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Bradley Manning jailed for 35 years

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35 YEARS’ imprisonment faces former Tasker Milward pupil Bradley Manning, following his conviction of offences related to the provision of confidential military and diplomatic material to the Wikileaks website. He has also been dishonourably discharged from the US Army.

Passing the sentence Judge Colonel Denise Lind said that credit would be given to Manning for the three and a half years for the time spent on remand awaiting trial and remitted a further period of 112 days due to the harsh conditions in which he had originally been kept.

Prosecutors had sought a significantly longer sentence for Manning, who was cleared of offences that could potentially have led to the death penalty being passed on him.

Speaking after sentencing, Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said that he would be asking US President Barack Obama for a pardon for his client. ‘The time to end Brad’s suffering is now.’ Mr Coombs told the press after the hearing.

According to his lawyer Pte Manning said ‘The decisions I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world we live in,’

Reading his client’s statement Mr Coombs went on, ‘When I chose to disclose classified information… I did so out of love for our country and a sense of duty for others. If you deny my request for a pardon I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.’

The sentence came after ten weeks of hearings and legal argument. Following his conviction, the Court had heard of Manning’s troubled psychiatric history. Expert witness Captain David Moulton USN testified that Pte Manning felt abandoned by friends and family and that his personal relationship was ‘in a rough patch’.

According to evidence presented by the defence, Private Manning’s military supervisors ignored warning signs about his mental condition, including an incident when he tried to grab a gun during a counselling session.

Defence attorney David Coombs argued in Court that his client’s erratic behaviour in the period leading up to the leak of the documents was evidence that Private Manning was unfit for overseas service in Iraq.

Mr Coombs said that his client would be eligible for release in about seven years’ time.

Bradley Manning’s sentence will be subject to automatic review and may be reduced as part of that process.

It is thought Private Manning will serve his time at Fort Leavenworth, a military installation in Kansas.

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Crabb takes up the reins as Wales Committee chair

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has been elected as the new chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee in Parliament.

Stephen Crabb, who served as Secretary of State for Wales from 2014 to 2016, secured support from across the political divide to be elected unopposed, and is looking forward to taking on the new role.

He received nominations from MPs drawn from of all parties in Wales as well as being supported by numerous other MPs from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The committee examines the work of the Wales Office and other UK departments in Wales. It takes evidence from Ministers, experts and other witnesses in order to make recommendations that benefit Wales and its economy.

Following the announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to have received support from such a wide cross-section the House of Commons, including from Conservative, Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs. By drawing on the knowledge and passion of MPs from all parties, the committee can help to shape a positive and optimistic agenda for Wales at a time of enormous change.

“Post-Brexit trade deals, the Shared Prosperity Fund, infrastructure investment and the climate challenge will all have an impact on Wales in the years ahead. The Welsh Affairs Committee will provide an essential forum for examining Government action in these areas and ensuring that the unique circumstances of Wales are properly understood.”

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Old barracks promised new lease of life

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THE COMPANY which has purchased the iconic defensible barracks in Pembroke Dock have promised to breathe new life into the historic building.

The grade II fort was built in the Victorian era to provide a military defence to the Royal Dockyard. It was recently sold for an undisclosed sum to VR1844 Ltd. The company directors are listed as Jonathan McDermott, Emma Jane Morby, Lai Hang Seto, and Iain Trevor Walker.

VR1844Ltd office manager Tanya McDermott said: “VR1844 believe people never truly own a building but are the buildings guardians for a period of time.

“Taking the view that it is only the right development for the right building at the right time it is our privilege to bring the building back into life, repair, nurture and give back to the local community, not to shut the main doors and lock the building away from people who are interested in it and its history.

“VR1844 Ltd who have brought this very under-loved and not looked after building, want to bring the buildings back into life with a mix of community uses, together with a number of dwellings that will breathe life back into the buildings.
“To do this VR1844 are already working hard with CADW, Pembrokeshire County Council and local councillors to bring forward a scheme that all parties can support, and the community can once again be proud of.”

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Town councillors object to hotel on health and safety grounds

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TOWN COUNCILLORS in Milford Haven have unanimously voted to object to a planning application my Milford Haven Port Authority to build a 100-bedroom hotel on Milford Docks.
Town Mayor Terry Davies said he had had numerous requests from members of the public to try to get it refused.
Several members of the public were at the meeting to watch, including Ian Bannister and his daughter and James Kershaw – whose homes were seriously flooded in 2018 causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Cllr Lynne Turner told councillors: “We look forward to the development of the marina and the town desperately needs a hotel, but we have been contacted by a number of representatives from the Lower Priory and Havens Head area who are very concerned about the impact on flooding in their villages.
“The sewage waste from this development, and the change to water run-off, unless the Port Authority addresses the culverts in the area, then we have to assume that this must present a big risk to increased flooding.”
“We need to wait for the outcome of a report to see how the hotel will affect the villages”
“Then that report needs to be acted upon, if needs be.”
Cllr Rhys Sinnett said: “It is clear from the representation from the communities affected by the floods in 2018, they are still awaiting answers and actions from Pembrokeshire County Council to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
“Whilst no action is being taken, I don’t see how we can support anything that might raise water levels and I suggest we need to delay this as long as possible.
“There is no reference in the report to the flooding in 2018 so how can we support an application that has faulty information.”
“We have to object to this application within the scope of planning rules, and I propose that we can object in terms of health and safety.
What happened in 2018 was a had a huge impact on the health and safety of those who were living in Lower Priory and in Havens Head.
Cllr Turner then formally that the town council object, as Cllr Sinnett suggested, to the application on health and safety grounds.
Cllr Sinnett added that because of the controversial nature of the application, he would be strongly suggesting the application go before the council’s planning committee.
“That would be best for local democracy” he said, adding “this application should not be decided by officers under their delegated powers.
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