Bradley Manning court-martial nears final phase today at Ft. Meade

Photo: Protesters line the entrance to Fort Meade, the army base which houses the military court where Wikileaks source PFC Bradley Manning is on trial. Alexa O'Brien.

The court-martial of PFC Bradley Manning, who leaked government documents to Wikileaks and is being charged by the government with "aiding the enemy," enters its final phase today.

Court will be called into session at 3pm ET. After the judge, Col. Denise Lind, rules on the possibility of a government rebuttal to the defense's case, we can expect motions to dismiss and closing arguments to be presented. Then Judge Lind will deliberate for an unknown period of hours or days. Then, a verdict, to be followed by a sentencing phase.

I traveled to the trial last week, and blogged about it here.

Amnesty International issued a statement calling for the US to drop the controversial "aiding the enemy" charge against Manning.

Last week, prosecutors withdrew a charge that Manning had leaked intelligence to a “classified enemy”. To prove the charge that Manning has “aided the enemy,” the U.S. government has to establish that he gave potentially damaging intelligence information to an enemy, and that he did so knowingly, with what presiding judge Col. Denise Lind called “a general evil intent”.

The prosecution has struggled throughout the trial to make a convincing case for this charge. Its own witnesses repeatedly told the court that they found no evidence that Manning was sympathetic towards al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, that he had never expressed disloyalty to his country, that they had no evidence that he had ties to any government other than his own, and that they had no reason to believe he had ever collected money for the information he disclosed.

Instead, government witnesses testified, for example, that Manning was involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and is on “on the extreme Democratic side” in political terms.

Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News:

Manning faces 22 charges connected with the disclosure of more than 700,000 military and diplomatic files, including battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. embassy cables, and footage of airstrikes that killed civilians. With the defense having rested its case last week, court reconvenes Monday to hear arguments on whether to dismiss several of the counts against Manning before the government presents rebuttal case.
Reporter and blogger Kevin Gosztola is one of a handful of people who have been covering the trial since it began some 18 months ago. There's an interview with him here at Democracy Now.

Media are not permitted by the court to live-tweet or live-blog the trial from the courtroom; no laptops or phones are allowed inside, and no phones are allowed inside the building some distance away designated for press. But follow these reporters, who are there, and will likely be there until it ends: Alexa O'Brien, Wikileaks Truck, Kevin Gosztola, and Adam Klasfeld.

Previously on Boing Boing:
• "Manning trial: defense rests, Manning won't testify, Wikileaks gets respect"
• "In final phase of Bradley Manning trial, a defense of Wikileaks"

Protesters at Ft. Meade. Image: Clark Stoeckley.