Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bradley Manning court-martial: The good, the bad and the ugly

The good - Bradley Manning was found not guilty of "aiding the enemy." Now, the trial moves to the sentencing phase where he could possibly garner some empathy from the judge.

The bad - Bradley Manning was convicted of 20/22 charges. This is the first time that a whistleblower was successfully convicted of espionage (technically violating the Espionage Act). Manning pretrial treatment was grounds for a mistrial consisting of stress positions and "white torture" including solitary confinement (sensory deprivation), forced to sleep naked without a blanket or pillow and other sensory deprivation and over-stimulation techniques. Bradley Manning was held incognito for three years without a trial. President Obama had declared publicly that Manning broke the law while being held in detention. All pretrial treatment should have been automatic grounds for a mistrial for someone who hadn't been convicted of a crime.

The trial was secret and the physical court was small. A court stenographer was not provided. The mainstream media largely ignored the trial although they were shamed into showing up once in a while. His defense was barred from arguing his motives, that no harm was done to national security, International Law and Nuremberg principles or upholding the Constitutional (the highest law of the land). He now faces up to 136 years in prison. The good news is that he is now able to argue these things in the sentencing phase of the trial.

The ugly - The war on information (whistleblowers, investigative journalists and hackers) continues with the government's assault on non-government approved information. The judge acquitted Bradley Manning on the "aiding the enemy" charge not because it was ridiculous but only because the prosecution didn't effectively prove that the enemy actually read any of the information leaked. So the threat remains: leaking information is equivalent to "aiding and abetting the enemy" —even if the information is not harmful to national interests.

The trivial - July 30th, the day of Bradley Manning's conviction, could become National Whistleblowers Day as the very first whistleblower portection law was enacted on July 30, 1778.


How the US Military Tortured Bradley Manning by Jesselyn Radack

Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules by Ed Pilkington

The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning by Chris Hedges

A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words for the First Time and Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S. by Daniel Ellsberg

Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial

Bradley Manning's family's statement: Bradley Manning acquitted of “Aiding the Enemy” charge, month-long sentencing phase now determines fate

The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy by Cindy Cohn, EFF

 All available legal filings, court rulings, and transcripts in U.S. v. Pfc. Bradley Manning by Alexa O'Brien

Transcripts from Bradley Manning's Trial by Freedom of the Press Foundation

Irony: Congress May Declare Today 'National Whistleblower Day' As Court Announces Manning Verdict

Democracy Now Manning Verdict Coverage