U.S. Charges Pfc. Bradley Manning With Aiding Al Qaeda

The pre-trial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning who has been accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, concluded with the government charging that Bradley’s actions aided Al Qaeda.

Calling what Manning did a “six month-long enterprise of indiscriminately harvesting information,” Cpt. Ashden Fein stated in the prosecution’s closing argument that Manning had actual knowledge that what he gave to WikiLeaks would end up in the hands of  Al Qaeda and similar enemies.

An Al Qaeda propaganda video was shown. Subtitled, the video featured a figurehead of the organization discussing the released information. The figurehead said the cables revealed “foreign dependencies.” He said something about relying on Allah for actions against the US and then said before taking actions jihadists should rely on the “wide range of resources on the Internet” now.

According to Fein Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is “urging followers to collect and archive WikiLeaks information.” Manning “knowingly gave intelligence through WikiLeaks to the enemy.” He “wantonly caused the release of this information.” It was “not just good for declared enemies” but also accessible to “all other enemies with Internet access.”

Manning, Fein added, released over 700,000 documents that were on SIPRnet “during a time of war and while deployed.” He was “never authorized to make classification decisions to affect the national security of the United States.” He was given “unfettered access” to the information and “multiple enemies received” this information.

The effect of Manning’s prosecution could have a dramatic affect on national security journalism. Successfully putting Manning in prison for life without parole would set an example to deter other soldiers from revealing evidence of war crimes and make it possible for the government to go after journalists who cover documents from the military or security industrial-complex.

This also cements the fact that anyone who releases information to WikiLeaks can count on being pursued by the government and, when caught, charged with “aiding the enemy” aka terrorists, because they have access to the Internet and could read material that was once-secret.

 

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