Bradley Manning: ‘I Will Recover From This … This Is Just a Stage in My Life’

Bradley Manning: ‘I Will Recover From This … This Is Just a Stage in My Life’


Bradley Manning: ‘I Will Recover From This … This Is Just a Stage in My Life’

By Alexa O’Brien
August 21st 20131:58 pm


Sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning has vowed to stay positive, his defense lawyers tells Alexa O’Brien in an exclusive interview.

FORT MEADE, MARYLAND—Just after receiving a sentence of 35 years in prison for transmitting hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and U.S. Army reports to WikiLeaks in 2010, Bradley Manning was in a surprisingly “cheerful mood,” according to his attorney.

“He said, ‘Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this,’” his defense lawyer David Coombs said in an interview conducted immediately after the sentencing.

Presiding military judge Col. Denise Lind sternly handed down the sentence to a packed courtroom, stating only, “Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, this court sentences you to be reduced to the grade of Private E-1, to forfeit all pay and allowances, to be confined for 35 years, and to be dishonorably discharged from the service.”

Coombs was stunned. “I look at the sentence, and I can’t believe that was actually the sentence he received,” he told The Daily Beast. “There is a good young man who did what he thought was morally right and for the right reasons, and he was sentenced the way we would sentence somebody who committed murder—the way we would sentence somebody who molested a child. That is the sentence he received.”

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Twitter responded strongly in Bradley Manning’s behalf when the sentence was handed down.

Despite the clear devastation among supporters of Manning, however, Coombs said that the defendant was in good spirits. “Interestingly, Manning was the one who was cheering everyone up,” he said.

While perhaps proportional with the Information Age that Manning was born into, the disclosures were unprecedented in scale and scope and resulted in the largest criminal investigation ever into a publisher and its source.

At trial and sentencing, the prosecution cast Manning as a traitor who was indiscriminately harvesting information for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in willful disregard of the safety of military personnel and the national security of the United States. They asked the judge to put Manning away for 60 years: “He betrayed the United States, and for that betrayal he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement.”

Manning was convicted on six espionage charges on the standard of probable harm from the release. In total, he was found guilty of 20 offenses, including espionage, “exceeding authorized access,” stealing government property, and the newfangled offense of “wanton publication.” That charge has never been used in military law and is not tied to any existing federal criminal violation or punitive article under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

He was acquitted, however, of “aiding the enemy,” one of two offenses under the code that apply to any people and not just members of the military. Lind ruled that Manning’s good-faith motive and any actual damage (or lack of damage) were not relevant and thus relegated to the sentencing phase.

The question remains if and when the Department of Justice intends to unseal any possible indictment against Assange, editor in chief of WikiLeaks.

Much of the court record—the largest of any in military history—was hidden from the public. The public only got access 1,103 days into the legal proceeding. Because so much of the critical parts of the trial were conducted in closed sessions and obscurity, the public has been largely unclear on the actual impact of the leaks. Prosecution witnesses—government employees and federal contractors—testified in open session that no death resulted as a result of the leaks. But the prosecution presented evidence of mitigation efforts and temporary disruptions as well as future of possible threats to military operations and diplomatic efforts.

Asked what the worst damage from the leaks was, Coombs said, “I personally … I think the most damage done was the sentence that my client received. If you are talking about damage from a standpoint of what he released—embarrassment. Embarrassment was the most damage.”

A congressional official who had been briefed by the State Department in late 2010 and early 2011 told Reuters, “The administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers.” The revelations, the congressional aide said, “were embarrassing, but not damaging.”

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In a press conference after the sentencing, Bradley Manning’s lawyer read a statement from Manning himself. “Sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society,” wrote Manning.

“He was sentenced the way we would sentence somebody who committed murder.”

Manning will immediately appeal for clemency to the court-martial convening authority, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, commander of the Military District of Washington, who can dismiss any guilty findings and reduce the sentence. Buchanan cannot, however, reverse a finding of not guilty or increase Manning’s sentence. After a review by Buchanan, Manning’s case will be automatically appealed to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

Manning’s lead civilian defense counsel also announced that he is applying for a presidential pardon for his client. The application to President Obama will be joined by a partnership between Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network on to commute his sentence to time served.

Obama said in April 2011, “We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. [Manning] broke the law.” Manning’s defense team characterized Obama’s comments as unlawful command influence. They also sought and were denied the opportunity to depose the president.

Manning is expected to serve his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, where he has been in pretrial confinement since April 2011. Prior to that, Manning was held in pretrial confinement at Marine Corp Base Quantico Brig for nine months. U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Ernesto Méndez called his treatment at the Quantico Brig “cruel, inhuman, and degrading.” Manning was forced to strip and remain on a suicide-risk regime against the recommendations of Brig mental-health professionals. Lind ruled that a portion of his time at Quantico was unlawful, but granted Manning only 112 days of credit on his sentence for it. Manning’s sentence of 35 years will also be reduced by 1,293 days for time already served.

Despite being placed in pretrial confinement longer than any accused awaiting court-martial, Lind ruled that the government did not violate Manning’s right to a speedy trial. (Many witnesses during the motions phase of the trial concerning Manning’s unlawful treatment at Quantico could not remember events clearly because they were so long ago.)

Manning directed defense counsel to engage with the press only using text-based media and to be as “accurate as possible, and try to get to the actual topic, and try to be as factual as possible, and try to be as neutral as possible.”

Manning ultimately opted to be tried by military judge alone instead of a panel of officers and enlisted personnel. During the pretrial, the prosecution blocked Manning’s defense from adding questions to a questionnaire for panel members intended to determine potential bias toward gay and/or transgender people.

The Washington Post reported recently that Judge Lind was recently promoted to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where Manning’s case will automatically be appealed.

The defense strategy at trial was as much about mitigating as acquitting. During sentencing, the defense emphasized that Manning was young, naive, and good intentioned. They called a forensic psychiatrist who testified that “Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually.”

Manning’s defense sought an appropriate sentence that would enable him to still have a life, asking the judge not to “rob him of his youth” and adding that Manning “is a young man who certainly, at this time, was, in fact, young—was, in fact, naive as to the second and third effects, but certainly was good intentioned.” The defense ended by saying, “Manning cared about human life. He was a humanist. His biggest crime was that he cared about loss of life that he was seeing.”

When asked if Manning received a fair trial, Coombs said, “The perception is no. He didn’t receive a fair trial and that should be problematic for people. That should be problematic for our military, and hopefully that will be problematic for the president of the United States, and he should do something about it.”



English: Parents walking town at night to help...
English: Parents walking town at night to help young kids from getting in trouble Svenska: Nattvandrare i Göteborg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 3, 2013

Young Kids, Hard Time

See on – up2-21

The YIA cellblock is home to 53 kids who are rarely permitted to leave the unit, due to the daSee on Scoop.itup2-21ngers posed by the adult prisoners j… (Kids livin’ in adult prison…

See on

See on Scoop.itup2-21


Bundesweite Kundgebungen gegen massenhafte Überwachung

Bundesweite Kundgebungen gegen massenhafte Überwachung

Prism (Photo credit: jonpayne)

Bundesweite Kundgebungen gegen massenhafte Überwachung
Gabriel hält Merkel Leisetreterei in Spähaffäre vor
AFPAFP – vor 12 Stunden
Menschen in Berlin protestieren gegen das Spähprogramm PRISM und Abhörmaßnahmen durch den US-Geheimdienst NSAAFP – Menschen in Berlin protestieren gegen das Spähprogramm PRISM und Abhörmaßnahmen durch den US-Geheimdienst NSA
Demonstranten danken den “Geheimnis-Leakern” Edward Snowden und Bradley Manning auf einer Protestkundgebung in BerlinFoto anzeigenDemonstranten danken den “Geheimnis-Leakern” Edward Snowden und Bradley Manning auf …
In mehr als 30 deutschen Städten sind Bürger gegen eine ausufernde Überwachung ihrer Kommunikation durch Geheimdienste auf die Straßen gegangen. Auf Demonstrationen unter anderem in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main und Hamburg forderten sie ein Recht auf Privatsphäre und Unterstützung für Informanten wie den ehemaligen US-Geheimdienstmitarbeiter Edward Snowden, der die Existenz des US-Spähprogramms “Prism” enthüllt hatte.

Zu den Demonstrationen hatten unter anderem das globale Bündnis “#StopWatchingUs”, die Piratenpartei, und die Grünen aufgerufen. In der Frankfurter Innenstadt versammelten sich nach Angaben eines Polizeisprechers etwa 680 Menschen. In Berlin schlossen sich laut einer Polizeisprecherin etwa 600 Menschen einem Demonstrationszug zum Brandenburger Tor an, in Hamburg demonstrierten laut Polizei etwa 500 Menschen. Die Grünen schätzten die Zahl der Teilnehmer der bundesweiten Kundgebungen auf insgesamt mehr als 10.000.

Snowden hatte vor zwei Monaten die Existenz des Spähprogramms “Prism” enthüllt, mit dem der US-Geheimdienst NSA angeblich auch die Internetkommunikation deutscher Bürger umfassend überwacht. Auch die Bundesregierung steht seitdem unter Druck zu erklären, wieviel sie von den Ausspäh-Aktionen wusste.

Der Grünen-Landesvorsitzende in Hessen, Tarek Al-Wazir, forderte bei der Kundgebung in Frankfurt die Bundesregierung auf, “sich endlich wirksam für den Datenschutz einzusetzen”. Internationale Abkommen mit den USA über Informationsaustausch wie zum Beispiel zu Bankdaten im Rahmen von SWIFT müssen gekündigt und neu verhandelt werden. Die Menschen hätten die Vertuschungen und Beschwichtigungsversuche von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) und ihrer Bundesregierung satt, erklärte das Grünen-Bundesvorstandsmitglied Malte Spitz. “Wenn Millionen Deutsche permanent überwacht werden, schränkt das die Freiheit ein und entbehrt jedweder Verhältnismäßigkeit.”

Auch der SPD-Vorsitzende Sigmar Gabriel griff die Bundesregierung erneut scharf an. Merkel nehme in der Affäre Grundrechtsverletzungen in Kauf, sagte Gabriel dem “Tagesspiegel am Sonntag”. “Wir erleben gerade live und in Farbe die Auflösung unseres Wertekanons mit.”

In der “Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung” lobte Gabriel zugleich die “offenen Aussagen” von Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck zu der Affäre. Diese stünden in wohltuendem Kontrast zur Leisetreterei Merkels, sagte Gabriel. Der Bundespräsident hatte sich am Freitag sehr beunruhigt gezeigt und vor einer Beschädigung der Freiheit gewarnt.

Verfassungsschutzchef Hans-Georg Maaßen betonte indes in der “Welt”, seine eigene Behörde habe überhaupt keine Anhaltspunkte dafür, “dass die Amerikaner Daten in Deutschland abgreifen”. “Das Einzige, was wir noch nicht wissen: Was ist Prism genau? Was machen die Amerikaner damit in den USA?” Maaßen wies Vorwürfe zurück, dass der Verfassungsschutz die Software “XKeyscore” des NSA zu Überwachungszwecken einsetze. “Das IT-Tool ist keine Spähsoftware, sondern ein Analyseprogramm.”

Mit der Spähaffäre beschäftigt sich derzeit auch das Parlamentarische Kontrollgremium. Während die Regierung die Vorwürfe gegen deutsche Geheimdienste für ausgeräumt hält, sieht die Opposition noch erheblichen Klärungsbedarf.

Vor dem Hintergrund der Spähaffäre schafft das Auswärtige Amt den Posten eines Beauftragten für “Cyber-Außenpolitik”. Der 57-jährige Diplomat Dirk Brengelmann soll künftig auf internationaler Ebene deutsche Interessen in dem Bereich vertreten, wie das AA am Samstag bestätigte.



English: Support for Bradley Manning via postc...
English: Support for Bradley Manning via postcard from Portugal, August 2010 Deutsch: Unterstützerpostkarte an bradley Manning aus Portugal, August 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?” asked Michelle Bollinger, Counterpunch

“Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?” asked Michelle Bollinger, Counterpunch


Justice is 33 Years Overdue for America‘s Most Famous Political Prisoner

Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?


Friends of Peltier

daniel ellsberg: in hearing bradley manning act…

daniel ellsberg: in hearing bradley manning act…

Walter Goodman
Walter Goodman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


a daily independent global news hour
With Amy Goodman & Juan González
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg: In Hearing Bradley Manning Act Out of Conscience, Secret Tape Refutes Media Slander

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To discuss Bradley Manning’s recorded court statement that was recently leaked to the press, we’re joined by perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, the secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. “What we’ve heard are people like The New York Times who have consistently slandered him … that he was vague and couldn’t think of specific instances that had led him to inform the American people of injustices,” Ellsberg says. “The American people can now, for the first time, hear Bradley in his own words, emotionally and in the greatest specific detail, tell what it was that he felt that needed revelation.” [includes rush transcript]

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          This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.       

AMY GOODMAN: Our guest in studio at the University of California, Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Dan, can you talk about the significance of the release of this surreptitiously recorded audio of Bradley Manning’s statement in court?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Hello, hello, hello. They’re working on—

AMY GOODMAN: Hi, Dan. Can you talk about the significance of the audiotape?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Yes, this is the first time in three years that the American public has had a chance to have an unfiltered impression of Private Bradley Manning himself, in his own words, in his own voice. For three years, he has been virtually incommunicado except for his lawyers, and we’ve heard only third-hand hearsay, often by people who aren’t at all sympathetic to him, about his nature and why he did.

By pleading guilty to these military—violating these military regulations, which he almost surely did, he’s freed himself to speak out now as to what exactly he did do and why he did it. If he can, of course, explain why he did what he did while he was still pleading not guilty and putting the burden of the proof on his actions on the government, that was his right to do, but it prevented him from saying that he had done the things, the acts, they were charging. In other words, he’s in exactly the same position I was in at the beginning of my trial, when I took full responsibility and I stipulated to all the facts that were presented in the trial. There was nothing to argue about, about what I had done.

The issue in my case was whether any law had been broken. Apparently, The New York Times never got to understand how I was pleading not guilty when I had indeed admitted to exactly what I had done. Bill Keller, obviously, the later executive editor of the Times, has never come to understand the problematic nature of the charges I was faced with and that Bradley Manning is faced with. I know them by heart: 18 U.S.C. 793 paragraphs (d) and (e). The best legal advisers at the time, like Mel Nimmer, said that those acts were unconstitutional, those portions, as applied to a leaker, instead of being applied to someone who had secretly given information to a foreign government or an enemy, the espionage that the Espionage Act was named for. To use them against someone like Manning or me who gave information for the benefit of the American people was not at all the intention of Congress, never was the intention of Congress. And so, whereas I did what I did, essentially, in my era, the comparable acts to what Manning did, the argument is very strong, legally, that we had not broken any law that could hold up as constitutional.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Dan Ellsberg—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: I was—moreover, he was also free now, by having admitted these acts, as I was at the beginning of my trial, to take full responsibility, not only morally, but to say specifically: No one else in the government had helped me, no one had taken any part of it, no one knew anything of it. So they were off the hook, even though President Nixon continued to suspect, wrongly, that the FBI was wrong and that I had not acted alone.

In Manning’s case, he’s now able to say, in his own voice, for the public to hear for the first time, that he acted before he had had any contact with Assange. He had made his decision. They did not encourage him or press him. They did nothing more than any journalist would do in course of allowing him to get his information to them. In short, The New York Times, which should not be subject to these charges, surely, is, in the eyes of the government, just as guilty as WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. And if there’s going to be continued, after this acknowledgment, a grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, there should be a grand jury investigating The New York Times — there won’t be — because they did exactly the same thing.

AARON MATÉ: Well, Dan Ellsberg, speaking of The New York Times

DANIEL ELLSBERG: So he was able to then—yes. ….


RT: Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir Planning Bradley Manning Support Trip…

RT: Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir Planning Bradley Manning Support Trip…

Icelandic MP planning Bradley Manning support trip despite US legal threats

Icelandic parliament deputy Birgitta Jonsdottir. (AFP Photo / Halldor Kolbeins)

Icelandic parliament deputy Birgitta Jonsdottir. (AFP Photo / Halldor Kolbeins)


Despite potential legal retribution from American authorities, the Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks member who released the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ video showing US war crimes in Iraq has announced plans to visit the land of the free.

­Birgitta Jonsdottir is an Icelandic Member of Parliament who nearly three years ago released a classified video of a US Apache helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. Known as ‘Collateral Murder,’ Jonsdottir made the footage public in a bid to express her support for Bradley Manning, the video’s alleged source, who now stands trial for treason. The video was also instrumental in unleashing the witchhunt on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Jonsdottir is planning to arrive in the US on April 5, despite a strong warning from Reykjavík of possible legal repurcussions. The politician says her trip, which coincides with the third anniversary of the video’s release, is her way of saying she refuses to live in fear.

“I don’t want to live in the shadows. I don’t think I’ve done anything illegal or that I’m an enemy of the US state, but if they think I’ve committed a crime, I want to know,” she told The Guardian.

Jónsdóttir also plans to exhibit photographs drawn from the ‘Collateral Murder’ on her itinerary in New York and Los Angeles. In June, the MP hopes to take the exhibition across the US ahead of Manning’s trial.

“It’s deeply troubling to me that he is the only one suffering the consequences – none of the people responsible for the war crimes in the video have been held accountable,” Jonsdottir says.

Following the release of the video, Washington has tried repeatedly to gain access to Jónsdóttir’s private information. In 2011, Twitter was forced to release her user data after a subpoena from Washington demanded personal data from her feed dating back to 2009.

Jonsdottir became the subject of US attention in 2010 when she helped Assange prepare the footage of the Apache attack allegedly leaked by Manning, who was deployed in Iraq at that time. She was responsible for organizing the volunteers, researched details of the footage of a US airstrike in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, and selected stills for distribution to the media. Eight men were killed in the attack, including two Reuters correspondents.

After the video’s release, Manning was arrested as the suspected source of the video and a large cache of diplomatic cables that he’d allegedly leaked to Assange. Manning now faces 22 counts of breaching national security, charges punishable with up to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Earlier in February, it was revealed that Iceland refused to cooperate with an FBI investigation into WikiLeaks back in August 2011, with the Icelandic interior minister having “made it clear that people interviewed or interrogated in Iceland should be interrogated by Icelandic police.”