30 July 2013 Last updated at 14:51 ET

As it happened: Bradley Manning Wikileaks verdict

Key Points

  • A US military court finds Pte Bradley Manning guilty of 20 charges, but acquits him of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy
  • Judge Col Denise Lind announced the verdict at Fort Meade, Maryland, after three days of deliberation and a seven-week court martial
  • Pte Manning admitted sharing reams of classified US government documents with anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks
  • He faces up to 136 years in prison, after a sentencing hearing on Wednesday morning
  • All times BST (GMT+1; Eastern Time + 5)

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the verdict in the court martial of Pte First Class Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking more than 700,000 secret government documents and diplomatic cables to the Wikileaks website. The 25-year-old has admitted the leaks but denies the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy". He has already pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges out of 22 total, and faces life imprisonment.


    Military prosecutors say Pte Manning's leaks have threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources. But supporters consider him a hero who exposed war crimes.

    1701: Regan Morris BBC News

    tweets: Supporters prepare for a long day at Fort Meade ahead of #manning verdict

    Bradley Manning supporter

    The court martial in Fort Meade, Maryland, opened in early June. Judge Col Denise Lind is due to deliver her ruling at 13:00 local time (18:00 BST).


    Need a reminder of what happened? The case against Pte Manning is explained in our 80-second video


    Pte Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US.


    The most serious charge Pte Manning faces is that of aiding America's enemies. The prosecution argues the analyst was trained in the handling of classified information and knew all too well that putting a huge cache of documents on the web made them available to al-Qaeda militants.


    But the defence has rejected this, arguing that if Pte Manning had wanted to help America's enemies, he would have sold the data directly to them rather than share it with Wikileaks.


    Naive whistleblower or calculated traitor? The court has been presented with two very different accounts of Bradley Manning, says the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan. Watch her report on the case.


    Earlier this year, Pte Manning justified his actions, saying: "I believe that if the general public had access to the information, this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general. I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience."


    The BBC's Jude Sheerin is covering the verdict live from inside the courtroom at Fort Meade. Stay up-to-date with the case by following his tweets

    1719: Jude Sheerin, BBC News

    tweets: There are about 50 reporters in here of varying vintage hunched over laptops. We're going to get a briefing soon. #Manning #Wikileaks

    1725: Amnesty International

    tweets: #BradleyManning verdict expected today. 'Aiding enemy' charge would be travesty of justice.

    Bradley Manning (30 July 2013)

    Here is a photo of Pte Manning (right) arriving alongside a military official at Fort Meade for his verdict.


    Judge Col Denise Lind alone will rule on the charges against Pte Manning. Earlier this month, she denied a request by his lawyers to throw out the "aiding the enemy" charge.

    1733: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    It is unclear at the moment how the judge will rule on what Pte Manning's intentions were and also on the issue of what kind of an organisation Wikileaks is.

    1735: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    If the judge finds that the whistleblower website is a journalistic organisation, it will be difficult to argue that Pte Manning aided the enemy.

    1745: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    However, if Col Lind considers Wikileaks to be merely a portal for whistleblowers rather than a journalistic organisation, then Pte Manning's arguments won't stand up.


    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the "aiding the enemy" charge was the US government's "most serious attack" on investigative journalism. Pte Manning's conviction on that charge would be "the end of national security journalism in the United States," Mr Assange told CNN.

    1749: Jude Sheerin, BBC News

    tweets: In-court briefing: If #Manning is convicted on 21 counts, not including the most serious one of aiding enemy, he faces 154 years in jail.


    Some of the documents leaked by Pte Manning suggested US commanders ignored evidence of abuse, torture, rape and murder by the Iraqi authorities. The documents also detail how "hundreds" of civilians were killed at US military checkpoints after the invasion in 2003. Here is more background on the Iraq war logs.


    Other US military records posted on the Wikileaks website related to the war in Afghanistan. They revealed unreported daily incidents of violence and criminality there, including intimidation by the Taliban, corruption, and drugs trade.

    1804: Shubham Shekhar from Bangalore, India

    Is Pte Manning a whistleblower or a traitor? The court can judge him whatever they think is correct but he has made people realise whistleblowers can be seen as traitors. People have the right to go against their government if they believe a nation has failed.


    The prosecution has argued that the information had a monetary value to foreign governments seeking such intelligence. They valued the data leaked from an Afghanistan database at $1.3m (£846,519), and data from an Iraq database at $1.9m.

    1810: Breaking News

    Bradley Manning is acquitted of aiding the enemy for giving secrets to WikiLeaks.


    Judge Col Denise Lind finds Pte Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy but convicts him of multiple counts of violating the espionage act.

    1814: Lim Thiam Teik from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    It is ludicrous to assert that leaking tons of classified information can be anything other than an assault on a nation's security. Sure, a few things that should not have been done will be revealed, but so will information that can put lives at risk. For a person entrusted with a duty to protect classified information, Bradley Manning has conducted himself in an utterly unforgivable manner.


    As a reminder, the charge of aiding the enemy carried life imprisonment. Pte Manning still faces up to 154 years in prison for the charges against him.


    Pte Manning is expected to be sentenced tomorrow (Wednesday). His supporters remain gathered outside the court.

    Manning supporters
    1826: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    It looks like the prosecution overreached with the aiding the enemy charge. The judge ruled in April that the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pte Manning had "reason to believe" that the files could be used to harm the US or aid a foreign power. A high hurdle - not crossed.

    Regan Morris, BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    Fort Meade #Manning court done for the day - judge spent 5 minutes reading charges. Now reconvened until tomorrow.


    Information is still emerging from the judge's ruling. Pte Manning has been convicted of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge and other military infractions.

    1830: Geoff Day from the British Virgin Islands

    He may have gone against the law, but what he did was right, for the good of the nation.

    1831: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    A conviction on the aiding the enemy charge would have had serious implications for any leakers. But despite being found not guilty on that count, Pte Manning still probably faces a long time behind bars.


    Legal experts say a conviction for aiding the enemy would have set a precedent because Pte Manning did not directly give the classified material to al-Qaeda militants.

    1835: Constance Woodman from Binghamton, New York

    While I am glad for Manning's acquittal from the worst crime of "aiding the enemy", I can only hope that his convictions lead to legal challenges of the ancient Espionage Act. The anti-whistleblower attitude of our nation is frightening and I wonder what next? Will free-speech based (and politically motivated) donations to support Snowden lead to arrest and captivity for our citizens?


    Prosecutor Maj Ashden Fein earlier argued that Pte Manning had shown "general evil intent" with his leaks. "He acted voluntarily and deliberately with his disclosures. He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor," he said.


    The judge did not explain her verdict, but said she would release detailed written findings, without specifying a date.

    1846: Shubham Shekhar again from Bangalore, India

    No nation is strong enough to stop whistleblowers. The US may stop one Bradley Manning but the levels of secrecy maintained by the US will be exposed before the world for scrutiny. They can't stop this.

    1846: Jude Sheerin, BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    The verdict was delivered quickly by Judge Lind, in a hearing lasting only a few minutes.

    1848: Kenny Crofoot from Spokane, Washington

    Any ambivalence I had toward Bradley Manning disappeared when I watched the video of the Reuters journalist being executed. The world is a better place, if only slightly, due to Manning's heroic and illegal actions. I wish I could buy him a pint.

    1850: Pete Coultas from Ilkley, UK

    Bradley Manning had a duty to reveal the attacks on unarmed civilians in Iraq - these are clear war crimes, and knowing of them and covering them up would make him an accomplice. In post-WWII trials, complying with government laws or military directives was no excuse where such crimes were involved. All whistleblowers should be totally protected when they discover that their "employment conditions/restrictions" are used to cover up inappropriate behaviour. I admire him.


    Sentencing is due to start on Wednesday at 09:30 local time (14:30 BST). The judge will read each charge and witnesses can be called. Correspondents say it is highly unlikely that the sentence will be known by the end of the day tomorrow.

    1851: Wikileaks

    tweets: Bradley Manning's convictions today include 5 courts of espionage. A very serious new precedent for supplying information the press.


    In addition to being cleared of aiding the enemy, Pte Manning has also been found not guilty of an espionage charge related to "unauthorised possession of information relating to national defence".

    1855: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    One Manning supporter tells me she hopes that the sentence for Pt Manning will be mitigated by possible pleas. She says all the work is worth it to bring the issues to the attention of the American people.

    1857: Neil from Naperville, Illinois

    All you people who make the "freedom of speech" argument and would free him are mindless. Ask yourself this question: if I collected secret details about you - your secret sexual preference, your doctor's visits, your bank account and credit card numbers etc, wouldn't you be upset? Now translate that into information that could endanger the safety of friends and relatives of other Americans fighting overseas. Put him away. Freedom of speech? Wake up people!

    1857: Jude Sheerin, BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    tweets: So Manning is guilty of all but two charges, including aiding the enemy. Just in court awaiting a briefing on how much jail time he faces.


    Share your views on the verdict with BBC World Have Your Say. Tweet @BBC_WHYS and listen live here

    1900: Stewart from Canada

    Every country has the right to keep secrets. This is fundamental to national security. Illegal acts should not be tolerated nor ignored. Acting in secret to put your country's interests at risk to make a statement such as this is irresponsible. It is not the act of a hero - but a traitor.

    1905: Regan Morris, BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland
    Manning supporters

    tweets: Small group of protesters outside #manning court martial. Say they will march on White House tonight pic.twitter.com/cxf52Ch3u4

    1905: Richard Woodcock from Luddenden, UK

    If his actions damaged US diplomacy, as John Negroponte says, then the fault is with US diplomacy, not with Manning's revelations of the truth. The US state should spend more time looking after its citizens and less time looking after itself.


    Amnesty International says the case shows the US government's priorities are "upside down".

    "The US government has refused to investigate credible allegations of torture and other crimes under international law despite overwhelming evidence. Yet they decided to prosecute Manning, who it seems was trying to do the right thing - reveal credible evidence of unlawful behaviour by the government," the group said in a statement after the ruling.

    1911: Mary Ashton from Toronto, Ontario

    How ironic to think that if there had been a South American/African/Middle Eastern Bradley Manning exposing his country's documents, he would have been hailed as a hero by the US and granted asylum!


    US journalist Matthew Feeney tells BBC World Have Your Say: As a journalist, we rely on people being brave enough to leak things to us.


    Pte Manning is facing a maximum sentence of 136 years, an army colonel has told journalists gathered at Fort Meade.


    The family of Bradley Manning has issued a statement following the ruling.

    "While we are obviously disappointed in today's verdicts, we are happy that Judge Lind agreed with us that Brad never intended to help America's enemies in any way," the statement published by the Guardian newspaper read.


    "Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform," Pte Manning's family said.


    Meanwhile, Pte Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, told reporters outside the court his client was "by no means out of the fire".

    "We won the battle, now we need to go win the war," he said.

    1923: Jude Sheerin, BBC News, Fort Meade, Maryland

    A Fort Meade colonel has told media in a briefing the sentencing phase could "take weeks". The prosecution and defence will be allowed to bring witnesses, possibly some who have already testified.

    Manning trial sketch

    Here is a sketch from the trial, drawn by Bill Hennessy.

    Bradley Manning being escorted from court (30 July 2013)

    Pte Manning has been escorted from the court after the ruling. He is currently in detention at the Fort Leavenworth military prison.


    Reporters Without Borders described today's verdict as "dangerous".

    "The information that Manning allegedly passed to WikiLeaks included revelations of grave abuses in the 'war on terror' launched by the Bush administration," the organisation said in a statement.

    "Should this reality have been concealed from the US public and international opinion? Which was more serious - committing such crimes or revealing them to the public?"


    And that concludes our live coverage of the verdict in the court martial of US Army Pte First Class Bradley Manning. Check the BBC News website for more coverage of the case and the rest of the day's news.


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