Brad Manning

On Tuesday, Army Colonel Denise Lind found Private First Class Bradley Manning guilty of 17 of 21 counts of charges related to Manning’s leak of some 700,000 classified documents to the website WikiLeaks. (See here for Alexa O’Brien’s helpful graphical summary of the counts and here for Freedom of the Press Foundation’s full trial transcripts.) Although Colonel Lind did not find Manning guilty of charges of “aiding the enemy,” she found him guilty of seven of eight counts of violating the Espionage Act for leaking intelligence “with reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the U.S. or the advantage of any foreign nation.” Manning was also found guilty of “wrongfully and wantonly” causing to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the U.S., “having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy.” Sentencing proceedings, which progress rapidly in the military justice system, began Wednesday. Manning faces a possible 136 years in military prison.

Manning’s detailed statement offered to the court martial in February explains how a gawky, barely post-pubescent Army intelligence analyst from Oklahoma came to publicize virtual reams of national security security secrets with which his country had entrusted him. Manning said: “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within [the military’s own databases], it could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Bradley Manning wanted to spark a debate. Like a high school civics teacher trying to rouse his dozing students, he wanted to get us all talking. See? He’s not a turncoat willing to endanger the lives of Americans or a vainglorious and disgruntled soldier. He’s just a patriotic facilitator of conversation.

Rubbish. Manning’s acts were, at best, absurdly naive, and at worst, paternalistic and hubristic….

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Bradley Manning’s convictions today include 5 courts of espionage. A very serious new precedent for supplying information the press.

WikiLeaks, reacting on its Twitter feed to the verdict in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy but guilty of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act.

The former military intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks has spent the last four days in a Maryland military court, undergoing a hearing to determine whether or not his case will proceed to court-martial.

For those new to the party, 24-year-old Bradley Manning is accused of committing the biggest security breach in American history. He has been in detainment for the last 19 months, and he faces a multitude of military charges.

The Article 32 hearings, which began on Friday, are something akin to grand jury proceedings in civilian court. At the end, Investigating Officer Colonel Paul Almanza, an Army Reserve officer and Justice Department prosecutor, will decide recommend whether Manning’s case will proceed to court-martial.

So far, the hearings have been interesting to say the least. Let’s see what’s going on….

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