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Simpich writes: "Everyone knew that Bradley Manning would be found guilty. The main question has always been about the length of his sentence. When will Bradley Manning be released?"

Bradley Manning reviews a document during his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)
Bradley Manning reviews a document during his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)


When Will Bradley Manning Be Released?

By Bill Simpich, Reader Supported News

01 August 13

RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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veryone knew that Bradley Manning would be found guilty. The main question has always been about the length of his sentence. When will Bradley Manning be released?

Bradley Manning was convicted on 19 of 21 charges, plus a 20th charge for which the prosecution accepted the guilty plea. Here's the entire verdict in Manning's case.

The acquittal on the aiding the enemy charge was very important. A guilty verdict would have set a terrible precedent for whistleblowers talking to journalists. Any news that the adversary managed to obtain on the internet from such a disclosure could be used to support this charge, as it was against Manning. Although the statute is part of the military code, its applicability to "any person" could arguably be used against civilians as well.

It's also intriguing to see that the other charge he was acquitted for was the Collateral Murder video of the helicopter gunship attacking civilians without good cause. Did Judge Lind just not have the stomach for that one? The shooters were never charged, and were supported by the Army.

Bradley Manning is the first of the eight whistleblowers indicted by the Obama administration to be convicted under the Espionage Act. This means that the judge found beyond a reasonable doubt that Manning had "reason to believe" the files could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign power. When he pleaded guilty, Manning stated, "I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this, it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan." What was unreasonable about Manning's belief that release of these files would aid the United States and not harm it? Or that transparency would not help the Army's enemies?

Manning's possible maximum sentence is at least 128 years, but there is no minimum sentence. The judge has the power to decide.

At the hearing that reviewed the cruel and inhuman conditions that Manning was subjected to in prison, the judge reduced Manning's future sentence by 112 days.

Both sides have named more than twenty witnesses in support of sentence aggravation and mitigation, although they don't need to call them all. What will Judge Lind do? Does she have the courage to do the right thing and bring rapid closure to a case that many say should have never been brought?

As Julian Assange's attorney Michael Ratner pointed out on Democracy Now:

She's been given, apparently, from a Washington Post report, an appellate judge job, the higher court, which I found pretty extraordinary. I don't know whether it's - I don't think it's necessarily illegal, but it does - it's interesting to me that she's going upstairs during the very trial that's going on, and given that promotion. And it reminded me when the Ellsberg judge, the judge in Daniel Ellsberg's case, the federal judge, during Ellsberg's trial on espionage was offered to be the head of the FBI, secretly, by the Nixon administration. And, of course, there was a huge stink. I don't see any stink so far in any of the media about the fact that Denise Lind, the judge, is being offered a higher position. And then, think about the higher position. She's sitting up there on the court when the Bradley Manning conviction is going to be, assuming there's - well, there's a conviction because he's already pleaded to 10 counts - is going to be reviewed. She won't sit on it, but her fellow judges are going to be sitting there, and are they going to want to reverse one of their fellow judges?

Many legal analysts and historians believe that Manning should be released, given his effective exposure of war crimes that should have been allowed as part of his defense. Manning testified at pretrial that he had gone to his chain of command and asked them to investigate the "Collateral Murder" video and other atrocities, but his superiors refused. The judge refused to consider that evidence on the issue of guilt, but she has to consider it during the sentencing phase. I think the chances are good that Manning will testify during the sentencing proceeding.

Furthermore, Manning was kept in abusive conditions that meet the definition of torture under international law, with highly substantial misconduct on the part of the government. The UN rapporteur on torture made findings that the Army committed cruel and inhuman acts against Manning while he was in prison that were tantamount to torture.

Could Manning seek redress against his accusers for war crimes? The US, Israel and the Sudan withdrew from their original agreement to give enforcement powers in criminal matters to the International Criminal Court in cases involving their citizens. Nonetheless, based on Manning's whistleblower status and his account of torture, the International Court of Justice could get involved if a nation-state champions Manning's case. Manning has received numerous prestigious awards that will only intensify in the future.

No matter what Judge Lind does, Manning will be released based on the strength and effectiveness of the court of public opinion.

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+12 # DaveM 2013-08-01 10:44
He won't be released. At least, he will not be until he has been tortured into insanity. At that point he will be given "compassionate release" as a "gesture of goodwill", but will be in such poor condition that no one will listen to him any more.
 
 
+14 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-01 16:54
The war mentality. Obama said when confronted with war ceimes against Bush, Cheney, "let by gones be by gones." The judge in Manning's trial, "let by gones be by gones!" Not in a million years! Bush and cheney, among the intellectual world, were a laughning stock. But, you know, Bush and Cheney bought out their opposition with the promise of "a win in Iraq is a win. Oil prices back to $20 a barrel." All the while, they planned to bust Saddam H. for exceeding his OPEC quots. Threatening to drop world oil prices. If the U.S. students are 25th in the world in math and science, does that mean that, since the apple does not fall far from the tree, this country is 25th in the world in wisdom? How else could we have been sucked into a "The Greatest Lie Ever told."
 
 
+38 # tedrey 2013-08-01 11:24
Bradley Manning will be released when and if justice returns to this country. Much in our corrupt institutions must be changed before that happens, so we better get on with it now.
 
 
+3 # fdawei 2013-08-02 03:24
tedrey - Corruption, unfortunately, has seeped into the highest levels of office in the US - the office of the president as well as the Supreme Court (what an Oxymoron).
 
 
+5 # CoyoteMan50 2013-08-01 11:29
When is not the operative word, it's If!
***sings** In the year 2525.
lol
 
 
-66 # HowardMH 2013-08-01 12:00
Get real, he should never be released. He exposed 700,000 secret documents. That is Seven Hundred Thousand, not 7, not 70, not 700, not even 7000, but 700,000 documents. Anyone that understands anything about military security should know, that releasing just ONE Secret Document is a very, very serious offence, and this dumber than dirt idiot released 700,000 documents.

My questions are how did any one person of his rank even have access to that much classified material without having at least One Senior Officer (Major or above) having to co-authorize access, much less download the documents? Also, why isn’t anyone else being charged with dereliction of duty in this gigantic lapse of security?

It appears to me from what I have read about in the last couple years about military readiness and basic common sense in leadership that the military has been going downhill for a long time now.

Start with $34,000,000 for a building in Afghanistan that the Afghan government doesn’t even know how to use. Talk about dumber than dirt.
 
 
+29 # reiverpacific 2013-08-01 13:40
Quoting HowardMH:
Get real, he should never be released. He exposed 700,000 secret documents. That is Seven Hundred Thousand, not 7, not 70, not 700, not even 7000, but 700,000 documents. Anyone that understands anything about military security should know, that releasing just ONE Secret Document is a very, very serious offence, and this dumber than dirt idiot released 700,000 documents.

My questions are how did any one person of his rank even have access to that much classified material without having at least One Senior Officer (Major or above) having to co-authorize access, much less download the documents? Also, why isn’t anyone else being charged with dereliction of duty in this gigantic lapse of security?

It appears to me from what I have read about in the last couple years about military readiness and basic common sense in leadership that the military has been going downhill for a long time now.

Start with $34,000,000 for a building in Afghanistan that the Afghan government doesn’t even know how to use. Talk about dumber than dirt.

If you are talking about the "Missing Iraqi billions" start at Cheyn-gang and work down through the KBR/Haliburton no-bid contracts, the shoddy, cheap work that killed a couple of soldier just by taking a shower in a wet room with no ground-fault interrupters and culminating in the biggest embassy in the world.
The likes of Manning might have shed some light on that among other shady dealings; get real yourself!
 
 
+12 # Doubter 2013-08-01 20:36
I assume YOU are not "for real," but your playing up the 700,000 documents screams (at least in my mind)for a comment.
The very fact that there is an accumulation of nearly 3/4 million SECRET documents, each one so important that to expose it is a "very, very serious offense" should alert you to there being SOMETHING 'rotten in Denmark.' (I'll leave it up to you to figure out what)
 
 
+1 # wrknight 2013-08-02 13:52
Not sure Howard can figure it out.
 
 
+28 # reiverpacific 2013-08-01 12:01
If the powers that be can refuse Lynn Stewart's release as sick and dying as she is, how would anyone expect Manning to receive any compassionate consideration, especially from a MILITARY court and an already nobbled judge.
This young man has already shown remarkable resilience in remaining seemingly sane and clam after what he has already been through, probably designed to break his spirit and resistance to the bully-state.
The good news (but not necessarily for Manning himself) is that the Nobel Committee has agreed to accept a petition with > 100,000 signatures in Oslo next week nominating him for the Peace Prize, to be delivered by independent journalist Norman Solomon and a group of supporters from around the world, including an Iraqui woman in exile who is actively campaigning for Manning's release on the grounds that leaked information would likely have prevented the war and destruction of her ancient nation on a pack of alarmist lies by the true criminals who are strutting around free and prospering!
Again, the world is watching!
I personally find the courtroom sketch accompanying this article extremely poignant as, intended or not, it shows a small, isolated and vulnerable figure surrounded by a kind of visual static representing the powers allied against him.
I'd love to have a copy of this sketch.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-08-03 10:24
Quoting reiverpacific:
If the powers that be can refuse Lynn Stewart's release as sick and dying as she is, how would anyone expect Manning to receive any compassionate consideration, especially from a MILITARY court and an already nobbled judge.
This young man has already shown remarkable resilience in remaining seemingly sane and clam after what he has already been through, probably designed to break his spirit and resistance to the bully-state.
The good news (but not necessarily for Manning himself) is that the Nobel Committee has agreed to accept a petition with > 100,000 signatures in Oslo next week nominating him for the Peace Prize, to be delivered by independent journalist Norman Solomon and a group of supporters from around the world, including an Iraqui woman in exile who is actively campaigning for Manning's release on the grounds that leaked information would likely have prevented the war and destruction of her ancient nation on a pack of alarmist lies by the true criminals who are strutting around free and prospering!
Again, the world is watching!
I personally find the courtroom sketch accompanying this article extremely poignant as, intended or not, it shows a small, isolated and vulnerable figure surrounded by a kind of visual static representing the powers allied against him.
I'd love to have a copy of this sketch.

I meant "sane and CALM of course". Sheesh -sometimes I embarrass even myself! I'll "clam" up now.
 
 
+30 # jwb110 2013-08-01 12:17
As I read the definition of Espionage it doesn't fit for whistler blowers. They are not in the employ of a rival gov't. They pass no info directly to a foreign power. There intent is to inform their own people not a foreign regime.
 
 
+24 # Citizen Mike 2013-08-01 12:24
In my opinion he should be sentenced to "time served" with credit granted for his being tortured. But I think he will be incarcerated and tortured some more until a righteous person like Carter is elected President and pardons him.
 
 
+15 # reiverpacific 2013-08-01 13:46
Quoting Citizen Mike:
In my opinion he should be sentenced to "time served" with credit granted for his being tortured. But I think he will be incarcerated and tortured some more until a righteous person like Carter is elected President and pardons him.

Nice thought but don't hold yer breath. There's fat chance in this increasingly mean-spirited, voter-suppressi ng, corporate personhood plutocracy. that anybody with the honesty, integrity, balls or female equivalent to release a political prisoner will ever be even permitted to run.
Leonard Peltier has been waiting thirty years for this rapidly fading eventuality.
 
 
+13 # RMDC 2013-08-01 13:35
"This means that the judge found beyond a reasonable doubt that Manning had "reason to believe" the files could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign power. "

This is not the meaning of "espionage." It is the meaning of "aiding the enemy." Espionage means giving government information to an enemy or competitor of the US. Manning did not do that. He gave information to the people of the US. It must be that the Obama administration considers the people of the US to be enemies or competitors. And that is right. They do see the people of the US as their enemies. All of this is about the US regime's desire to control what US citizens know about government activities. The US regime understands that if people know enough they will demand changes in government policy. That's exactly what Manning intended.

All publications provide information that is accessible by enemies of the US regime. This fact is irrelevant.

For example, let's say Osama bin Laden goes to the local fish market to pick up some flounder for dinner. When unwraps the fish from the WaPo he notices a story on US drone attacks. He takes note of it and plans his moves accordingly. The WaPo in this case is just a fish wrapper and yet it has given valuable information to an enemy. Should the Wapo be convicted of espionage? Its only intention was to put out fish wrappers.

Osama's discovery of the story in the WaPo was incidental, not a crime on WaPo's part.
 
 
+3 # tingletlc 2013-08-01 13:48
"Should the Wapo be convicted of espionage? Its only intention was to put out fish wrappers."

Zing . . !

Mission accomplished.
 
 
0 # dquandle 2013-08-01 14:24
The New York Times uses paper that is too scratchy, and the warmongers get stuck in the fissures and get infected...
 
 
+8 # oakes721 2013-08-01 15:19
An old saw claims that, "The sun loses nothing by shining into a puddle." While sunlight is the greatest antiseptic in the world, only those festering molds that feed on healthy life tissue are harmed by exposure. Shall the government make it illegal for the sun to shine on them?
 
 
+3 # noitall 2013-08-02 17:01
He will be released the day that this cabal that has wormed its way into control of our government is revealed and incarcerated. As will Leonard Peltier and many others be released.
 
 
+1 # tomtom 2013-08-03 21:59
As was the practice in our first war of independence,, liberating our people from their prisons may become neccessary. Liberty and Life!
 

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