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Government Says WikiLeaks No Different From New York Times At Bradley Manning Hearing

January 10, 2013   ·   2 Comments

Source: Huffington Post

Bradley Manning

By Matt Sledge:

The last two days of pretrial hearings for Bradley Manning have seen a couple of interesting developments:

First, Judge Army Col. Denise Lind waded into the roiling debate over solitary confinement when she claimed [Tuesday] that Bradley Manning was not truly subjected to solitary confinement because “solitary confinement means alone, without human contact,” and “he had daily human contact.”

Penologists and psychologists hotly dispute just what solitary confinement is. But it’s generally agreed that we’re not necessarily talking about Kaspar Hauser-style total isolation. Even journalist Terry Anderson, when he was being held by Hezbollah in Lebanon in the ’80s, for example, had some contact with his jailers.

The ACLU blogged a response to Lind’s ruling on Wednesday, calling it a “misguided,” “simply wrong” display of the “all too common misunderstanding of what solitary confinement is and the damaging effects it imposes on human beings.”

Second, there was an interesting discussion of whether WikiLeaks constitutes a media organization in court Wednesday. Kevin Gosztola summarizes:

The judge asked if the govt was planning to present any evidence about the nature of WikiLeaks. Is that somehow different from the New York Times? Does the government have a theory it is somehow different? To which the government replied during sentencing it would have a witness testify, who would “characterize” WikiLeaks.Again the judge asked, “If we substituted New York Times for WikiLeaks, would you still charge Bradley Manning in way that you have?” Without hesitation, the government answered yes.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about the trial of Bradley Manning, not Julian Assange. Still, it’s interesting that in this context of whether to charge Manning, at least, the government views Assange and former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller not too differently. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned for a potential sentencing phase of the trial to find out more.

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mgsledge

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. marieburns says:

    It is worth noting that the New York Times, after a long period of choosing not to cover developments in Bradley Manning’s case, now has top reporters Charlie Savage & Scott Shane on the case. Shane reported on the hearing here & here.

    In the second report I cited, Shane does write, “The New York Times and other mainstream publications published hundreds of the documents Private Manning is accused of leaking. The Justice Department is carrying out an investigation of WikiLeaks to determine whether Mr. Assange or his associates can be charged with a crime.” That’s it.

    Neither reporter mentions the exchange Kevin Gosztola reported. Inasmuch as the judge’s question & the government’s response concerned the Times, one just might think the New York Times was suppressing public information that reflected badly on the newspaper.

    Let’s be clear: this is not a “side issue.” The question the judge asked speaks to the fundamental question, “What is journalism?”

    Evidently, you won’t find out by reading the New York Times.

    And make no mistake: if you want to know what is really going on in matters directly related to WikiLeaks, you still have to go to alternative media like Firedoglake.

    Marie

     Reply
    • marieburns says:

      Update: the Shane story does mention the exchange Gosztola reported. I have checked NewsDiff, which gives no indication the Times changed Shane’s story.

      Thus, it seems likely I was wrong to assert the Times had not reported the courtroom exchange regarding the New York Times.

      Nonetheless, the story as currently posted on the Times Website seems materially different to me from the one I originally read, so I am not 100 percent certain that the Times did not update the original story to include the judge’s reference to the Times. The evidence, however, is on the Times’ side, so I’ll stand corrected.

      Marie

       Reply





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