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Bradley Manning verdict

Bradley Manning has been found guilty of 19 charges including espionage but NOT of the most serious one of ‘aiding the enemy’.

Adam Gabbatt of the Guardian has a live blog of the verdict and reactions.

Amnesty International has released a statement:

Amnesty International’s Senior Director of International Law and Policy Widney Brown said:

“The government’s priorities are upside down. The US government has refused to investigate credible allegations of torture and other crimes under international law despite overwhelming evidence.

“It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Manning’s trial was about sending a message: the US government will come after you, no holds barred, if you’re thinking of revealing evidence of its unlawful behaviour.”

Marcy Wheeler says that the not guilty verdict of aiding the enemy is significant in terms of its impact on other whistleblowers.

As ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner explained last year, the aiding the enemy charge threatened every single soldier who spoke publicly. “Article 104 is not limited to sensitive or classified information — it prohibits any unauthorized communication or contact with an enemy,” Wizner explained. “So, if the government is right that a soldier ‘indirectly’ aids the enemy when he posts information to which the enemy might have access, then the threat of criminal prosecution hangs over any service member who gives an interview to a reporter, writes a letter to the editor, or posts a blog to the internet.”

Moreover, a charge of “aiding the enemy” is not limited to military figures. Civilians, too, can be charged.

Nor would the charge have been limited to outlets like WikiLeaks. While in its closing arguments, the government tried hard to describe WikiLeaks as different from other news outlets, when asked in a hearing in March whether the government would have charged Manning with “aiding the enemy” had he leaked directly to the New York Times, they said he would.

Manning’s sentencing hearing begins on Wednesday. He faces up to 130 years in prison.

Comments

  1. says

    I heard some popular media “wisdom” that the prosecutor had “over-reached” on the aiding the enemy charge – such foolishness! By not having a complete slam-dunk victory, now the supporters of the government’s narrative can point and say “it wasn’t a kangaroo court!”

    … As if being thrown in harsh solitary prior to conviction and being convicted of 20 other counts including spitting on the sidewalk is NOT a kangaroo court. Did you like the way the whole question of whether Manning is a whistleblower, and therefore protected, just got lost in the noise and smoke of aiding the enemy?

    This is a disgusting miscarriage of justice and I believe it will evoke some unpleasant consequences for,those supporting the state apparatus. The lines are being drawn sharper and sharper every day.

  2. Chiroptera says

    I heard some popular media “wisdom” that the prosecutor had “over-reached” on the aiding the enemy charge – such foolishness!

    …and being convicted of 20 other counts including spitting on the sidewalk is NOT a kangaroo court.

    Yeah, based on the results of another recent trial, true “over-reach” would have meant that Manning be acquitted on all charges!

  3. slc1 says

    Just to be fair about court martials, I will quote Criminal Defense Attorney F. Lee Bailey, who, as a member of the Marines, was an attorney in the judge advocates office and had considerable experience with court martials, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney.

    Bailey said on one of his books that, if he were innocent of a crime, he would prefer to be tried by a court martial while if he were guilty, he would prefer to be tried by a civilian jury.

  4. ShowMetheData says

    If this was a B&E or murder, your(slc’s) comment on civilian court/military court might be significant.
    But it is about the whistle-blowing on the administration’s cover-up of torture and other crimes, and the government using the absolute maximum of its powers to keep covering things up – by going full nuclear on whistleblowers.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    This is a disgusting miscarriage of justice and I believe it will evoke some unpleasant consequences for,those supporting the state apparatus.

    That would be nice. But what consequences? This is happening in a two-party corporatocracy in which the opinions of the people are irrelevant.

  6. henry_pet says

    Probably either way (civilian or military) the result would be equally predetermined. You might say, kangaroo vs. wallaby. Under civilian jurisdiction, the government has had no difficulty putting people away for long terms under vague “material support of terrorism” and related charges as a result of FBI stings (agents provocateurs), posting incendiary material on-line (first amendment), providing access to “forbidden” video signals (first amendment), collecting for charities and so on. Then there’s Lynne Stewart, who was convicted for being a public advocate for her client, who actually is a terrorist. But she was doing her job and she got nailed for it. Then when she wasn’t nailed enough the prosecutors sent her back to be resentenced.

    In civilian trials, there is something to be said for the fact that the prosecuting authority doesn’t get to select the jury, or isn’t accountable to their boss in case of an undesired verdict. But in politically charged trials maybe it makes less difference than one would think.

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