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Inconsistencies and Weak Accusations Highlighted in Week 2 of Bradley Manning Trial

With the newest media storm over Edward Snowden, it is becoming clear that whistleblowers will increasingly be taking center stage as the war continues between the forces of tyranny and forces of truth.

Controlling the Herd

Inconsistencies and Weak Accusations Highlighted in Week 2 of Bradley Manning Trial



bradley-manning-war-crimes (1)

We have spoken to Nathan Fuller at Bradleymanning.org who has given us gracious permission to reprint his daily firsthand reports. His latest are posted below.

With the newest media storm over Edward Snowden, it is becoming clear that whistleblowers will increasingly be taking center stage as the war continues between the forces of tyranny and forces of truth. This war, like all wars, is filled with the full range of tactics from both sides, which will command our discernment like never before. The great news is that a new type of open dialogue has been established.

Day 4 of the Bradley Manning trial started the week with a focus on the programs that Manning had access to, and those he might have used as a tool with which to supply data to the enemy. So far, nothing but refutation has been forthcoming. Forensic experts and analysts highlighted that the programs Manning used were not expressly prohibited.

It was also stated by Army CID Special Agent Mark Mander that the investigation of Manning was “probably one of the largest and most complicated investigations we’ve ever had.” This should say something about much of the corporate media that would make this case out to be a cut-and-dried example of a scheming traitor against America. Many more questions have been posed as week two begins, as recounted below:

No connection between Manning and Jason Katz, CENTCOM video: trial report, day 5

Today’s afternoon session revealed more substantive and consequential testimony, so it precedes the morning session here. The defense, via forensic expert David Shaver, established that there was no evidence of a connection between Manning and Jason Katz, and that there is no evidence Manning downloaded a video from the CENTCOM database.

By Nathan Fuller. June 11, 2013.

No connection between Jason Katz and Bradley Manning

The live witnesses – as opposed to read-aloud stipulations – in this afternoon’s session discussed the investigation of Jason Katz’s computer, where a Farah video was found that the government believed to be connected to Bradley Manning. The Farah incident was a horrifying massacre on May 4, 2009, in Afghanistan, in which a U.S. airstrike killed scores of innocent Afghan women and children. Katz was fired from the Department of Energy for having password-evading programs.

The video, a version distinct from the one found on Bradley’s computer but matching the one hosted on the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) website, was encrypted, and investigators found decryption software on Katz’s computer. Adrian Lamo learned about Katz’s possession of the video and also turned him into the authorities. [See Lamo’s and Shaver’s December 2011 testimony on Katz and the video.]

The government wanted to connect Katz and Manning, but today forensic expert David Shaver confirmed that he found no connection whatsoever – no email, chats, or any other connection – between the two.

No proof that Manning downloaded Farah video from CENTCOM

Prosecutors were also unable to establish what they promised they’d prove in their opening statement (pg. 46, lines 11-15),

The evidence will also show that on this work computer was a forensic match of the video charged in specification 11 of charge two, the BE 22 PAX dot zip video was on this computer. And forensic examiners will testify that that video was on the computer on 15 December 2009.

The video file found on Bradley’s computer, under a folder titled ‘Farah,’ was titled TGT1.wmv, and it couldn’t be matched to the charged video, because it was corrupted and couldn’t be viewed.

The TGT1.WMV doesn’t match the name of a file found on CENTCOM’s server, which is the charged video, BE22PAX.zip. That file matches the one found on Jason Katz’s computer, and was encrypted. Katz was known to have decryption software, and the government has tried to tie WikiLeaks’s January 8, 2010, tweet about an encrypted video to Bradley and the Farah incident.

That tweet also predates the only time Bradley is known to have downloaded a Farah video. The defense established that Bradley downloaded the TGT1.wmv video from the T drive – a shared drive among intelligence analysts in his unit, to which he was authorized access – in April 2010. There’s no proof that Bradley downloaded the zip file from CENTCOM, and no proof that he downloaded a Farah video in November 2009 as the government has charged.

This lines up with Bradley’s proposed substitution to the government’s charges and his subsequent plea and statement.

The government has long contended there were two disclosures of a Farah video, in November 2009 (Spec 11 of Charge 2 says between 11/09 and 1/8/10) and April 2010, but it chose to charge him with the earlier disclosure. The defense has contended that there was only one transmission, in April. (See Alexa O’Brien’s transcript of that claim here.)

The prosecution said it had the forensic evidence to prove that contention, but Shaver’s testimony does not support it. He said that data transmission logs show no transfer of the CENTCOM zip file to Bradley’s computer – there was only the transfer from the T drive in April.

Since the prosecution refused to accept Bradley’s plea on that charge with changed dates, he pled not guilty to Specification 11 as charged. Now it can’t go back and charge for the April offense, and thus far they can’t prove the November offense. Perhaps it should’ve charged Jason Katz for that video instead.

Original post, morning session

Yesterday at Ft. Meade, we learned that the government and defense have agreed to 19 new stipulations of expected testimony, but didn’t hear them in court. We heard several of those stipulations today, of Army criminal investigators who collected the charged documents, classification specialists who reviewed whether the documents were properly marked and classified, and from a U.S. Central Command officer who reviewed the classification of the Farah investigation.

The first live witness was Staff Sergeant Matthew Hosburgh, who monitored military networks and evaluated their potential threats and vulnerabilities. He testified largely about his report from a November 2009 conference in Berlin, called Here Be Dragons and hosted by the Chaos Communication Congress. The conference included presentations on net neutrality, hacking, security, and WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange gave the WikiLeaks presentation, attempting to elicit support for and raise awareness about the site’s launch and goals. SSG Hosburgh confirmed that WikiLeaks requested anonymous submissions of classified and sensitive documents withheld by governments and corporations, but that Assange never mentioned or indicated support for terrorists.

In his report, SSG Hosburgh’s noted terrorists’ use of the internet in his summary of the net neutrality presentation but not in the WikiLeaks portion. WikiLeaks, he confirmed, was focused on keeping the public informed, and wasn’t focused on the United States in particular.

Did Manning see Hosburgh’s report?

The prosecution contends Bradley accessed that report (along with the 2008 Counterintelligence special report) but has yet to prove that in court. The government again called Army Special Agent Mark Mander, who reviewed Intelink (the military’s Google) logs to view searches made on Bradley’s computers. He found results for Stf. Sgt. Hosburgh’s report, but as the defense established on cross-examination, he can’t determine if Bradley saved the report, printed it, or even was the one using his computer to view it.

If he did, the report would be relevant to Bradley’s knowledge of WikiLeaks at the time of his release, and therefore whether he “knowingly [gave] intelligence to the enemy.” But that he was the one on that computer, viewing that report, has not been definitively established.

As was established yesterday, there’s similar ambiguity about Bradley’s knowledge of the 2008 Counterintelligence report on WikiLeaks.

Stipulations on Farah investigation testimony

Prosecution lawyer Maj. Ashden Fein read expected testimony from Lt. Commander Thomas Hoskins and retired Lt. Colonel Martin Nehring, who both reviewed war documents, and spoke about the investigation of a massacre in Farah province. Lt. Com. Hoskins determined the war logs were properly classified at the time, while Lt. Col. Nehring explained more about what made them sensitive.

The Significant Activities (SigActs) reported on IED attacks, tactics and procedures for responding to those attacks, casualties, small arms fire, and “sources and methods of intelligence collection.”

Programs that Bradley Manning used weren’t prohibited: trial report, day 4

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 10, 2013.

The second week of Bradley Manning’s court martial began with forensics experts returning, testimony from someone who shared Bradley’s computer, and updates on stipulations of expected testimony, but that all came after more questions about media access.

Stenographers deserve trial access

Judge Denise Lind received a motion from a third-party to allow for the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s crowd-funded stenographers to be credentialed for the media center at Ft. Meade, to provide an unofficial transcript of the proceedings. Judge Lind wouldn’t rule on the motion since it didn’t come from the defense or government, but defense lawyer David Coombs stood briefly to support it. He said the motion assists Bradley’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial and the First Amendment right to a free press.

Forensic expert: Wget not explicitly prohibited

David Shaver, head of forensic investigations for the Army Criminal Investigations Unit, has been called a few times and will likely be called back frequently to discuss the investigation of Bradley’s computer. He testified today about his review of Bradley’s searches on Intelink, the military’s secure version of Google.

Shaver testified about Bradley’s searches for ‘WikiLeaks,’ which started on December 1, 2009, and for ‘Julian Assange’ and ‘Iceland.’ A few times, his searches for WikiLeaks brought him to the Army’s 2008 Counterintelligence Special Report, but Shaver could only confirm that he successfully reached that report once.

He also talked about the program Wget, which automates downloading from the internet. Shaver said the program wasn’t specifically authorized with a Certificate of Net Worthiness (CON), but that it wasn’t prohibited either, and not having a CON didn’t mean it wasn’t allowed.

Fellow analyst: mIRC chat, other programs not prohibited

Chad Madaras was in the 2nd Brigrade 10th Mountain division along with Bradley Manning, so they were together in Ft. Drum before deploying and then together in FOB Hammer in Iraq. In Baghdad, they worked in the same unit and used the same computer but on opposite shifts: Bradley worked at night, Chad during the day.

Their shared computer was frequently slow and required ‘reimaging’ – wiping the computer fully and starting over new – multiple times. Therefore, analysts were expected to save files to CDs or to a shared drive to prevent losing any data.

Madaras testified that everyone else in their Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) used mIRC, a chat program Bradley said he used. Madaras also confirmed that music, movies, and video games were on the shared drive that all analysts could access. They weren’t explicitly allowed, but they weren’t banned either. This lends itself to the question of whether Bradley “exceeded authorized access” – the government contends he added programs that he wasn’t allowed to have.

He also confirmed that it wasn’t prohibited to explore the SIPRNet, the Secret-level, military-wide internet, for other regions of the world beyond mission scope. Bradley perused the State Department diplomatic database, and while others may not have done so, it hasn’t been established that this was a violation.

Stipulations continue 

We also heard the stipulations of expected testimony of Steve Buchanan, an NSA contractor who confirmed some basic facts about Intelink, which Shaver delved into further.

The defense and government took a two-hour lunch break to continue working on more stipulations. The military’s subject matter expert tells us that twelve stipulations have been agreed to, eight more are under negotiation, and several more may be on the way.

Afternoon session 

Update: 7:00

Tweets on trial 

After nearly a three-and-a-half hour lunch break, Army CID Special Agent Mark Mander testified about his contribution in the investigation of Bradley Manning, which he called “probably one of the largest and most complicated investigations we’ve ever had.”

Mander said he used Archive.org to find a 2009 version of WikiLeaks.org that allegedly shows a ‘Most Wanted Leaks’ list of desired documents, and used Google Cache to retrieve WikiLeaks’ 2010 tweets asking for ‘.mil addresses’ and for ‘super computer time’ upon receipt of an encrypted video. The prosecution wants to authenticate these documents as relevant to Bradley’s mindset at the time of the 2010 disclosures.

But the defense established that Mander has no personal knowledge of how Archive.org or Google Cache works, whether either had been hacked, whether tweets can be deleted, or whether Bradley had viewed those pages and tweets at that time.

The defense also presented an alternate version of the ‘Most Wanted Leaks’ page, which was similar but which introduced the list as the concealed documents most sought after by journalists, lawyers, police, and human rights investigators. Judge Lind accepted both versions as evidentiary exhibits.

Sheila Glenn: Army Counterintel couldn’t confirm that enemies used WikiLeaks

Ft. Meade’s Sheila Glenn works on Army cyber counterintelligence, and she testified about the 2008 Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which she reviewed and which speculated whether foreign intelligence services or terrorist groups used or could use WikiLeaks.org to gather U.S. defense information.

She mostly confirmed important elements of the report. She read aloud,

some argue, Wikileaks.org is knowingly encouraging criminal activities such as the theft of data, documents, proprietary information, and intellectual property, possible violation of national security laws regarding sedition and espionage, and possible violation of civil laws. Within the United States and foreign countries the alleged ―whistleblowers are, in effect, wittingly violating laws and conditions of employment and thus may not qualify as ―whistleblowers protected from disciplinary action or retaliation for reporting wrongdoing in countries that have such laws.

She confirmed,

Wikileaks.org supports the US Supreme Court ruling regarding the unauthorized release of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, which stated that ―only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

A primary point of contention regarded ‘intelligence gaps,’ a subsection of the report under which it’s asked,

Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site?

Glenn testified that intelligence gaps could fall within a range of certainty, from points of knowledge that the Army wanted to confirm, to subjects about which it knows very little. At the time, she said, Army Counterintelligence could not confirm that foreign intelligence services, adversaries, or terrorist groups did collect information from WikiLeaks.org.

This week

Remaining on the list of upcoming witnesses is Matthew Hosburgh, an intelligence analyst, who’ll testify about a ‘computer chaos club’ document; Ken Moser from CENTCOM who’ll testify about the Farah investigation; and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon Larue.

_______________________________________
PREVIOUS UPDATE:

At the heart of Day 3 was the inability of Bradley Manning’s supervisor, Captain Casey Fulton, to issue the same statement of authority as the U.S. government that WikiLeaks = Al Qaeda. In fact, she couldn’t mention WikiLeaks as a specific source at all, but only that social media was a known general hangout of America’s enemies. As Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, illustrates: social media, Google, Google Maps and other news outlets could easily be “aiding the enemy” in much the same way.

“The prosecution has specified Al Qaeda and one of its affiliates, as well as a third organization whose identity, also disturbingly, it classified. (Overclassification is one of the scandals of this story.) At what point could “enemy” mean anyone who doesn’t like us? Can it mean us ourselves, at moments when we think that something has gone wrong, and has to be exposed?”

The prosecutors intend to bring in a witness from the Navy Seals to testify that he found a published document from the WikiLeaks website in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad. But just how can one news agency, or public online forum control who their readers are and how can they avoid the government’s harassment if their readers are considered the “enemy” ? (Source)

Furthermore, it appears that some of what Manning was collating and preparing for distribution were specific assignments from his superiors and not a premeditated plot. This is fundamental in the government’s central “aiding the enemy” argument. Rather, it seems that Bradley Manning had been cited often by other intelligence analysts for his extraordinary natural abilities. As Fuller states below, that means it is likely that Manning “was simply doing his job” — and excelling at it. In short, he was working for the Army, not for WikiLeaks.

Many more essential details are provided by Nathan Fuller’s excellent coverage of this trial, as it enters Day 3, and will recess until the 10th. This trial will determine whether telling the truth should be punishable by life in prison. It is a determination that is guaranteed to affect us all.

Manning supervisor undercuts aspect of aiding the enemy charge: trial report, day 3

By Nathan Fuller, Bradley Manning Support Network. June 5, 2013.

On day 3 of Bradley Manning’s court martial, one of his supervisors didn’t mention WikiLeaks when asked about specific websites the military warned that the enemy might visit. Bradley’s fellow soldiers relayed that Iraq War Log documents didn’t reveal source names and that an Excel spreadsheet he created was done for intelligence work, not for WikiLeaks. Read reports from day 1 and day 2.

Captain Casey Fulton testified at the end of today’s Bradley Manning trial proceedings that there were no specific websites, other than social media sites, that intelligence analysts knew that America’s enemies visited. Capt. Fulton deployed to Iraq with Bradley in November 2009 and was in charge of Bradley’s intelligence section.

The government’s aiding the enemy charge relies on the claim that Bradley knew that giving intelligence to WikiLeaks meant giving it to Al Qaeda. Prosecutors have cited several times this Army Counterintelligence Special Report, which asks,

Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site?

But when defense lawyer David Coombs asked Capt. Fulton what websites the enemy was known to visit gathering intelligence, she merely said that it was general knowledge that the enemy goes to “all sorts” of websites. Pressed to name something specific, Capt. Fulton said that they were briefed on social media sites like Facebook, where people generally post lots of personal information, and Google and Google Maps. Once more Coombs asked if there were any specific websites that she and her fellow analysts had “actual knowledge” that the enemy visited, and Capt. Fulton said no.

Intelligence work for Army, not WikiLeaks

She also provided more information on an Excel spreadsheet that Bradley created as an analyst in Baghdad, which included all of the Significant Activities (SigActs) later released in the Iraq War Logs. The government has referred to this spreadsheet as an indication that Bradley was culling information and preparing it to be sent to WikiLeaks. But Capt. Fulton said that the spreadsheet was used for an intelligence analyst assignment: she had asked him to compile all SigActs from the entire Iraq War to discern any patterns and increases or decreases in violence throughout the war. Bradley was simply doing his job.

That testimony corroborates what we heard from other witnesses today. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hondo Hack and Warrant Officer Kyle Balonek testified to Bradley’s exceptional organizational abilities and impressive work for such an inexperienced analyst.

CW3 Hack rarely saw Bradley since they had opposite work shifts, so he looked into the shared drive where analysts posted reports and files they were researching. He called Bradley’s folder perhaps the most organized he’d ever seen, providing far more detail than more experienced analysts.

That revelation came after government questioning that attempted to paint Bradley as neglectful of his duties, presenting an email from him to CW3 Hack providing the name of a high-value target several months after he started his work. Prosecutors admitted when prompted by Judge Denise Lind that they were trying to show a dereliction of duty, and Coombs recalled their effort to characterize him as working for WikiLeaks when he should have been doing his job.

But CW3 Hack told the defense that he was frustrated with the entire intelligence analyst squad, and didn’t expect Bradley, as a junior analyst, to provide “actionable” information and in fact expected more from his more senior colleagues.

War Log reports didn’t reveal source names

CW Balonek was one of those more experienced analysts, who worked in Bradley’s division. He testified about keeping classified information secret, since he witnessed Bradley’s signing of the Non-Disclosure Agreement vowing to protect sensitive documents. He told government lawyers that it wasn’t common practice for those in Iraq to look at Afghanistan SigActs or other files, but he told the defense that there wasn’t any provision that he knew of prohibiting it.

He gave more insight into what those SigActs or HUMINT (Human Intelligence) files contained. The SigActs typically provided the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why an incident occurred, documenting basic information about incidents like IED attacks. Both types of files didn’t name U.S. sources by name—HUMINT reports cited sources by number, and SigActs would protect the source from identification as well. SigActs have some names, but those are witnesses, for example, to violent incidents, and not reliable sources with exact information.

Supervisor Showman’s conversations with Bradley

Specialist Jihrleah Showman was Bradley’s team leader at Ft. Drum before he deployed to Iraq, interacting with him daily. She testified with slight but visible disdain about their personal conversations, which she said typically involved “his topic of choosing,” and that he talked about social interests including “martini parties” in the D.C. area, having friends with influence in the Pentagon, and his interest in shopping.

She also said he liked to talk about politics, and that he would often debate with others about broad U.S. policy and that she found him “very political” and on the “extreme Democratic side,” responding affirmatively to Coombs’s phrasing.

When she oversaw him at Ft. Drum, most soldiers uploaded video games, movies, and music to their computers, which weren’t explicitly authorized but which she believed her superiors knew about. Bradley was so “fluent” with computers, she said, that she asked him to install the military chat client mIRC to her computer, and that he once mentioned that military portals’ passwords “weren’t complicated” and that he could always get through them.

Because the government moved through its witnesses so quickly, court is recessed for the week and will return on Monday, June 10.

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