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Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years for Espionage

Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years For Espionagei
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August 21, 2013
A military judge has sentenced Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for espionage. He provided 750,000 secret files to WikiLeaks in what is considered the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez has been covering Manning's court martial near Washington, DC, and has this report.
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Luis Ramirez
— A military judge has sentenced Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for espionage. He provided 750,000 secret files to WikiLeaks in what is considered the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history. 

After three years in prison, the 25-year-old soldier and former intelligence analyst arrived at military court to hear his sentence:  35 years for committing espionage.

It's much lighter than the 90 years he could have gotten for digging up and releasing hundreds of thousands of files including State Department cables, military field reports, and videos like this one that shows U.S. troops firing on civilians in Baghdad.

Manning says he did it to expose the wrongfulness of war and U.S. actions overseas. The government called him a traitor.  

Key Dates in WikiLeaks

  • 2006: Set up by a group of people, including Australian Julian Assange.
  • 2008: Publishes the contents of Sarah Palin's hacked e-mail account.
  • 2009: Posts thousands of text messages from U.S. emergency workers and military personnel from September 11, 2001.
  • 2010: Releases hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables.
  • 2011: Assange appeals extradition from Britain to Sweden on sex crimes charges.
  • 2012: British court upholds extradition of Assange, who takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London.  Ecuador grants him asylum in August.
  • 2013: U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years after being found not guilty of aiding the enemy but guilty of several other charges for leaking U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks.
In the end, testimony pointed to no specific harm and no deaths caused by the leaks.

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris Davis is a former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo who testified on Manning's behalf.

“The worst thing Bradley Manning did is embarrass the country," said Davis.

In consultation with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Manning searched for the material while deployed in Iraq.  

Some of the documents published by Wikileaks were found in Osama Bin Ladin's compound in Pakistan.

However, the judge cleared Manning of the more serious charge of aiding the enemy.  

In the sentencing phase, Manning pleaded for a lighter sentence and a chance to mend his life.  He said he meant to do good and expressed regret for harming the United States.

The court martial also raised questions about why the U.S. Army put Manning in such a sensitive position after testimony revealed he had severe emotional problems, including what a military psychiatrist described as a gender identity disorder for which he did not receive treatment while in Iraq.

Manning sent this photo, showing himself wearing a wig and makeup, to his immediate superior along with an e-mail in which he said his gender problem was causing him pain and problems in his career.

Tommy Sears heads the Center for Military Readiness, which has criticized the U.S. military's 2011 repeal of the ban on homosexuals in the military.  He believes the leaks might not have happened if Manning had received help for his emotional issues.

"Certainly there needs to be some closer scrutiny in terms of people who really have some kind of problem whether it's psychological or otherwise which he himself obviously reported up his own chain and nothing was done about it any way that was effective in preventing him from ultimately taking this bad course of action," said Sears.

The sentence is lighter than it could have been, but for Manning's supporters - it's still too much for a young man they say is a hero.  

Manning will serve less than the 35 years, getting credit for the three years already served.

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by: Dave from: Sydney
August 22, 2013 6:47 PM
Keep up with the play! It's Ms Chelsea Manning, not Bradley.

Hopefully Manning's decision to become a woman might inspire Obama to become a man. That's if Obama has enough time in between killing Yemeni children with drones and manipulating foreign governments to hand over anything to do with Snowden.

America: Land Of The Free.


by: jeffg
August 22, 2013 7:51 AM
with 4 years time served and minimum 1/3 to serve before parole, he'll be out in 10 years. not bad for a traitor.


by: Tim from: Canada
August 21, 2013 7:15 PM
I saw a message posted on an internet bulletin board the other day. It said "When the government catches you lying, you go to jail. What happens when you catch the government lying? Nope, guess again - it's still you." Those of us in the rest of the world hope that the Amerikan police state slides into irrelevance quickly, and without endangering any other countries. people in the U.S. are so deluded and brainwashed by their corporate-controlled media, they don't realize that if you're American, the most dangerous government to you is the one you voted for. Hopefully, someday Manning and Snowden will have the statues raised to them that they so richly deserve. Until then, arise Amerika! you have nothing to lose but your self-imposed chains.

In Response

by: Debo from: Florida
August 22, 2013 6:52 PM
By your account, Obama, Hilliary, etc.. should be put away for life.
I'll volunteer for the Jury... Guilty as charged.


by: jimmyneutron from: minnesota
August 21, 2013 7:13 PM
He should have gotten the same as George Bush for outing a CIA agent, nothing.

In Response

by: Debo from: Florida
August 22, 2013 6:49 PM
At least 4 Americans weren't murdered like Obama and his staff.


by: deded from: grf
August 21, 2013 7:05 PM
Scapegoat
and all the time real villains such as Obama, Bush and Blair are free and not behind bars where they belong.

sick world.
corrupt world.


by: Jared Purdy
August 21, 2013 4:02 PM
And when he gets out in 32 years he'll be able to say to himself that he was right, and so too was Snowden! It's only going to get worse.

In Response

by: Mouse from: Minneapolis
August 22, 2013 11:32 AM
A coward and a traitor this guy/girl is. As a gay man who is proud of his country, this lunatic's antics only set us gays further back. Thank you for nothing, "Chelsea Manning".


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2013 12:32 PM
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Manning should have been given the maximum sentence. But wait a minute, Weakilik was granted license (like Nick Carter and 007 (James Bond's) license to kill) to carry out this business in the country, how is it expected to get the information that will make headlines if there are no stupid employees in such top secret offices? Look at Manning, Snowden, look at the ones who want to be heroes for shooting fellow countrymen fighting wars on terror abroad; what is the correct name of the USA - United States of America? I rather see much more than a people united by anything other than the Devil's alternative to scuttle norms and morals. If USA is good at anything else but to shoot at themselves and always bring out all the bad news, can someone please show it.

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