Bradley Manning Was Convicted of Espionage, and We Protested at the White House
The best party I’ve been to all summer happened Tuesday night in DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, and the whole thing occurred after only 24 hours’ worth of planning. Attendees totaled around 200, someone brought along a sick PA system, and then somehow we ended up outside of the White House asking the president to pardon Army Private first class Bradley Manning.
So it wasn’t actually billed as a party, per se, but rather a rally—a last minute politically charged rendezvous—assembled the evening before in anticipation of a long-awaited verdict in the court-martial of Manning. And though things didn’t go as well before the judge as they could have, the news wasn’t all bad—as you probably know by now, Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy” but convicted of violating the Espionage Act and could now face 136 years in prison. His sentencing hearing begins today.
Twenty-five-years-old and thrice nominated for the Nobel Prize, Pfc. Manning has managed to attract a lot of attention in the three years since he was arrested and charged for leaking classified files to the website WikiLeaks. Supporters and the soldier himself say those documents exposed atrocities and prompted discussions across the world about US actions in the Middle East. Some even credit those revelations with expediting the end of the Iraq War. And although he never quite became a household name, what was perhaps Manning’s biggest day yet occurred Tuesday when all eyes were on a military court in Fort Meade, Maryland, where a judge would decide if the soldier should be convicted of “aiding the enemy” and 21 other counts including computer crimes and espionage for leaking documents to WikiLeaks.