Bradley Manning's court-martial reached an end today, with Army Colonel Denise Lind sentencing him to 35 years in prison. The WikiLeaks source, arrested in Iraq in 2010 for releasing nearly 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks, was found not guilty of the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy," which could have resulted in life imprisonment. Manning was found guilty on virtually all other charges under the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the code of military justice. The verdict left him facing a maximum 136 years; Lind later found the government had overcharged Manning and reduced that number to 90 years. Within the military justice system, Colonel Lind does not have to explain the reasoning behind Manning's sentence. She did not.
MUCH OF THE PROSECUTION'S CASE TOOK PLACE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IN ORDER TO PRESENT CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, prosecution and defense jousted over the question of consequences. The prosecution sought to demonstrate that Manning's leaks had damaged relationships between American diplomats and their foreign counterparts, for example, but could present only speculative evidence in open court. Colonel Lind rejected testimony about alleged "ongoing" damage from the leaks. Much of the prosecution's case took place behind closed doors in order to present classified information.
Manning's sentencing defense focused on his mental and emotional state at the time of the leaks, portraying him as an isolated soldier suffering from "gender dysphoria," a condition in which a person's subjective understanding of gender conflicts with his or her outward experience of gender. Such long-term experience causes "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning," according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The defense argued Manning should have received mental health care from the Army and been removed from duty before the time of his leaks.
Defense witnesses also described Manning as an idealist who overestimated his authority and ability to provoke a discussion about the documents he released. In a brief statement, he apologized for his actions, saying, "At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues. Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues do not excuse my actions." He expressed a desire to return to society and rebuild a relationship with his family, including the aunt and sister who'd testified about Manning's childhood as the son of alcoholic, dysfunctional parents. "Before I can do that, though," he said, "I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions."
not anything to add but disappointment, kp