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Date: 20/08/13


Tomorrow (21st) at 10am local time (I make that 4pm BST), Judge Colonel Denise Lind will pass sentence on Bradley Manning.

The signs are not too auspicious. The thugs of the prosecution still want to hit Manning with a 60-year sentence (where they probably think they are being 'reasonable' and 'moderate' because the judge could put him away for over 90) and hit him with a fine of $100 000 which he could not possibly be in any position ever to pay. In the sentencing phase - as in the rest of the proceedings - they have piled on the rhetoric, even though that bluster has had precious little hard evidence behind it all along.

The tactics of the defense during the sentencing phase have baffled some, with both Manning's indefatigtable lawyer David Coombs and Manning himself expressing a degree of contrition which appears to stand at odds with Manning's own statement at the outset of proceedings as to his motives. However, I would ask anyone tempted to criticise the apparent turnaround one simple question: what would you do?

So we wait. And tomorrow we will watch. We will see whether the USA is a country of justice, or one of sadistic revenge; a force for truth (however painful or embarrassing that truth may sometimes be), or a force for...well, force in fact. Brute force.

America, we are watching - do not let down the ideals of your founders.