Manning verdict a relief to potential whistleblowers

Pte Bradley Manning is led out of the courtroom after his espionage conviction in Fort Meade, Maryland 30 July 2013 A long sentence for Manning will still send a message to any young idealistic computer experts who might be tempted to follow in his footsteps.

Perhaps the verdict in the trial is little comfort to Pte First Class Bradley Manning, but it will be a relief to many who campaign for the freedom of information.

The most serious charge against him - that he aided America's enemies - was also the count that carried the most serious implications for others.

If Pte Manning had been found guilty of "aiding the enemy" it would have extended the scope of a charge that in the past has been reserved for deliberate treason and direct contact with an enemy power.

The Wikileaks disclosures

The prosecution argued that Pte Manning knew the information he leaked would end up on the internet and that al-Qaeda would be able to read it there.

They also argued that the raid on Bin Laden's compound revealed that he was indeed keen to read such leaks.

If Pte Manning had been found guilty of this charge, the way would have been opened to treat the public leaking of any secrets as treason.

Any enemy, after all, can trawl the internet, or indeed watch TV or read a newspaper or a book.

So there will be some sighs of relief that the judge found that a bit of a stretch and has not gone down this route.

But Pte Manning himself has been found guilty of charges which carry a possible sentence much longer than any lifetime.

The court will still send a message to any young idealistic computer experts who might be tempted to follow in his footsteps.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    184"...America...who wanted to rule the world..."

    And what drew you to the conclusion that it doesn't?

    Which bothers you most? Is it that the US destroyed the USSR? That it supports Israel 100%? That it accelerated the bankruptcy of the EU? That it could shut down China at any time if it wants to? That it is far richer and more powerful than every other nation? Or is it something else?

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    183 ... And don't you ever ever ever forget America's Crimes to mankind as they are bigger than Manning's crime of exposures... we won't forget the phoney insincere hypocrites who wanted to rule the world before they were found out... oops silly nincompoops got egg all over their two faced lying smiling faces

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    180 We'll have to wait until Manning's sentence is handed down by the court but I think it's a fairly good bet he'll spend the rest of his life however long or short it is behind bars. He is now judged to be a convicted criminal and in most Americans' eyes he has committed among the most heinous possible crimes, betrayal which is about equal or worse than pedophilia. Snowden is next on the list.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    America is corrupt the Courts are money scams and total incompetence,
    US Courts would never admit mistake allow a mistrial even with evidence
    Government, are controlled by Business such as NRA lobby

    money money money
    is the root of all evil

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    The police officer who investigated the shooting testified in court that based on Zimmerman's explanation he found him credible.Telling was Zimmerman's statement of relief when being told the entire event had been recorded on Martin's cell phone. He said it meant Zimmerman had nothing to hide. The juror who was interviewed on CNN said this was an important factor in judging his innocence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    So it still means life in prison for Manning,nothing to rejoice about in spite of the fact his leaks are very useful to the World which understands
    the absurd,crual,sadistic attitudes of his "Brothers in arms"and the socio-psychology of endless US wars!Yeah those "Bro" are rather disgusting human beings,laughing at other people (Innocent) death from the comfort of a heavily armed chopper.SHAME!

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    How many people who have opinions on the Zimmerman case even know he is Hispanic, not white.A distinction is made between Hispanic and white by the US census bureau and for purposes of collecting data related to job applications. On every job application a voluntary questionnaire asks the applicant their sex and race.Hispanic and white are not the same on that form.So it's not black against white.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Police didn't even try to prosecute Zimmerman or take evidence
    They took a blood sample of the victim but not the shooter
    They didn't bother identify the victim or contact his parents even though they had his phone he was John Doe in the morgue
    Blacks are protesting and artists boycotting Florida in the News but not the US fed BBC News

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    In the US the system is skewed in favor of the defendant in the sense he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.In the Zimmerman trial the prosecution couldn't make that case. That's why the police didn't initially charge him, it's why the DA didn't want to, and why under political pressure the Governor of Florida had to appoint a special prosecutor.DOJ can't either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    174We know what many African Americans said at the time of the trial.You could hear it on every news channel 3600 times an hour,25 hours a day,8 days a week.As far as medical evidence is concerned I wouldn't know, I'm not exactly a medical scientist. For all I know the hoodie kept the blood from spattering all over Zimmerman.Some people just will not accept a jury's verdict if they don't like it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Hi Margaret - thanks for making sense when so many don't.

    Saro - admire your stamina.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    171 Whites cannot say there no racism involved
    blacks are stating following

    Trayvon was profiled because he was black

    Defence refused to pick black jurors

    Police shortchanged Trayvons Rights re Prosecution taking evidence

    Medical Evidence proves GZ was lying about his head bashed on concrete 25 times he had no brain damage to head
    GZ claimed he shot TM in heart when on top but no blood on him

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Al Sharpton: "...Don't talk to us like we stupid. Don't talk to us like we ignant. Lock 'em up!" Is this the best African Americans can do for a spokesman to advocate their interests? Pathetic.

    Anyone remember Tawana Brawley?

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Zimmerman verdict was in 18 days ago and topic still untouched by BBC
    America Land of Liberty and Freedom of Speech is a lot of Hot Air when you consider it's Spying and Control of Internet Propaganda in State of Perpetual War and Shenanigans overthrowing Foreign Governments not to their liking

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    170Justice may use expert witnesses giving expert opinions but juries are not expected to be experts, just ordinary citizens of common intelligence and impartial.The prosecution and defense agreed on the jurors selected.Everyone agreed during the trial race was not an issue.It only became an issue when the Al Sharptons of the world made it an issue.They've made an industry of race victimization.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    all female jury all white except B29 aren't exactly medical scientists
    white perception that a black child is not a nice person is racist implications that trayvon was a thug is dog whistles for racists

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    A certain segment of our population that was once victims of lynchings had a lynch mob mentality before, during, and after Zimmerman's trial.A jury heard evidence, was initially split 1/2 for conviction 1/2 for acquittal, and after 16 hours of reviewing the evidence, the charges, and the law voted unanimously for acquittal.Justice has been served.At least legal justice.Lynch mob justice still not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    137 Lucy

    "But yet you choose to focus on us?"

    Because you claim to be a democracy and occupy the moral high ground. Both Russia and Germany were under a dictatorship which the world united to defeat. There is a difference as we are entitled to expect more from a moral arbiter

    Not Einstein - I was talking about the post war allied theft

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    166 Trayvon wasn't a thug
    He was 17 years old
    Zimmerman is a Coward
    He would have cried for his mummy before taking on a thug
    Yank lies are never ending that's why Yank spies have no right outside their own country

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    We never learned much about Trayvon Martin's childhood, everything about him was carefully managed by the DA and his family.In fact we kept seeing a photo of him as a 12 year old boy, not as 17 years old.Had he been in trouble before? Was he a thug? If he'd been a Boyscout how good he'd been would have come out as propaganda.We also don't know much about Manning.Who cares those are history now.


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