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Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy, Guilty on Nineteen Charges | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

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Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy, Guilty on Nineteen Charges

Watch live streaming video from democracynow at livestream.com
 

UPDATED: A verdict in the the case of United States of America v. Manning, Bradley E., PFC., at Fort Meade, Maryland, was delivered at 1 pm today by the presiding judge, Col. Denise Lind. The first to emerge was the big one: found not guilty of aiding the enemy. But convicted of multiple counts of violating espionage act. In all, convicted of nineteen charges, including those he pleaded guilty to some time ago.

Read the just-released transcript of the judge’s rulings. Note:  Manning not guilty of transmitting "Garani air strike" video, not guilty of espionage for the "Collateral Murder" video.

Faces more than 100 years in prison if given max on some of them. Sentencing arguments start tomorrow, but with many witnesses called could go on for a couple of days.   New York Times editorial just posted calls for just giving him a "moderate" sentence.

The Guardian has many details, including posts from the scene by its Ed Pilkington. The New York Times blog collects other reactions and tweets.

Witnesses say no outbursts in courtroom when verdict read. Manning, they say, had slight smile when cleared on aiding the enemy but basically stoic. No outbursts from supporters.

See live Democracy Now! feed above. I was on with Jeremy Scahill for twenty minutes after verdict announced. Watch and listen as he slams media coverage, then I join in.  Then Kevin Gosztola arrived, co-author of my book on the Manning case. Manning supporters expressing profound relief at dismissal of aiding the enemy charge—but hitting conviction on so many others in an “over-charged” case.  Listen to my appearance today on Warren Olney's national radio show, terrific 40-minute discussion with couple other key guests.

My piece last month listing some of the many valuable revelations that arrived via Manning leaks.

Dan Gillmor notes that the press may be breathing "sigh of relief" over not guilty on aiding enemy but premature--as crackdown on whistleblowers and transparency continues. 

Here’s statement from Manning family, from an aunt, sent to The Guardian.

While we are obviously disappointed in today’s verdicts, we are happy that Judge Lind agreed with us that Brad never intended to help America’s enemies in any way. Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform.

We want to express our deep thanks to David Coombs, who has dedicated three years of his life to serving as lead counsel in Brad’s case. We also want to thank Brad’s Army defense team, Major Thomas Hurley and Captain Joshua Tooman, for their tireless efforts on Brad’s behalf, and Brad’s first defense counsel, Captain Paul Bouchard, who was so helpful to all of us in those early confusing days and first suggested David Coombs as Brad’s counsel.

Most of all, we would like to thank the thousands of people who rallied to Brad’s cause, providing financial and emotional support throughout this long and difficult time, especially Jeff Paterson and Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. Their support has allowed a young Army private to defend himself against the full might of not only the US Army but also the US Government.

ACLU STATEMENT:

A military court-martial today found Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of multiple charges under the Espionage Act for giving classified material to WikiLeaks, but not guilty of aiding the enemy.

“While we’re relieved that Mr. Manning was acquitted of the most dangerous 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 Manning 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.”

Amnesty International’s Senior Director of International Law and Policy Widney Brown said:

“The government’s priorities are upside down. The US government has refused to investigate credible allegations of torture and other crimes under international law despite overwhelming evidence.

“Yet they decided to prosecute Manning who it seems was trying to do the right thing—reveal credible evidence of unlawful behaviour by the government. You investigate and prosecute those who destroy the credibility of the government by engaging in acts such as torture which are prohibited under the US Constitution and in international law.

“The government’s pursuit of the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge was a serious overreach of the law, not least because there was no credible evidence of Manning’s intent to harm the USA by releasing classified information to WikiLeaks.

“Since the attacks of September 11, we have seen the US government use the issue of national security to defend a whole range of actions that are unlawful under international and domestic law.

“It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Manning’s trial was about sending a message: the US government will come after you, no holds barred, if you’re thinking of revealing evidence of its unlawful behaviour.”

* * *

EARLIER TODAY: Unlike most days, there is a crush of media showing up at the courtroom. I’ll be covering the verdict and aftermath, analysis and reaction, all afternoon.

Pre-verdict: here’s an AP report, which does good job of quoting experts on how the “aid the enemy” charge is something new and dangerous, for the media and for whistleblowers. Democracy Now! will cover verdict live.

Among the other charges, Manning still faces the most serious “aiding the enemy” charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. The mood of most Manning supporters—who gathered for a demonstration there this morning—was pessimistic, although there were hopes for some leniency in the sentencing phase, when his motivation (and alleged lack of serious harm caused by the leaks) will finally get full play.

On Monday, Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, said that he would call twenty-four witnesses in the sentencing phase of the trial, coming up tomorrow. Manning much earlier pleaded guilty to several charges but the judge will need to affirm them today.

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Most of the stalwarts who have covered the trial, and previous hearings, for many months, remain at the scene, including Kevin Gosztola, former Nation writer and co-author of my book on the Manning case. Follow him on Twitter today @kgosztola. Others at the scene: @NathanLFuller and @carwinb.

Fuller, director of the leading Manning defense committee, tweeted yesterday: “Given how this trial has gone thus far, I expect Bradley to be convicted of all charges against him.”

Greg Mitchell’s book with Kevin Gosztola, the only one that follows the case from the leaks to the current trial, is Truth and Consequences.

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