A diminutive Bradley Manning sat quietly two rows ahead of me, speaking softly on occasion to his lawyers, but kept a steady face.
He was probably tense, and had every reason to be, because within minutes of spectators being ushered into the military courtroom here, Judge Denise Lind pronounced the verdict in the U.S. government’s case against him — guilty on 17 out of 22 charges that were brought against him.
Mr. Manning has been prosecuted by the U.S. government for being the whistleblower behind Wikileaks’ publication of confidential State Department cables and video evidence of U.S. military attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Although he had pleaded guilty to ten of those charges, the judge exonerated him of what some supporters outside described to The Hindu as “the most sinister of charges”, namely that of aiding the enemy.
In doing so, Judge Lind has possibly set up a key challenge to the increasingly aggressive pursuit of whistleblowers by the Obama administration, most recently exemplified in its international efforts to secure the arrest of Edward Snowden.
In finding Mr. Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, the judge may have implicitly questioned the suggestion…