Wednesday, July 31, 2013

  • EXCLUSIVE: "Bradley Manning Has Become a Martyr"–WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Guilty Verdict

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    The sentencing hearing for Army whistleblower Bradley Manning begins today following his acquittal on the most serious charge he faced, aiding the enemy, but conviction on 20 other counts. On Tuesday, Manning was found guilty of violating the Espionage Act and other charges for leaking hundreds of thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks. In beating the "aiding the enemy" charge, Manning avoids an automatic life sentence, but he still faces a maximum of 136 years in prison on the remaining counts. In his first U.S. television interview since the verdict, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the Manning "show trial," the plight of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the verdict’s impact on WikiLeaks. "Bradley Manning is now a martyr," Assange says. "He didn’t choose to be a martyr. I don’t think it’s a proper way for activists to behave to choose to be martyrs, but these young men — allegedly in the case of Bradley Manning and clearly in the case of Edward Snowden — have risked their freedom, risked their lives, for all of us. That makes them heroes." According to numerous press reports, the conviction of Manning makes it increasingly likely that the U.S. will prosecute Assange as a co-conspirator. During the trial, military prosecutors portrayed Assange as an "information anarchist" who encouraged Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.

  • Facing Rest of Life Behind Bars, Will Bradley Manning’s Sentencing Weigh Lack of Harm to U.S.?

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    Despite being acquitted on his most serious charge of "aiding the enemy," Army Private Bradley Manning still faces up to 136 years in prison for the 20 other counts on which he was convicted. The sentencing phase begins today and is expected to last a week. We speak with independent journalist Alexa O’Brien from outside the courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, where she has covered the trial daily since it began. O’Brien was the first to make transcripts of the court proceedings publicly available. During Manning’s trial, presiding judge Col. Denise Lind rejected a bid by defense attorneys to cite evidence showing the leaks caused no damage to the United States. Manning’s attorneys had sought to present "damage assessment" reports that contradicted prosecutors’ contention that Manning harmed national security and aided U.S. foes. "This trial has been about probable harm — there’s been no actual harm actually on the merits," O’Brien says. "Now that we are in the sentencing phase and Manning faces 136 years, we can actually start to talk about the lack of actual damage from these leaks."