August 14, 2013
A Dispatch from Bradley Manning’s Conviction

There were two blond heads sitting at opposite tables at the court martial of Pfc Bradley Manning. The lead prosecutor, Major Ashden Fein, is nine years older than the defendant and several inches taller, a former prep school drill team cadet with a wife and child. He has a rapid fire, abrasive way of speaking and a Northern accent despite his Texas upbringing. He couldn’t be more different than the queer computer geek on trial for classified information to WikiLeaks, but they look the same when you see them from behind the courtroom bar. It was the end of July, and the court was waiting for the judge to arrive with her verdict. The prosecutor appeared relaxed, slumped in his chair with his legs stretched out. Manning was sitting silently, poised and still.
"He stands more ramrod straight than anyone when the judge comes in," Bill Wagner said of Manning. Wagner picked up the first visitor pass when the pretrial hearings began two years ago. That was five years after retiring from work in solar physics at NASA. Wagner has attended court a few days a week ever since. I saw him that morning at the entrance to the Fort Meade defense base in Maryland, where the trial is held, holding a sign reading “Thank you Bradley Manning” alongside a couple dozen other supporters. Some cars driving past would honk and wave but on the ground the mood was far from optimistic. I heard a number of supporters compare it to a funeral. Everyone I talked to believed Manning would be found guilty on all counts, the worst of which — “aiding the enemy” — carried an inevitable life sentence.
Read more. [Image: Molly Crabapple]

A Dispatch from Bradley Manning’s Conviction

There were two blond heads sitting at opposite tables at the court martial of Pfc Bradley Manning. The lead prosecutor, Major Ashden Fein, is nine years older than the defendant and several inches taller, a former prep school drill team cadet with a wife and child. He has a rapid fire, abrasive way of speaking and a Northern accent despite his Texas upbringing. He couldn’t be more different than the queer computer geek on trial for classified information to WikiLeaks, but they look the same when you see them from behind the courtroom bar. It was the end of July, and the court was waiting for the judge to arrive with her verdict. The prosecutor appeared relaxed, slumped in his chair with his legs stretched out. Manning was sitting silently, poised and still.

"He stands more ramrod straight than anyone when the judge comes in," Bill Wagner said of Manning. Wagner picked up the first visitor pass when the pretrial hearings began two years ago. That was five years after retiring from work in solar physics at NASA. Wagner has attended court a few days a week ever since. I saw him that morning at the entrance to the Fort Meade defense base in Maryland, where the trial is held, holding a sign reading “Thank you Bradley Manning” alongside a couple dozen other supporters. Some cars driving past would honk and wave but on the ground the mood was far from optimistic. I heard a number of supporters compare it to a funeral. Everyone I talked to believed Manning would be found guilty on all counts, the worst of which — “aiding the enemy” — carried an inevitable life sentence.

Read more. [Image: Molly Crabapple]

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