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Wikileaker Bradley Manning Will Face ‘Aiding the Enemy’ Charge

Wikileaker Bradley Manning Will Face ‘Aiding the Enemy’ Charge

Bradley Manning will face the charge of “aiding the enemy,” after a military judge ruled today that the charge will not be dropped.  Defense attorneys for Manning had earlier filed a motion for this and other charges to be dismissed, while human rights groups also called for the aiding the enemy charge to be dropped.

From the NY Times:

The military judge in the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning decided on Thursday not to drop a charge accusing Private Manning of “aiding the enemy.” If found guilty, Private Manning could face life in prison plus an additional 154 years.


The aiding-the-enemy charge carries the death penalty, but the government had said it would not pursue capital punishment, but rather life in prison with no chance of parole. Under military law, aiding the enemy applies to “any person who aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to, or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly.”

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, said the government had provided sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Private Manning knowingly gave information to certain enemy groups such as Al Qaeda when he passed hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks in 2009.

The prosecution argued earlier this month that Manning’s leak did aid the enemy, citing leaked documents on Wikileaks referenced by al-Qaeda terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.  It also presented a 2009 “Most Wanted Leaks” list and several Wikileaks tweets as part of its evidence that Manning’s actions were influenced by the anti-secrecy website.

Prosecutors also argued that with Manning’s intelligence experience and extensive training on safeguarding classified material, he knew that his leak would be beneficial to the enemy.

Manning’s defense in turn argued that the Army private did not knowingly aid the enemy, but instead leaked the documents only to prompt debate about US foreign policy.

From the Washington Post:

But on the main charge, Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, argued that Manning could have sold the documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables, or given them directly to the enemy. Instead, he gave them to WikiLeaks in an attempt to “spark reform” and provoke debate.

Coombs also said Manning had no way of knowing whether Al-Qaida would access the secret-spilling website and said a military report from 2008 showed the government didn’t even know.

“What better proof that Pfc. Manning wouldn’t know then that the United States Army doesn’t know if the enemy goes to WikiLeaks,” Coombs said.

Manning already admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of documents and offered to plead guilty to ten of the lesser charges related to espionage and computer fraud counts in a pre-trial hearing.  But prosecutors refused to drop the more serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Today’s ruling only determined that the charge itself will still stand.

As Buzzfeed notes, “under the United States Rules for Court-Martial, a military judge must view all evidence for motions for finding of not guilty “in the light most favorable to the prosecution.”  The judge cited this in her decision.

The prosecution will still have to prove its case on the charge that Manning knowingly aided the enemy.


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“Coombs also said Manning had no way of knowing whether Al-Qaida would access the secret-spilling website and said a military report from 2008 showed the government didn’t even know.”

So… black hole stupid is now a legal defense?

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Sanddog. | July 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Yet the Feds have NO gaping holes when it comes to private citizens????

The Drill SGT | July 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm

The Name says it all. Hang the swarmy little pustule.

Quibbling about whether he knowingly helped the enemy or not? Not exactly part of getting read-in is it? ORCON doesn’t include the statement that it’s okay to share classified data with folks as long as the real enemy isn’t aided.

The documents he signed for that level of clearance plainly and clearly explained the extraordinary level of responsibility required to hold those clearances and caveats; the grave danger which could result in the improper release of that data; and the resultant penalties for violating that trust. Including being put to death.

He should be hung.

Put him in charge of the NSA.

The stupid defense. He only wanted to “spark debate”. From his safe little job where this disgruntled wasn’t facing bullets. The only thing I could come up with in Manning’s favor is that the Ft. Hood shooter should be hung first.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to janitor. | July 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    He only wanted to “spark debate”.

    uh…. yeah…..that’s a direct quote from Adolph as he entered his bunker the last time in April ’45.

    “But but but I only wanted to spark debate.”

    snark snark

    Manning must be the sort of person who would yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater just for kicks, no?

BannedbytheGuardian | July 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

They should strip him of his uniform. This is a massively damaging image of the US army.

Clinton gave every twerp a beret in the 90s . So sad .

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | July 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Make that GWBUSH not Clinton . Shinseki appointed during Clinton gave the order 2001.

    Aghhhh. Another Bush duck up.

    Might have helped if any of his advisors had actually served – including himself.

I think the government ought to indict Wikileaks as an enemy organization. A conviction would allow the seizure of all assets including donations. It would also put a lot of leftist supporters on the spot. They can run their mouths, but do they really want to take on the US of A? We could get really tough with these jerks if we wanted to.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to faboutlaws. | July 19, 2013 at 2:28 am

    What government? The one in DC?

    Lol. Maybe Wikileaks already has the whole USA in its hands including your data.

    Accept it . This boat has sailed .

About ten consecutive life sentences should do it…

Aiding the enemy during a time of war…why isn’t he facing a firing squad or a noose if found guilty?

Only because “Being a total schmuck” and “Unwisely choosing to trust a butt-munch like Julian Assange” aren’t, y’know, actual charges.

I’ve heard many people try to claim that he was trying to reveal wrongdoing by the government or ‘spark debate’.

No, he wasn’t. If he were trying to do that, he would have released specific documents that showed what he wanted.

Instead he data dumped hundreds of thousands of documents, most of which he never even glanced at, much less read thoroughly.

The fact is, Manning was an angry little teenager lashing out at the world because his boyfriend left him (I say this not as a gay slur, but a statement of fact – I’d say the same thing if it had been a girl).

The angry little boy acted without considering the SERIOUS consequences for his actions. He’ll have plenty of time to think about them alone in a cell.