Published time: April 10, 2013 15:05
Reuters / Jose Luis Magana
A US military judge says the government must prove that Army Private Bradley Manning intended to aid the enemy when he released hundreds of thousands of sensitive files to WikiLeaks.
The official tribunal against the 25-year-old private first class is not slated to start until June, but during pretrial hearings on Wednesday morning, Col. Denise Lind ruled that the government has a burden to prove that the soldier aimed to inflect harm on the United States when he sent materials to the whistleblower site.
Reporting from the media center at Ft. Meade, Maryland, independent journalist Alexa O’Brien writes that the United States government must now prove that Pfc. Manning acted “with reason to believe such info could be used to the injury of the US or to advantage of any foreign nation.” By doing so, Lind is making it much harder for the government to convict Manning on the most serious of the charges: aiding the enemy. If convicted on this count, Manning could theoretically be sentenced to die. Prosecutors, however, have said they would settle for life in prison.
Although Manning admitted his role and pleaded guilty to a number of the specifications presented by the military this year, Army prosecutors were not satisfied with his plea. During that February hearing, the military said they would continue to go after Manning in hopes of prosecuting him under the Espionage Act of 1917 and UCMJ 104 — the Uniform Code of Military Justice statute of “aiding the enemy.”
With Wednesday’s decision, the prosecution will now be tasked with convincing Lind that Manning went to WikiLeaks with the intent of causing harm. The Army has already requested that a US NAVY Seal present during the execution of Osama bin Laden take the stand during the court-martial in order to attest that the slain al-Qaeda leader had WikiLeaks documents attributed to Manning in his possession at the time of his death.
Read more: here
When telling the truth and revealing how dishonest our government is, is wrong…
Things need to change…