Bradley Manning Convicted, But Not of Aiding the Enemy or for Leaking Airstrike Video

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Bradley Manning’s verdict has been handed down:

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.

This is a bit better than I had hoped for. I never thought that Manning had any chance of avoiding conviction on the basic charges related to publishing classified information. Nor did I think he deserved to. But Judge Lind acquitted him of the egregious charge of aiding the enemy, and then went a step further and also acquitted him of leaking material from an Army investigation into a 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan’s Farah province. That was a justified act of whistleblowing regardless of whether or not it came from Manning.

CORRECTION: Sorry, I screwed up. I initially wrote that Manning was acquitted of leaking the “Collateral Murder” video. The Farah airstrike was in Afghanistan and was entirely different. I’ve corrected the text.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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