Bradley Manning trial judge increased press security "because of repeat violations of the rules of court”

Col. Denise Lind, the Judge in the Bradley Manning military trial. Pic by Clark Stoeckley (twitter: @wikileakstruck).

Huffington Post reporter Matt Sledge read my Boing Boing post earlier today about reports from the Bradley Manning trial of dramatically-increased security measures for press. Those measures including armed military police standing behind journalists at their laptops, snooping on their screens.

He reports that the new, oppressive security measures were ordered directly by the judge because reporters were violating court rules (which no one can find a copy of), and carrying "prohibited electronics." For this, the government needs armed military police standing right behind reporters as they type, in the media room.

Matt says:

I've covered civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts (including a terrorism trial), and the Manning court martial for eight months, and I haven't run into an atmosphere quite as tense as today.

Here's the latest: the Military District of Washington told me in a statement that the new security measures are coming straight from the judge, and in response to "repeat violations of the rules of the court both in the courtroom and the media operations center." No elaboration on what those were.

A snip from Matt's HuffPo item:

Col. Denise Lind, the judge overseeing the case, ordered the increased security measures "because of the repeat violations of the rules of the court both in the courtroom and the media operations center with regard to broadcasting and electronics," the Military District of Washington said in a emailed, unsigned statement. "The Military Police are to screen personnel to ensure no one is bringing prohibited electronics into the building and to ensure compliance with the rules of the court."

I presume Col. Lind is referring in part to the leaked audio of Bradley Manning's statement before the court, which Freedom of the Press Foundation received from an anonymous source and published online.

Armed military police peering over journalists' shoulders, no Internet access in the remote media room, Army staff frisking everyone for phones -- those weren't the only obstacles for reporters covering the trial today. The military also refused to publish key documents the government used to build its closing argument.

Read the rest at Huffpo: "Army Ramps Up Security For Bradley Manning Trial's Closing Arguments"

Related Boing Boing posts:

• "Journalists at Bradley Manning trial report hostile conditions for press"

• "Closing arguments in Bradley Manning court-martial paint Wikileaks source as glory-seeking traitor"

Notable Replies

  1. It is against the rules of the court to report anything that reflects poorly on the US government. As such, a crackdown will commence until all reporting ceases or is properly aligned.

  2. Makes me wonder how small I could make an audio recorder.

  3. You have to trust me on this, you are and have been violating the rules. No you may not know what rules you have broken. No you may not see a list of the rules, knowledge of the rules is forbidden by the rules.

  4. Bradley Manning is going to be found guilty by this kangaroo court and they want to veil the whole thing in secrecy.

  5. "But Mr. Journalist, the Rules of the court have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

    "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

    "But the plans were on display ..."

    "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

    "That's the display department."

    "With a flashlight."

    "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

    "So had the stairs."

    "But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

    "Yes," said the Journalist, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

    -- With Respectful Apologies to Mr. Adams. It seemed fitting.

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