2013-07-18 Manning trial judge won't dismiss "aiding the enemy"

Colonel Denise Lind, judge for the court-martial of Bradley Manning, today denied defence requests that the charges "aiding the enemy" and "computer fraud" be dropped. Lind ruled that the government had presented "some evidence" to support the charges.

The government's claim that Manning was aiding the enemy is based on Manning knowing that the leaked information would be seen online by members of al-Qaeda.

Manning has stated that he leaked the material to provoke public discussion about what he considered wrongdoing by US troops and diplomats.

Freedom of the Press Foundation cited a similar case from 2004 when airplane mechanic Thomas Wilson's complaint to Donald Rumsfeld about shoddy equipment became first page news around the world - he too was, according to current thinking, "aiding the enemy".

We're digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that's already been shot up... to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper vehicles to carry with us north.

The government's decision to prosecute Manning for "aiding the enemy" threatens to make public comments like Wilson's grounds for criminal prosecution, writes Ben Wizner of the ACLU.

The notion that Wilson and Rumsfeld broke the law by communicating this information to the media and thereby "indirectly" aiding the enemy is absurd - but no more so than the government's contention that Bradley Manning did so.