Private First Class Bradley Manning was convicted today of some of the charges leveled against him by the United States Military, but not some of the most egregious ones. Manning was not found guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy, but was found guilty of charges such as espionage and theft.
Even though Manning was not convicted of aiding and abetting the enemy, he still faces at least a hundred years in prison for funneling information to Wikileaks in violation of a variety of military laws.
Manning has been hailed a hero and a whistleblower by many; however, it is not clear if the whistleblower protections would have covered Manning since the majority of the information that he released through Wikileaks were already in the public sphere, if not the public consciousness.
Prosecutors had hoped to convict Manning of aiding and abetting the enemy by claiming that he knew that the information that he was funneling to Wikileaks, once published, could be read by the enemy and acted upon.
Manning had already pled guilty to a variety of charges stemming from the information that he had provided to the press including unauthorized possession of national defense information.
Manning has proven to be a difficult spot for the LGBT Community. The openly gay former military intelligence officer was said to have been upset over the treatment of LGB people in the military, and some have tried to defend his actions claiming that he was acting out over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and his dissatisfaction within the military. Others have tried to justify his actions as being necessary in terms of providing information to the American people.
Among the information provided to Wikileaks was video of US Soldiers in Iraq shooting and killing unarmed civilians, including a Reuters photographer. The incident was already reported upon and the soldiers in the helicopter were disciplined for their actions.
Manning was also accused of leaking a variety of diplomatic cables which simply showed that the US Ambassador to Italy thought what everyone else already thought, which is former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a dirty old man.
Manning could spend the rest of his life in jail.