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Manning sentencing: LIVE UPDATES

Published time: August 21, 2013 12:26
Edited time: August 22, 2013 21:59
Protesters with the Bradley Manning Support Network hold a vigil while waiting to hear Manning's sentence on August 21, 2013 outside the gate of Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. (AFP Photo / T.J. Kirkpatrick)

Protesters with the Bradley Manning Support Network hold a vigil while waiting to hear Manning's sentence on August 21, 2013 outside the gate of Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. (AFP Photo / T.J. Kirkpatrick)

A US military judge has sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison in the WikiLeaks case. The Private was earlier found guilty of 20 criminal counts, including espionage and theft.

21:58 GMT: Bradley Manning, the former Army private who announced he identifies as a woman and wishes to be known as Chelsea Manning, has returned to Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas to begin serving her 35 year sentence for espionage, theft, and fraud.  Fort Leavenworth is an all-male facility and military officials said Manning will not be provided any treatment to facilitate her gender identity announcement. Fort Leavenworth spokesman George Marcec told the Associated Press that Manning will be forbidden from wearing a wig or bra, and must maintain a haircut that adheres to military standards.

12:48 GMT: The announcement that Manning decided to live out the rest of his life as a woman has sparked a wave of comments on the internet, with hashtag #FreeChelsea appearing on Twitter, instead of the previously used #FreeBradley hashtag.

12:10 GMT: Bradley Manning has announced that he’d like to live out the rest of his life as a woman, asking to be called Chelsea Manning.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,”
he said in a statement, which his lawyer, David Coombs, read on NBC News’ Today show.

The statement also informed that Manning wants to begin hormone therapy required for a sex change “as soon as possible.”

23:04 GMT:
 Coombs also revealed to media members that prosecutors had initially offered Manning a lower sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. He refused to elaborate on the details, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but admitted Manning would have been given a sentence smaller than 35 years had he accepted, according to Washington Post researcher Julie Tate.  

Photo from twitter.com user @RT_America

22:30 GMT: At a press conference immediately following Manning’s sentencing, lead defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from the whistleblower himself. That statement is quoted in part below: 

"In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture.  We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government.  And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror," he said.

"Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power.  When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

"Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few.  I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

"As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’"

22:25 GMT: Protests have sprouted in several major cities throughout the US, with the image below captured in New York City's Times Square.

Photo from twitter.com user @OccupyWallStNYC

22:21 GMT: Joining the chorus of critics Wednesday was the Center for Constitutional Rights with a statement that called for Manning’s supporters to channel their outrage and continue to push for his freedom. 

We are outraged that a whistleblower and a patriot has been sentenced on a conviction under the Espionage Act. The government has stretched this archaic and discredited law to send an unmistakable warning to potential whistleblowers and journalists willing to publish their information,” the statement read. 

This show trial was a frontal assault on the First Amendment, from the way the prosecution twisted Manning’s actions to blur the distinction between whistleblowing and spying to the government’s tireless efforts to obstruct media coverage of the proceedings. It is a travesty of justice that Manning, who helped bring to light the criminality of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being punished while the alleged perpetrators of the crimes he exposed are not even investigated.” 

21:45 GMT: Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading defenders of human rights, has also issued a statement calling the sentence a miscarriage of justice. 

The aggressive prosecution and harsh sentencing of Manning not only contrasts sharply with the total impunity of former senior US officials for torture and related abuses, but far exceeds the sentences most democratic countries impose for public leaks of sensitive information,” said Dinah PoKempner, the general counsel at Human Rights Watch. 

21:06 GMT: The Freedom of the Press Foundation, the same organization that raised funds for an independent court reporter during the trial, has released a statement condemning Manning’s sentence. 

This harsh overreaction is intended to send a message to all potential whistleblowers who might expose wrongdoing by the American government: disclosing information to the American public for the betterment of society will be treated as harshly as espionage for profit,” it read. 

With this sentence, Manning will be the longest imprisoned leaker in American history. If he serves even half of his sentence, he will have been imprisoned longer than all other prosecuted leakers combined.” 

20:43 GMT: Manning, who will turn 26 in December, was expected to be transferred to prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on Wednesday, according to The Guardian. There, at the only prison designated for military servicemen sentenced to over a decade in prison, inmates are highly restricted and often work for pennies an hour.  

Still, wrote Raelean Finch on the Captain Incarcerated blog, which chronicles life inside Fort Leavenworth, the conditions are more hospitable than prisons for the civilian population. 

"It's presided over by military folks," Finch said. "These are people who cleaned bathrooms with a toothbrush during basic training." 

18:40 GMT: “Manning’s trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement posted on the group’s website following the private’s sentencing.

17:40 GMT: Manning’s Defense Team will file a pardon request to the US president Barack Obama early next week, said lead attorney David Coombs at a news conference.  

“Early next week I will file a request to the President for the pardon of Private Manning, or at least commute his sentence”.


17:30 GMT: The news conference, where Manning’s attorney David Coombs will address the media about the sentence, has started.


17:20 GMT:


17:10 GMT: Adrian Lamo, a US threat analyst and hacker who reported Manning to federal authorities in 2010, has said that the Private’s sentence “could have no happy ending, this ending is among the least unhappy."


16:40 GMT:


16:30 GMT: RT web producer Andrew Blake reports live from Ft. Meade.

16:10 GMT:


16:05 GMT: “More than anything else, the case shows the urgent need to reform the USA’s antiquated Espionage Act and strengthen protections for those who reveal information that the public has a need and a right to know, ” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

15:50 GMT: Bradley Manning is "one more casualty of a horrible, wrongful war" and he did not deserve any prison time, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. He said that Manning will always be an inspiration for civil and moral courage to truth tellers. He called the prosecutor's demand for 60 years "vicious," but said the judge's ruling was much better. 


15:37 GMT: Moscow has slammed the “harsh” sentence for US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, saying it was apparently meant to scare away other whistleblowers, and was not up to human rights standards.

When the USA’s interests are at stake, the American judicial system, as in the case of Bradley Manning, takes unjustifiably harsh decisions based on the principle 'let’s teach them so that it doesn’t become a habit' – and without any glance at the human rights aspects,” said  Russian Foreign Ministry’s special representative for human rights Konstantin Dolgov. 

15:30 GMT: Manning has to serve a third of his sentence before he can apply for parole. His sentence will automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Before the next phase, the court-martial proceedings must be turned into an official transcript and approved by the defense, the prosecution and the judge. After that the Private and his defense can take the case to the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces and then possibly to the US Supreme Court.

15:19 GMT: Co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, called the sentence "unprecedented" in its magnitude.

"It's more than 17 times the next longest sentence ever served” for providing secret material to the media, Elizabeth Goitein said. "It is in line with sentences for paid espionage for the enemy."

15:17 GMT:


15:15 GMT:  “Instead of fighting tooth and nail to lock him up for decades, the US government should turn its attention to investigating and delivering justice for the serious human rights abuses committed by its officials in the name of countering terror,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.


15:10 GMT: 


15:07 GMT:


15:00 GMT: There was a gasp among the spectators after the sentence was announced. One woman put her hands up, covering her face.

"I'm shocked. I did not think she would do that," said Manning supporter Jim Holland. "Thirty-five years, my Lord."

14:55 GMT: The decision was immediately condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system. A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability. This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate".


14:50 GMT: Manning stood at attention and appeared not to react when military judge Lind announced the punishment without explanation.

14:45 GMT:


14:38 GMT: Supporters in the gallery shouted, “We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley!” after the sentence was announced.

Supporters of US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning react after attending his sentencing hearing at a US military court facility at Fort Meade, Maryland on August 21, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

14:30 GMT:


14:24 GMT: Manning will be credited with the 1,294 plus 112 days he spent in pre-trial confinement. Manning was also dishonorably discharged, his rank was reduced to private from private first class. He was forced to forfeit all pay, although no additional fine was levied against him.

14:18 GMT: Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.


14:17 GMT: Lead attorney of the Manning defense, David Coombs is to address the media about the sentence in a news conference scheduled for 1.30pm ET (5.30 GMT) , Alexa O'Brien reports.

14:16 GMT: The sentencing of Bradley Manning has started.

14:05 GMT:


14:03 GMT: Alexa O’Brien writes that after sentencing, Manning will have the option of petitioning General Jeffrey Buchanan, the Convening Authority overseeing Bradley Manning’s trial, for clemency. General Buchanan also has the option of reducing the sentence on any particular count or overturning it altogether. Conversely, Buchanan cannot overturn a not guilty verdict or tack on time to the sentence. In any case, Manning’s case will immediately be reviewed by the Army Court of Criminal Appeals if he is sentenced to more than one year in prison.

13:50 GMT:


13:49 GMT:


13:46 GMT: RT’s Washington-based journalist Andrew Blake is reporting live from the courtroom. He will bring the latest news and information as the sentencing gets underway.


13:43 GMT: Alexa O’Brien says journalists will not have the option of communicating the Manning sentence to the outside world until after recess has been called. He also tweeted that access to the Internet will be cut off as soon as court is called to order.

13:33 GMT: A detailed chart of the charges Manning was found guilty of and the maximum sentences available under each one.



12:11 GMT:


11:50 GMT: WikiLeaks activist and blogger Clark Stoeckley estimates that Manning will likely get a 30-year sentence, with the likelihood of parole in 10 years. Stoeckley questions why Manning is facing up to 90-years-in prison, while the apache gunner who appeared in the ‘Collateral Murder’ video has never faced criminal charges.


11:40 GMT:  Independent journalist Alexa O’Brien, who has extensively covered the Manning trial, tweeted that all of the networks have already arrived.

“I am told MSNBC showed up for the first or second time yesterday,” O’Brien said.

11:35 GMT:



11:30 GMT:


11:20 GMT: Col. Denise Lind, who on Tuesday began her deliberations in the court-martial case, said she would announce the first sentence for Manning on Wednesday at 10am local time (14:00 GMT). Wednesday’s sentence will be for the army private’s disclosure of classified information through the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The prosecution has sought a 60-year sentence, arguing the stiff term would deter others from leaking classified information.

"There's value in deterrence," prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow said in his closing argument on Monday.

Last week the 25-year-old Manning apologized for the “unintended consequences” of his actions, saying he believed he was “going to help people, not hurt people."

He told the court at Fort Meade, Maryland, that "the last three years have been a learning experience for me."

The soldier was convicted last month on 20 charges including espionage, theft and violating computer regulations. Manning was found not guilty, however, of the most serious charge – aiding the enemy – which entailed a potential sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison for passing on more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010.

Manning is entitled to appeal against any verdict handed to him by the court-martial in the Army Court of Criminal Appeal within six months.

Comments (7)

 

Daniel hudd 21.08.2013 22:11

It doesn't matter in Federal Prison whether you blew someone away, raped, robbed, had drugs or counterfitted a worthless dollar, you do 85% of your time. Unicor will put manning to work for 35 cents an hour making something for the military that the tax payer will pay top dollar for. He will do it for over 31 years. Being gay, there is a possiblilty he could die of an STD, he will come out broken, institutionalized and lost in a world that will pass him by without notice. Welcome to the belly of the Beast Mr. Manning.

 

John 21.08.2013 17:49

If the court cared about justice they would have ordered investigations into all the crimes that Manning revealed. But this is America evil rules here.

 

Skillz 21.08.2013 17:43

Adrian Lamo should really shut his mouth... he's just digging himself a bigger hole. He's a puppet, a coward and a fake.

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