Award-winning Investigative Journalist Robert Parry (1949-2018)

Award-winning investigative journalist and founder/editor of, Robert Parry has passed away. His ground-breaking work uncovering Reagan-era dirty wars in Central America and many other illegal and immoral policies conducted by successive administrations and U.S. intelligence agencies, stands as an inspiration to all in journalists working in the public interest.

Robert had been a regular guest on our Between The Lines and Counterpoint radio shows -- and many other progressive outlets across the U.S. over four decades.

His penetrating analysis of U.S. foreign policy and international conflicts will be sorely missed, and not easily replaced. His son Nat Parry writes a tribute to his father: Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews.

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Bradley Manning Defense Team and Support Network Prepare for Court Martial

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Posted Jan. 18, 2012

Interview with Kevin Gosztola, a civil liberties blogger with, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


On Jan. 13, the officer in charge of an evidentiary hearing investigating allegations that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, leaked classified government documents to WikiLeaks, determined that he should be court-martialed on all 22 charges. Manning stands accused by the U.S. government of being the source of 260,000 diplomatic government cables, more than 90,000 intelligence reports and a video of a U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad, later distributed to the press by WikiLeaks.

Among the most serious charges are “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense, although government prosecutors have said they will not pursue the death penalty. But if convicted on all counts, Bradley Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison. His trial is expected to begin in the next few months.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Kevin Gosztola, a civil liberties blogger with, a website that has championed Manning's cause from the beginning. FireDogLake and the Bradley Manning Support Network have exposed the inhumane treatment they say Manning was subjected to at the Quantico Naval Brig, that included solitary confinement and being stripped naked for extended periods of time. Here, Gosztola describes the decision to move to a court martial, and the strategy of both the defense team and the government in pursuing the case.

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: The latest news is that all of the charges that were being deliberated on – the investigative officer had to make a decision after the pre-trial hearing whether or not those would be charges that went into a court martial – he decided that all of them, and there's 23 different charges, including an aiding the enemy charge which is a capital offense and carries the possibility of the death penalty – and those charges are all going to carry into the court martial. This was the job of the investigative officer – to decide what to do with the charges. That was the whole point of the hearing, that the prosecution would come and make their case and show the evidence they had for all these charges, and the investigating officer seems to think there was plenty of evidence.

BETWEEN THE LINES: How does Bradley Manning seem? Do you know anything about his state of mind?

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: What I've been telling people about what I thought and how he looked...he's been held in detention for more than 550 days and I said, you know for being in detention that long, he actually looked pretty normal. It's very hard to detect that he has any sort of issues from being confined. I'm not saying that he has no problems. I'd say he's very happy and pleased. From an aunt we have a bit of a note that came out around Christmas time that he was very pleased with all the support he received during the hearing and he wanted all his supporters know he was doing well and was getting along fine.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Kevin Gosztola, please just remind our listeners the defense Manning's lawyer plans to present.

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: I think that their case is going to be built around, one, the mental state of Bradley while he was there; certainly the way he was dealing with...he believes he's actually a different gender, so, a woman and has had gender identity issues, and they're going to push that angle. And they're also going to push the angle of the place where he worked, the facility where he was doing his intelligence analyst work, they're going to push how the information security in that area was lax and how people were able to get away with downloading stuff from their computers, taking information in and out of the facility without having too many superiors asking questions about what was being done – playing games, movies, listening to music on the drives, just bad information security. And the final thing I would say is they are going to say that there hasn't been any risks to national security. But the one obstacle that he's had – and you can see that in his request for depositions in the aftermath of the Article 32 hearing, or the pre-trial hearing – is he wants the original classification authorities to have to testify under oath or on the record. They submitted unsworn statements that claims there's been harm, and they assert there's been harm, but they haven't been under oath, so it's just what they say. And he really wants to put these people under oath and force them to say that there's been a risk, because it's not clear what that risk is.

BETWEEN THE LINES: But they probably wouldn't specify the harms because they'd say that would compromise national security, like they have in other cases, no?

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: Well, so, they would do this under classified information. So all these depositions that the lawyer, David Coombs, wants to do, this is his request and on the same day that this came out that these 23 charges would proceed to court martial, David Coombs made a request for on the record depositions, and he wanted to get these all from individuals and they would be classified. Classified testimony would be offered, so that would mean that the public would never really know what sort of information was shared with the defense, but at least he would get the evidence he needed to make his case for Bradley Manning.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Say a little more about the aiding the enemy charge, which potentially carries the death penalty, even though government lawyers have said they won't seek it.

KEVIN GOSZTOLA: So, the aiding the enemy charge is very,'s just terrible that the government is going this far and it is over-reaching, and I believe this is the government going way too far. And the biggest issue is they're claiming that Bradley Manning knew he was going to give the information to Al Qaeda indirectly through Wikileaks. That's what was said during the hearing. And if you think about this argument, it's a really bad one for people who like to cover national security issues, because in a sense what they're saying is, if you put something out there that can be available to terrorists, then you could be considered someone who deserves to be criminalized, depending on your effect. So Bradley Manning has been very effective in what he has done, and it seems like the aiding the enemy charge is all about making an example out of Manning. His lawyer says it's also about trying to flip him and get him to testify against Julian Assange and other people in Wikileaks. So this aiding the enemy charge is entirely all about intimidation, and so far there's no justification to show that he was working or operating for terrorists.

Kevin Gosztola blogs at Learn more about the charges against Bradley Manning by visiting the Bradly Manning Support Network at

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