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The Courts Government United States

Bradley Manning Convicted of Espionage, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy' 529

Posted by Soulskill
from the win-some-lose-some dept.
crashcy sends word that a verdict has been handed down in the case of Bradley Manning. Quoting: "A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act. Private Manning had already confessed to being WikiLeaks’ source for a huge cache of government documents, which included videos of airstrikes in which civilians were killed, hundreds of thousands of front-line incident reports from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, dossiers on men being held without trial at the Guantánamo Bay prison, and about 250,000 diplomatic cables. But while Private Manning had pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he was facing, which could expose him to up to 20 years in prison, the government decided to press forward with a trial on a more serious version of the charges, including 'aiding the enemy' and violations of the Espionage Act. Beyond the fate of Private Manning as an individual, the 'aiding the enemy' charge — unprecedented in a leak case — could have significant long-term ramifications for investigative journalism in the Internet era."
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Bradley Manning Convicted of Espionage, Acquitted of 'Aiding the Enemy'

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  • by unique_parrot (1964434) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:16PM (#44426363)
    he should be given a medal (in my opinion).
    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:24PM (#44426497) Homepage Journal

      NSA wasn't Manning. NSA was Snowden. Manning released diplomatic cables to wikileaks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:17PM (#44426373)

    Aiding the enemy carries the death penalty, but they can't really murder Manning if they want Snowden extradited, can they?

    • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:22PM (#44426461)

      No one thought he was going to get the death penalty. I'd have been surprised if he got life even. However, 20 to 30? Maybe. I'm thinking 5-10 years.

      That's also what I would think Julian Assange would get if the Federal Government got their hands on him.

      And I don't think Russia has a problem with the death penalty in extradition cases.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:32PM (#44426623)

        The U.S. government isn't looking to kill them, they mainly want two things:

        1) To silence them
        2) To send a clear message to any other would-be heroes about what happens to whistleblowers who embarrass the U.S. government

        • by schwit1 (797399)

          I would add a 3rd reason ... it's in everyone's best interest. The death penalty removes any motivation to cooperate in revealing the extent of the treason. There also may be more questions later on.

  • ramifications (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:17PM (#44426383)

    Beyond the fate of Private Manning as an individual, the 'aiding the enemy' charge — unprecedented in a leak case — could have significant long-term ramifications for investigative journalism in the Internet era.

    Since he was acquitted of the charge, isn't that particular kind of potential ramification now less dire? It doesn't prove that the government will never be able to overreach in that manner, but the fact that they couldn't get a conviction on that charge here, even in a military court and little dispute about the underlying facts of document release, suggests that it won't be that easy.

    • Re:ramifications (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:28PM (#44426555)

      "Aiding the Enemy" was always going to be a bit of a stretch here. The documents were embarrassing, but I'd have to agree that, in the end, he wasn't actually trying to help al-Qaeda. My biggest problem with him is that, in fact, he released so much that I'd have to call him on his statement that he could have had any idea that they would be harmless. His action was more reckless than malicious.

      He broke the law and I don't personally like what he did. He's definitely guilty of misusing his clearance and releasing materials he was trusted to keep secret. There will need to be a reckoning for that. If he feels he did the right thing, well and good. Perhaps he will be able to sleep well at night and even get a pardon. I just don't think that it's an action to be encouraged. There must be a better way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes. The proper way of airing the government's dirty laundry is through the official channel, i.e., the government.

        You're so fucking obedient to a symbol and a flag that you think the rules of nebulous "authority" figures and structures and systems are more important than the supposed reasons those rules were put in place to begin with. You'd defend keeping government secrets that show how they make us unsafe even though the purpose of government is supposedly to grant us some safety.

      • Re:ramifications (Score:4, Informative)

        by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @04:12PM (#44427869) Homepage

        My biggest problem with him is that, in fact, he released so much that I'd have to call him on his statement that he could have had any idea that they would be harmless. His action was more reckless than malicious.

        Wrong.

        To impugn Manning's conduct, it is often claimed - by people who cannot possibly know this - that he failed to assess the diplomatic cables he was releasing and simply handed them over without having any idea what was in them. Here is Manning explaining the detailed process he undertook to determine their contents and ensure that they would not result in serious harm to innocent individuals; listen on the player above.

        Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.

                "In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.

                "The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.

                "The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.

                "The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.

                "The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public. I once read and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.

                "I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.

                "I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations."

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/bradley-manning-tapes-own-words [theguardian.com]

    • Re:ramifications (Score:4, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:36PM (#44426675)

      Beyond the fate of Private Manning as an individual, the 'aiding the enemy' charge — unprecedented in a leak case — could have significant long-term ramifications for investigative journalism in the Internet era.

      Since he was acquitted of the charge, isn't that particular kind of potential ramification now less dire? It doesn't prove that the government will never be able to overreach in that manner, but the fact that they couldn't get a conviction on that charge here, even in a military court and little dispute about the underlying facts of document release, suggests that it won't be that easy.

      Agreed, the summary was over-reaching.

      Its almost impossible to convict Journalists in this day and age of anything related to espionage.

      Still when this administration Taps Reporters phones [thegatewaypundit.com] and even taps Congressional Phones [washingtonsblog.com] we are pretty close to a police state where you dare not even complain to your Congressman any more.

      They don't go after the congressmen or the journalist, just the people they talk to. (Or so they say).

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:19PM (#44426417)

    There wasn't much question of what he had done - he admitted to a number of charges as it was. At the moment he could be facing up to 130 years in prison minus ~200 days from part of his pretrial confinement found to be excessive

    Snowden would probably be looking at a similar outcome.

    Hard to say what, if any, impact this could possibly have on any charges that might be filed involving Assange.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Informative)

      by Aryden (1872756) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:22PM (#44426469)
      no, snowden is a civilian and thus not subject to the UCMJ.
      • I never wrote anything about Snowden being subject to the UCMJ.

        Snowden, like Manning, is likely to face charges for espionage, theft, and computer fraud. You do know that civilians can be charged with that, right? No UCMJ required.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:20PM (#44426433)

    For those that lied to Congress (Clapper & Alexander)?

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:23PM (#44426491)

    Talk to anybody outside, get tortured and killed. They have not quite figured out how to implement that time-tested approach fully, but torture they already do. If "by their methods you shall recognize them" has any truth to it, this makes the nature of the current US administration quite clear.

    Seriously, if what you do is to horrible and repulsive that people inside your organization are willing to risk considerable punishment to leak them, then maybe the things you are doing are wrong and you need to stop?

  • Befehl ist Befehl (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcovje (205102) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:25PM (#44426509)

    If I look at this case, it returns to the old Prussian adage "Befehl ist Befehl".

    If you break the rules, you will be severely punished, and there is no excuse. No own responsibility, no greater good, just do what you are told, no matter what.

    I don't think I have to explain you what that can lead to......

    • by steelfood (895457)

      If you break the rules, you will be severely punished, and there is no excuse.

      Sometimes, it's worth it. It all depends on who is breaking the rules, which rule is being broken, the reasons behind breaking the rules, and the punishment. Early Christianity is filled with accounts of martyrdom. It continues today in Islam.

      In fact, the U.S. was founded on breaking the rules. And the punishment for those rules broken wasn't going to be torture and some jail time. It was going to be torture followed closely by death.

      Remember that Nathan Hale was hung. Thoreau went to jail for his act of ci

  • Punitive justice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:28PM (#44426553)

    When does the US military go on trial for the exposed war crimes?

  • Great infographic (Score:5, Informative)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:29PM (#44426569)
    Breaking down the verdict by charge, plea and ruling: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/manning-verdict/ [washingtonpost.com]
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:41PM (#44426749) Journal

    Sorry, but stealing classified information and disseminating it to the public is not "investigative journalism."

  • Ironic..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houbou (1097327) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:47PM (#44426817) Journal
    I remember a movie with Keanu Reeves where he was transporting data using his brain "Johnny Mnemonic".. something about government/big pharma not wanting certain 'cure' information to be leaked and in the end, it was the underground hackers who risked their lives getting the info to all citizens. Seems to me like we are heading up that way... Ironic that certain movies from the 80s and 90s were able to predict scenarios such as theses.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @02:54PM (#44426883)
    What is the point of convicting him of "espionage", if he wasn't "aiding the enemy"? I understand that those laws may cover different acts, but isn't that against the whole spirit of those laws in the first place?

    Just asking.
  • Convicted of violation of the Espionage Act? Ah, well then we should revise said act to retroactively apply exemption to actions which do not aide the enemy. For, if they do not aide the enemy, then they aide the ally or no one. Surely we can't be throwing people in jail for helping us?

  • by BringYourOwnBacon (2808547) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @04:00PM (#44427745)
    It seems tragic that the only way to expose the overstepping of the government on human rights is to have lone leakers throw themselves under the bus and expose information, often haphazardly, to the world. There should be a system in place where government employees can appeal anything they consider unconstitutional to a special court for review. It is up to the judicial branch to uphold the constitution and seems utterly ridiculous that these secret overreaches by the executive branch are not eligible to the same checks and balances put in place for public laws.

    I want to see publicly nominated and vetted judges sitting on a board to review classified procedures and actions for their constitutionality. The proceedings can be secret, but the number of cases overturned and left standing should be made public. It may be a pipe dream, but I think this would go a long way to restoring the people's trust in their government by restoring the accountability that was supposed to be there in the first place.

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