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Bradley Manning Charged With Aiding the Enemy 844

Posted by samzenpus
from the 21-gun-slap-on-the-wrist dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Washington Post reports that the army has brought twenty-two new charges — including the Article 104 offence of 'aiding the enemy' that carries a potential death sentence — against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, a former intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks. The new charges, filed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, include wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, knowing that it will be accessed by the enemy, that US officials have asserted could put soldiers and civilians at risk. However the prosecution has notified Manning's attorneys that it will not recommend the death penalty and the charge sheet, like the original set of accusations, contains no mention by name of the enemy to which the US military is referring. Manning's supporters reacted to the new charges with dismay. 'I'm shocked that the military opted to charge Pfc. Bradley Manning today with the capital offense of 'aiding the enemy,' says Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist, which has raised money for Manning's defense. 'It's beyond ironic that leaked US State Department cables have contributed to revolution and revolt in the Middle East, yet an American may be executed, or at best face life in prison, for being the primary whistleblower.'"
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Bradley Manning Charged With Aiding the Enemy

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  • Aiding the enemy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:09AM (#35367432)

    That "enemy" being the American people.

  • by Magada (741361) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:11AM (#35367446) Journal

    It'll be interesting to watch the prosecution try to weasel out of this simple question.

    • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:18AM (#35367504)

      The public of course.

      The American public are the greatest threat to the rest of the US doing whatever the hell they want.

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @10:33AM (#35369236) Homepage

        The American public are the greatest threat to the US military and intelligence agencies doing whatever the hell they want.

        I think that would be a bit more clear what you mean.

        My suspicion (although I obviously can't prove it) is that the career spooks in the DIA, CIA, and FBI more-or-less make stuff up when they present what they're doing to the politicians with the goals of increasing their budget and avoiding any and all real oversight, and making it clear to the politicians that all information they receive from the intelligence agencies is classified. They come to the civilian leadership occasionally to ask about stuff that doesn't really matter to them, to make the civilians feel like they're in charge. And they bury everything in secrecy to prevent the public or inspector generals or anyone else from seeing what they're up to. There have been occasional instances of the civilians learning about some illegal program and shutting it down, which lends some credibility to my theory.

  • Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:12AM (#35367454)

    If there's one thing the business of government will not tolerate, it's competition -- especially when that competition exposes government as the incompetent, self-serving elite which they are. The plain fact is that Manning and Wikileaks did what government could not -- and in the process exposed their corrupt objectives -- and now the elite at the top of the pyramid are absolutely fuming.

    I don't know if there's anything I enjoy more than watching the power pyramid squirm with jealousy and embarrassment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gtall (79522)

      "in the process exposed their corrupt objectives", Oh, to date, the leaks have pretty much underscored that what the U.S. government says in private is pretty much what the U.S. government says in public. Care to spill the beans on what corrupt objectives the U.S. government is pursuing which is contained in the wikileaks docs?

  • The Enemy (Score:5, Informative)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:36AM (#35367680) Homepage
    Failing to name "the enemy" is standard military procedure. Referring to them by a name would humanize them more than a generic noun like "the enemy" would.
  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:41AM (#35367724)

    A mere forty years ago a great whistleblower did his work and risked all, but did not get placed in brutal imprisonment and danger of death for putting his country's moral character to a test, and even a corrupt President would voluntarily resign upon the revelation of his lawbreaking. I speak of course of Danny Ellsberg and President Nixon.

    Anyone who could become privy to what Pvt. Manning did, that is that the USA conducts thinly veiled torture with electric shock, waterboarding, psychological torture, and that it renditions prisoners to regimes like the recently deposed one in Egypt which engage in blatant torture including drills,

    anyone who could see that this is a blatant exercise of power meant to subdue the disadvantaged of the world and mold the economics to the advantage of America's elite to the detriment of everyone else, including future generations,

    anyone who could see the brutality of willful shoot-ups of civilians and journalists by snickering, racist Apache gunship crews,

    anyone who could see the contravention of international law and agreements we are assigned to and to which our national honor is affixed by deliberate scheming,

    anyone who could see that the nature of our government's policies is hidden, distorted, or misrepresented to its constituents

    and hold their peace, working in silent assent to atrocities, and not speak out, would have been convicted at Nuremberg, would have made themselves directly share responsibility for monstrous crimes, and would be no guardian of liberty or law, but a tool to those who corrupt both. If the letter of the law is all that is right and Bradley Manning is a criminal for blowing the whistle on the corrupt exercise of power, then everyone who signed the American Declaration of Independence ought to have hung too, and apologies are due for this nation's existence altogether with its rights and wrongs, and a ridiculous and futile exercise - thus the powers that would have Manning punished are discredited.

    They who would sacrifice essential freedom for a little security will gain neither, and lose both, quoth Ben Franklin.

    They who would sacrifice basic humanity and law for obedience to tyrants are heirs to tyranny and the stain that brings, and none of the things that have ever made this country worth fighting for. We'll need more people like Manning to get our country back from the plutocrats and propaganda that have already plundered its wealth for their wars.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jittles (1613415)

      anyone who could see the brutality of willful shoot-ups of civilians and journalists by snickering, racist Apache gunship crews,

      As someone who works closely with the Apache community, I think you are a bit mistaken. First of all, those journalists were issued vests to mark them as non-combatants that they were not wearing. Secondly, they were with armed Iraqis. Third, their cameras look a lot like weapons at first glance. You have the luxury of hindsight. They did not. They followed their rules of engagement and yes, some innocent people died. People die in wars, unfortunately. But to call these pilots brutal, and murders is

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:43AM (#35367754) Homepage Journal

    unless your smoking the same stuff which Krugman of the NYT is because he claims its because Obama is President and our audacity and courage to elect him empowered the people of the Middle East to revolt.

    As for aiding the enemy, well, pick one. I am sure we can make one up if we need it. There were certainly documents and such that put the lives of many soldiers and civilians in danger but I understand how quickly many here dismiss them. Its far better to portray it as Us vs The Man even though half the place is willing to hand over all rights and money provided they think someone else gets the shaft.

    • by sjames (1099) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @10:49AM (#35369408) Homepage

      There were certainly documents and such that put the lives of many soldiers and civilians in danger but I understand how quickly many here dismiss them

      Got a decent fer'instance? Even one single solitary document containing even one fact that you can demonstrate might have even theoretically endangered a single life?

      Seems nobody else has managed that challenge yet. There were one or 2 half hearted attempts months ago, but the best they could do was documents showing where troops were many months before the release. They couldn't seem to find any cases where the troops were still where the documents said they were.

      So there it is, show us here a single solitary instance where even one life might reasonably be believed to be endangered and we'll all quit dismissing the endangerment argument so easily.

  • by Onuma (947856) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:47AM (#35367796)
    The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) supersedes civilian law when dealing with members of the Armed Forces: Army, Air Force, Navy (Marines included here, even though they hate being told that they're in the Navy :P ) & Coast Guard.

    When enlisting or accepting a commission, you swear an oath to uphold all of these laws and much, much more. You forgo your Constitutional rights -- this is one of the reasons that military service is considered making a sacrifice. You accept a new set of rights which are outlined in the UCMJ. What a Private First Class thinks is of no concern -- Privates are for doing, Sergeants are for making sure things are done, and Officers are for thinking (in a nutshell). His only obligation is to follow the lawful orders given to him by his seniors.

    Whenever something is done by a Soldier, it is often covered by multiple Articles of the UCMJ. For example, mouthing off to a senior NonCommissioned Officer may violate the following:
    Article 91. Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer.
    Article 92. Failure to obey order or regulation.
    Article 117. Provoking speeches or gestures.

    An interaction as simple as "Private Smith, take out the trash." -- "Fuck you Sergeant Jones!" is clearly more complex than one guideline, and is that NCO or Officer's duty to interpret and punish accordingly.

    The same laws which protect the United States and its allies also protect each service member. He will receive a fair trial through Courts Martial, and may be found guilty or not. If he has been found to (intentionally or unintentionally) disclose sensitive or classified information, he will pay accordingly. Each charge will be looked at both individually and collectively as to its intent and results. The military takes care of its own.
    • He will receive a fair trial through Courts Martial

      Not the slightest chance of that. He's been treated as deeply guilty and subject to borderline torture for months. There is no way he will be mentally fit to stand trial, which will make the resulting trial a sham.

      The military takes care of its own.

      If by take care, you mean hang out to dry then yes.

      And that's the problem. The reason for due process etc in civilian law is to prevent mistakes. There is no way this guy is going to be found innocent at this st

    • by uncanny (954868) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @09:19AM (#35368178)

      He will receive a fair trial through Courts Martial, and may be found guilty or not. .

      mod this post up +1 funny!

    • by vvaduva (859950)

      Does the oath to the Constitution include covering up and protecting the crimes of your government or is that the "taking care of your own" approach, like cops giving "professional courtesy" to each other when they commit crimes?

    • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @10:26AM (#35369144)

      The problem is that some of the materials he leaked clearly indicate war crimes committed by our service personnel. I realize that it's popular to pretend like it doesn't happen and that it was just a few people at abu Ghraib that were the problem, but the reality is that it's infected the chain of command, and there was no interest in investigating how it is that these crimes against humanity were committed without any intervention by the CO. In that case they only prosecuted a few low level personnel, but never the people giving the orders. That helicopter incident from a while back is a good example, it was definitely something which should have been investigated as it was quite questionable as to whether or not that was really within the relevant rules of engagement at the time.

      In Nuremberg we prosecuted a lot of Nazis for following orders, it is a pox on our nation that we've decided that all of a sudden following orders is a good enough justification for looking the other way or participating in war crimes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thedonger (1317951)

      Wow, you only managed to bubble four idiots to the surface with that thoughtful post? That's what you get for posting late. There is no end to the frustration I feel when people rant on about the military and all of its evil, particularly this gem of a response:

      Which pretty much sums up what's so fundamentally dangerous about the military - it's constructed, from the bottom up, to coerce large groups of people into taking actions that result in others being killed or seriously injured without considering the morality of their actions.

      The military is made of people, and people - though generally not evil - can easily be led astray by the few who are evil. But the UCMJ covers that, too. For example, the r-tards at Abu Graib could have not followed the orders they were allegedly giv

  • by Shadowmist (57488) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @08:49AM (#35367816)

    'I'm shocked that the military opted to charge Pfc. Bradley Manning today with the capital offense of 'aiding the enemy,' says Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist, which has raised money for Manning's defense.

    I fully expected the prosecution to throw the book at Manning. Waving the threat of capital punishment serves as a great way to make future Mannings think twice before replicating his actions. (or at least to remain sensibly quiet about doing so)

  • Manning is accused of creating pretty much all major US military leaks published in 2010. Within months of these leaks which focus on the Middle East to a great part, a cascade of popular revolts sweeps through most Middle Eastern nations.

    Naturally, the promotion of actual democracy in these nations threatens the strategic position of the US as the sole bringer of Iraq-style "freedom". It's hard to force a regime change in democratic countries (well, the US did that during the cold war, but that was before the internet). Freedom in the Middle East is the enemy. Manning and Wikileaks aid the enemy.

  • Divisive issue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tekrat (242117) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @09:36AM (#35368440) Homepage Journal

    Some here feel that Manning is a traitor and hanging's too good for him. Some here feel that the guy is a hero, and should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    There are many arguments for and against. Regardless, Manning is only so far CHARGED with various "crimes". I haven't seen that the prosecution has any actual evidence to convict.

    Consider the financial meltdown for a moment. Do you realize that NO ONE has gone to jail for that? Nobody. Nada (don't reply about Madoff, that's not related).Sure, there were some guys from Bear Stearns that were charged, but the convictions didn't happen because the prosecution couldn't convince a jury, because they just didn't have enough evidence.

    Lately, prosecutors haven't even been pursuing charges unless they are sure they can make it stick. Of course, the military is different in that they think they can railroad anyone they like, to make an example and keep the rest of us in line. But the truth is, when Manning comes to trial, the prosecution may have a hard time making the case stick.

    In the meantime, put the noose away and give the dude a little more breathing room. After all, we are supposedly living in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. Unless you guys with the noose in your hands want to change that about the "land of the free" as well.. Yeah America. You're number one.

  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @10:19AM (#35369032)

    Simply put, the claim that Manning exposed corruption can't save him. If he had only exposed corruption, he'd be golden. Whistle-blower laws would have protected him. Probably would have had his life turned upside down for a while, but come out the other side.

    But he didn't just expose corruption. He also chose to release unrelated documents that he shouldn't have. He left himself wide open for prosecution doing that. The law doesn't look at two acts and balance them. You can be a saint of a person, helping the poor for decades, etc etc. Kick one of them in the nuts and you still go to jail for assault. The law doesn't go "Hey, you've been a good guy, we'll look the other way on this one."

    Now he can hope that the judge(s) will take the sum of his deeds into account and have mercy, but that's unlikely. The judges can rationalize it as "You discounted the harmful side-effects of your actions. Therefore we will discount the helpful effects."

    As for "aiding the enemy", it will be an easy argument for the prosecution to argue. There doesn't have to be any actual aid or enemy. They just have to show he had reason to believe it could aid the enemy. Not "believe", "reason to believe". His reason to believe? He would have been told releasing documents could aid the enemy. Doesn't matter if he accepted that reason or not, he was given that reason. He just had to be told divulging the documents could aid the enemy.

    Even if not told, he was releasing secret documents which by definition are not released so as to not aid the enemy. What enemy? Doesn't matter. Doesn't even matter if the enemy was real or hypothetical.

    He's screwed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2011 @10:21AM (#35369066)

    If you engage in an illegal war, invade a couple of countries, kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, break US law, violate the constitution, and completely ignore international law, including the Geneva convention treaties put in place after the atrocities of WWII, and you THEN proceed to cover it all up, there's nothing wrong with what you're doing, and you are even considered heroic and patriotic, and nothing happens to you except maybe getting more funding.

    However, if you BLAB about it and release documents that PROVE it, THEN you're a horrible, horrible person who needs to die.

    God, the people in this country are fucking stupid.

Brain damage is all in your head. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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