Report From The Courtroom By Gerry Condon
There were tears outside the courtroom today. Of course, Bradley Manning is not really guilty of anything but being a good global citizen, and it is painful to see him so persecuted.
But we scored an important victory today on both the legal and political fronts. The Army had made a ridiculous case that Bradley Manning was “aiding the enemy,” “with evil intent,” and that he was “not a whistle-blower, but a traitor. They even tried to tie Bradley to Osama bin Laden.
There was only one problem with the Army’s case. They had no evidence whatsoever, only baseless insinuations and “child’s logic” (the words of defense attorney David Coombs). Even a military judge who clearly favored the Army prosecutors could not buy their lame arguments.
If Bradley had been convicted of “Aiding the Enemy,” he would be facing life in prison without parole. A big blow would have been struck against freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Any soldier, civilian or reporter involved in shining the light on to the government’s dirty secrets could be arrested and charged with “Aiding the Enemy,” or Being the Enemy.
Bradley Manning and his supporters have won a critical battle in the court of law and the court of public opinion. But, as defense attorney David Coombs said today after the verdict, “now we have to win the war.”
Bradley was found guilty 19 other charges, including 5 counts of espionage, serious enough to add up to 137 years in prison.
Wednesday morning, the prosecution will begin presenting its case for sentencing, expected to go through August 12, when the defense will begin its case. Each side plans to call over 20 witnesses and the sentence will not be announced before late August.
Now is the time for all of us to keep up the pressure. Bradley Manning remains in the hands of the guardians of empire. They want to know everything about us, but don’t think we have the right to know what they are doing in our name and with our dollars.
Go to bradleymanning.org for more information.
Down with the Surveillance State!
Free Bradley Manning