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Manning to Live, but in Prison
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Bradley Manning leaked documents containing details of operations, which the media did not publish where sensitive, but he also revealed documents of horrible violations of human rights by the U.S. army in Iraq.

The video of a U.S. military helicopter shooting down civilians in cold blood dubbed “collateral murder” was leaked by Manning. That video records the military targeting the two Reuters journalists with cameras and shooting them down. When a civilian van approaches to save the wounded, the military guns that van down from the safety of the helicopter.

  
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The military wanted to put Manning to death and accused him of “aiding the enemy.”

However, on Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind, the judge in Manning’s court martial acquitted him of “aiding the enemy,” while upholding a total of 17 charges out of 22 brought against him.

That prevents Manning from becoming a martyr to his supporters, and puts him away forever.

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Manning had pleaded guilty to breaking laws on 10 of the charges against him, but prosecutors continued to press more charges under the Espionage Act of 1917. An Act which is almost a century old and horribly out of sync with current reality, but helpful, as it helps to cover the 92 million secret documents a year created by our government.

Under Obama the Espionage Act has been used twice frequently than under the regime of any other President.



Despite being held for three years nine months without trial in conditions the U.N. special rapporteur on torture ruled as cruel and inhuman, and despite being held in solitary confinement for almost a year, when Manning pleaded guilty he said he had leaked the information to shed light on the actual reality of American war efforts. And he said he hoped the information “could spark a debate about foreign policy.” He was not broken.

He may never set foot outside prison again as he faces the equivalent of multiple life sentences, but the debate around his actions would continue, as more people cast doubt on the acts of a government addicted to secrecy, secret courts and secret actions, more people doubt a military that views reporters with cameras as terrorists with weapons, and more people question who should be allowed access to classified information.

There’s no doubt that Manning’s leaks have fired both the Arab Spring as well as a national debate on what should be held secret and who should hold them.



 

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