By July 30, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Manning ACQUITTED of “Aiding enemy” but CONVICTED on Other Charges

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US Army Pfc Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence officer who was branded as both a whistle-blower and a traitor after he sent 700,000 secret government documents to WikiLeaks, was acquitted Tuesday of aiding the enemy but convicted of other charges.

Manning has been convicted of 5 espionage counts and 5 theft counts in WikiLeaks case. He was convicted of violating military code, including for failing to obey an order or regulation. Aiding the enemy was the most serious charge and carried a potential life sentence.

The verdict was handed down by Col. Denise Lind, the judge at Manning’s court-martial at Fort Meade, Md.

Manning had already pleaded guilty to 10 charges that carry up to 20 years in prison, plus a dishonorable discharge. But prosecutors pushed ahead with more serious counts, including aiding the enemy.

Manning, 25, has said he was disillusioned by an American foreign policy bent on “killing and capturing people” when he released the documents, including battlefield reports and diplomatic cables, in 2010.

Military prosecutors said Manning was not a whistle-blower but a traitor. They said Manning knew that enemies of the United States use WikiLeaks as a resource, and they said some of the documents he released wound up in the hands of al Qaeda.

The prosecutors said Manning craved notoriety and put his fellow soldiers at risk.

In a closing argument at the court-martial, his lawyer, David Coombs, argued that Manning was “trying to ply his knowledge to hopefully save lives,” was young and naïve and thought he could make a difference.

Many activists and civil libertarians, however, see things differently. Among his defenders is Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked what become known as the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. Those papers showed that the government was systematically misleading the public about U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

 

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