9:00am Saturday 3rd August 2013
The Former Tasker Milward pupil Bradley Manning was this week found not guilty of aiding the enemy by releasing secret files to whistleblower website Wikileaks.
But Bradley, who has family in Milford Haven, was convicted of 20 charges by a military court in Maryland and could face more than 100 years in prison.
The charges include espionage and theft.
The US Army Private, who spent his secondary school years in Pembrokeshire, admitted passing thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks which became one of the biggest military leaks in history.
The information included an Apache gunship video of an attack in Baghdad that also killed a Reuters photographer.
Bradley had maintained that he had released the information to expose the ‘bloodlust’ of US forces and the deceitful nature of the country’s diplomatic services.
He said he did not believe that the information would harm the country.
But the prosecution argued that as an intelligence analyst Bradley should have known that the leaked documents would be of benefit to al-Qaeda.
Following the verdicts Bradley’s family released a statement to The Guardian newspaper.
They said: “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. Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform.”
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, said that Bradley’s conviction for espionage set a dangerous precedent.
He added that the young private had become the most important journalistic source ever.
The sentencing hearing began yesterday (Wednesday) and is likely to be lengthy as both the prosecution and defence can once again call witnesses.
As the verdicts approached Bradley’s supporters in Wales met in Haverfordwest on Saturday 27 July as part of an international day of action.
Genny Bove, of Wrexham Peace and Justice Forum and WISE Up Action - a solidarity network for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange - said: "We will continue to stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and whistleblowers everywhere, as well as with Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and all journalists who have the courage to report whistleblowers' stories.
“If we don't stand up for whistleblowers, if we don't act on the information they give us, we face a future of burgeoning corruption, violence and abuse of power. That's not the sort of world I want to live in."
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