UPDATE: Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy in a military court-martial, but was convicted of six espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions that can lead to a sentence of 150 years in prison.
It’s a sad day for America.
The Bradley Manning Support Network is reporting that Judge Col. Denise Lind who is presiding over Manning’s case at the last minute has altered some of the charges against PFC Bradley Manning before her verdict, and after his attorney’s closing arguments had been made leaving Manning’s defense has no way to defend him against these new charges.
For three of the five theft charges against Manning, the government is now alleging that he stole “portions of” databases. Until last week, Manning had been charged with stealing entire databases. Also, the government is alleging that Manning stole the information within the records, though it had charged him with merely stealing the databases.
“Because all of these critical ‘clarifications’ are coming after eight weeks of testimony, and because these offenses carry with them 50 years of potential imprisonment, and because the Defense was actually misled by the Charge Sheet, the Defense requests that this Court declare a mistrial as to the section 641 offenses,” stated defense attorney David Coombs.
Coombs is hoping to use military rule to bolster his chances of having a mistrial. As per the BMSN, under Rule for Courts Martial 915, a military judge may declare a mistrial when “manifestly necessary in the interest of justice because of circumstances arising during the proceedings which cast substantial doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings.”
There has also been charges of intimidation against the press from the military on the day the charges were changed. According to journalist Kevin Gosztola, military presence was used in the courtroom on July 25 to discourage the assigned press, with armed guards leaning over the shoulders of writers working on their laptops and others on the outside tracking messages that were sent via Twitter.
Regardless if Manning is innocent or guilty in your eyes, Manning has been tortured, isolated, bamboozled and forced to suffer by a people supposed to love freedom.
This is unacceptable and Un-American. Our government should be ashamed and held accountable.