US army whistleblower Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, but found guilty on 20 other counts on Tuesday, meaning he could still face up to 136 years in prison. Sentencing proceedings began on Wednesday and may last up to a month.
10:19 GMT: Judge Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge who will decide how much prison time Manning will serve, said Friday that his actions were “wanton and reckless.” Lind found Manning guilty last month of 20 criminal counts, including espionage and theft, and will begin deliberating his sentence on Monday. He could face up to 90 years behind bars for leaking 700,000 US diplomatic cables as well as battlefield reports and graphic helicopter footage.
“Manning’s conduct was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to others,” Lind said. “His conduct was both wanton and reckless.”
Wednesday, July 31
19:00 GMT: Prosecutors have been arguing that Manning’s
classified leaks have changed the way that the US military allows
its intelligence analysts to access data. Major Ashden Fein, said
on Wednesday that Manning's leaks “have impacted the entire
The first witness, Carr, claimed that allowing its young analysts to have access to classified information was “hugely important” to the US military.
16:20 GMT: Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Philip J. Crowley, has spoken out over Manning's impending sentence.
PJ Crowley just told MSNBC they “never should have charged Bradley Manning with aiding the enemy” and said a 20 yr sentence is long enough.— Andrew Blake (@apblake) July 31, 2013
15:00 GMT: Brigadier General Robert Carr has been taking
stand, establishing qualification as an expert.
14:10 GMT: Manning is now being referred to as "the defendant" rather than "the accused" by the judge.
14:00 GMT: It has been established that Manning will get 1,274 days off his final sentence for pre-trial confinement. This includes 1,162 days of pre-trial detention and 112 days sentencing credit for unlawful pretrial punishment after being forced to suffer treatment in Quantico deemed "cruel and inhuman" by a UN torture chief.
13:00 GMT: The Bradley Manning Support Network's Nathan Fuller has published a screenshot of the Government witness list for the pre-sentencing phase. Many names are censored, suggesting they are witnesses who haven't yet testified. those marked with a star are classified.
12:00 GMT: Journalists are arriving at Fort Meade for the
sentencing phase of the trial.
11:15 GMT: Expressions of support for Manning continued well into last night.
10:45 GMT: The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Supremacy of Law Konstantin Dolgov has condemned the the US for “applying double standards” regarding Manning.
Dolgov pointed out that Washington incessantly blasts Russia over human rights, but when the interests of US authorities are affected, they “act toughly, resolutely, often without paying attention to the observance of human rights,”
He expressed hope that the US would observe human rights standards in the Manning case, as well as in other cases.
05:25 GMT: General Counsel at the National Whistleblowing Center David Colapinto believes that Manning’s verdict will make it more difficult for whistleblowers to reveal information to the public, especially with government agencies on the lookout for leakers. “There has been a chilling effect in the US on whistleblowers as a result of the government’s overreaction to this case,” Colapinto told RT.
05:20 GMT: Harsh treatment of Manning does not necessarily mean that other whistleblowers will be afraid to come forward, argued WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
“We have seen that despite the way that Bradley Manning was treated, being tortured in prison, in isolation, in solitary confinement for almost a year – it hasn’t stopped whistleblowers. There are still brave people out there, who act on their conscience and with public interest in mind and have blown the whistle. That’s not going to stop,” Hrafnsson told RT.
05:15 GMT: Political analyst Mark Mason argues that
Bradley Manning’s conviction makes it likely that the US will
prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “This is really
all about the attack on journalism, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange,
he is the one they want to catch,” Mason told RT.
04:00 GMT: A crowd of around 100 people assembled to take
part in a rally at Dupont Circle, which then marched on the White
House. Life-size puppet versions of both Manning himself and the
Statue of Liberty were visible.
"In this day and age, in our society, telling the truth is illegal, and the actual war crimes that Bradley exposed apparently are not, and I just think that's reprehensible," Barry Knight, a protester, told Washington-based radio station WTOP.
00:27 GMT: American Civil Liberties Union has
issued a statement expressing its relief that Manning was
acquitted of aiding the enemy, adding that the government was
seemingly “seeking to intimidate” the future
whistleblowers with that charge.
“The ACLU has long held the view that leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act," said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. "Since he already pleaded guilty to charges of leaking information – which carry significant punishment – it seems clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future.”
20:40 GMT: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange issued a statement in response to today’s verdict. Assange believes that Manning’s conviction on 19 counts “for supplying the press with information,” and five counts on espionage, represent judicial overreach.
the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It
is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security
extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be
tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying
true information to the public is
"The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it," adds Assange.
In his statement Assange points to what he believes are improprieties during the court martial, including the judge allowing government prosecutors to “substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases,” which has caused wide consternation among Manning’s supporters.
Assange also calls out president Obama’s 2008 campaign platform, which included praise for whistleblowers and justification for their protection, as outlined in a website called Change.gov which the Sunlight foundation this week discovered has recently been removed from the web.
19:50 GMT: Reporters Without Borders has said that the verdict "threatens the
future of investigative journalism." Glenn Greenwald, the
journalist responsible for publishing former NSA contractor
Edward Snowden's leaks, has urged journalists to sit up and take
notice of the ruling's implications.
What's weird about lack of Manning media coverage isn't just that it's newsworthy but prosecution theories affect all journalists & sources— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 30, 2013
19:35 GMT: The full verdict has been published online by the Press Freedom Foundation.
19:20 GMT: The Bradley Manning support Network's Nathan
Fuller believes the employment of the outdated Espionage Act
against Manning is ridiculous.
Sorry, but 'aiding the enemy' acquittal is red herring for dangers to Manning personally and America generally. Espionage Act is outrageous.— Nathan Fuller (@nathanLfuller) July 30, 2013
The Center for Constitutional Rights voiced frustration at the act as well, releasing a statement labeling it “a discredited relic of the WWI era, created as a tool to suppress political dissent and antiwar activism."
18:40 GMT: Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks spokesman, told RT that he was "pleased" that the "ludicrous" charge of aiding the enemy was thrown out (it "would’ve meant, basically, that proper journalism was treason" he claimed) but had harsh words for the presiding judge, Denise Lind.
"When you think about how this trial has been carried out by
Judge Lind, one isn’t filled with any optimism. Last week, the
judge allowed the prosecution to change some of the charges on
the last day of the trial. The trial has been partly closed off
to journalists. Journalists have been intimidated."