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Old 07-30-2013, 11:41 AM  
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Military judge finds Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy

A US military judge has found Army private first class Bradley Manning “not guilty” of aiding the enemy – a landmark ruling that could predict how the US government responds to whistleblowers exposing classified information.

Sitting in the military courtroom at Fort Meade, Md., Colonel
Denise Lind delivered her verdict after 1 p.m. EDT on
Tuesday. Manning had chosen to put all his faith in the
judge, rather than a panel of his peers – a risky gamble that
paid off for the 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst.

The judge delivered the verdict that truth-advocates, protesters
and members of the Bradley Manning Support Network had eagerly
awaited: that the Army private first class was not guilty of
aiding the enemy – a charge that could have carried a life
sentence without parole.

Protesters rallying in support of the whistleblower gathered
outside the Military Recruiting Office on Tuesday,
holding signs and posters that described Manning as a hero.
Chanting “Free Bradley Manning” and “Three Years is
Enough,” the activists stood outside the Fort Meade courtroom
in the hours leading up to the verdict.

“Exposing war crimes is not a crime,” and “Bradley Manning: hero
not criminal,” were some of the bold statements displayed on the
signs. Wearing “truth” t-shirts and waving signs, the group of
loyal “truth-activists” proclaimed their respect for the young
Army intelligence analyst, and celebrated Col. Lind’s decision.

In the days leading up to the verdict, celebrities, public
thinkers and European Parliamentarians all voiced support for
Manning and urged the president to free him. Over the weekend,
protesters in 40 cities throughout the world took part in an “International Day of Action” to
call for Manning’s liberation.



During the eight-week trial, government prosecutors argued that
Manning indirectly aided al-Qaeda by sharing thousands of
classified documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in
late 2009 and early 2010. The terrorist organization downloaded
the information, and Maj. Ashden Fein told the judge that Manning
expected the material would be seen by al-Qaeda. The prosecution
depicted Manning as an ill-intentioned traitor who sought fame
and notoriety.

The defense portrayed Manning as a naïve, but well-intentioned
young man who simply wanted to generate a debate about the costs
of warfare. Attorney David Combs called his client a humanist and
a whistleblower, describing him as “somebody that wants to
inform the American public.”



“I believe that if the general public… had access to the
information… this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of
the military and foreign policy in general,” Manning said in
March, speaking from a 35-page prepared statement for the court.



In closing arguments, Coombs asked the judge to consider whether
Manning was truly a traitor, or whether he was “a young,
naïve, good-intentioned soldier who had human life, in his
humanist believes, center to his decisions – whose sole focus
was, ‘maybe I just can make a difference, maybe make a
change?’”



Although Col. Lind found Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy,
the 25-year-old native of Crescent, Okla., faces 21 counts,
including espionage, computer fraud and theft charges. He could
still receive time in military jail. In March, Manning admitted
to sending classified material to WikiLeaks, including 470,000
Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 State
Department diplomatic cables and material. He pled guilty to 10
lesser charges, which could still lead to a maximum sentence of
20 years imprisonment.



The verdict was a landmark decision that could predict how US
authorities handle individuals disclosing state secrets.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday expressed his fear
that if Manning were convicted of aiding the enemy, it would be
“the end of national security journalism in the United States.”
The progression of the high-profile case may still instil fear
into potential whistleblowers, especially in combination with the
United States’ handling of former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.



But for now, Col. Lind’s “not guilty” verdict of aiding the enemy
has served as a cause for hope and celebration among
truth-advocates and supporters of Bradley Manning’s efforts to
expose the war crimes and wrongdoings of the US government.

http://rt.com/usa/manning-not-guilty-aiding-enemy-805/
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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By Julie Tate, Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 12:29 PM E-mail the writer

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.



The eight-week trial offered a gripping account of Manning’s transformation from a shy soldier who deployed to Baghdad as an intelligence analyst in 2009 to a mole for the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which disclosed more than 700,000 documents Manning gathered.

Had Manning been convicted of aiding the enemy, Manning would have faced a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. Civil libertarians saw the prospect of a conviction on that charge, which has not been used since the Civil War, as a dangerous precedent that could have would have sent an unmistakable message to would-be government whistle-blowers.

“The heart of this matter is the level of culpability,” said retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, a former chief prosecutor at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He noted that Manning has already pled guilty to some charges and admitted leaking secret documents that he felt exposed wartime misdeeds. “Beyond that is government overreach.”

If found guilty of all charges, including aiding the enemy, Manning would face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The planned announcement of the verdict follows an eight-week trial at Fort Meade in Maryland, where military prosecutors argued that Manning, 25, betrayed his oath and his country, and assisted al-Qaeda because the terrorist group was able to access secret material once WikiLeaks posted it.

Hours before the verdict, about two dozen Manning supporters demonstrated outside Fort Meade wearing “truth” T-shirts and waving signs proclaiming their admiration for the former intelligence analyst, the Associated Press reported.

“He wasn’t trying to aid the enemy,” said Barbara Bridges, 43, of Baltimore. “He was trying to give people the information they need so they can hold their government accountable.”

As dozens of journalists were admitted to the installation amid tight security, dogs trained to sniff out explosives searched their vehicles before they were escorted to a media room where the court proceedings were to be broadcast live on a screen.

The government’s pursuit of the charge of aiding the enemy under a theory that had not been used since the Civil War troubled civil libertarians and press-freedom advocates. They said the publication of secret defense information online could expose any leaker to life in prison and will chill press scrutiny of the military.

The government relied on a case from the Civil War to bring the charge: In that trial, a Union Army private, Henry Vanderwater, was found guilty of aiding the enemy when he leaked a Union roster to an Alexandria newspaper. Vanderwater received a sentence of three months hard labor and was dishonorably discharged.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...af8_story.html
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:48 AM   #3
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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So, we can riot now, yes?
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
So, we can riot now, yes?
This ain't Denver man.
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"If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
So, we can riot now, yes?
you mean without consequence? no
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:53 AM   #7
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On a side note, this kind of blows Snowden's reasons for not returning to face trial out of the water.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
On a side note, this kind of blows Snowden's reasons for not returning to face trial out of the water.
We shall see, maybe this will help him to return and go through the proper channels.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
On a side note, this kind of blows Snowden's reasons for not returning to face trial out of the water.
did you expect this outcome? no. so why be an ass.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #10
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did you expect this outcome? no. so why be an ass.
Did I expect Manning to be found guilty of aiding the enemy? No, I didn't.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #11
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On a side note, this kind of blows Snowden's reasons for not returning to face trial out of the water.
Other than Manning having to spend the last three years in prison.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by KILLER_CLOWN View Post
We shall see, maybe this will help him to return and go through the proper channels.
I would have to look closely at the particulars in this case first.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:58 AM   #13
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Did I expect Manning to be found guilty of aiding the enemy? No, I didn't.
I don't believe you for one millisecond.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:58 AM   #14
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Other than Manning having to spend the last three years in prison.
Awaiting trial, yes. You aren't suggesting that he shouldn't have been held before trial, are you?
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:59 AM   #15
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I don't believe you for one millisecond.
I don't care.
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