Bradley Manning court papers released after Pentagon bows to pressure

Decision to post 84 documents provides first crack in the army’s public information blackout during WikiLeaks trial.

The Guardian, By Ed Pilkington, February 28

Fort Meade, MD – The Pentagon has acceded to pressure from news organisations and human rights groups protesting secrecy surrounding the prosecution of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, releasing 84 previously unpublished rulings and orders into the public domain. [The Guardian: Bradley Manning trial: read the documents released by the Pentagon]

The Pentagon’s decision to post on the internet scores of rulings made by the presiding judge, Colonel Denise Lind, and other judges involved in the court martial process, provides the first crack in the army’s approach to public information in the trial. Previously, the US government refused to release any documents coming out of the trial other than often heavily redacted motions from the defence lawyer, David Coombs.

The lack of public access to court papers has been in contrast to the fact that the media and public have been allowed to attend the pre-trial hearings at Fort Meade. The duality has led to an Alice in Wonderland world where Lind has read out documents in court, which are then reported in the media, yet those same documents have not been published. In Tuesday she spent two hours reading a ruling on whether Manning’s rights to a speedy trial had been violated, yet this document has not been published.

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