News Release

Bradley Manning in Court: “Show Trial” or Last Chance for Justice?


After being held for three years, much of it in solitary confinement, Bradley Manning’s trial began on Monday.

The government refuses to make its transcripts of the trial available to the public, so the the Freedom of the Press Foundation has “crowd-funded” a court stenographer. The first day’s transcript [in PDF] is available:

Julian Assange of WikiLeaks on Monday denounced it as a “show trial,” releasing a statement that read in part: “The court has banned any evidence of intent. The court has banned any evidence of the outcome, the lack of harm, the lack of any victim. It has ruled that the government doesn’t need to show that any ‘aiding’ occurred and the prosecution doesn’t claim it did. The judge has stated that it is enough for the prosecution to show that al-Qaeda, like the rest of the world, reads WikiLeaks.”

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at, @kgosztola
Gosztola is co-author of Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning. He is regularly tweeting and writing articles on Recent pieces include “Army Intelligence Report on WikiLeaks ‘Threat’ Being Used to Argue Bradley Manning Knew He’d Aid Enemy,” “Government: Bradley Manning ‘Dumped Information on the Internet into the Hands of the Enemy’” and “Defense: Bradley Manning Was Naive to Think He Could Change the World But Had Good Intentions.”

NATHAN FULLER, nathanlfuller at, @nathanLfuller, @SaveBradley
Fuller is with the Bradley Manning Support Network. He is liveblogging Manning’s trial. He notes in a recent tweet that the government is prohibiting T-shirts with the word “truth” on them from the courtroom. Today, Adrian Lamo, who reported Manning to federal authorities, took the stand.

Fuller wrote in his summary of the first day: “Defense lawyer David Coombs recounted a poignant turning point during Bradley’s time in Iraq. On Christmas Eve, 2009, an Army vehicle narrowly avoided injury after an explosive detonated. But in evading the explosive, the U.S. vehicle drove into a civilian car, carrying five Iraqis, including three children. His fellow soldiers celebrated into the night, cheering the U.S. soldiers’ survival, but 22-year-old Bradley couldn’t forget about the injured Iraqis, who were immediately hospitalized.

“‘From then on,’ Coombs said, ‘[Bradley] struggled.’ Not your typical soldier, Bradley wore customized dog tags that read ‘humanist.’ He strove to help his unit, wanting everyone to come home safely every day, but he wanted the local nationals to go home safely every day too.

“Coombs reviewed how this overarching humanism inspired him to release each set of documents. He couldn’t read Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs without thinking of that first injured family in December ’09. He read them ‘with a burden.’ He wanted to make a difference, and he believed this information should be public.”

PETER VAN BUREN, info at, @wemeantwell
Author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Van Buren said today: “The America I served for 24 years as an American diplomat stood for justice. Bradley Manning has been held for three years without trial, for much of the time under inhuman conditions. His trial now represents the last opportunity for my America to provide him justice.”