others for more examples.

The world is a horrible master. Liberty exists the moment a person decides that appearance and ideology are of lesser importance than acting on the principle of one’s conscience in the here and now.

The fate of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks, is in your hands. As for purpose, it is bigger than each of them individually and all of us combined.



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