Tag Archive: Bradley Manning


Army rejects clemency for Chelsea Manning

Published time: April 14, 2014 17:14
Edited time: April 14, 2014 17:48

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning will not receive clemency from the United States military, the US Army said on Monday afternoon.

A news release circulated by the US Army Military District of Washington early Monday confirmed that the Pentagon official who could have agreed to reduce or eliminate the sentence imposed last year on the former intelligence analyst declined to do so. The case will next automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminals Appeals.

According to the press release, the convening authority, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, approved the findings and sentence adjudged at last summer’s court-martial, in turn rejecting requests for Manning to receive clemency.

As convening authority, Buchanan could have elected to disapprove of Army Col. Denise Lind’s decision last summer to sentence Manning to 35 years in prison after the analyst admitted to sharing a trove of classified military documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Lind sentenced the solder to 35 years in prison and demoted her to private first class after finding the soldier guilty of multiple counts, including espionage, theft and computer fraud.

 

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Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence upheld by US army general

Chelsea Manning
Manning pleaded guilty to 10 charges but was convicted last year on 20 counts, including espionage and theft. Photo: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

A US army general has denied clemency for Chelsea Manning and upheld the former soldier’s 35-year prison sentence for providing secret files to WikiLeaks in the biggest breach of classified materials in US history, the army said Monday.

Major General Jeffrey S Buchanan’s decision to uphold the findings of Manning’s 2013 court-martial will automatically send the case to the army court of criminal appeals, an Army statement said.

The soldier, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when she gave the pro-transparency site WikiLeaks 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts.

The trove included a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected insurgents in Iraq, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staffers.

 

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Rolling Stone

The WikiLeaks Mole

Siggi Thordarson with Julian Assange in London 2011.
Allen Clark
January 6, 2014 9:00 AM ET

On a recent frigid night near Reykjavik, Iceland, Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson slips into a bubbling geothermal pool at a suburban swim club. The cherubic, blond 21-year-old, who has been called everything in the press from “attention seeker” to “traitor” to “psychopath,” ends many of his days here, where, like most places around the city, he’s notorious. But even at a spa, he can find only the briefest moment of relaxation. Soon, the local prosecutor who is trying him for leaking financial records joins him in the tub, and Siggi quickly has to flee to another pool. “How does it feel to be the most dangerous man in Iceland?” a bather shouts across the steam.

Julian Assange: The Rolling Stone Interview

In person, Siggi’s doughy shape and boyish smile make him seem less than menacing – unless you’re another one of the world’s most dangerous men, Julian Assange. Four years ago, just as WikiLeaks was winning international notoriety, the then-17-year-old hacking prodigy became Assange’s youngest and most trusted sidekick. “It was like Batman and Robin,” says Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a former WikiLeaks volunteer and member of the Icelandic parliament. But as Assange became more embattled and besieged, the protégé turned on his mentor in the most shocking of ways: becoming the first FBI informant inside the group.

Siggi’s story of international espionage and teenage high-roller antics plays like James Bond meets Superbad, starring a confounding mash-up of awkward man-child and balls-out tech savant. And his tale reveals not only the paranoia and strife within WikiLeaks, but just how far the feds were willing to go to get Assange.

Siggi still lives with his parents in a nondescript high-rise, sitting at his computer in a bedroom lined with stuffed animals, including an orangutan-size Garfield he bought for $2,000. But his jet-black Mercedes ML350 is parked outside, which, along with his recent conviction for sexual misconduct against a 17-year-old boy (he says the relationship was consensual), speaks to his bizarre double life.

The Trials of Bradley Manning

The revelation of Siggi’s role as an FBI snitch has polarized WikiLeaks insiders. When I met with WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson (Assange declined to talk for this story), he grew red in the face, dismissing Siggi as “a pathological liar,” a party line echoed by the WikiLeaks faithful. “It all sounds rather absurd,” Hrafnsson says, “to go and to spend all this time analyzing the absolute bullshit that is flowing out of this young man, who is so troubled that he should be hospitalized.”

While other WikiLeaks insiders also question Siggi’s credibility, they insist that his story can’t be discounted, and there’s more to it than the organization is letting on. Tangerine Bolen, founder of the whistle-blowing advocacy organization Revolution­Truth, which used to work closely with WikiLeaks, is among those who say the group’s efforts to discredit Siggi are “patently false. They’re scared. The fact is Siggi played a key role in the organization and was very close to Julian.”

The truth, it seems, may be held in the leaks. Siggi has provided Rolling Stone with more than a terabyte of secret files he claims to have taken from WikiLeaks before he left in November 2011 and gave to the FBI: thousands of pages of chat logs, videos, tapped phone calls, government documents and more than a few bombshells from the organization’s most heated years. They’re either the real thing, or the most elaborate lie of the digital age.

Jacob Applebaum: The American WikiLeaks Hacker

Assange himself validated the importance of Siggi’s documents when he filed an affidavit late this past summer asserting that “the FBI illegally acquired stolen organisational and personal data belonging to WikiLeaks, me and other third parties in Denmark in March 2012″ and that the FBI “was attempting to entrap me through Sigurdur Thordarson.”

Whatever their origins, the SiggiLeaks are a deep and revealing portal into one of the most guarded and influential organizations of the 21st century – and the extreme measures its embattled leader is willing to take. Of all Assange’s allies who’ve come and gone, few served him as faithfully as Siggi, or betrayed him so utterly. “One thing is sure,” Siggi tells me in his thick Icelandic accent, as the vapors from the thermal pool rise around him. “I have not lived a life like a teenager.”

Like Assange and so many gifted hackers, Siggi had an isolated childhood. The son of a hairdresser and a paint-company sales manager, he grew up with his little sister in a middle­class suburb of Reykjavik. Though puckish and bright, he was bored by school, alienated from his classmates and dreamed of a life beyond bourgeois Nordic comfort. “When I was, like, 12 years old, I wished for a couple of things,” he tells me as we drive one afternoon past some lava fields outside the capital. “I wished to be rich; I wished to be a famous guy; I wished to live an adventureful life.”

He found the excitement he craved in computers, and at age 12 he says he hacked into his first website, a local union’s home page, which he replaced with a picture of “a big fluffy monkey.” The experience empowered him. “When you do something like that, you feel invincible,” he says, “and if you can do that, what else can you do?”

He found out two years later, when, on a plane back from a family vacation, he fixed a laptop for a businessman sitting next to him. The executive was so impressed by his skills that he offered him a job at the Icelandic financial firm Milestone: scrubbing computers of sensitive documents. Siggi figures the company trusted him with such data because he was only 14 and must have thought, as he says, “I wouldn’t understand what I was supposed to delete.” Plus, the pay dwarfed that of his paper route.

WikiLeaks’ Greatest Hits

Curious about the files he was erasing, he’d copy them and study them at night. What he eventually discovered astonished him: Employees of Milestone seemed guilty of large-scale corruption in collusion with local politicians. At this time, in 2009, Iceland was reeling from the worldwide financial crisis, and Siggi believed the people deserved to know the role of Milestone and their dirty politicians – even if that meant leaking the files. “Someone has to do it,” he thought, “and why not me?”

In the fall, Siggi says he brought more than 600 gigabytes of Milestone data to the Icelandic newspaper Dagbladid Vísir, making front-page news and leading to investigations against the politicians and businessmen he exposed. Siggi believed in the importance of exposing the corruption he describes as “illegal as it gets.” With his identity still secret, he kept on leaking to other media outlets until, for reasons he never learned, his childhood friend outed him, a betrayal that changed him. “I literally just stopped believing in humanity,” he says. “Since then, I just basically stopped having feelings.”

But after being arrested and splashed across the news, he found a powerful connection in Kristinn Hrafnsson. A well-known TV reporter in Reykjavik at the time, Hrafnsson considered Siggi’s leaks to be “quite significant” and worthy of an introduction to another up-and-coming whistle-blower, Julian Assange, who was speaking at the University of Iceland. Though WikiLeaks had already exposed death squads in Kenya and financial malfeasance in the Swiss bank Julius Baer, the group was still largely unknown. But at the panel, Siggi found, to his surprise, that Assange was well aware of his work – he even chastised the reporter who revealed Siggi’s name in the Milestone leak. “He was basically just condemning the guy, sayingouting whistle­blowers is wrong,” recalls Siggi, who reveled in the support.

The bond between the two was immediate. Assange too had been arrested for hacking when he was a young man in Australia. He also had a son, Daniel, who was roughly Siggi’s age, whom he had little contact. “I think Julian saw himself in Siggi,” says Jónsdóttir. “Julian felt an immediate sympathy toward the kid.”

After the panel, Siggi says he took Assange to Sea Bar, a small, rustic restaurant on the water. Over lobster soup and whale steak, they spoke about politics, hacking and their shared sense of purpose in exposing the secrets of the elite. Assange struck Siggi as someone with the courage to take on anyone. “He’s the kind of activist that does the thing that has to be done,” Siggi tells me. After talking for a few hours, Assange took out a small metal box. “Have you ever seen this before?” he said.

Assange cracked open the container and revealed three phones inside. “These are encrypted cellphones,” he said. “I’m going to give you one. Just keep it on at all times so I can communicate with you, day and night.”

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Hot News 2

Published on Aug 22, 2013

The NSA surveillance of millions of emails and phone calls. The dogged pursuit of whistleblower Edward Snowden across the globe, regardless of the diplomatic fallout. And the sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a cache of government files to the website WikiLeaks. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg sees these events as signs that the United States is becoming a police state.

“We have not only the capability of a police state, but certain beginnings of it right now,” Ellsberg said. “And I absolutely agree with Edward Snowden. It’s worth a person’s life, prospect of assassination, or life in prison or life in exile — it’s worth that to try to restore our liberties and make this a democratic country.”

Ellsberg was a military analyst with the RAND Corporation in 1969 when he secretly copied thousands of classified documents about U.S. decision-making during the Vietnam War. In 1971, he leaked the files (known as the Pentagon Papers) to The New York Times and 18 other newspapers.

Although the Nixon administration tried to prevent the publication of the files, the Supreme Court ruled in New York Times Co. v. United States that the newspaper could continue publishing the files.

Ellsberg was later tried on 12 felony counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, and faced a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. His case was dismissed in 1973 on the grounds of gross governmental misconduct.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama praised instances of whistle-blowing as “acts of courage and patriotism.” Since becoming president, however, his administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act than all other presidents combined.

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A military judge on Wednesday sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison, bringing to a close the government’s determined pursuit of the Army intelligence analyst who leaked the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history.The long prison term is likely to hearten national security officials who have been rattled by the subsequent leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Manning’s conviction might also encourage the government to bring charges against the man who was instrumental in the publication of the documents, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

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A military judge sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a trove of military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks.

A military judge sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a trove of military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks.

Manning’s supporters and detractors took to Twitter to voice their opinions on his 35-year sentence.

Manning, 25, was acquitted last month of the most serious charge he faced — aiding the enemy — but was convicted of multiple other counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, for copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.“The message won’t be lost for everyone in the military,” said Steven Bucci, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. “When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.”Civil liberties groups condemned the judge’s decision.“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system,” said Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.”

Manning will receive 31 / 2 years of credit for time served in pretrial confinement and for the abusive treatment he endured in a Marine brig at Quantico, making him eligible for parole in seven years. He will serve his sentence at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

On Wednesday, Manning stood at attention, with his attorneys at his side and his aunt behind him, as he listened to Judge Denise Lind read the sentence aloud. He did not appear to react to her decision.

Lind, an Army colonel, also said Manning would be dishonorably discharged, reduced in rank to private, and forfeit all pay. He had faced up to 90 years in prison.

As Manning was escorted out of the packed courtroom at Fort Meade, more than half a dozen supporters shouted out to him: “We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley! You’re our hero!”

According to his attorney David Coombs, Manning told his distraught defense team after the sentence was issued, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I know you did your best. I am going to be okay. I am going to get through this.”

Coombs said at a news conference that he will seek a presidential pardon for his client in the coming weeks. He read a statement from Manning in which the private reiterated his reasons for leaking classified material, saying he had “started to question the morality” of U.S. policy. Manning added that if his request for a pardon is denied, he will serve his time “knowing sometimes you pay a heavy price to live in a free country.”

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breakingtheset

Published on Aug 16, 2013

Abby Martin talks to Norman Solomon, Co-founder of RootsAction.org about the petition to award whistleblower Bradley Manning with the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize nod backed by 100k petition-signers

Published time: August 12, 2013 20:07
Edited time: August 13, 2013 10:16

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

The Nobel Prize committee has received a petition that endorses awarding the peace prize to US Army Private Bradley Manning, who is convicted of espionage and facing up to 90 years behind bars for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

US anti-war activist Normon Soloman, one of the organizers of the petition, gave the 5,000-page document to Nobel committee member Asle Toje on Monday.

However, Toje said the annually awarded US$1 million prize is “not a popularity contest,” adding that such campaigns do not influence the Nobel Committee in its choice.

“Remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the US government, no one is more in need of the Nobel Peace Prize,” states the petition, which garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

“No individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called ‘the madness of militarism’ than Bradley Manning,” the petition reads.

A screenshot from act.rootsaction.org

A screenshot from act.rootsaction.org

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democracynow democracynow

Published on Aug 15, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – Bradley Manning apologized for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday. Manning faces up to 90 years in prison after being convicted last month on 20 counts. He said: “I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.” Manning added, “I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.” An Army psychologist who analyzed Manning while he served in Iraq also testified Wednesday, along with a clinical psychologist who spent 21 hours examining Manning after his arrest. Manning’s sister and aunt also both took the stand to deliver emotional testimony about his childhood. We speak to reporter Alexa O’Brien who was in the courtroom and has closely covered the Manning trial. “Bradley Manning is more of a moral character, than he is a political one,” O’Brien says.

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Bradley Manning says sorry for leaks that ‘hurt the United States’

Manning, 25, speaks at sentencing phase of his trial and says ‘I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people’

Manning

Bradley Manning took the stand for an unsworn statement and said: ‘Unfortunately, I cannot go back and change things.’ Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Bradley Manning, the soldier convicted last month of leaking an enormous collection of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has said he now regrets his actions and that he was “sorry that they hurt the United States“.

“I am sorry for unintended consequence of my actions. When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people,” Manning told his sentencing hearing, in an attempt to receive a reduced sentence.

The 25-year-old was found guilty of several counts under the Espionage Act, but acquitted of the most serious charge of “aiding the enemy”. He is facing a possible jail sentence of up to 90 years when he is sentenced next week.

Previously, the former intelligence analyst tried to justify his actions, explaining to the court in detail how he downloaded 700,000 classified documents while stationed in Iraq and passed them to the anti-secrecy website, in order to prompt a global debate about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However on Wednesday, after three days in which his legal team called witnesses they hoped would lead to a lower sentence, Manning took to the stand for an unsworn statement – meaning he could speak to the judge but not be cross-examined.

Looking nervous, he turned to Colonel Denise Lind, who is presiding over his court martial, and said: “First, your honour, I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that I hurt the United States.”

He told the military judge that he “was dealing with a lot of issues” around the time he leaked the classified material, problems that he continues to effect him.

“Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions,” he said. “I understood what I was doing, and decisions I made. However I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions.

“Those factors are clear to me now, through both self-refection during my confinement in various forms, and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.

“I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions,” he continued. “When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.”

The soldier read out his statement in a rushed fashion, looking anxious. He told the judge that he had learned from his experience and asked for a chance to rebuild his life.

The apology will disappoint Manning’s thousands of supporters around the world, who believe he undertook a courageous act of whistleblowing because his conscience demanded it.

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Published on Aug 2, 2013

(Truthstream Media.com) In the background, a secret war is underway, apparently purging a circle of hackers, whistleblowers and investigative reporters connected to investigating NSA surveillance programs.

On the heels of ‘an easy hearing’ in Congressional testimony to explain away NSA surveillance activities in the wake of Edward Snowden’s PRISM leaks, Gen. Keith Alexander, head of both the NSA and US CYBERCOM, attended the Black Hat hacker conference where he was heckled by privacy advocates in the crowd who stated their distrust for the secretive spy chief.

At the same time, infamous hacker Barnaby Jack, turned up dead just days before he was scheduled to speak at the Black Hat confab alongside Gen. Alexander. Did Jack’s knowledge about how to hack medical devices, ATM cash machines and modern cars play into the reasons for his death, or the rumors that a car hack was behind investigative journalist Michael Hasting’s death. It is apparent that there may be a connection, given the trail of dead, incarcerated and otherwise targeted journalists and whistleblowers including but not limited to Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Barrett Brown, Michael Hastings, Glenn Greenwald and beyond.

As we have previously reported, also significantly in play is Gen. Keith Alexander’s connection to the secretive and elite Bilderberg conference, which he began attending in 2008 while the Bilderberg group began pursuing discussion on “cyber security,” “cyber terrorism,” and various components of the digital and big data agenda.

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The Washington Post

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

Graphic

The verdict for each of the charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning.

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The verdict for each of the charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Video

Bradley Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

Bradley Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

The eight-week trial offered a gripping account of Manning’s transformation from a shy soldier who deployed to Baghdad as an intelligence analyst in 2009 to a mole for the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which disclosed more than 700,000 documents Manning gathered.

Had Manning been convicted of aiding the enemy, Manning would have faced a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. Civil libertarians saw the prospect of a conviction on that charge, which has not been used since the Civil War, as a dangerous precedent that could have would have sent an unmistakable message to would-be government whistle-blowers.

“The heart of this matter is the level of culpability,” said retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, a former chief prosecutor at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He noted that Manning has already pled guilty to some charges and admitted leaking secret documents that he felt exposed wartime misdeeds. “Beyond that is government overreach.”

If found guilty of all charges, including aiding the enemy, Manning would face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The planned announcement of the verdict follows an eight-week trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, where military prosecutors argued that Manning, 25, betrayed his oath and his country, and assisted al-Qaeda because the terrorist group was able to access secret material once WikiLeaks posted it.

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Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy, found guilty of espionage

 

By Carlo Muñoz 07/30/13 05:09 PM ET

Former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was acquitted on Tuesday of providing aid to the enemy, but found guilty of five espionage accounts.

The decision means Manning could spend the rest of his life behind bars; the maximum sentence for the charges would be 136 years, Army officials with the Military District of Washington told The Hill.

But Army Judge Col. Denise Lind found the 25-year-old Army private not guilty of the most serious charge he faced, of aiding the enemy. That charged carried a life sentence.

Lind also found Manning guilty of five charges of theft during Tuesday’s military hearing at Ft. Meade, Md. He had already pleaded guilty to 10 other offenses.

Manning’s legal defense team will find out whether their client will be locked up for his entire natural life during a sentencing hearing set for Wednesday morning at Ft. Meade, according to Army officials.

Prior to Tuesday’s ruling, Lind denied a request by Manning’s defense team to have the aiding the enemy charge dropped.

At the time, Lind said Manning’s lawyers had not presented enough evidence to merit dismissing the charge.

Lawmakers praised Lind’s ruling, saying “justice has been served” with Manning’s conviction on espionage and federal theft charges.

“Manning harmed our national security, violated the public’s trust, and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes,” said Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) in a joint statement Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) told The Hill on Tuesday that he respected Lind’s decision, in light of the harmful effect the leaks had on U.S. national security

“It’s one of the more serious things I’ve seen a military member do since I’ve been around for 30 years,” Graham said. “People who say he’s a hero are misguided in terms of who a hero might be.”

Rogers and Ruppersberger said their committee plans to continue cooperation to improve safeguards on highly-senstive and classified information from becoming public.

 

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RTAmerica RTAmerica

Published on Jul 26, 2013

As the military tribunal of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning wraps up in Fort Meade, just a short drive away, Manning’s supporters are gathering outside of Fort McNair. About 120 protesters showed up to rally in support of the 25-year-old on Friday at what is being called the last internationally coordinated effort to protest for his trial. The activists chose this location because the office of Major General Jeffery Buchanan, the convening authority overseeing the Bradley Manning trial, is located there. RT Correspondent Meghan Lopez was there and brings us the sights and sounds from today’s protest.
Find RT America in your area: http://rt.com/where-to-watch/
Or watch us online: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/

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BBC

Wikileaks accused Bradley Manning loses challenge to most serious charge

Army Pte Bradley Manning, right, is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland 18 July 2013
Pte Manning has said he intended to spark a public debate

Lawyers for the 25-year-old argued there is no proof he “aided the enemy”, a charge carrying a life prison term.

Prosecutors have argued he “systematically harvested” documents eventually seen by Osama Bin Laden.

The case, allegedly involving 700,000 files, is considered the largest-ever leak of secret US government documents.

“He [Pte Manning] was knowingly providing intelligence to the enemy,” said Judge Colonel Denise Lind at Thursday’s hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.

The decision does not exclude the possibility of Pte Manning being ultimately acquitted of the charge.

No ‘evil intent’

The accused, who appeared to be following the proceedings closely, showed no reaction to the ruling.

He has previously pleaded guilty to 10 of the more than 20 charges he faces.

But on Thursday, Judge Lind also denied a defence request to drop a computer fraud charge.

She is still considering a motion by Pte Manning’s lawyers to dismiss five charges of theft.

A G8 protester shows support for Bradley Manning, in a rally in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Bradley Manning supporters say attacks on “whistle-blowers” are an attack on democracy

Some two dozen of his supporters sat quietly in the courtroom, some wearing t-shirts printed with the word “truth”.

“We’re disappointed,” Jeff Paterson, head of the Bradley Manning Support Network, told the Associated Press news agency outside court.

 

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