Alexa O’Brien is a crowd-funded independent journalist who has taken it upon herself to be the unofficial court stenographer of the Bradley Manning trial. Her website has become a valuable resource for those seeking to know more about the proceedings of this trial.
Although the Fort Meade hearings are open to the public, there are no government-provided, public records of the proceedings and no electronic recordings are allowed. There were very few journalists present when I attended a preliminary hearing last October, where Bradley Manning was present but did not speak. I saw Alexa there, intensely scribbling the minutiae of the trial’s proceedings.
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In this ReasonTV interview, she notes some of the unprecedented facts about this trial: — An aspect of this case, that has received zero coverage is the role of the State Department, which she describes as the “puppet masters of the military prosecutors, blocking discovery, etc.”
— The State Department has been a partner with the FBI and the Department of Defense in investigating Manning and WikiLeaks.
— She says, “We have yet to have any serious analysis of the cables leaked by Manning and how they relate to “Aiding the Enemy,” and “Unwarranted Publication,” a charge that has never been used in a court martial and it does not tie to any existing Federal Violation or Punitive Article, under the code of Military Justice.
— There has been no analysis of how these cables are tied to the charges against him of Stealing of Government Property, Espionage or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This video features the leaked audio of Manning’s opening statement, in which he describes the leak of the footage taken from the Blackhawk helicopter, of the gunners gleefully killing innocent civilians, including a baby. Manning says that he was encouraged to see that the public’s troubled response matched and at times, exceeded his own.
The government is pressing forward with their case for a conviction of Manning, with a sentence of Life plus 149 years. O’Brien refers to speculation that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s decision to seek asylum came largely from observing the treatment of Bradley Manning, who was confined for 1,001 days prior to any trial — and the court’s ruling that his Right to a Speedy Trial was not violated — and how only one week of Manning’s very strange treatment at Quantico was deemed “unlawful”, giving him 112 days’ credit on his sentencing, which is ludicrous, in the face of the life sentence he is facing. O’Brien states that all of this is consistent with the Obama Administration’s “Inquisition Against Whistleblowers.”
July 8, 2013
“This was the largest criminal investigation ever into a publisher and its source,” says independent journalist Alexa O’Brien of the U.S. investigation of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking classified document to Wikileaks. “And it seemed like there was no in-depth coverage.” Reason’s Matthew Feeney attended the Bradley Manning trial in Fort Meade, Maryland to discuss the case with O’Brien, whose website is the most complete public record of the military proceedings against Manning. Since the case’s pre-trial hearing, no one has worked more successfully than O’Brien to shine a light on military process that’s taking place far beyond civilian courtrooms. To date, no official transcripts of the proceedings have been made available to the public. The trial has no website, no phone number to call for information. With the exception of one leaked recording of Manning’s testimony (part of which is included in Reason’s video), all recordings of the courtroom have been forbidden. Although the public has been invited to observe the trial in person, large portions of it are conducted in closed sessions. O’Brien’s response to the media blackout has been to cover the trial extensively and to invite other journalists to use her work as source material. She has become the unofficial court stenographer, unredacting documents, making trial materials available to the public, building a database of the U.S. investigation of Wikileaks, and providing her own analysis of the Manning trial. O’Brien makes no secret of her support for Bradley Manning and for political causes such as the Occupy movement. Put differently, the convictions that underlie her reporting are transparent and open to public scrutiny. Which is more than can be said for the trial of Bradley Manning. Runs about 4:30minutes. Produced by Todd Krainin. Go tohttp://reason.com/reasontv/2013/07/08… for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live