Witness | US v Pfc. Manning, James Culky (sp.), 4th Cavalry Division, Brigade S2

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:

James Culky is the Official Classification Authority for the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike video, also known as "Collateral Murder".

The videos were not classified at the time of their alleged release, but he believes that videos should have been classified

According to Coombs, "Although XXXXXXXXXX [James Culky (sp.), 4th Cavalry Division, Brigade S2] is not an OCA, he is the individual the Government chose to conduct the classification review of Apache video. As such, he is the only witness that the Defense is aware of that could speak to the classification review."

David Coombs, lead civilian defense counsel writes the "Defense had requested that these [Original Classification Authority (OCA)] witnesses be present at the Article 32 requested from both the SPCMCA [Special Court-Martial Convening Authority] and GCMCA [General Court-Martial Convening Authority] to depose the relevant OCA witnesses and requested contact information for the relevant OCAs."

The Investigating Officer, Lt. Col. Paul Almaza, ruled that James Culky was not a "relevant" witness for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing, although the Defense argued that James Culky was an "essential witnesses" for that hearing. Judge Lind agreed with the Investigating Officers ruling. She cited his ruling which said, the question as to whether or not the three Apache videos were classified or the fact that the Government is not alleging that they are classified was not "relevant" for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing

Judge Lind ruled against defense's motion for depositions, saying that affidavits can be considered sworn statements.

Article 32 Witness List Number 39 on Defense Request for Article 32 Witnesses, December 2, 2011

XXXXXXXXXX [JAMES CULKY (sp.), 4th Cavalry Division, Brigade S2 ]. He will testify about his classification review of the three Apache gun videos that were sent to his Division by FORSCOM. XXXXXXXXXX [See March 16, 2011 Motion Hearing Transcript for name disclosure.]

Defense Deposition Request, January 12, 2012

a. XXXXXXXXXX [JAMES CULKY, 4TH CALVARY DIVISION, BRIGADE S2]. He will testify about his classification review of the three Apache gun videos that were sent to his Division by FORSCOM. Specifically, he will testify that the videos were not classified at the time of their alleged release. However, he will testify that he believes that videos should have been classified. He will also testify regarding his classification determination. The requested deposition is needed due to the Article 32 Investigating Officer's improper determination thatXXXXXXXXXX [JAMES CULKY, 4TH CALVARY DIVISION, BRIGADE S2 was not reasonably available at the Article 32 hearing. XXXXXXXXX [JAMES CULKY, 4TH CALVARY DIVISION, BRIGADE S2] was an essential witness and should have been available at the Article 32 hearing. Additionally, given the factXXXXXXXXXX [JAMES CULKY, 4TH CALVARY DIVISION, BRIGADE S2] believes the matter that the defense wishes to discuss with him is classified, the government needs to arrange for a proper location for the deposition. The defense requests that an oral deposition be conducted. [See March 16, 2011 Motion Hearing Transcript for name disclosure.]

Motion Hearing Transcript, March 16, 2012

Judge Lind: Defense Moves to Compel Deposition...

Judge Lind reads her ruling which is broken down into sections that explain the motion, the defense argument, and her ruling. Judge Lind reads very quickly and so I could not type out every word or sentence that she said. Here is what I captured:

Defense has asked for the oral deposition of the following individuals:

James Culky (sp.), 4th Cavalry Division, Brigade S2 for the classification review of the Apache gun video.

...

The Judge continues reading background information in her ruling.

She states that Culky (sp.) and Rolland (sp.) were considered "essential witnesses" by the Defense for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Judge Lind then reads the lists of charges.

Lind reads excerpts from the Article 32 Pretrial Investigating Officers previously unavailable rulings on Defense's Witness List [See Number 39] and Motion to Compel Witnesses from the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Judge Lind reads that Paul Almanza, the Investigating Officer at the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing did not find Culky (sp.) a "relevant" witness for that hearing.

Lind continues, and cites the Investigating Officer's ruling that the question as to whether or not the three Apache videos were classified or the fact that the Government is not alleging that they are classified was not "relevant" for the Article 32 Pretrial Hearing.

Judge concludes by denying Defense Motion to Compel Depositions.

Lind rules that the Investigating Officer's determination of the witnesses reasonable availability in Article 32 Pretrial was not Improper, as the defense had argued.

Lind says she bases her own ruling on the Pretrial Article 32 rules in that the Investigating Officer, Paul Almanza, performed the "correct balance test, depositions only allowed in cases used to preserve essential testimony."

Lind says that affidavits can be considered sworn statements under Section 28, 1746.

Judge Lind continues:

Judge Lind: Government had offered OCA by telephonic...Defense disputes 2E applies...Article 9, R.C.M. 702...in the interest of justice the motion is denied.

Other Resources:

Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security and law enforcement. Her work has been published in The New York Times, VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian (UK), The Daily Beast, NY Daily News, and featured on the BBC, PBS, NPR, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the United Kingdom and listed in The Verge 50. In 2016, she worked at The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. as a staff researcher and writer on an independent commission studying Oklahoma's death penalty. She also provided research support to scholars of the first cost study conducted on that state's capital punishment system.