US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
Pfc. Bradley Manning sentenced by judge, Denise Lind, to thirty-five years in prison this morning. Here’s my live-blogging.
1:45 At press conference going on now, Manning attorney David Coombs says he will formally ask President Obama to pardon the soldier “or at the very least commute his sentence to time served.” Also reads statement from Manning: “We consciously elected to devalue human life in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Also Manning quotes Howard Zinn: “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.” Amnesty Int’l also just made that “time served” request.
Coombs says he in Manning both “in tears” after sentencing but Manning cheered him up. Reveals that early gov’t plea deal called for sentence longer than thirty-five years—and Manning would have had to testify. Coombs’ advice to Edward Snowden: “Current environment isn’t friendly to whistleblowers.”
12:30 pm Alex Gibney, director of the We Steal Secrets film, tweets: “Outrageous sentence of Bradley Manning. terrible day for US.… No prosecutions for torture sanctioned by US officials but Manning gets 35 years. Is that justice? BM is 21st century Eddie Slovik.” Gibney, in our interview months ago, raised the case of the executed World War II soldier repeatedly…
12:15 Great Twitter storm after David Frum tweeted “shocker” that you’d get punished if you released national security secrets. Many responded with such as “Shocker—murder civilians and not punished.” Or “Shocker—torture and no consequences.” Or: “Invade country with lies—no penalty.”
11:30 Response from ACLU: Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project—
“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.”