|Verdict in the trial of Bradley Manning 30 July 2013|
Vigil in front of the White House the day of the verdict
Other protests were organised to hear the verdict that day, including in London and in San Francisco where 150 people organised a rally and a march.
NOT GUILTY of 'Aiding the Enemy'
Month-long sentencing phase now determines fate.
By the Bradley Manning Support Network. July 30, 2013
"We won the battle, now we need to go win the war," shared defense attorney David Coombs following today's verdict. "Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire," he said to dozens of emotional supporters outside of the Fort Meade, Maryland military courtroom. Coombs expressed subdued optimism going into the expected month-long sentencing phase of the court martial that will determine how long Bradley Manning will remain in confinement.
Bradley Manning had previously accepted responsibility for providing classified information to WikiLeaks, actions covered by ten of the 21 charges. Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found him guilty of 19 of those 21 charges, so PFC Manning still faces the possibility of over 100 years behind bars.
Five of the more serious charges PFC Manning was convicted of today are ripe for appeal as Judge Lind altered the charges only a week ago in order to match up with Government's evidence presented, long after the defense closed its case.
Following sentencing, supporters will appeal to Major General Jeffery Buchanan to use his ability as Convening Authority of these proceedings to reduce any sentence handed down by Judge Lind. Additionally, a campaign to urge President Barack Obama to pardon Bradley Manning.
Amnesty International criticized the verdict, and the government's refusal to investigate exposed crimes:
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.
Last week, a full page ad in The New York Times, noted, "Bradley Manning believed you, Mr. President, when you came into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that you would protect whistle-blowers. Now would be a good time to start upholding that pledged transparency, beginning with PFC Manning."
Bradley Manning's family released the following reaction this afternoon:
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.
See also: EFF statement "The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy."
Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial, 30 July 2013,
Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ’espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.
The ’aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ’espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.
Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.
This is 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 ’espionage’.
President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.
In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.
Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that - or even claim that - a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.
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. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.
The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.
The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.
The US first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". What part of ’no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?