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.