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Bradley Manning Verdict: The Reaction, as the Sentencing Phase Begins Today | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

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Bradley Manning Verdict: The Reaction, as the Sentencing Phase Begins Today


US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs the courtroom after day four of his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, June 10, 2013. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

This morning, just hours after the presiding judge, Colonel Denise Lind, read her verdict, the sentencing phase begins at Fort Meade, Maryland, and it will be a lengthy and heated one.

As I covered it here yesterday, Lind found Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of twenty serious charges, but found him not guilty on a couple, including the harshest one of all, “aiding the enemy.” He now faces up to 136 years in prison. No one expects her to go that far—many of the charges are pretty much for the same separate action—but certainly she will consider sentences stretching into decades.

So both sides in the courtroom tussle are geared up for a big battle. The prosecution, wounded by losing out on the top charge, will fight for a very lengthy sentence. The defense, with all those guilty charges, sees this as a chance to win some vindication for Manning—and finally an opportunity to raise the full defense denied in the trial. Now they will be able to speak more to his idealist motivation and to the evidence that what he leaked caused little harm to US interests and personnel.

Both sides plan to call a dozen or more witnesses.  See frequent updates from Kevin Gosztola at the scene. He is co-author of my book on the Manning case, the only one that follows it from the leaks right up to present trial.

Note: Manning will get 1,274 days off his final sentence for pre-trial confinement—including an added 112 days off for unlawful punishment (his too-long stay in solitary).

I’ll post more updates and reaction as the day goes on but for now:

The New York Times in an editorial asks for only a “moderate” sentence.

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A hot debate last night between Glenn Greenwald and Jeffrey Toobiin on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show.

My piece last month listing some of the major revelations we learned via Manning leaks.

Frank Rich: “That ‘not guilty’ is a good thing, but it doesn’t mitigate the reality that ‘aiding the enemy’ was a bogus and dangerous charge in the first place. The fact that the government would even pursue it is chilling to a free press. Under the prosecution’s Orwellian logic, essentially any classified information given by a whistle-blower to a journalistic outlet (whether WikiLeaks or the Times, which published Manning-WikiLeaks revelations) amounts to treason if ‘the enemy’ can read it.”

Dan Gillmor on why the media should not breathe a “sigh of relief” based on that one key not-guilty ruling.

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