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30-07-13 Bradley Manning Found Guilty on Most Counts, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy'

30-07-13 Bradley Manning Found Guilty on Most Counts, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy'

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Published by William J Greenberg
The military intelligence analyst who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks and sparked a worldwide debate on U.S. foreign policy was found guilty today on charges that he violated the Espionage Act--the favored tool the Obama administration uses when cracking down on whistleblowers. But Manning was found not guilty on the charge of "aiding the enemy," the most controversial and serious charge he faced.
The military intelligence analyst who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks and sparked a worldwide debate on U.S. foreign policy was found guilty today on charges that he violated the Espionage Act--the favored tool the Obama administration uses when cracking down on whistleblowers. But Manning was found not guilty on the charge of "aiding the enemy," the most controversial and serious charge he faced.

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Jul 31, 2013
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 Alternet 
(http://www.alternet.org)Home> Bradley Manning Found Guilty On Most Counts, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy' --Faces Over 100 Years in PrisonAlterNet[1] /
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Bradley Manning Found Guilty On MostCounts, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy' --Faces Over 100 Years in Prison
 July 30, 2013
|The military intelligence analyst who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaksand sparked a worldwide debate on U.S. foreign policy was found guilty today on charges that heviolated the Espionage Act--the favored tool the Obama administration uses when cracking downon whistleblowers. But Manning was found not guilty on the charge of "aiding the enemy," themost controversial and serious charge he faced. The verdict is the culmination of about twomonths of legal proceedings that took place at a military base in Maryland.Manning was found guilty on five counts of violating laws prohibiting espionage and guilty onfive counts of theft. In total, he faced 21 charges, and was found guilty on most of them. Hefaces over 100 years of prison, and the sentencing phase of his trial begins tomorrow.The court martial of Manning witnessed charges by the prosecution that Manning leaked thedocuments to intentionally harm the United States, with the defense arguing that Manning was awhistleblower seeking to expose war crimes.The harsh charge of "aiding the enemy" had graveimplications for press freedom in the U.S. Experts had warned that if Manning was found guiltyon that charge, it would be a dark day for journalism, as it would mean Manning was guilitymerely because the "enemy"--in this case, Al Qaeda--read and possessed the material Manning placed on the Internet. It would have had major consequences for national security journalism.In the closing weeks of the trial, the back and forth between the defense and the prosecutionheated up. Army Prosecutor Maj. Ashden Feinspoke harshly of Manning[3] and disputed thecentral premise of the defense’s argument: that Manning was acting out of conscience. “He wasnot a humanist. He was a hacker,” said Fein. “He was not a troubled soul. He was not a whistle blower. He was a traitor.” Fein also sought to bolster the “aiding the enemy” charge against
 
Manning by arguing that “Osama Bin Laden asked for that information and received it.” The prosecution also argued that Manning wanted to be famous for his actions.The defense pushed back against Fein’s argument the next day. They argued Manning wasdriven by his conscience and wanted to inform the American public about what was happeningin Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in their name. Manning’s defense lawyer, DavidCoombs,argued[4] that the former intelligence analyst was a “young, naive, good-intentionedsoldier who had human life, in his humanist beliefs, [central] to his decision.” Now that the verdict phase of the trial is over, the sentencing phase begins. Throughout August,the defense and prosecution will call more witnesses and make more arguments regarding thesentencing of Manning.The saga of Bradley Manning began in 2010, when he was arrested. His arrest came after heleaked thousands of diplomatic cables to the website WikiLeaks and shortly after thewhistleblowing website published a video entitled “Collateral Murder,” which showed how U.S.helicopter killed unarmed civilians and a Reuters journalist in Iraq during the occupation.Manning was treated harshly by military guards while imprisoned at the Quantico military basein Virginia. He was thrown in solitary confinement for 11 months and put on suicide watch,though supporters of Manning say that was a justification used for inhumane treatment of Manning. He was stripped naked at night and forced to stand there while other officers inspectedhim.Manning’s leak to WikiLeaks exposed the sordid dealings of U.S. foreign policy. The documentsgiven to WikiLeaks revealed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the U.S. conductsdiplomacy with other nations. He has consistently said that his actions were meant to shine lighton U.S. policy.“If the general public... had access to the information... this could spark a domestic debate as tothe role of the military and foreign policy in general,” Manning said in February, explaining whyhe gave the documents to WikiLeaks. 
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[1] http://alternet.org[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/alex-kane[3] http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/25/19675490-accused-leaker-bradley-manning-had-evil-intent-prosecutors-say-in-closing-arguments?lite

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