Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, the Investigating Officer at Manning's Article 32 Pretrial Hearing is an "impartial fact finder".
Please disregard the rumor that he is a career prosecutor at the Department of Justice (since 2002, the year he received his license); or that the Department of Justice has an ongoing criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
Any "reasonable person given the facts would never doubt Almanza's impartiality" given that his work address as Chief of Staff for the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice is publicly listed as US Dept. Of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., Nw Washington, DC 20530; of that he sent correspondence to Manning's counsel using his DOJ email.
In fact,Col. Stephen Henley, most noted for his appointment by Obama as president of Guantanamo's military commission, informed Almanza of his appointment as Manning's Pretrial IO. A reasonable person would know that Almanza, like every Kampf Justice military tribunal judge, would deny all but two defense witnesses, and grant the US government all 20 of its own. 10 of the defense's 48 requested witnesses were granted because they were also on the government's list.
Thankfully, Manning's defense didn't faint like some GTMO defense attorneys, whilst cross-examining the government's star witness.
A reasonable person might, especially hearing Special Agent Toni Graham testify she based her affidavit, which served as the grounds for Manning's cruel and unusual pretrial confinement on an article about WikiLeaks in Stars and Stripes Magazine.
Graham still doesn't know what the classification for the 2007 Baghdad airstrike video is.
Of course, Almanza denied one agent the defense requested, who was on the prosecution's original witness list dated July 7, 2010. The defense requested the "attendance of XXXXXXXXXX in order to provide the Investigating Officer with testimony concerning the joint investigations being conducted by both the Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.But, "according to the government's memo dated 7 December 2011, the other agents 'XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX can provide the needed testimony."
Manning's defense argued that XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX's [OTHER AGENTS'] testimony, would "in large part be hearsay evidence about what other agents have done on the case and what witnesses have told these other case agents." But, a reasonable person might question Almanza's impartiality if he allowed co-worker from the FBI to testify at Manning's Pretrial hearing.
Manning's defense also requested the appearance of the original classification authorities of the alleged leaks, because they only gave unsworn statements, and "unsworn statements under 28 U.S.C. 1746 cannot be considered by the Investigating Officer."
Based on the facts, a reasonable person would determine that sworn or unsworn, Almanza wasn't considering any testimony from the original classification authorities. So, calling those witnesses or any government officials who publicly contradicted the OSA's unsworn statements, by stating that Manning and Assange had "blood on their hands" was a "cost and burden...too great to require" and "not justified."
Even if as Manning's defense said "it was the government's decision to conduct this Article 32 investigation at Fort Meade." Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates were not "reasonably available given the importance of their respective position."
Why would Almanza call any defense witnesses, when any reasonable person knows that the president already declared that Manning is guilty? As for 18 months of executable delays, all of which were granted to the US government: that's because any reasonable person when presented with the facts knows that CID (Criminal Investigation Command) and CCIU (Computer Crime Investigating Unit) were so incompetent in their investigation, that two months after Manning's arrest, former "secretary of defense, Robert Gates was still unaware of the magnitude of the breach.
In fact, the DoD needed the New York Times to tell them all about it on July 22, 2010. That's why Gates had to called up Mueller at the FBI on July 28, 2010 to ask for "help".
On July 28, 2010, the FBI officially opened their criminal investigation into WikiLeaks by partnering with the US Army investigation of Manning. But, according to Special Agent Mark Mander's testimony, Neil MacBride, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who is in charge of the WikiLeaks Grand Jury, has counseled the US Army's military investigation and prosecution since early June 2010.
Almanza said he was appointed to the case in August 2010 ( Almanza notified supervisor at DoJ of Pretrial on December 12, 2011), but he was only aware of some allegations that appeared on television or in articles. Don't worry. He's an "impartial fact finder" and he is totally clueless. He really doesn't know what the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative is. He had to ask Special Agent Troy Bettencourt to repeat himself, so he could write it down.
And, it's no big deal that Almanza is Facebook friends with John N. Maher, Deputy General Counsel for Contracting at the Defense Intelligence Agency - the agency that Robert Gates directed "to lead a comprehensive review of the documents allegedly given to WikiLeaks and to coordinate under the Information Review Task Force (IDTF, formerly TF 725) to conduct a complete damage review." John N. Maher is only the "principal legal counsel to the SES Agency Acquisition Executive, Vice Acquisition Executive, the Head of the Contracting Activity, and 46 Contracting Officers with 350 CORs supporting world-wide intelligence operations contracting in various industries; portfolio of 1300 contracts in administration, 300 in source selection, and several in dispute resolution; issues involve acquisition planning, RFPs, statements of work, evaluation factors, cost/pricing data, competitive range, discussions, sole source, J&As, best-value, tradeoffs, awards, debriefings, bid protests, IDIQs, fair opportunity, negotiations; DoD TS-SCI." Whether or not Almanza's friend handled any negotiations with intelligence contractors investigating WikiLeaks for the US government, it's reasonable to believe that we'll never know. Since, according to the DIA Web site, the "exact numbers and specific budget information are not publicly released." And, lets be reasonable, the DOJ, Almanza lifelong employer, already has a 2012 $1 to $2 Millon forecasted contracting opportunity for the FBI in Fairfax, VA for "WikiLeaks Software and Hardware" for incumbent contractor ManTech, dated November 7, 2011.
Based on those facts, a reasonable person would never doubt that Mark Johnson, a ManTech digital forensics contractor would inevitably find information connecting "Manning and a person believed to be Assange."
*This article was concurrently published on WL Central.