The court, martial of Bradley Manning delivered its verdict behind closed doors Tuesday. Journalists however were able to report within minutes that Pte Manning was found guilty of 20 espionage charges but crucially he was found not guilty of aiding the enemy. He could however still receive a maximum 136 years jail term.
His family and legal team said after the verdict they were glad he was not found guilty of aiding the enemy. Both however admitted there is a long road ahead for Bradley.
Sky News reports "Manning has been convicted on five counts of espionage, five counts of theft, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions."
Sentence will be delivered Wednesday.
The verdict in the military court martial of US soldier Pte Bradley Manning, 25,was expected Tuesday. Judge Col Denise Lind delivered the ruling at 13.00 local time (18.00 BST).
There was little doubt what the verdict would be but rather just the matter of aiding the enemy and the sentence. If Manning was found guilty of a charge of aiding the enemy he would be a "dead man walking". Bradley pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges out of a total of 22 during his trial. Although the death penalty may have been ruled out he is unlikely to see the light of day, as a free man, ever again.
Bradley was responsible for leaked information to wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London seeking asylum. He is a wanted man in Sweden for alleged sex crimes but believes he is a prime target for extradition to the USA to face an uncertain future, much like Pte Manning.
For many people Manning is a traitor but he remains a hero to a range of others. His leaked information showed the US military at its worst killing civilians with a gung-ho attitude and happy to keep the information secret and confidential. Bradley opened the eyes of the world to the wrongdoing of some in the US military. Instead of addressing its failures the US military opted to hound, mistreat and imprison the "messenger". Perhaps they shoul have looked closer to home at their own war criminals.
Manning was arrested in 2010 in Iraq and kept as a prisoner for weeks, before finally being returned to the USA. His treatment was a lesson to others. Little wonder that whistle-blower Edward Snowden will not return to America willingly. The US administration may have said it will not torture Snowden but their track record casts serious doubts over that statement.
Bradley could of course have chosen a route other than exposing the US military to the world. However with America's terrible track record on whistle-blowers it is easy to see why he did not. He may have faced a similar fate if he had tried that course of action plus the world would have remained ignorant of American war crimes. Graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 which killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer was one of the most shocking revelations.
Supporters of Pte Manning have kept up a presence outside of Fort McNair Washington and Fort Meade, Maryland, where the court martial opened in June.
The case of Bradley Manning is an important one. A former US high-ranking military officer interviewed on UK TV news explained that Manning had taken an oath of loyalty to his country and the military but had broken it. I guess soldiers in Hitler's Germany took similar oaths. There is a time to speak out and Bradley bravely siezed the moment and the day.
The sentecing phase of the court martial began Wednesday but it could take days or even weeks. Updates in due course
Source: BBC News