Hero Bradly Manning has finally been charged by the US military for ‘aiding enemy’. As you’ll remember Private Manning was arrested a year ago on the suspicion that he leaked documents showing a US military massacre of civilians to the notorious whistle blowing website WikiLeaks. Manning has now been formally charged and has still refused to enter a plea. The 24 year old is charged with 22 counts of “aiding the enemy”, which means he is facing up to 150 years in prison.
This is somewhat good news as previously it was believed that he was going to be charged with treason, which would carry a death penalty. With him only facing prison time, there is a possibility of a campaign to have him released, or have the ruling over turned on technicality. A Mumia Abu-Jamal-style movement could possibly seek to have him released one day.
He is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and US diplomatic cables between November 2009 and May 2010. The most embarrassing of these for the US contained reports of civilians being murdered by US soldiers and subsequent cover up. Mr. Manning has placed himself at great risk to release this information to the world.
In a case of having ‘aided the enemy’ the prosecutor would have to demonstrate that an enemy of the US state has taken hold of this information and used it to harm the country. Some have suggested that WikiLeaks itself has been declared an enemy of the US government, and that alone is enough to have him charged with the crime. If WikiLeaks is considered and enemy of the state then Manning has supposedly aided them.
However I think a more likely scenario is they will try in court to prove harm by other actions. All they would have to do in order to demonstrate that Manning ‘aided the enemy’, would be be show that his leaking of information harmed a diplomatic relation with a country seen as an enemy. It would have to demonstrate that any organization or other government considered to be an enemy of the US state has altered its diplomatic position in negative or unfavourable way.
Do you know of any so-called enemy states that have been angered by this or brought it up in relation to other events?