Bradley Manning Convicted, But Not of Aiding the Enemy or for Leaking Airstrike Video

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Bradley Manning’s verdict has been handed down:

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

This is a bit better than I had hoped for. I never thought that Manning had any chance of avoiding conviction on the basic charges related to publishing classified information. Nor did I think he deserved to. But Judge Lind acquitted him of the egregious charge of aiding the enemy, and then went a step further and also acquitted him of leaking material from an Army investigation into a 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan’s Farah province. That was a justified act of whistleblowing regardless of whether or not it came from Manning.

CORRECTION: Sorry, I screwed up. I initially wrote that Manning was acquitted of leaking the “Collateral Murder” video. The Farah airstrike was in Afghanistan and was entirely different. I’ve corrected the text.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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