A pattern has emerged in a series of rulings by Judge Lind in Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearings. Today we heard that delays based on the government’s failure to provide relevant evidence to the defense was “troubling” but overall reasonable, and she ruled against the defense motion to dismiss the charges based on the lack of a speedy trial. Bradley Manning has been in prison 1005 days, and it took the government over 600 days to bring Bradley Manning to arraignment. It should take no more than 120 days to arraign a detainee. The ruling is a disappointment but the incredible outpouring of support from people around the world is not.
The ruling fits a pattern set by Judge Lind, who last month agreed the government had unlawfully punished Bradley Manning before trial, but then only gave him 112 days possible sentencing credit – not even a slap on the wrist to the military. She also ruled that the 11 months Bradley Manning spent alone in his cell, in conditions the UN rapporteur on torture called “cruel, inhumane and degrading”, did not amount to solitary confinement. Her unbelievable reasoning: he could speak to passing guards.
This week Bradley Manning will be entering a plea, whereby he is expected to deny the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’, while accepting responsibility for releasing documents to motivate worldwide, debate, and reform. This will be his first chance to set the record straight as to his motives, which have been blocked from the trial thus far.
Let’s hope Judge Lind gives him the chance to speak. And let’s hope that all this double speak, where Lind verbally criticizes prosecutors, while ruling consistently with them, is part of a ‘pre-trial’ game – and that more reasonable action is taken during the trial itself.
The Bradley Manning Support Network is calling for an international day of action on June 1st, a few days before the court martial is scheduled to begin.