After years of abuse in confinement from denying him a charge to denying him counsel, Pfc. Bradley Manning finally had a trial on the most serious charge against him: aiding the enemy. He was convicted on lesser charges. The verdict should again focus attention on the mistreatment of Manning by the Obama Administration for leaking classified reports and diplomatic cables. Many of these documents showed that the U.S. government was lying to the public and to its allies.
Manning previously pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 counts of lesser charges in giving the documents to Wikileaks. He could still face a long sentence and the Obama Administration has clearly worked to make an example of him after he embarrassed the government with both the public and allies.
The documented abuse of Manning by the Obama Administration while in custody will result in a four-month credit toward his sentencing. Yet there has been virtually no demand for the punishment of those responsible for the abuse.
The acquittal is a victory for military justice. There was never any evidence of an intent to aid the enemy and the overcharging of the case was indicative of the excessive response of the Administration — the same pattern shown with Snowden and Assange. Of course, those false or controversial communications in these documents have not been the focus of coverage by the media.
The verdict is also a vindication for the defense in taking a plea on the earlier charges to focus on the most serious charge.