An anonymous source has revealed to representatives of the Bradley Manning Support Network that military officials conducted a non-publicized press briefing this morning for selected journalists, to outline restrictions that will be placed on members of the media at the upcoming hearings for the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower.
“The military is attempting to apply an embedded journalist framework to these proceedings,” said Jeff Paterson, an organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. “As in combat zones, these reporters receive special access to information in return for favorable coverage. Meanwhile, independently minded journalists are left out. It’s indefensible for the Army to apply this to a court martial process that by law is open to both the media and public.”
The source, who was familiar with the details of today’s private briefing, noted that fewer than ten seats are expected to be made available to journalists and members of the public in the courtroom. Although a closed-circuit viewing area may be made available to additional reporters, the television feed will most likely be cut for large segments of the trial, he said. The source added that military officials intend to invoke unspecified threats to national security in order to control the flow of information to the public.