Wednesday, July 31st 2013 - 05:43 UTC

Assange criticizes Pte Manning’s conviction as a ‘dangerous precedent”

Julian Assange, founder of the anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks, has said the conviction of US Army Private Bradley Manning on spying charges is a “dangerous precedent”.

“WikiLeaks will not rest until Manning is free” pledged Assange

Pte Manning, 25, had admitted leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks but said he did so to spark a debate on US foreign policy. The leak is considered the largest ever of secret US government files. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 136 years.

Pte Manning was convicted on Tuesday of 20 charges in total, including theft and computer fraud but was found not guilty on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

In addition to multiple espionage counts, he was also found guilty of five theft charges, two computer fraud charges and multiple military infractions.

His sentencing hearing is set to begin on Wednesday. It may be a lengthy process, as both the defence and the prosecution are allowed to call witnesses.

Assange said the verdicts represented “dangerous national security extremism”. Speaking from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Mr Assange said: “This has never been a fair trial.

”Bradley Manning isn't guilty of anything in that he's actually very heroic for demanding government transparency and accountability and exposing the American people and the rest of the world to the crimes committed by the American government,“ he said.

Assange said the only victim in the case had been the US government's ”wounded pride“.

He said that there were two appeals within the US justice system as well as the Supreme Court. ”WikiLeaks will not rest until he is free,“ Assange said.

Pte Manning appeared not to react as Judge Colonel Denise Lind read out the verdict on Tuesday, but his defence lawyer, David Coombs, smiled faintly as the not guilty charge on aiding the enemy was read.

”We won the battle, now we need to go win the war,“ Mr Coombs said of the sentencing phase. ”Today is a good day, but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.“

During the court martial, prosecutors said Pte Manning systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents in order to gain notoriety.

With his training as an intelligence analyst, Pte Manning should have known the leaked documents would become available to al-Qaeda operatives, they argued.

The defence characterised him as a naive and young soldier who had become disillusioned during his time in Iraq. His actions, Mr Coombs argued, were those of a whistle-blower.

In a lengthy statement during a pre-trial hearing in February, Pte Manning said he had leaked the files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.

Much of the court martial was spent considering the soldier's intentions as he leaked the documents.

Amnesty International said in a statement the ”the government's pursuit of the 'aiding the enemy' charge was a serious overreach of the law, not least because there was no credible evidence of Manning's intent to harm the USA by releasing classified information to WikiLeaks.“

But the Democratic and Republican leaders of the US House of Representatives intelligence committee said ”justice has been served”, in a joint statement after the ruling.

Among the items sent to Wikileaks by Pte Manning was graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.

The documents also included 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 secure state department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.

Pte Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US. (BBC).-

41 comments Feed

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1 Anglotino (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 05:55 am Report abuse

Is Assange still around?

Does anyone actually listen to him?
2 Mr Ed (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 06:03 am Report abuse
It's about time Mr Assange dyed his hair and a Ecuadorian diplomat lookalike was posted there so that Mr A could leave on the other guy's passport, with a dummy run first to make sure that Scotland Yard look stupid by arresting a genuine diplomat, my film script, 'Passport to Quito'.
3 JuanGabriel (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 06:43 am Report abuse
Manning and his legal team probably wish Assange would stfu as well as all the rest of us
4 agent999 (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 07:38 am Report abuse
Assange is getting worried, his main reason for asylum the so called threat of the death penalty has just gone out of the window.
5 Conqueror (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 07:41 am Report abuse
@1 Assange only makes these comments in order to get his name into the media. He's pretty much an irrelevance. Let's just take a look at what he's said.
“Bradley Manning isn't guilty of anything in that he's actually very heroic for demanding government transparency and accountability and exposing the American people and the rest of the world to the crimes committed by the American government,“ he said.
Bradley Manning is actually mentally disturbed. That might count in mitigation. At least he had the courage to stand up in court.
The same cannot be said for Assange who, demonstrably, is a coward. He's now spent over a year in Ecuador's embassy premises because he's ”frightened“. Of course he's frightened. He has no morals and he knows that a court hearing will show this.
Remember how he reckoned he was ”missing“ his wife and children? This is the wife he split from in 1989 after she produced a son. Then there was a lengthy custody battle until 1999. He also has a daughter. And these are people that he ”misses“? He's a liar. And why doesn't he have the courage of his convictions? Because he has few. His ”convictions” include screwing around, being in the media spotlight and making money. And that's all! And he IS a gutless coward!
6 Idlehands (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 07:46 am Report abuse
Was Manning found guilty of anything that he hadn't already admitted to?
7 Conqueror (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 08:35 am Report abuse
@6 Apparently he was. He was charged with 22 offences. We know he was found not guilty of one. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges on February 28, 2013. Looks like there was another charge on which he was found not guilty. So, two not guilty, 10 admitted, 10 found guilty.
8 Troy Tempest (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 08:57 am Report abuse
Assange should be worried. Now that Snowden is the “Cause Célèbre”, and even he is not worth the repercussions, Assange must be appearing to be nothing but an embarrassment and a liability to Ecuador.
9 Gordo1 (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 09:36 am Report abuse
Is anyone really interested in anything that Assange has to say? If any ready is, indeed, interested do please let us know!
10 Captain Poppy (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 09:48 am Report abuse
#4 you are absolutely correct. Manning committed the most egregious act by doing the actual stealing of the information. Where does this leave Assange and his claim of death and Ecuador looks like a bigger clown. Perhaps Assange and Ecuador's marriage is on the rocks. I think this only reinforces the issue that he is more worried about sex charges.
11 GFace (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 11:28 am Report abuse
@1, he just wants to make sure that he isn't upstaged by his own intern (whom he happily left to flutter in the breeze) AND this upstart Snowden guy who keeps stealing his well deserved media presence.

And we are talking about, IIRC, the maliciously careless little “speaker of truth to power” who, via his Wikileaks “partners,” handed Lukashenko the Belarus dissent movement on a silver platter and may have put Morgan Tsangari in jeopardy in Zimbabwe. But he was VERY careful to make sure that it was nothing that would get anyone killed... Right. If this is indeed the case progressives and others who cry “transparency” (except for dictatorships who scream death to the west) who flock to his defense are suckers of the highest order.
12 reality check (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 11:57 am Report abuse
He is a serving soldier, WTF did he think was going to happen for releasing this classified material? Accelerated promotion.

All this crap about him being a concientious whisle blower. He was part of the military by choice, by choice, not a conscript, a volunteer! His act betrayed his comrades and endangered their lifes.

shooting is to good for him, let him rot in prison!
13 GFace (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 12:22 pm Report abuse
@12 To be sure he should serve the same sentence and QUALITY of sentence as any of the “eggs” that got broken in the Assange/Shamir/Lukashenko Omelette (that counts the ones that are not already dead, under “mysterious circumstances” of course). I believe there is a very special circle of hell reserved for people like Manning. One even closer to the center of the action than Shepherd Book's “Very Special Hell.”
14 Boovis (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 02:19 pm Report abuse
*Sigh* It's spelled “President” and he's called “Obama”, they're always mixing these up. Tsk tsk.
15 ChrisR (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 02:19 pm Report abuse
“Assange said” this is a travesty! I should be at the centre of attention not this turncoat who seeks to usurp me (a good old argie phrase thrown in for laughs) from my rightful position of Coward In Chief.
16 Britworker (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 02:36 pm Report abuse
Thank you Mr Assange, now get back in your hole.
17 Briton (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 03:18 pm Report abuse

Here stands a sorry sad depressed looking man, with a guilty conscience,
He wishes to utter those famous words of self imprisonment as the victim of his very own stupidity,

Well mr Assange
We are not interested,
But if at any time in the future you wish to join him,

just do it quietly.
18 Captain Poppy (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 03:37 pm Report abuse
”Bradley Manning isn't guilty of anything in that he's actually very heroic for demanding government transparency and accountability and exposing the American people and the rest of the world to the crimes committed by the American government,“ he said.

Is nothing illegal for this self appointed moral crusader?
19 reality check (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 04:37 pm Report abuse
Wikileaks will not rest until manning is free.

Shit! given their success with getting Assange out of his London squat and in to his condo in Ecuador, I think that Manning is well and truly ferked!
20 Faz (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 04:45 pm Report abuse
Manning should go down for a long time because he betrayed secrets that endangered his countryman. As for the American atrocities, they are just like Iraqi atrocities, British atrocities, Argie atrocities... Everyone does it, its wrong, its nasty, but shit happens.. it doesn't legitemise Mannings actions. Assange is now a busted flush. If he is innocent he should submit himself to the Swedish courts.
21 Captain Poppy (#) Jul 31st, 2013 - 05:08 pm Report abuse
Nicely said Faz
22 GFace (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 10:42 am Report abuse
I love seeing posts of people cooing all over Manning and realizing (unlike his fanbase) had he gotten off scott-free, none of them would truly consider giving the viciously careless weasel a job since he could never be trusted with anything of relevance right down to the Colonel's secret recipe. Prison may be too good for him, but it's the only home now that will truly take him in. (If Snowden hasn't yet realized this, he really is a dim bulb.) No pity parties from me.
23 Briton (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 03:15 pm Report abuse
He should be sent to devils island,

[yes its closed]
but he will settle in the ruins just fine lol.
24 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 03:53 pm Report abuse
Islands make a great prison....let them support themselves. Papillon was a great escape makes an ideal
25 Briton (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 04:01 pm Report abuse
true lol.
26 Stevie (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 07:07 pm Report abuse
What a sad bunch of people...
And then they point fingers at North Korea, not being even slightly different themselves...
27 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 01st, 2013 - 08:00 pm Report abuse
Being you like the criminal mind, how about we send them to your country ......being the humanist you are....ok?
28 Stevie (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 12:22 am Report abuse
Fine by me.
Send Snowden, Assange and that young private, they would be welcomed with open arms. At least they speak the truth.
Seems Snowden is staying in Russia though.
1 year asylum, that must surely hurt your pride...
29 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 05:00 am Report abuse
You do not get to choose the criminals we send to you, a criminal is a criminal.
30 ChrisR (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 09:36 am Report abuse
28 Stevie

Well, of course it's fine by you, you DON'T live in the country that you want these twats to come and infest.

When YOU live here like I do AND pay taxes like I do, then you MAY have more credibility.
31 Stevie (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 11:06 am Report abuse
WHO did you vote for in la´test elections?
No one?
How come?

You have no vote you say?

Don't all Uruguayans have a vote?

Oh, you're not Uruguayan...
32 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 12:27 pm Report abuse
Stevie take this guy will you? He's a latin anyway.,0,4945208.story
33 ChrisR (#) Aug 02nd, 2013 - 02:03 pm Report abuse
31 Stevie

You are losing the argument aren't you putting that feeble post up. I thought you were supposed to be Uruguayo?

You can't be because all the people I know realise just how long it takes to become resident and then a formal citizen. The IMM, that's the government department who attempt to screw everybody up by losing original documents and altering dates for meetings without telling anybody, including their “colleagues” take THREE YEARS to conclude things so that a final cedula can be issued.

But we understand that whilst you may be allowed to vote you probably NEVER do because you are not resident, whereas I am.

Just remind where your wife and children are. Sweden is it? That’s not in SA is it? No doubt when you dock in BsAs you pop over to see your mom and dad before you bugger off again.

Perhaps you vote then, or are you allowed a postal vote? Good job Cerreo is working much better that it did when we first came over. You do know that all the UYU Embassies MUST use DHL because the government couldn’t guarantee that the governments OWN postal service could actually deliver government post to the government?

I think they took advice from somebody who wasn’t a commie and reorganised it and then announced on TV that it worked now, and it does! Airmail from the UK to our door in only five days: that’s the way to run a government business.
34 Troy Tempest (#) Aug 03rd, 2013 - 01:10 am Report abuse
Chuckle chuckle, good one, Chris!
35 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 03rd, 2013 - 09:53 am Report abuse
The postal system there must be as good as in Argentina. I was amazed that there were no drop boxes and that you have to go to the post office, get a ticket and wait in line just to mail a simple letter. Before I went to Argentina I always thought it odd why I never got letters, until I sent my first and last post card from Argentina.
36 ChrisR (#) Aug 03rd, 2013 - 02:18 pm Report abuse
35 Captain Poppy

Yes, it's very similar here and there is just one delivery guy as far as I can tell but that is not a problem at the moment.

If the use of post ever takes off, and don't forget that there are a number of really good private carriers although they are more expensive, there are plenty of local people who deliver the water, electricity and telephone bills who could help Correo.

I have just had to break off typing to go and get three of the magazines my wife has from the UK from our Cerreo post guy. Same title all three together but that will be the consignor, not Correo. 15.00 on Saturday!

Last week our electricity bill came Sunday evening, delivered by the usual mature, married couple on their little motorbike, he drives and she walks up to the houses to deliver the bills. Can’t beat that for service, but they are a private enterprise employed by UTE solely to deliver bills.
37 Captain Poppy (#) Aug 03rd, 2013 - 04:13 pm Report abuse
Our postal service is really good in the USA but the Republicans are determined to make them extinct.

First they made them fund 10 years in advance retirement benefits every year, lead to massive losses.
The PO tried to recoup the losses by stopping 1st class mail delivery on Saturday's but the Republicans denied it. They are forced to raise rates.....the Republicans want Inc's to run the PO as they want Black Water's to be the military.
38 Stevie (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 07:04 am Report abuse
So IMM is the, what did you call it, government department?

And I always thought it was Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo...

Govermental department... Does such a thing even exist?

You are a shame for every Uruguayan...
39 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 09:35 am Report abuse
38 Stevie

The overarching ministry is the Ministerio del Interior, the department which operates the immigration checks, etc. is Dirección Nacional de Migración.

The office in Maldonado has the letters IMM on the window. I cannot be held responsible for the vagaries of MVD.

40 Stevie (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 11:48 am Report abuse
Then it would be the Intendencia Municipal de Maldonado.
The IMM is NOT the “government department” as you put it, for no Uruguayo.
It's the organ that handles the departamental (public) matters in, in this case, Maldonado (department). Regardless of the colour of the government.
In the IMTT (Intendencia Municipal de Treinta y Tres), the Intendent is Blanco, from the Partido Nacional.

By the way, a departamento in Uruguay is an administrative land division, like the provincias in Argentina.

You aren't a disgrace for us Uruguayos, mainly because you aren't Uruguayo.

41 ChrisR (#) Aug 05th, 2013 - 12:20 pm Report abuse
40 Stevie

Thank you for the information AND I am still trying!

One day, one day!

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