Witness | US v Pfc. Manning, Specialist Eric Baker, 62nd Military Police Detachment, CID (Manning’s roomate at FOB Hammer, Iraq)

UPDATE POST COURT-MARTIAL

United States v. Pfc.Manning was conducted in de facto secrecy. The public was not granted contemporaneous access to court filings or rulings during her trial. In addition to reporting on her trial, I transcribed the proceedings, reconstructed the censored appellate list, and un-redacted any publicly available documentation, in order to foster public comprehension of her unprecedented trial.

As a result of a lawsuit against the military judge and the Military District of Washington brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as my own FOIA requests and research, an official court record for US v. Pfc. Manning was released seven months after her trial. That record is not complete.

The official trial docket is published HERE and the entire collection of documents is text searchable at usvmanning.org.

*During the pretrial proceedings, court-martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 22, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning.

General Description

Specialist Eric Baker of the 62nd Military Police Detachment, Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Fort Drum testified that he was Pfc. Manning's roommate at Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2BCT), 10th Mountain Division (10 MTN) (Light Infantry) (LI) Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) at FOB Hammer, Iraq.

Baker testified that he had been in the US Army for for 3 years and 11 months, serving as Military Police the entire time.

Baker said he met Pfc. Manning before deployment in 2008. Even though they were roommates they did not interact much. Manning spent the month of February 2010 alone in the Containerized Housing Unit (CHU), because Baker was on leave from January 30th or 31st [2010] to the beginning of March 2010.

Baker said Manning had a MacBook Pro, a microphone, "some little attachment", an external hard drive, an iPod Touch, and writable CD's. Baker said he, himself, owned a laptop and an external hard drive.

Baker admitted that Pfc. Manning said some things to him, that made Baker think Manning was gay. Baker told Manning, "I think it's best we don't talk."

On cross examination, Baker admitted that if a soldier wanted to have a C.D. with music or photos of your family and friends in the T-SCIF they could have.

Additional Article 32 Pretrial, 12/18/11 (by an anonymous journalist, ed. by Alexa O'Brien)

See Transcript of US v Pfc. Manning, Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, 12/19/11 (Additional)

UNITED STATES CALLS SPECIALIST ERIC BAKER OF 62nd MILITARY POLICE DETATCHMENT (DRUM)

[The 62nd Military Police Detachment (Drum) is part of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID)]

Baker: Yes. I am an investigator on the [Missed]. I am a military police officer. Been in the U.S. Army for three years, 11 months.

[Specialist Eric Baker knew Pfc. Manning, because Manning was Baker's roommate, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)]

Prosecution: When did you meet?

Baker: October of 2009.

Prosecution: Before deployment?

Baker: Might have been in 2008, sorry.

Prosecution: Both rotations together?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: When?

Baker: Think both October...do not know when month of second [rotation] was. First was October 2008 Afghanistan. Second one was Iraq. We both went on both rotations.

Prosecution: When were you deployed?

Baker: October 2009 to May of 2010 when he [Manning] was apprehended.

Prosecution: What was your interaction?

Baker: Not too much at all, because he [Manning] was my roommate.

Prosecution: Roomies the whole time?

Baker: Yes Ma'am.

Prosecution: What did you observe about Manning and his computer usage?

Baker: He used it quite often - between chow times, and when I would wake up in the middle of the night, he would be on his computer.

Prosecution: During chow time, you mean on-shift? And at night, off-shift?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: See his screen ever?

Baker: No.

Prosecution: [Missed question.]

Baker: In January, he [Manning] left two weeks before that.

Prosecution: Know when he [Manning] returned?

Baker: No. I did not return until the beginning of March [2010].

Prosecution: You returned at the beginning of March [2010]?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: He [Manning] left in mid-January?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: So he [Manning] was alone for much of February?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: What kind of computer equipment did he [Manning] have?

Baker: MacBook Pro. Microphone, some little attachment, a hard drive, an iPod Touch.

Prosecution: What did you have?

Baker: Laptop, external hard drive.

Prosecution: Did Manning have an external hard drive?

Baker: Believe he did.

Prosecution: Did you ever use his MacBook?

Baker: No.

Prosecution: What additional media did he [Manning] keep in the C.H.U. [Compartmentalized Housing Unit] ?

Baker: iPod Touch, C.D.'s somewhere...with the plastic wrap.

Prosecution: What kind of C.D.'s?

Baker: Don't know...the kind you would get from supply.

Prosecution: Writable ones?

Baker: Yes.

Prosecution: Did you have any rewritable C.D.'s?

Baker: No.

Prosecution: Ever bring C.D.'s marked SECRET into your C.H.U.? Never marked anything SECRET? Ever have anything you believed to be SECRET in your C.H.U.?

Baker: [Answers, "No" to all questions.]

Prosecution: Ever discuss the Accused's feelings about the military with him?

DEFENSE OBJECTION

OVERRULED

Baker: I didn't know too much about his feelings about being in the military, but I knew he probably planned on getting out. We talked in the beginning about the military, and he said it just wasn't for him.

DEFENSE EXAMINES SPECIALIST ERIC BAKER OF 62nd MILITARY POLICE DETATCHMENT (DRUM)

Defense (Coombs): How long were you assigned as Manning's roommate?

Baker: I was the last, lower enlisted to get to file [Missed].

Defense (Coombs): Even though you were roomies, would it be fair to say you were not friends?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): You did not talk?

Baker: No.

Defense (Coombs): Conversations were limited to small things like, "Turn off the lights," or "Turn on the lights."

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): He [Manning] said some stuff that made you think he was gay?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): And you told him it was best if you didn't speak?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): Isn't that exactly what you told him?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): "I think it's best we don't talk"?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): When Manning wasn't at work, he was in his room?

Baker: Correct.

Defense (Coombs): Because he didn't have any friends?

Baker: I wouldn't say that....

Defense (Coombs): You saw him hanging out with people?

[Baker says he only saw Manning hanging with people during meal times - never otherwise.]

Defense (Coombs): Did you have C.D.'s?

Baker: No.

Defense (Coombs): Did anyone tell you, "You cannot have C.D.'s in your C.H.U.?"

Baker: No one told me that.

Defense (Coombs): So if you wanted to have a C.D. with music or photos of your family and friends you could have?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): When did you go on leave?

Baker: January 30th or 31st [2010].

Defense (Coombs): When back?

Baker: Beginning of March 2010.

Defense (Coombs): When did Manning come back from R&R leave?

Baker: The first week of February [2010].

Defense (Coombs): How do you know?

Baker: I don't know exactly when he [Manning] came back.

Defense (Coombs): You indicated that he [Manning] said maybe the U.S. Army wasn't for him?

Baker: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): Did you believe that had to do with the fact that he [Manning] was gay?

Baker: I had no idea.

Defense (Coombs): Because the two of you really weren't friends?

Baker: Yes, Sir.

SPECIALIST ERIC BAKER OF 62nd MILITARY POLICE DETATCHMENT (DRUM) PERMANENTLY EXCUSED

Other Resources

Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien is a investigative journalist. Her work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50.