Bradley Manning Verdict: Double Standards and Misplaced Priorities

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning being escorted from court (Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images).

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning being escorted from court (Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images).

It has been a more than three years since the initial leaks of classified information were posted on Wikileaks. Bradley Manning has faced many issues during that three year span – not the least of which being the unnecessarily harsh conditions of his confinement when held in a brig in Quantico – and he will continue to face many more for the foreseeable future.

However, one issue has stood out above all others: being charged and possibly convicted for aiding the enemy, for releasing classified information to Wikileaks – information that Manning reasonably believed demonstrated human rights violations and potential war crimes by the U.S. government.

The charge seemed like a stretch from the get-go. But after hearing the evidence, the prosecution presented to support such a charge, it became painfully obvious that the government was trying to make an example of Bradley Manning: regardless of your motives, if you leak government information you will pay with your life, literally.

The U.S. government will come after you, no holds barred, if you’re thinking of revealing evidence of its unlawful behavior, even while it looks the other way when it comes to punishing that behavior you may be attempting to expose.

The central argument for the aiding the enemy charge is that Manning knowingly leaked the materials to Wikileaks, a counter-intelligence organization dedicated to exposing the secrets of big governments whose site is possibly, potentially…ok, maybe…frequented by terrorist organizations. By following the logic proffered by the prosecution, releasing information to or posting it on the New York Times or Washington Post websites, let alone Facebook, twitter or your personal blog, risks a lifetime in prison.

However, Judge Col. Lind announced on July 30, 2013 what those following the trial have suspected all along, that the prosecution was unable to prove that Bradley Manning aided the enemy or had an evil intent when he released those documents.

While spared the penalties of a conviction on the most serious charge, Manning still faces the potential of spending a lifetime in prison. He still faces more than 100 years in prison for the other nine charges he was convicted of today and the 10 charges to which he already pleaded guilty back in February, a lifetime for someone who is only 25 years of age.

The chilling effect of this overreach on potential future whistle-blowers may be impossible to gauge. However we do know this: The government was zealous in its prosecution of Manning, but is all-too forgiving when it comes to government officials and agents responsible for grave human rights violations – ranging from torture to arbitrary detention to enforced disappearance – carried out under the auspices of the U.S. government’s apprehension, detention and interrogation program.  For them, we’re lucky to see a slap on the wrist.

While July 30th’s decision in the Manning case was not as bad as it might have been, the message is loud and clear all the same: The U.S. government will come after you, no holds barred, if you’re thinking of revealing evidence of its unlawful behavior, even while it looks the other way when it comes to punishing that behavior you may be attempting to expose.

Editor’s Note: What do you think of the Bradley Manning verdict? Add your comments below. 

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

24 thoughts on “Bradley Manning Verdict: Double Standards and Misplaced Priorities

  1. There is a definite and undeniable trend for the government to discourage whistle – blowing, They have for years protected those guilty of crimes against humanity etc, right up to presidents, they protect the rich and powerful lairs, thieves and murderers etc, but punish the truth tellers. they seem to control much of the media too. The USA is not a free country, it has little justice or liberty.

  2. It is so very interesting to see the way our government works – and how other governments feel about it. This has been a thorn in their sides for some time, and as stated, they want to make an example of this poor young man – just as they are doing with Snowden. This young man joined the service to defend the flag, to defend the freedom of speech – and now he is being convicted for speaking out. It's a law that every company in California has a "whistleblower's policy" encouraging employees to speak out if they see something wrong. As usual, the people that make the laws don't have to follow them!
    Glad to hear that the judge realized Manning had no intent to help the enemy – he just wanted the people of this country to know what their government does behind closed doors. Let's hope the other charges are dropped as well.

  3. arrest who arrested manning. ban from gov jobs who thinks manning should be charged. arrest/charge criminals manning exposed.
    charge nsa with espionage.
    espionage/spying=to look at/listen to/record someone/something w/o their knowledge or permission, and is legal if its looking at/listening to/recording public property, the outside of things that are outside or in public, anything you have permission to see, things w probable cause or potentially resonable suspicion of finding evidence of crime/gov misconduct, and gov info that is legally sapose to be public
    leaking classified info is legal. breaching a paid confidentality contact may result in oweing a refund and loss of occupational licence, not arrest. gov confidentiality agreements to keep info secret that is sapose to be public, is illegal and a void contract. leaking classified info that is sapose to be public, or is probable cause of gov misconduct, is honorable, deserve reward, and what people are sapose to do.
    'causing intelligence to be published', 'transmitting defense information', is freedom of press and speech.
    manning's search and seizure is lawful there was probable cause of crime/gov misconduct.

  4. its legal to share (gov info that is legally sapose to be published) with the public
    public sector(gov) is sapose to be the public's employees and be publicly viewable
    whistle blower law-cant legally get in trouble for reporting crime/gov-misconduct
    its gov's job to report and try to stop crime/gov-misconduct, and protect everyone=under the law=not letting some get away w the same type of misconduct you dont let others get away with, =no spying on everyone while baning every1 to spy on u
    us army subject schedule no. 27-1 is "the obligation to report all violations of the law of war"

  5. NSA is guilty of criminal ESPIONAGE, NOT MANNING, according to espionage act: "whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defence with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States..""gross negligence permits""document""to be removed from its proper place..or delivered..abstracted..punished by a fine of not more than $10,000, or by imprisonment for not more than two years, or both.""intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury or the United States..communicated, delivers, or transmits..document..punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty years.."

  6. gov admitted manning leaks didnt put anyone at risk. gov cant proove or point to anything manning leaked that could be used to injure anyone.
    manning leaks put no one at risk(exsept might put the crooks he exposed at risk of being fired/arrested/disliked).
    only criminals say exposeing/leaking evidence of crimes puts security at risk, because it put's criminals at risk of being fired or arrested.
    allowing criminals who spy on entire non-gov w/o their permit, overclassify gov docs, cover up gov misconduct, or murders who kill innocents, to go unpunished puts everyone at risk.
    manning wasnt negligent, wreckless or indiscriminate, he didnt leak all the info he could have leaked.

  7. gov who searches and seizies w/o reasonable suspcion, or wants to cover up govs crimes agianst transparency laws within the consitution(that declare the public is sapose to know all gov does(exsept maybe certian info w 75% of the public's permit), is a traitor who betrayed their oath to defend the consitution, and betrayed the public by lieing to them saying they are there for national security when actualy they breach national secuirty, and only secure gov criminals from being prosecuted.
    "regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published.."-constitution

  8. require gov workers report suspected gov-misconduct(exsept under risk. reward reporting gov misconduct under risk.
    us army subject schedule no. 27-1 is "the obligation to report all violations of the law of war"
    UCMJ: 894. Art. 94. Mutiny or sedition " his duty or creates..violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny..failure to supress or report mutiny..shall be martial.."
    it is a felony to attempt to use the classification system to hide a crime or protect the powerful from embarrassment. Such material remains unclassified after being stamped.
    Title18US Code contains the law.

  9. Executive order 13526 Sec.1.7.Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
    (a)In no case shall information be classified, continue to be
    maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
    (1)conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (2)prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    ..or prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.”
    REDUCING OVER-CLASSIFICATION ACT Public Law 111–258: SEC. 5. ..‘‘(G) in accordance with Executive Order No. 13526.." house and senate passed it, president signed into law October 7, 2010.

  10. those who illegaly search/seize docs(nsa does, manning doesnt) shulnt be arrested, shuld be banned from gov jobs maybe sml fine.
    tax payer $ shuold be better spent going after mruders/tortures or helping the poor, instead of overpunishing.
    no one who hasnt touched someone agianst their will, kidnapped, physcially trapped, physcially abuse/neglected, murdered, tortured, disarmed, or physcially directly endangered someone(ex pointing a gun at someone), shuld go to life in prison.
    retry manning.
    Nuremberg Charter was signed by the United States.
    Principle IV of the Nuremberg Charter: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." Or Principle VII: "Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law."

  11. constitution art VI. "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…"tyrants agianst manning are obviously obessessed with illegally overclassifing everything includeing the trial. its illegal to disallow the court to be recoreded, the only reason they dont want it public is beacuse tyrants dont want the public to see or there to be evidence of its lies, hypocrisy, crimes of illegally holding gov-paid positions and arresting innocents.
    corrupt gov says: if people know about our war crimes they wont like us, instead of not commiting war crimes to be liked lets just punish/kill whoever leaks them. punishing whistleblowers and letting the gov-paid murderers go free and not be fired, and covering up war crimes and gov corruption makes gov look way way worse than a few inevitable gov paid murderers.

  12. tyrants agisnt manning say other countries finding out about their war crimes "injured/harmed/damaged" them by causeing them to not be liked, and put them at risk of not being liked. no real danger of real injury=physcical injury. lieing pretending the word injured=being avoided. alkida now hates us even more beause us commited war crimes(now they finally admit alkida/taliban doesnt hate us for its freedom, it hates it for its war crimes(like alkida/taliban been saying all along), and spying on them doesnt prevent alkaida attacks, not murdering their families helps prevent alkida attacks against us)-thats a good thing to be disliked for commiting war crimes. anyone that critisizes corrupt gov members they charge with espionage beacuse their a risk it might "injure" us corrupt gov members by causeing people not to like us corrupt gov members.

  13. Manning's revelations saved lives. After WikiLeaks published his documentation of Iraqi torture centers established by the United States, the Iraqi government refused Obama's request to extend immunity to U.S. soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result, Obama had to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
    "The revelations put entire Afghan villages at risk of harm from the Taliban for cooperating with US forces"LIE, permalty ban from gov jobs the liar that said that.
    opostie speak. exposeing murderes puts the murderer's at risk and is sapose to result in the murderers to get punished in order to SAVE afgan villiages.

  14. "crisis team, to assess whether the documents contained anything immediately useful to the enemy or identified people who had given information to US forces. He said the team found "a significant number" of such individuals, and also some villages" LIARS WHERE IS YOUR PROOF?
    immediatly create a crisis team task force(because everything's a crisis now a days never let a crisis go to waste) to assess whether overclassified gov documents contain any gov corruption. manning found "a significant number" of corrupt gov individuals, and the world had to be warned they were at risk by us war crminals and corrupt gov members.

  15. "Villages, in and of themselves, for cooperating with the United States, can be retaliated against by the Taliban."-NOW you finally admit us war crimes are whats makeing people hate us gov(taliban has been saying it hates us for its war crimes all along), NOT whatever other lie raeson you make up.
    "He said the United States had a moral and ethical duty to inform those people and communities of the danger"THATS WHAT MANNING DID WHEN HE EXPOSED THE MRUDERS. MURDERS AND WAR CRMINALS PUT COMMUNITIES IN DANGER!
    letting murders cover up their crimes and goes free puts villages at risk.

  16. "included details about “a significant number” of people who helped U.S. forces"-LIE. no it didnt, the names were redacted or spelled phonically, us gov already admitted the info leaked wasnt enough to indentify anyone. and helped us forces how?-if helped us forces commit murder/war crimes then their names and details about them should be published.
    "leaks did give al_Qaida an advantage of knowing what tactics our military would be using and this could lead to a soldier being killed."LIAR WITH NO PROOF WHERES YOUR PROOF? knowing your tactic is to murder innocents, and that could lead to a murderous soljier being killed?-thats a good thing.

  17. Aboul-Enein acknowledged that his testimony was speculative(aka a lie).
    "Expert Aboul-Enein: Al-Qaida could’ve used info Manning leaked to attack US forces..Al-Qaida members could then create countermeasures and plan ambushes..potentially deduce a pattern of behavior by United States combat forces" LIE WHERES YOUR PROOF? its impossible to use info to attack someone, only physcial weapons like drones, bullets, or beating someone up can attack someone. deduce a pattern of war crimes. war crimes a sigact?

  18. "Prosecutors are asking an expert on militant Islam to help them show that Pfc. Bradley Manning damaged U.S. interests by disclosing classified information through WikiLeaks." "damageing us interests"aka makeing it harder to do what your intrested in that is lieing and commiting war crimes? damageing us intrests isnt illegal and isnt what manning is charged with.
    "Prosecutors have presented evidence that the leaks put some foreign citizens at risk of harm and hampered U.S. foreign relations. Several ambassadors were recalled or expelled. And there was a pullback in interagency sharing of classified information."- liar where is your proof any forign citizen was put at risk(exsept potienal forigns citizens who work for us gov who commited misconduct who are at risk of getting fired. thats good that ambassadors were recalled or expelled if they commited gov misconduct. "pullback in interagency sharing of classified information"that will make it easier to gov to cover up its crimes.

  19. "The U.S. military tried to warn anyone who could be identified by enemy forces through WikiLeaks that “they were potentially in jeopardy,” Donegan said."
    LIE. The Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary were years-old reports. Names of local persons are spelled phonetically in these reports, usually with general descriptions of region or cities. The majority of these names were redacted by WikiLeaks prior to release. The U.S. State Department has declared that of the non-redacted names, there was not enough identifying information released on any individual to justify taking preventive action.
    manning tried to warn anyone who was in potential jeopardy of being physcially abused by enemy forces though wikileaks.
    war criminals and corrupt gov members shuold be indentified and put in jeopardy of being fired/arrested/disliked

  20. "WikiLeaks also endangered Afghan villages that might be perceived as friendly toward U.S. or coalition forces, Donegan said."
    LIE. wikileaks didnt endanger afghan villages that might be perceived as friendly toward U.S. or coalition forces. war criminals/murderers/tortures/kidnappers who manning exposed and us gov lets run loose endanger afghan vllages. those who are friendly to war criminals shuold be disliked. war criminals shuold be put in danger of being defended agianst or arrested. words cant put anyone in danger, only someone ex pointing a gun at you can put you in danger.
    thats good their was an impact on us gov from leaks, and that impact was that us war crimes and gov corruption were exposed

  21. manning leaks didnt do any damage=physcial damage.its impossible to use documents to damage someone, exsept maybe a paper cut. informing people of gov corruption and war crimes so that they will dislike and try to stop it, is good.
    the criminals manning exposed are doing damage by murdering, physcially abuseing, destroying property with bombs…

  22. "Manning harmed our national security, violated the public's trust, and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes," said Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence committee, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the panel's top Democrat.
    us gov is endangering national security, and violating the public's trust (by covering up gov corruption, overclassifing, not fireing gov-paid murderers and letting them run loose, and punishing whistleblowers), and now is exposed of commiting multiple serious crimes.
    manning made the nation more secure from being victimlized by makeing criminals and corrupt gov members who violated the public's trust less secure from being disliked/fired/arrested.

  23. "Bradley Manning endangered the security of the United States and the lives of his own comrades in uniform when he intentionally disclosed vast amounts of classified data," he said. "His conviction should stand as an example to those who are tempted to violate a sacred public trust in pursuit of notoriety, fame, or their own political agenda."
    When the socialist movement gained momentum in the mid-19th century, socialists started useing the word "comrade" as their preferred term of address. In German, this practice was started in 1875, with the establishment of the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany. In the late 19th century Russian Marxists and other leftist revolutionaries adopted tovarishch (abbreviated tov.) as a translation of the words for "Comrade". in china, the word comrade was promoted most actively by the Communist Party of China

  24. gov is like a lion hideing in the grass, slowly and quietly sneaking closer and closer to its prey, waiting to pounce on its prey, doesnt want its prey to see it, and wants to be able to see its prey. its vital for prey/non govs survival to hide from and see predators/gov.
    charge the policicans who use tax payer$ for their prv security when they can afford it for themself instead of buying themself so much lavish golf, vacations, long distance travel, fashion, fancy dinner…, with theft. the politicans theft of $millions+ is much more severe than manning looking at info on a computer w/o permission. they let the poor die while spending $millions punishing whistleblowers.