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LGBT Issues Make Appearance at Bradley Manning Trial: VIDEO

Manningtrial

The Bradley Manning trial enters its second day today. It is expected to run all summer.

The AP reports on the first day:

The soldier from Crescent, Okla., has said he did not believe the information would harm the U.S. and he released the information to enlighten the public about the bitter reality of America’s wars.

...His attorney has also said Manning struggled privately with gender identity early in his tour of duty, when gays couldn’t openly serve in the military. Those struggles led Manning to “feel that he needed to do something to make a difference in this world,” Coombs said.

[Adrian Lamo, a convicted hacker] testified Manning had contacted him because of his notoriety in the hacking community and because of his open support and leadership in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Watch a clip from Reason TV on the protests in support of Bradley Manning, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Trial Begins for Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning: VIDEO

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Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning's trial began today, three years after his arrest in May 2010.

ManningMashable, in an "everything you need to know" piece about the Manning trial, spoke with Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the New York University School of Law Brennan Center for Justice about Manning's best hope and what will likely happen:

Even though the defense can't technically argue that his actions were motivated by noble intentions, Goitein says, it may be a bit more complicated in practice to "disentangle his subjective motive from what he should have thought or believed." This may be Manning's best hope.

"He does not appear to have intended in any way to harm the U.S. or to give an advantage to a foreign nation," Goitein continues. "The fact that he didn't intend this result may be hard to tease apart from whether he objectively should have believed that that result would occur."

Despite his partial guilty plea, the outcome of the case is still very open-ended. Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges, which collectively could carry a 20-year prison sentence, but the judge may issue a lesser sentence. The prosecution, meanwhile, is still asking a life sentence for the "aiding the enemy" charge.

Manning also still has the option of entering a plea deal with the government to get a lesser conviction. So far, however, the defense hasn't indicated that this is a possibility.

David Coombs issued a brief statement on his website Sunday thanking supporters:

On behalf of both myself and PFC Manning, I would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the last three years.  I especially appreciate the the tireless fundraising and awareness efforts of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.  Finally, a special thank you to those journalists who have been reporting on PFC Manning since the beginning and who have brought worldwide attention to this important case.

Watch a Euronews report on the start of the trial, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Protesters Hit SF Pride Parade Over Bradley Manning Removal: VIDEO

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Approximately 200 protesters demonstrated in front of SF Pride offices on Monday night to protest Bradley Manning's removal as grand marshal of the Pride parade, the HuffPost reports:

Angered by the decision, protesters demanded parade organizers reinstate Manning with the honor. "We're here today because a big mistake was made by the Board of Directors of Gay Pride," Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, who would have marched in the parade on Manning's behalf, told the assembled crowd Monday. "They were talking about a mistake that was one of the most honorable things the Gay Pride people have probably done for a long time."

Williams pointed to the danger Manning placed fellow members of the military in as justification for her decision. "Even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform--and countless others, military and civilian alike--will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride," she said.

Manning is currently in custody awaiting the outcome of his pending court martial.

Ellsberg plans on marching in this year's parade with a banner supporting Manning. "If that will not be tolerated by the leadership, I guess I'm in for a little intolerance," he said.

Watch Ellsberg speak, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bradley Manning Won't Be SF Pride Grand Marshal

ManningYesterday, Andy reported that Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning had been appointed Grand Marshal of this year's San Francisco Pride. That's now changed. Late last night, SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams issued a statement claiming that Manning's confirmation for the honor was never supposed to happen in the first place and occurred due to a mistake by an internal staffer. That person has reportedly been disciplined.

Her statement went even further, explaining why the group will not include Manning in this year's event:

Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.

Before SF Pride released their statement last night, The American Military Partner Association had issued a strongly-worded response in which they said they were "outraged" and asked the group to reconsider Manning's appointment. Williams' announcement followed soon after.

The comments section of the SF Pride's Facebook page has exploded with criticism of the organization. Some are calling the leaders of the group "cowards" and their statement "wrong."

Read SF Pride's full statement, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Bradley Manning's Full Court Statement Released: AUDIO

Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning's 1 hr and 7 minute speech to a military court was leaked by the Freedom of the Press Foundation today and posted as a Soundcloud file by Buzzfeed, along with an edited clip of Manning describing a 2007 video he gave to Wikileaks and the reasons he did so.

ManningSays Manning in the latter clip:

"At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me ...

It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely "good samaritans." The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have."

Watch and listen to the above-referenced clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

Writes Glenn Greenwald:

The Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), the group I recently helped found and on whose board I sit, has received a full, unedited audio recording of the one-hour statement Manning made in court two weeks ago, and this morning has published that recording in full. In that statement, Manning details at length what he did and, more important, the reasons he chose to do it. I'm personally unaware of who made the recording and am not aware of how it was made, but its authenticity has been verified. Last week, the superb independent journalist Alexa O'Brien, who has covered the proceedings from start to finish, created the best transcript she could of Manning's statement, which was published, among other places, in the Guardian. But this audio recording provides the first opportunity to hear Manning, in his own voice, explain his actions; that, presumably, is why whoever recorded Manning's statement risked violating the court-martial rules to do so.

The unofficial transcript is also posted here.

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Judge Awards Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning Sentencing Credit, Deems Pretrial Conditions 'Excessive'

The judge in the trial of Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning, who faces 22 counts including aiding the enemy for his role in the release of classified information, awarded him nearly four months of credit off any sentence he might receive because of the way he has been treated in confinement, the AP reports:

ManningCol. Denise Lind made the ruling during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning. Lind found that Manning suffered illegal pretrial punishment during nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. She awarded a total of 112 days off any prison sentence Manning gets if he is convicted.

Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials say it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.

The judge said that Manning's confinement was "more rigorous than necessary." She added that the conditions "became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests."

Manning's trial begins on March 6.


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