News sources are reporting that Bradley E. Manning, who is suspected of leaking thousands of confidential government and military cables to Wikileaks has been charged with “aiding the enemy”. The penalty for this offence can be death or life imprisonment, however it is reported that the prosecutors have indicated they will not be seeking the death penalty.
When the documents were originally released it was reported that Manning, who is homosexual, had done so as a protest at the Armed Forces’ reluctance to repeal the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy relating to homosexual servicemen and women. KSBW News in California reports-
In a written statement detailing the new charges, the Army said that if Manning were convicted of all charges he would face life in prison, plus reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, a dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances. Manning’s supporters were outraged.
“It’s beyond ironic that leaked U.S. State Department cables have contributed to revolution and revolt in dictatorships across the Middle East and North Africa, yet an American may be executed, or at best face life in prison, for being the primary whistleblower,” said Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist, an Oakland, Calif.-based group that is raising funds for Manning’s defense.
Trial proceedings against Manning have been on hold since July, pending the results of a medical inquiry into Manning’s mental capacity and responsibility. The 23-year-old Oklahoma native is being held in maximum custody and prevention-of-injury watch at the Marine Corps base in Virginia.
I know there is a lot of support out there from anti-government types who think that the release is justified by outcomes that embarrassed those in diplomatic circles. I disagree. I do not believe we can be safe if we make heroes from armed forces personnel who choose to release confidential information as a protest on social issues, and put other personnel at risk. If convicted, this guy needs to go down for a long time.