Update 7/11/12: Government rejects another transparency request, next week’s defense motions
Military again rejects legal petition for transparency in Bradley Manning’s trial. As Emily Miller reports for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the government has once again rejected, this time via the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, public access to basic court documents in PFC Bradley Manning’s case. And once again, the government argues that if the public wants to see court documents, they have to file a Freedom of Information Act request:
“Here, appellants have an adequate remedy under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request access to these court-martial documents,” the government wrote. “This Court should likewise deny appellants’ request for [access to the documents] because FOIA is the proper vehicle for obtaining records from the United States agencies.”
But as lawyers in the legal petition note, this is not an adequate avenue for access but instead a diversion to continue keeping these documents secret:
Shayana Kadidal, the center’s senior managing attorney on the Guantanamo Project, said media organizations have filed FOIA requests for the information but were denied.
“It is frankly astonishing that the Obama administration is making members of the press work so hard to get access to unclassified transcripts of a court-martial proceeding happening half an hour away from Washington when the transcripts of military commissions at Guantanamo are released before the court sessions have even concluded,” said Kadidal, who added that the center’s reply brief will be filed on Friday.
Kevin Gosztola, a party in the petition, documented the government’s previous denial of access based on the same argument.
David Coombs posts defense motions for next week’s motion hearing. Seeking to counter the secrecy the petition sought to alleviate, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, continues to publish defense motions on his blog. Today, Coombs posted motions he’ll argue in next week’s Ft. Meade hearing, July 16-20.
1) Defense Motion for Specific Instructions: The Specification of Charge I;
2) Renewed Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State an Offense Specifications 13 and 14 of Charge II; and
3) Defense Targeted Brief on Absence of Harm.
This week, the Support Network will summarize these motions in a preview of next week’s motion hearing, along with more information about the subsequent hearing and the vigil planned outside Ft. Meade. As Coombs notes, he’ll continue to post defense responses and replies as he gets permission.
If you’d like to attend Bradley’s next court appearance, read more about it here. Supporters are working to crowdsource a transcript of the legal proceedings, because the military refuses to provide one and doesn’t allow audio recordings in the courtroom. Read about that effort here.