Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Manning Verdict (Apparently Conviction) To Be Announced Today On An Historic Day That Is No Coincidence - UPDATED

Courtroom Sketch of Manning
by Clark Stoeckley
via Kevin Gosztola
Kevin Gosztola of FDL, present for most of Manning's two-month trial, will announce the details when the judge rules this afternoon. This link is to Gosztola's preface, backgrounder, setup, call it what you will. He begins by noting the historical significance of today's date chosen by the judge, clearly no coincidence:
A military judge is set to issue a verdict in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier prosecuted for disclosing information to WikiLeaks, [today] in the early afternoon. The verdict will come on the same day that America passed its first whistleblower protection law.

The law passed by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778, declared that it was the “duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by an officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
This law emphasizes the crux of the matter: whistleblowing is a duty of everyone in military or civil service to the US. It is not discretionary; it is obligatory.

In the 1778 case, the man on whom the whistle was blown was powerful, and immediately engaged in retaliation against the whistleblower. Some things start early and never change; retaliation against whistleblowers is one of them. Unlike the early case, it is likely that retaliation against Manning, who reported some activities that are manifestly illegal, will be allowed to take place... with the active cooperation of the military system of justice. Given what has been reported to date, I am convinced that Manning's trial... from his year-long abusive detention with no opportunities to defend himself, through to the military judge's repeated rejection of defense's introduction of potentially exculpatory evidence... is a drumhead, a trial whose outcome is predetermined, in this case by no less than the President of the United States.

Here's Gosztola on Manning's actions:
Manning did not go to Congress with his information but had he gone to Congress it is a virtual guarantee that he would have lost his security clearance for trying to provide information to Congress that included evidence of torture and other war crimes. The world would never have seen the information he disclosed to WikiLeaks.

Not every one of the more than 700,000 documents he released contained evidence of a major crime, and yet a statement Manning read in court February 28 indicates his decisions to release certain sets of information were that of a classic whistleblower. Yet, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of “aiding the enemy.”

Manning was categorized by prosecutors as "anarchist," "hacker" and "traitor." He will be convicted of every charge and sentenced to life without parole, that is, if the government doesn't renege on its promise not to seek the death penalty, which would not surprise me. Manning is being made an example of, indirectly by your man Barack Obama. Whistleblowing and leaking, both essential to journalism in pursuit of illegal government activity, will likely dwindle to nonexistence after Manning's verdict. And Manning may never see the light of day again.

It was a great country while it lasted...

UPDATE 7/30/2013 6:00pm EDT - Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge... "aiding the enemy" ... but convicted of 19 other charges, mostly under the ancient W.W. I-era Espionage Act, created in its own day specifically to harass, discredit and disable antiwar activists, and a point of contention thought to be at odds with the First Amendment... until now. Please read Kevin Gosztola's post What the Verdict in Bradley Manning’s Trial Means for Whistleblowers. This is a day in which the phrase "military justice" may well have become an oxymoron as surely as "military intelligence." As a nation we should be ashamed, not only of this result but of the deplorable actions of the court which brought it forth.


  1. Macbride Peace Prize awarded to Bradley Manning

  2. Bradley Manning should win the Nobel Peace Prize:

    1. Thanks, Enfant, for the news about both peace prizes. Only Manning himself can say whether the years he will inevitably spend behind bars are worth it to him as his document releases embarrass the very people who caused and directed unnecessary wars... and who imprisoned Bradley Manning for embarrassing them.

      The greatest insight on what has been done to Manning can be had by comparing his case to Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame. The latter is, belatedly, a hero to many of us. Will Bradley Manning live long enough to be praised for his heroic acts, and will he ever be free of incarceration to enjoy the praise?

    2. Yesterday, at about 23:00 (Greek time), I read : Judge Issues Verdict in Bradley Manning’s Trial (Live Updates, By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday July 30, 2013 1:11 pm EST.
      In the first paragraph:
      "NOT GUILTY of “aiding the enemy,” NOT GUILTY of violating the Espionage Act by releasing the Garani video. GUILTY of other offences.

    3. Enfant, I presume Gosztola got the details correct; he has been at the trial virtually every day. Here is a list of the charges Manning faced: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_charges_against_Bradley_Manning. The Espionage Act (of 1917 and as modified in later years) is a hodgepodge of different kinds of offenses; it appears several times in the list of charges against Manning. He was acquitted of Espionage Act charges only for the Garani video; he was convicted of other charges under the same Act.

      A "drumhead" is a court martial carried out in the field, supposedly using an inverted drum as a judge's desk; the term has unsavory connotations of injustice in the course of swift legal action.



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