Chelsea Manning

Judge Rules Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Detention "Excessive", Credits Him 112 Days Off Potential Sentence

Not much of a victory for Manning, who still faces life in prison


embarrassing the government can be dangerous

As noted on Reason 24/7 earlier today, a military judge has ruled that Bradley Manning's pre-trial confinement, 23 hours a day in a windowless cell room for months, was "excessive" and "more rigorous." As such, the judge ordered 112 days be credited toward any sentence handed down to Manning, who is facing 22 charges and could get life in prison, or even the death penalty, if convicted.

Manning, of course, is accused of facilitating the leak of materials, including a trove of State Department cables, to Wikileaks. Among his charges is "aiding the enemy." The decision came on the first day of a four day pre-trial hearing. More from the AP:

The hearing is partly to determine whether Manning's motivation matters. Prosecutors want the judge to bar the defense from producing evidence at trial regarding his motive for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret war logs and diplomatic cables. They say motive is irrelevant to whether he leaked intelligence, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida

Manning allegedly told an online confidant-turned-informant that he leaked the material because "I want people to see the truth" and "information should be free."
Defense attorney David Coombs said Tuesday that barring such evidence would cripple the defense's ability to argue that Manning leaked only information that he believed couldn't hurt the United States or help a foreign nation.

Manning has offered to take responsibility for the leaks in a pending plea offer but he still could face trial on charges such as aiding the enemy.

Not only does Manning's defense argue the leaked information did not harm national security, the U.S. government has admitted as much.  Nevertheless, the government is pushing for a life sentence, using a statute intended for spies or enemies of the state.  Why? "This sends a clear message to would-be national security whistleblowers to keep silent and let the government police itself," Elizabeth Goitein of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice explained. Just s.o.p. for the "most transparent administration in history".

h/t Killazontherun

NEXT: Police Drag Ailing Pregnant Woman From Hospital, She Dies in Custody

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He’s going to come out ahead if he’s found not guilty!

  2. Life minus 112 days? How would they time that?

    1. A gift certificate for one free abortion.

      1. Having time to have thought about it, I suppose they could leave his coffin sitting out for 16 weeks before burying him.

  3. Killaz gets a tip!

    actually Greenwald’s article on this is also pretty enlightening. The President has maintained all along that Manning is Doing Just Fine, and even fired the State Department spokesdude who criticized it.

  4. I called this one a bit back. Although I am surprised he didn’t get more credit. The judge basically gave him two to one credit. For that kind of abuse three or four to one would have been more appropriate.

    I am as much of a hard ass as anyone. But the government is out of control on this case. He doesn’t deserve life. He didn’t work for a foreign government. He was just a stupid kid who was given way too much access and subjected to completely negligent supervision. He is not the hero some claim him to be. But he is not worthy of a life sentence. This case is an open embarrassment on the military. It should have been plead out for a punitive discharge and ten year cap long ago.

    1. He embarrassed powerful people, John. Messages must be sent.

      1. To the extent he embarrassed anyone, he embarrassed the Bush administration. This happened under Bush not Obama. It really is pathological with these people.

        1. I blame Bush.

        2. No John, he embarrassed powerful people who are career Federal govt employees.

          What’s the turnover at the GS-15 and SES levels between administrations?

          My guess is less than 10% of those people are replaced. And Obama has been pretty content to let the civil service run rampant so as not to have to worry about a rebellion from within the Fed Gov.

          1. It is zero percent. Those people never leave. Trust me.

            1. I found that – for me – the two most informative educational packages teaching how governments function were the Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister television series, and Bernays’ textbook Propaganda.

              1. Yes, Minister is essential. I think I might start watching it again.

                If anyone hasn’t seen it, see it.

          2. In that case, Obama could pardon Manning.


      2. I agree with both of you. “Life sentence” is bullshit…but “powerful people embarrasses”. Must. Send. Message. To the Others!

        1. I also concur.

  5. “aiding the enemy”

    If you believe that the American people are the enemy, then, yeah. We’re the ones who gained a more precise understanding of the massive corruption and illegality of our own government.

    Who’s “the enemy” again?

    1. *looks at every Reason commenter*

    2. Funny thing is, the leaks didn’t even reveal anything very damning about the USG.

  6. h/t Killazontherun

    I see they just let anyone get a tip around here at this point.

    This place hasn’t been the same since Lucy left.

    1. LUCY COME BACK!!!!

      wait a minute…..

    2. At least they didn’t call him “Beloved Commenter” or something.

      1. Hey now, that is an illustrious title.

    3. You mean the former editor who once called me her hero?

      Yeah!! My first tip. Victory lap.

      Of course, I would just see this now, over an hour later.

  7. I only wish that presidential candidate who promised to protect government whistleblowers had won the ’08 election.

    1. As much as I hate the shit he does, it does give me a smile to think of how he is ass fucking all of his doofus supporters who believed he was different.

      1. And all his doofus supporters voted for four more years of the same.

        1. But they didn’t like it. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have had liberal friends swear to me that they really didn’t want to vote for Obama this time and were really disappointed in him but they had to vote for him anyway. They are liked abused spouses. They are pathetic. Hell, I half don’t blame Obama for hitting them.

      2. It’s only giving his supporters analgasms.

        1. I will just leave this here.


          Obama’s inauguration poet “tackles ‘the intersection of his cultural identities as a Cuban-American gay man.'”

          Go here for a little more of the writing, including Blanco’s description of dressing up like Endora and watching “Bewitched” on TV:

          Together we’d turn Mrs. Kravitz into a chihuahua, Derwood into a donkey, or Uncle Arthur into a chair. We were unstoppable….

          I was a helpless and scared child, powerless against my grandmother, while Endora was a mighty witch with limitless powers. Unlike Samantha, her foolish daughter, she was a witch who wasn’t afraid of being a witch, and used her magic to get her way or enact revenge every time she had a chance.

          1. As Althouse notes, fantasizing about limitless power is quite appropriate for Obama’s inauguration.

      3. He may be assfucking them, but (to quote nicole) it’s the good kind of assfucking, because they love it because it means their TEAM won. They don’t give one fucking shit about their supposed principles or that he actually deliver. THEY WON. Their TEAM is in power.

        That is the only thing they care about.

        1. ^^This^^ about a bazillion times.

        2. I endorse this assfucking assessment.

        3. Do you know, Epi, what you said there is totally true and I never really fully understood it, although I have been railing to my friends about the TEAM thing forever. Even now, I keep walking around thinking “just wait till the report gets leaked on the drone strikes” or “just wait till he fucks over the gay base somehow” – THEN they’ll see!

          But you’re completely right and I took till now to buy it. I’m going to go get drunk now.

      4. “it does give me a smile to think of how he is ass fucking all of his doofus supporters who believed he was different.”

        Meh. They’re comfortably hunkered down in denial.

      5. …doofus supporters are rump swabs.

      6. But he’s ass-fucking the rest of us, too.

        1. I didn’t say it was good. I just said it was mitigating.

          1. Yes. I sent the article about Obama supporters hazzing a sad when they realized the tax jumped up to a bunch of friends with just “schadenfreude” in the subject line.

  8. h/t Killazontherun

    So you’re saying you’d h/t that, Krayewski?


    1. Well, wouldn’t you? Come on now. ALL of this.

  9. So, is Bradley Manning the Bluster Bluth of the Manning family?

    1. *Buster

    2. Only if Boehner is Gob.

  10. Let him rot. I oppose war and imperialism, but they doesn’t justify being a traitor. There is a thing called the rule of law, should rule. Information should not be ‘free.’ Just as private information should not be open to anyone, government information should not either. The simple fact is that there, are bad people out there, and if we broadcast to the world, ‘hey nuclear weapons are stored here, come stahl them,’ bad things will happen. Did Manning but mean to do any harm? Maybe and maybe not. But he easily could have, and, suppose someone broke into your house and said, ‘i didnt mean to do any harm.’

    1. Manning committed a crime. Manning deserves to be punished and kicked out of the military. That is all true. But that does not necessarily mean Manning should do life.

      1. Shssh. The military prosecutor has a career to be made. You don’t want to get in the way of someone’s career, do you?!

        1. LOL. The funny thing is that I was a military prosecutor. And I would like to think a good one. Maybe there is a reason why I don’t do it anymore.

      2. No, he should probably be executed.

    2. Absolutely correct. Bottom line is Manning knowingly betrayed his country. Screw him.

      1. No, he didn’t. He knowingly betrayed an -of-control, war-mongering, corrupt, deceitful government.

      2. No. Manning remained loyal to the Constitution. The U.S. government is the traitor; they betrayed us and continue to do so every day.

      3. He betrayed the govt. He did not betray his country. Why was the video of the attack on the van and the camera men classified??!! Because the goddam govt didn’t want US, American citizens, to see it….NOT because it gave the “enemy” useful information.

        And this is a point that does not get hammered home enough, i.e. things get classified because they don’t want US to know about them, not because of true security reasons.

      4. More to the point, Manning broke a contract (a Non-Disclosure Agreement) when he released classified material to uncleared individuals.

    3. Treason is one of the things that alien archeologists of the future will uncover and point to as indicative of why this primate species is no longer around.

  11. What does Stephen Merchant have to do with all this?

  12. “This sends a clear message to would-be national security whistleblowers to keep silent and let the government police itself,”

    That’d have a lot more strength if he’d been… “whistleblowing” in the first place.

    The cables had fuck-all in them that was evidence of wrongdoing or wickedness on the State’s part*, as I recall – none of the allegedly “shocking” or even “interesting” parts the media displayed were either shocking or interesting, or evidence of anything worthy of the name whistleblowing.

    (*Or at least, more or different than has always been and probably always will be the status quo, depending on one’s analytic framework.

    I recall some borderline almost unprofessional snark from State Department employees in the cables, maybe. That’s about it…)

  13. I was thinking a three-game suspension followed by a stiff fine from the League would be enough to–

    Shit, wrong Manning.

  14. Sometimes man you jsut gotta roll with the punches. Wopw.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.