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A copy of Manning's charge sheet  (Source: Boing Boing)

U.S. Army Intelligence officer, SPC Bradley Manning, in uniform  (Source: Wired)
Manning could face 70 years in prison for his crimes, but escapes the death penalty; DoD foes cry conspiracy

A U.S. military press release announced that a young intelligence official deeply involved with the nation's operations in Iraq has been charged with leaking confidential documents in gross violation of the U.S. Armed Force's digital policy and laws against espionage.

Pvt. 1st Class Bradley Manning, 22, of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Iraq, a U.S. Military specialist, was charged with two separate counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one encompassing the eight alleged criminal offenses, and a second detailing four non-criminal violations of Army regulations governing the handling of classified information and computers.

The biggest criminal charge facing Manning is violation of provisions with the Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 793(e).  While passing confidential information to foreign governments can carry the death penalty under that act, in this case it was deemed that the information passed was to an unauthorized third-party, not a foreign nation.  Sources say those charges could carry a sentence of 50 to 70 years in prison -- a sentence which could potentially be shortened for cooperation or good behavior.

DailyTech has received information from a high ranking Department of Defense source involved with the the investigation, claiming that they had received no contact from attorneys retained and hired by the site that Manning allegedly leaked to -- Wikileaks.  This contradicts previous reports.  Wikileaks chief Julian Assange had previously stated that his efforts were rebuffed by U.S. government officials, a claim the DoD source states is believed to be false.

Manning will face a UCMJ Article 32 hearing, similar to one by a US grand jury.  That hearing will end with a recommendation by the principal investigator as to whether to subject Manning to court martial and punishment.

DailyTech has been extensively reporting on the situation, since Manning's arrest in May.  Manning had allegedly leaked a pair of gun cam videos of helicopter attacks which killed civilians in 2007 and 2009.  He also may have leaked other smaller, less consequential documents.  However, the leak that ultimately proved his undoing was his decision to allegedly release 260,000 classified U.S. embassy cables.  On those cables he remarked, " Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack."

That leak compelled ex-hacker Adrian Lamo whom Manning bragged of his crimes to, to turn the young man over to the Department of Defense.

Public reaction on the incident has been mixed, as evidenced by the comments received here at DailyTech.  Some accuse the U.S. Armed Forces of a vast conspiracy to cover up its wrongdoing, and call Manning a martyr for a cause. 

Others state that Manning lost any credibility as a legitimate whistleblower when he released the embassy cables, which he did not fully review.  They point out that while the gun cam release might be whistleblowing -- akin to releasing corporate documents indicting individuals in your company in criminal activity -- that the following release amounted to a direct attack on an organization, not whistleblowing.  They say that act would be akin to leaking your company's entire server records, including information on pending intellectual property.

Likewise the coverage on the issue has been sharply divided.  Wired and Cryptome have published criticism of Wikileaks' and Manning's actions, while and BoingBoing have taken a sympathetic stance. journalist Glenn Greenwald even went as far as to post to Twitter that he was having difficulty overcoming his "blinding contempt " of Lamo's actions, illustrating his clear bias.

The issue has been a serious one for all involved.  It has led to Lamo receiving death threats and becoming a reviled figure in the hacking community.  It obviously threatens to take away the freedom of Bradley Manning.  For the U.S. government it marks an embarrassing breach in information.  And for Wikileaks it threatens the site's very existence.

While Wikileaks has gained much publicity for leaking a variety of documents -- from documents indicting Kenyan officials on corruption to European banking documents -- its bread and butter has been leaking U.S. information.  Over two thirds of its pages either target the U.S. or its close ally Iraq.  That has led some to less than charitably question whether the site is behaving as a hostile foreign intelligence agency.  The site does not disclose its funding sources, other than to say funding comes from anonymous donors.

Site founder Julian Assange, a convicted hacker who has expressed anarchistic leanings in his past publications, has not made clear why his site primarily targets the U.S., disproportionately with respect to our nation's GDP and military spending levels.  He also has become increasingly fearful of U.S. retaliation in recent years, moving around the world, reportedly at great expense to the site.

As of last week Wikileaks' secure server system -- its backbone -- was dead, essentially rendering the page useless for leaking purposes.  The site has not published a leaked document in four months, but Assange is reportedly crafting a followup video to "Collateral Murder" about the 2009 airstrike.

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RE: It's dead...
By Daniel8uk on 7/7/2010 8:25:34 AM , Rating: -1
I didn't know about that, but that's something I will definitely look into, thanks for pointing it out.

Now, you say I've fell for the propaganda, I feel sorry for the radical fundamentalists? I think, no, I am certain that you have fell for the propaganda, you know, the propaganda from all of the American news channels.

The US is in no way keeping the world free, this is just the biggest pile of crap I have ever heard. Do you honestly think that any person from the middle east, or in fact any 'radical fundamentalist' wants to storm the US of A and kill every American because they are 'free' or because the way Americans live their lives?

Get a f*cking grip man.

Now, let's talk about these 'radicals' because, as a lot of wise people have said, you don't just become full of hatred, you have to be pushed and that is exactly what America is doing. Would you feel like giving Americans some love if they just bomb the shit out of your town, killed pretty much every one there, then proudly claimed they had just killed a terrorist, would you share that joy, would you think 'My god they are really protecting freedom here'.

That's the truth, American foreign policy is just plain wrong, and illegal, you can never justify killing even one innocent civilian and if you try you are just as bad as your government and military, although to be honest they are one and same thing.

Face it, if America was protecting freedom it wouldn't be occupying countries, it wouldn't be bombing the shit out villages, it wouldn't be enabled bills like ACTA, it wouldn't be giving the president powers to shut-down parts of the Internet during war, it wouldn't allow the president to kill American civilians, it wouldn't allow the president or any person in the American government or military to send a drone to some far off country and bomb the crap out of a hundred people in the hope that they may kill at least one person who said a bad word against America.

You are living in a country which is turning into something like Nazi Germany and you can call me what ever you want, but that doesn't change the facts.

Look at some of the recent bills being passed, if you can be bothered to look past the propaganda news channels which loudly proclaim that America is the beacon of light in this dark and evil world, when in fact it is the evil of this world.

RE: It's dead...
By knutjb on 7/7/2010 3:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
OK Chamberlain, get a grip and do a little more history. Your analogy to the NAZIs is rather ludicrous. I do have an example of failing to act.

We went into Somalia to quiet things down intending to help the civilians, Black Hawk Down and Clinton pulls out, three days later the Rwandan slaughter takes place. Look it up on the map and tell me if they would have slaughtered over 800,000 CIVILIANS if we had stayed in Somalia. I don't believe that the Rwanda massacre would have happened if we had the courage to stay in the area.

If we don't do it who's going to stop it? The UN? Yeah right. Look at Somalia now. Enabling bad behavior only begets more bad behavior. Nothing like the mess from the European Colonies in africa, middle east, asia...

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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