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U.S. Army Specialist Bradley Manning  (Source: AP via Facebook)

A new charge against Mr. Manning could carry the death penalty, though that is unlikely. Mr. Manning is accused of "aiding the enemy". The terrorist group Taliban has thanked Wikileaks and its source for the publication of U.S. war memos, which will be a useful recruiting tool and may offer info on local sources.   (Source: Getty Images)
Private specialist is subject to 22 new charges, including aiding the enemy

At a jail in Quantico, Virginia, Wikileaks confidante Bradley Manning received bad news sometime in the last couple weeks, according to the U.S. Army.  They have filed 22 new charges against the 23-year-old former U.S. Army Private.

I. A Capital Offense

Most notably, Mr. Manning has been charged with aiding the enemy.  According to the Army's Military Law manual (see link) this charge can be applied against someone who directly or indirectly, gives information to "the enemy".  

It is punishable by death or "other punishment", with the decision resting with the court martial committee.

In this case, "the enemy" could be hostile terrorist groups like the Taliban or Al Qaeda that may have benefited from the intelligence info revealed in the published Army field memos.  According to reports, the Taliban officials are aware of the leaks and expressed appreciation to Wikileaks and its sources for their publication, saying they will find them useful.

Or the "enemy" in this charge could also be Wikileaks itself.  Approximately 97 percent of the site's currently published leaked documents pertain to the U.S.  And site leader Julian Assange called on hackers to be anarchists and resist government influence in a seminal 90s book on the hacking scene.

The military manual states that the "enemy" can be a "hostile body" and "civilians as well as members of military organizations".

The Department of Defense was careful to point in a Twitter post out that one of the charges was a capital offense.  It is unlikely, however, that the Army will seek the death penalty, not so much because of Manning's age, but out of the basic fact that the U.S. seldom executes its spies.  
In the modern era the only people to be executed for espionage during the modern era were the Rosenbergs, who met the death penalty in the 1950s at the height of anti-communist fervor.

While Manning's case is exemplary, its unlikely prosecutors will seek death.  In fact, CBS News is reporting that the Army's prosecution team will not recommend execution to the two-star general who is in charge of proceeding with legal action.

II. Other Charges

While the "aiding the enemy" charge obviously carries the most gravity, Mr. Manning also faces a laundry list of other charges.  

The charges are split into sections labeled "Charge X", where 'X' is the roman numeral of the section.  Each Charge has additional sub-charges, dubbed "Specifications".  There are 22 Specifications in the new document (hence 22 "charges" in plain English).

Section I covers the capital offense, Section II covers the leaked documents, and Section III covers Manning's various computer crimes.

Capt. John Haberland, a legal spokesman for the Military District of Washington writes in a statement, "The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing."

Section II opens with a general charge in Specification 1 of publishing U.S. Military Intelligence.

Specification 2 accuses him of illegally leaking a video called "12 JUL 07 CZ ENGAGEMENT ZONE 30 GC Anyone.avi", a tape of a chopper attack that killed civilians.  This video became part of Wikileaks' "Collateral Murder" documentary.  Specification 11 covers the release of "a file named 'BE22' containing a video named 'BE22 PAX.wmv.'"  This likely is the video of the 2009 Afghani airstrike that Wikileaks published.

Specifications 4-7 line up with other significant Wikileaks publications.  For example the charges state that Mr. Manning stands accused of illegally sharing a "Combined Information Data Network Exchange Iraq database containing more than 380,000 records."  This is likely the 392,000 record database of Iraq War memos that Wikileaks published last year.  And other charges pertain to the release of 90,000 Afghanistan War memos.  

In both cases, the release of a small number of classified memos was separated into additional charges.

Similarly the U.S. State Department classified and unclassified cables that Mr. Manning allegedly released comprise Specifications 12 and 13.

Specification 8 refers to the release of "700 records" from the "United States Southern Command".  This likely refers to records of Guatánamo Bay detainees that Wikileaks allegedly currently has possession of and is preparing to release.

Interestingly, he also apparently illegally shared a massive database of U.S. Military personnel emails.  According to Specification 16 he obtained "the United States Forces -Iraq Microsoft Outlook / SharePoint Exchange Server global address list", which he passed along.

Charge III contains the most "pedestrian" accusations, language pertaining to computer crimes.  He stands accused of "attempting to bypass network or information system security mechanisms", "adding unauthorized software to a Secret Internet Protocol Router Network computer" (SIPRNET), "using an information system in a manner other than its intended purpose", "wrongfully storing classified information".

These charges, for the most part, seem straightforward.

III.  What's Next for Bradley Manning and Wikileaks

Our sources close to the investigation indicate that the chat logs in which Bradley Manning confessed to convicted ex-hacker Adrian Lamo were authenticated by the U.S. Military, dispelling conspiracy theories by the likes of Salon's Glenn Greenwald.  The Military was careful to verify the logs before it pressed forward with additional charges.

The logs were verified by forensic comparison of Mr. Lamo's hard drive with machine that Mr. Manning was chatting from.

Adrian Lamo says he will cooperate fully with the government investigation and says that history would indicate that the death penalty is unlikely for Mr. Manning.  He comments:

It's important that the charges be commensurate in penalty with the offense. This is a unique case, and right or not, will be seen as a test case for deterring others. The prosecutors are surely aware of the complexities of the matter. The length of time that has passed prior to bringing these charges shows the care and fairness that has gone into ensuring due process in this matter reflects the seriousness with which the government is treating the bifurcated issues of Manning's rights and the need to justly prosecute this case.

A trial date has not been set yet for Mr. Manning, as the Military continues its investigation.

Mr. Manning's attorney apparently expected the charges, commenting in a blog, "The defense has been preparing for the possibility of additional charges in this case."

In January he filed a complaint on behalf of Mr. Manning, accusing the Military of holding Mr. Manning in unpleasant conditions.  Mr. Manning comments in the complaint:
"I sit in my cell for 24 hours a day. I am stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses are taken away from me. I am forced to sit in essential blindness...Additionally, there is a guard sitting outside of my cell watching me at all times."

Wikileaks was noticeably not named or discussed in the additional charges.  That's because the Justice Department is pursuing a separate case against Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange and it will deal with those charges separately.

Mr. Assange recently publicly claimed his site need $31M USD a year in donations to survive -- more than twice the budget of Wikipedia.  According to past reports, the site maintains less than five full time employees and enjoys free hosting.  It also maintains a small legal team.  It is unclear where the remainder of the requested donations would be applied.

Wikileaks responded to the charges with a Twitter post, remarking:

Capital charge 'aiding the enemy' is a vindictive attack on Manning for exercising his right to silence. No evidence of any such thing.

Mr. Assange faces charges of his own.  Recently bailed out of English prison by U.S. film director Michael Moore, he is awaiting extradition to Sweden for a sex crimes charge.

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RE: Big problems
By Omega215D on 3/3/2011 12:42:38 PM , Rating: 4
where have you been? the radicals have been violent with other countries, especially ones that are very westernized.

RE: Big problems
By nolisi on 3/3/2011 1:03:24 PM , Rating: 3
Please reread my comment:

If you follow the pattern of violence and rhetoric that Islamic terorrists exhibit, *you'll find that all the nations that they do attack* or speak out against are ones that have one thing in common- we've screwed with them in some way.

I stated that they do attack other countries. I'm pointing out that they've attacked or spoken out against countries that have interfered with the Middle East. The point is, it's not about religious intolerence.

RE: Big problems
By Omega215D on 3/3/2011 8:26:43 PM , Rating: 4
who rated this up? Religious intolerance plays a big role for these radical islamists. Note, the attacks are brought out by radical islamists not the whole group.

RE: Big problems
By AnnihilatorX on 3/4/2011 4:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
The rating system says worth reading, not I agree
It's a point worth debating.

RE: Big problems
By delphinus100 on 3/5/2011 9:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
It's not about resources, either. People in that part of the world have used violence to control it before there was a United States, before anyone knew oil was under it, they'll fight after the last drop of that oil is gone.

Mostly, it's our support of Israel they don't like. Pure and simple.

But don't assume that it would go away if that support (or Israel itself) did. That degree of 'success' would only embolden them. (Assuming the Islamist factions didn't then turn on each other, even more strongly than they sometimes do now.)

RE: Big problems
By Xcpus on 3/6/2011 5:10:25 PM , Rating: 3
How can you say that?

The problem with the more conservative minded you are... the less floating variables you seem to be able to compute at any given time. Your mental capability to compute multiple floating variables is seriously lacking.

Answer me this... why does it ONLY have to be ONE reason behind the tensions in the middle east? Resources most certainly play a role (if you listen to them speak and tell you of their grievances). Perhaps you should look to the history of Imperial Oil, Standard Oil and others in Iran for example (events leading up to the Iranian Revolution).

There is also the support, from the USA, for Despots who rule their nations with an Iron Fist. The USA and other Western Allies arm and train many of the soldiers/security personnel under the control of said despots.

The reasoning behind this is to secure the flow of oil which powers Western Empires. So yes Resources play a BIG role.

Much like here in the west... you have two opposing mindsets in the Middle East. You have the Social Conservatives (Islamic Extremists) who are not much different than Sarah Palin, Pat Robertson etc and you have the educated students (those behind the Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan uprisings) who are mostly secularist liberal minded folks.

You point to the right-wing nut jobs in the middle east and exclaim "see look they're all crazy". They point to your right-wing nut jobs and exclaim the very same thing about you.

RE: Big problems
By Xcpus on 3/6/2011 5:21:46 PM , Rating: 3
In other words...

Right-Wing = Crazy... no matter where you are in the world. And by Right-Wing I mean Corporatism, Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, Ayn Rand Objectivism and other Sociopathic/Psychopathic hierarchical belief structures devoid of any moral fiber and drowning in moral nihilism.

Don't mistake me for making the case for blind subjective morality. I am making the case for the Free Access to The Tools of Information and Knowledge. This leading to the spread of informed and critically thinking individuals.

Such individuals hold moral values which are rationalized and reasoned using Logic and Empathy (emotions/feelings) and are in keeping with Observable Empirical Facts (not the elusive "common sense" used by some right-wing folks as a euphemism for the continuation of traditional practices regardless of whether they are harmful or not to few/many).

We can agree on a whole slew of issues, values etc. We can form an inter-subjective consensus if only people were ready to set aside their fears and prejudices. We do have a collective enemy and that enemy is concentrated wealth. Whether we fight this enemy using the power of Democratic Government (Regulations) or by using Libertarian Free Market principles matters not. We ought to set aside blind adherence to ideological/philosophical beliefs and instead dabble in a bit of pragmatism.

RE: Big problems
By seraphim1982 on 3/7/2011 12:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
There are numerous problems against the US and their foreign policy, which leads to extremism against the US and the ignorance of US citizens..

1) US undying support of Israel. 3bill / year could go a long way to helping people in poverty, rebuild ghettos, etc.
2) US's need to claim stake to getting Natural Resources (Modern day Imperialism)
-Prime examples Iraq (Oil)& Afghanistan 3/4 of Trillion dollars of resources there....
3) Constantly saying NO CIVILIANS were killed when it is an outrageous lie... which means 0 CIVIL accountability. (Collateral Damage)
4)Filtered media outlets, which only give partial truths, look at journalists during Vietnam and WW2...vs. Interviews with soldiers forced to give a "Summary" vs actual fact or event.
5) Zero accountability of US based corporations..

Obama has done nothing to do resolve this, as a lot of his funding came from these large corporations funding both Repubs and Demos. This is a general flaw in the whole US democratic system, which leads to a state of "government ignorance" when it comes to the white collar crime of corporations. If they punished every white collar crime, like they do "pot smokers" half of corporate america would be in jail. Tell me, who does more harm to society, pot smokers or white-collar crimes... Don't get me started on the jail system....

With regards to Manning, I hope he lives and moreover, becomes a spokesman for Government accountability. Somethings, should be hidden (I understand the need for some secrecy), but somethings like human error resulting in the death of civilians, should NOT be hidden. These are the things that hinder our development as people, nation, and especially foreign policy. People will remember when someone they know was mowed down from helicopter, and that my friend is what starts extremism.....

RE: Big problems
By Denigrate on 3/3/2011 1:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
The poster is a soldier in the Hate America army and absolutely believes the propaganda machine that tells him it is a bad thing to be successful.

He completely ignores that most of Europe as well as India and Indonesia has had much worse Islamic Extremist terrorism attacks.

RE: Big problems
By nolisi on 3/3/2011 1:14:55 PM , Rating: 3
He completely ignores that most of Europe as well as India and Indonesia has had much worse Islamic Extremist terrorism attacks.

A)You're wrong- I didn't ignore this. Reread my comments. I cite "nations that Al Qaeda has attacked or spoken out against". This includes UK, India, and Indonesia. If you can't acknowledge what I've said.

B)Wrong again, most of Europe has not been attacked by Al Qaeda. Look at all the Eastern European countries (which number more than the western Europen ones) and tell me how many have been attacked. Then answer for me how many of them have interfered in the middle east.

RE: Big problems
By Denigrate on 3/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Big problems
By nolisi on 3/3/2011 5:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, can you list cases where Al Qaeda attacked the likes of Poland, Prague, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, (I'm even listing countries that are not only Westernized, but countries various parts of Europe) etc?

As far as I know, these are just a few sample countries who have not been attacked, and I don't know that they have ever been targets.

The only country that could be (but is not generally) considered an Eastern Block country which has been attacked could be Turkey. But so far as I can tell, it's the only one.

Here is a listing of Al Qaeda's attacks:

This list may not be complete. If you have evidence that they've attacked- then perhaps you should contribute.

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