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July 31, 2013

Post Verdict: Bradley Manning in First Light

I was really struck by the photos of Bradley Manning as he was led outside, and into the media view, immediately after his court martial. For a guy who just had the book (and a likely long sentence) thrown at him, but who had also earned a powerful moral victory in being cleared of aiding the enemy, he looked surprisingly upbeat, and relieved.

Interestingly, it seemed like he clearly (and uncharacteristically) had an eye for the camera. It’s always dangerous to read in, but my strong sense from the look and expression is that, knowing he has support, he was offering reassurance. What was also quite noteworthy about the shot, especially compared to the typical and intentionally intimidating quality of these court exits, is how Manning — the shot being respectfully tighter than it might have been — doesn’t seem all that tiny.

(photo: Saul Loeb/AFP -Getty Images. caption: US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning leaves a military court facility after hearing his verdict in the trial at Fort Meade, Maryland on July 30, 2013. A US military judge convicted Manning of espionage, leaving him facing a lengthy jail term despite clearing him on the most serious charge that he ‘aided the enemy.’ Colonel Denise Lind found Manning guilty of 20 of 22 counts related to his leaking of a huge trove of secret US diplomatic cables and military logs to the WikiLeaks website. She said she would begin sentencing hearings on July 31 at the Fort Meade military base outside Washington where the trial was held. If Lind decides to impose penalties in the higher ranges permitted under the charges, the now 25-year-old Manning could face a de facto life sentence of more than 100 years in jail.)

  • colonel_despard

    I noticed that photos from the beginning of Bradley Manning’s trial showed him dwarfed by tall agents; for this last week, the photos seem to show that the government is now using agents closer to Manning’s height. I would guess this is because the government want to minimize sympathy for him.

    • bystander

      Good catch. In looking at this photo and the other that Michael references, is not the dude to Manning’s immediate left (with the baseball cap, blue shirt, khaki slacks, and the shades) the same individual? If so, he is a good point of reference for the scale/height for comparing the individuals in the two photos relative to Manning.

    • MerleC

      Wiki says he is 5′2″ and less than 110 lbs. (and gay)

  • bks3bks

    If you had been held in solitary as long as Manning, you’d be thrilled to have social contact, even of this nature.

  • jonst

    More and more of the core Obama is oozing out every day. This treatment of Manning, when juxtaposed with the treatment last week of Robert Lady is this month’s best example of this core Obama. The James Comey nomination, and the visit to the Amazon sweat shop touting ‘new middle class jobs’ were close seconds.

  • Scarabus

    Manning is just 5′ 2″ tall. To make him look relatively less diminutive, you’d have to seek out relatively short guards. This post made me curious, so I looked up the numbers: average height U.S. male – 5′ 10.2″; average height U.S. female – 5′ 4.6″; actual height Manning – 5′ 2″.

    This is one of those earlier photos (June 4). Apparently the tee-shirt’s a uniform, but this does look to me like the same guy.

    • bystander

      It would seem that – for the guy on the left – a T-shirt is his go-to, or preferred, sartorial option. He seems to sport it in every photo taken of him. But, you’ve offered a particularly interesting shot. It’s not just a “uniform” for him. With the UnderArmor logo visible on the cap and the shirt, it’s a “uniform” shared and preferred by lots of folk. Wonder if he isn’t all into CrossFit, as well. After awhile these guys seem to fit a certain archetype. Which then makes me wonder if Manning’s guards/escorts weren’t contractors.

  • central texas

    As long as we are talking about Manning’s escort service, I’ve been wondering just who they are. The trial is a military one taking place on a military installation and Manning is confined by the military. Yet, the folks herding him around look more like the extras playing various thugs in a drugs and helicopters summer thriller. Shades, no uniform, sloppy dress, body armor, the whole bit. Do they really think that Manning is going to go berserk and take out the court? Do they have no MPs?

  • Scarabus

    Good point, you and Texas. The guy has the ubiquitous curly earpiece, and he’s wearing a badge on his belt. But neither is exclusive to official law enforcement people.

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