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Manning Found Not Guilty of ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ But Guilty on 20 Counts

Lewis Kendall

The judge in the trial of United States v. Bradley Manning has found Manning guilty on 20 counts but acquitted him on the most serious—aiding the enemy. Manning has been found guilty of six counts of violating the Espionage Act, along with over a dozen of other offenses, including wanton publication of classified documents and computer fraud. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail. Manning was found not guilty of violating the Espionage Act in relation to the release of the now infamous “Collateral Damage” video, which shows a U.S. Apache helicopter killing civilians in Iraq in 2007. A crowd of supporters gathered outside of the courtroom at Fort Meade in Maryland, holding signs and chanting while the verdict was being read. Sentencing hearings will begin Wednesday morning. Between 2009 and 2010, Manning used his clearance as an intelligence analyst to download thousands of documents from U.S. intelligence databases and transmit them to Wikileaks. The eight-week trial saw over 80 witnesses present testimony, including Manning’s former supervisors and coworkers. Throughout the case, U.S. government prosecutors framed Manning as a “traitor” who had intentionally handed over secrets to the country’s enemies. For its part, Manning’s defense team said that the Army Private was a humanist whose “sole purpose was to make a difference.” Manning’s aunt has released a statement on the ruling: “While we are obviously disappointed in today’s verdicts, we are happy that Judge Lind agreed with us that Brad never intended to help America’s enemies in any way. Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform. We want to express our deep thanks to David Coombs, who has dedicated three years of his life to serving as lead counsel in Brad’s case. We also want to thank Brad’s Army defense team, Major Thomas Hurley and Captain Joshua Tooman, for their tireless efforts on Brad’s behalf, and Brad’s first defense counsel, Captain Paul Bouchard, who was so helpful to all of us in those early confusing days and first suggested David Coombs as Brad’s counsel. Most of all, we would like to thank the thousands of people who rallied to Brad’s cause, providing financial and emotional support throughout this long and difficult time, especially Jeff Paterson and Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. Their support has allowed a young Army private to defend himself against the full might of not only the US Army but also the US Government.” Amnesty International, Julian Assange and the ACLU have added statements.  Wikileaks has also weighed in on the case through its Twitter page: “Bradley Manning’s convictions today include 5 courts [sic] of espionage. A very serious new precedent for supplying information to the press.” Among the revelations that Manning’s leaks uncovered include an increased civilian death toll in the Iraq War, Guatánamo detainees that had been cleared but not released and thousands of cables between the U.S. and foreign diplomats.

Lewis Kendall is a Summer 2013 editorial intern at In These Times.
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