Statements on Bradley Manning Verdict: ACLU and CRR

Center for Constitutional Rights Statement on Bradley Manning Verdict

July 30, 2013  CRRjustice.org

Dear CCR Supporter:CCR released the following statement today in response to the verdict in the Bradley Manning trial:

“While the ‘aiding the enemy’ charges (on which Manning was rightly acquitted) received the most attention from the mainstream media, the Espionage Act itself is a discredited relic of the WWI era, created as a tool to suppress political dissent and antiwar activism, and it is outrageous that the government chose to invoke it in the first place against Manning. Government employees who blow the whistle on war crimes, other abuses and government incompetence should be protected under the First Amendment.

We now live in a country where someone who exposes war crimes can be sentenced to life even if not found guilty of aiding the enemy, while those responsible for the war crimes remain free. If the government equates being a whistleblower with espionage or aiding the enemy, what is the future of journalism in this country?  What is the future of the First Amendment?

Manning’s treatment, prosecution, and sentencing have one purpose: to silence potential whistleblowers and the media as well. One of the main targets has been our clients, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, for publishing the leaks. Given the U.S. government’s treatment of Manning, Assange should be granted asylum in his home country of Australia and given the protections all journalists and publishers deserve.

We stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning and call for the government to take heed and end its assault on the First Amendment.”

CCR represents WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in the U.S. and filed a casechallenging the lack of transparency around the Manning trial.  The charges of which Manning were accused represent an ongoing assault on dissent and an attempt to chill any voices seeking transparency and accountability from government officials. Manning’s prosecution is also a portent of the potential threat to anyone who uses the internet to share information.  We will keep you updated on further developments, and appreciate the support which makes this work possible.

BradleyACLU Statement on Bradley Manning Verdict

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  July 30, 2013
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – A military court-martial today found Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of multiple charges under the Espionage Act for giving classified material to WikiLeaks, but not guilty of aiding the enemy.

“While we’re relieved that Mr. Manning was acquitted of the most dangerous charge, the ACLU has long held the view that leaks to the press in the public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act,” said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “Since he already pleaded guilty to charges of leaking information – which carry significant punishment – it seems clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future.”

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