This morning, at Fort Meade, Maryland, a military court sentenced Army Private Bradley Manning for releasing classified documents to the website Wikileaks. The 25-year-old soldier said he disclosed the information to blow the whistle on US government abuses that included the brutal killing of civilians in Afghanistan.
Manning stood at attention, flanked by his attorneys, to hear the verdict with his aunt, Debra Van Alstyne, sitting behind him. He did not appear to react when the sentence was read. – Washington Post
Manning received a prison sentence of 35 years that will be reduced by 1294 days per a pretrial order of the judge, Col. Denise Lind. In addition, Manning will be dishonorably discharged and forfeit pay and allowances.
Pfc. Bradley #Manning sentenced to 35 yrs (w 1294 days credit) . Reduced E-1. Forfeit of all pay & allowances. Dishonorably discharged.
— Alexa O’Brien (@carwinb) August 21, 2013
NBC reports that an automatic appeal is expected in six months.
Neither side was a “winner” in this case. Manning will spend many more years in prison. The government’s post-arrest handling of Manning and the trial itself have been widely criticized. But, there have been beneficiaries. Around the world, documents released by Bradley Manning enabled disenfranchised people to learn the truth about abuses that affected them directly. Unfortunately, that truth came at a high price for a young whistleblower.
[For trial documents and transcripts, see Alexa O’Brien’s extensive archives at AlexaOBrien.com.]
Photo: Bradley Manning Support Network at Flickr (Creative Commons license)