Trending Topics:

Bradley Manning faces 136 years in jail for exposing American war crimes

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 17 Comments
Manning
Bradley Manning faces 136 years in jail for his leaks. (Photo: Associated Press)

The military analyst who exposed U.S. foreign policy to the world was found guilty today on 19 counts–and faces up to 136 years in prison for his actions.

Bradley Manning was convicted today of violating the Espionage Act and laws against theft and computer fraud. Manning was the source behind WikiLeaks’ disclosures of hundreds of thousands of documents detailing the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomacy around the world.

Manning’s Espionage Act conviction is the latest example of how the Obama administration has used the World War I law to crack down on government whistleblowers. Edward Snowden, the leaker who exposed the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance, has also been charged with violating the act.

But in a significant victory for Manning’s defense team, the judge in the case rejected the charge that Manning “aided the enemy.” If Manning was found guilty on that charge, the verdict would have had profound implications for national security journalism in the country. The prosecution’s theory was that Manning’s leaks had aided Al Qaeda because Osama bin Laden possessed WikiLeaks documents on his computer. By that theory, the New York Times publishing leaked documents on the futility of the war in Afghanistan could be construed as “aiding the enemy.” 

“We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,” Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, told supporters of the military whistleblower. “Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.” Tomorrow, the sentencing phase of the trial begins. Both the defense and prosecution are expected to call additional witnesses for arguments during the sentencing phase.

Manning was arrested in 2010 shortly after the hacker who he confided in told the U.S. government about Manning’s disclosures. He was held in solitary confinement, stripped naked at times and treated in a cruel and inhuman manner, as the United Nations rapporteur on torture concluded in March 2012.

Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks led to front-page stories in major media outlets and an unprecedented look into U.S. foreign policy. Manning’s leaks exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan; a secret deal David Petraeus struck with Yemen’s leader to hide American drone strikes; America’s blind eye to Iraqi security forces’ torture; pressure on European nations over prosecutions of U.S. officials for torture; spying on the United Nations; and much more.

For Israel/Palestine watchers, Manning’s leak of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables provided a close look at Middle East politics. The disclosures from Manning exposed Israel’s closeness with the Palestinian Authority; the Israeli Prime Minister’s vision of a Palestinian state; and how the Egyptian and Israeli militaries worked together during Israel’s massive 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip. The leaks also exposed how the U.S. worked to blunt the effect of the Goldstone report, which documented Israeli war crimes during the assault on Gaza.

Manning told the court in March 2013 that he leaked documents and videos to WikiLeaks because he believed if “the American public, had access to the information…this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” 

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

17 Responses

  1. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    July 30, 2013, 7:40 pm

    You’re a brave soul, Bradley Manning, and an American hero. Your synchophant accusers couldn’t shine your shoes, they couldn’t service your chamber pot.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    July 30, 2013, 7:56 pm

    136 years. That’s why I laugh when morons suggest that Snowden give himself up to face “justice.” This is justice in the USA: The guy who murdered 16 Afghan villagers will probably get parole in 10 years. The people who ran the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib got a few years or none. Manning did a heroic thing of bringing this stink into the light and he might get 136 years.

  3. just
    just
    July 30, 2013, 8:50 pm

    “”We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,””

    This is a “war” that I endorse wholeheartedly!

    “Manning’s leaks exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan; a secret deal David Petraeus struck with Yemen’s leader to hide American drone strikes; America’s blind eye to Iraqi security forces’ torture; pressure on European nations over prosecutions of U.S. officials for torture; spying on the United Nations; and much more.”

    He and Snowden deserve our thanks. Now US govt– get out of the way, admit your failings and lies.

    Man and woman UP!

  4. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    July 30, 2013, 9:00 pm

    Is this any different from the treatment such an individual would get for such acts in any other democratic country?

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      July 31, 2013, 6:34 am

      Most “democratic” states arent commiting warcrimes and trying to hide it up, even you should know that Mayhem.

    • amigo
      amigo
      July 31, 2013, 7:06 am

      “Is this any different from the treatment such an individual would get for such acts in any other democratic country?” mayhem

      In a real Democratic country, there would be no need for heroes like Bradley Manning.

      But you being a Zionist apologist for the quasi so called only democracy in the ME where civil rights are trampled on daily would see no problem with this.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      July 31, 2013, 7:12 am

      Is this any different from the treatment such an individual would get for such acts in any other democratic country?

      Daniel Elsberg released documents of far higher classification, and he’s a national hero.

    • Denis
      Denis
      July 31, 2013, 9:42 am

      Probably not, but the joke is in the phrase “democratic country.”

      Seems to me that when a w-blower is asserting that the USG is committing crimes or violating the Constitution, in order to prosecute the w-blower a court must first determine whether the allegations against USG are, in fact, true. In other words, the truth of the message should be evaluated before a decision is made whether or not to shoot the messenger. As it is now, the truth of the message is ignored by the courts.

      If the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence supports the illegality or unconstitutionality of the USG’s actions, then the US employees responsible for the criminal activity should be tried and the w-blower should a) be found not guilty without further inquiry, and b) be rewarded. For it should never, under any circumstance or theory, be illegal to publicize criminal activity or violations of individual rights of the USG or its employees.

      Specifically, the truth of Manning’s allegations of US war crimes – particularly the ghastly “light ‘em up” video – and Snowden’s allegations of NSA’s defecating on the Fourth Amendment are what the courts should investigate before trying – or even charging – Manning and Snowden.

      Horse, then cart.

    • andrew r
      andrew r
      July 31, 2013, 5:23 pm

      It’s a free country, so you only get what you deserve. Yet it’s only a free country if you’re on the right side of the invasion of other countries. You’re invited to join in the plunder or at least keep your head down. When you oppose the war-of-choice, it’s not a free country anymore.

      • mijj
        mijj
        August 3, 2013, 11:41 am

        > “It’s a free country, so you only get what you deserve.”

        (going off at a tangent ..)

        … what’s freedom? .. Freedom is related to the ability to influence and the ability to resist influence. In a society angled towards money being the ultimate form of influence, one’s relative freedom is one’s relative money.

        So, it’s a free country if you have significantly more money than those upon whom you’re inflicting your freedom.

        In a money based society, people with the least money have least freedom. Ie, negative freedom = behavior is shaped for you. (Psychologically, socially, politically, economically, etc.) = bottom of the money-influence hierarchy.

        The ballot box is irrelevant where money is influence.

  5. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    July 30, 2013, 11:24 pm

    It is sad.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 31, 2013, 6:14 am

    Snowden for POTUS, Manning for VP.

  7. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 31, 2013, 7:22 am

    Handling of Manning and Snowden will greatly reduce whistleblowing sources for investigative journalists. Obama’s relentless attack on whistleblowers is frightening, and Eric Holder is equally frightening. He deserves to be locked in a stuck elevator with Chaney.

    http://www.popularresistance.org/manning-verdict-blow-for-investigative-journalism-and-its-sources/

  8. jsinton
    jsinton
    July 31, 2013, 11:23 am

    I thought the judge got it exactly right. The “aiding the enemy” charge was overreach, but the rest was correct and appropriate.

  9. mijj
    mijj
    July 31, 2013, 11:33 am

    the Corporate-Government of the US is essentially a Mafia consortium. What kind of justice would anyone expect from the Mafia?

    Everyone has a decision to make. Either be loyal to the people, or be loyal to the Mafia. If you choose to be loyal to the people, the Mafia will call you a traitor.

  10. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    July 31, 2013, 2:03 pm

    Anyone accidentally have a Fucile di Fanteria, Modello 91/38 lying around?

    Both sad and sickening. I hope Obomber will have a severe allergic reaction to the shininess of his #$%&! ‘Pieces Price.’

  11. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 31, 2013, 3:07 pm

    Seems Dick and Jane are buying the government crap significantly, and don’t give a crap about Snowden and Manning’s concern for them: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/business/media/whistle-blowers-in-limbo-neither-hero-nor-traitor.html?emc=edit_tnt_20130731&tntemail0=y&_r=0

    Americans’ historical ignorance, combined with the mainstream news media’s lack of follow up on this issue in any meaningful way, why didn’t Bush Jr love it, and now Obama does too! Why bother to put your life on the line for Dick and Jane? That’s my reading.

Leave a Reply