The trial of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning came to a close Monday. Accused of leaking an enormous trove of documents to Wikileaks, Manning was found guilty of multiple counts of theft of government property and espionage — but was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The sentencing phase of trial starts Wednesday and could last weeks, as Manning faces up to 130 years in prison. We’ll look at the legal rationale behind the verdict and debate the severity of his crimes. We’ll also look at what the verdict means for leaker Edward Snowden, who is still holed up in a Moscow airport.

Norman Solomon, columnist, activist and author of "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State"
Steven Bucci, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation
Elizabeth Hillman, professor of law, provost and academic dean at UC Hastings College of the Law

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Is there any possibility that Pft Manning might get credit for time served? And why would Edward Snowden even think of agreeing to come back to the states now?

    What is a patriotic person supposed to do if they have proof the U S government is doing something illegal, or is covering up for heinous acts committed on foreign soil?

    Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Al Franken both Democrats and ‘liberals’ don’t seem to care.

    If a person cannot even get some liberal in congress to listen who will, if not the legitimate news media?

    • Nathan

      Sen. Feinstein is hardly a liberal. She personally profited from the Iraq War. Hardly the conscience of a liberal.

  • Alice de Tocqueville

    What Beth said. Also – that information IS ours! We paid for it!

  • Chris OConnell

    Convicted on 20 of 22 counts is not quite a mixed verdict. Yes, he was acquitted on the most serious charge, but that charge was really an outrage. That charge was a crime against the English language.

  • Chris OConnell

    If I remember correctly, the Foreign Service was not embarrassed but rather came across as quite excellent and professional in the cables.

  • MattCA12

    I agree with the guest who highlights the fact that Manning did not limit his document exposure to just the atrocities committed by American forces. Had he done so, he would have credibility as a whistleblower. Instead, he gave up hundreds of thousands of documents with no regard to what was in them or the people he put in danger by doing so. He’s a traitor in my book, and I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail.

  • Sean Karlin

    Ten years for irresponsibly and indiscriminately dumping materials without truly vetting the majority of it. But no more than ten because there was important information that did need to get out.

  • Nathan

    Manning’s leaks were on a scale less than the Pentagon papers. History will look on him as a whistleblower. If more soldiers had the moral compass of Manning, then there would be no war crimes committed by the US.

  • Nathan

    Given the lack of any accountability of anyone in government, let alone corporate America, we need more people who expose what our government and military is doing with our money. War crimes should be exposed. Shoot first, ask no questions later is not a successful strategy for winning the hearts and minds.

  • ivaray

    Not sure why key questions are always missed even though this program always offers great experts involved in discussions. I am for freeing Manning–without him we would not see the banality of evil and cruelty of the war in Iraq. In this proven false war, Manning showed that given orders were illegal–add Abu Ghraib, Fallujah (know this from the first hand private involved in the Fallujah battle). At one point it was stated that we should rely on and have more whistler-blowers. Isn’t the core of the problem reporting? We are missing true, independent journalism. If we would have had in Iraq, on the ground and with military, journalists, we would not need Manning to step into the role of the freelance journalist offering information and risking the rest of his life. Manning’s case shows what is the problem, the controlled monopoly of information system. Journalism has to break this monopoly. It is about time to work on new journalism. We are tired of the model and Barbie like so called reports and domination of the political analysts in mainstream media distorted in focus with spotted sensationalism, we need reports full of courage to show us reality.

    • Nathan

      tune into Democracy Now! They have more in depth reporting on the real issues than major media and they have pennies in terms of budget.

      • ivaray

        I am following the Democracy Now :-), I can inform myself, but I have to balance out Democracy Now as the major source if I am using their information in my professional career. For example, in college teaching I have to balance out sources, and many Democracy Now sources from my audience is considered to be biased. You see, we need more mainstream independent journalism based on facts and reports–adjusted to the digital age, we do not need the political analysts telling us what to think, which is the major way of “reporting” in the electronic mainstream media functioning. Here is my situation: I teach Ethics classes and use whistler-blowing examples, this is what I face: half of the students never have heard about Bradley Manning, and one third is convinced that he had provided hurtful information to the enemies. Try to deal with this reality. We need whistler-blowers, but we should not rely on a whistler-blowing system as the major source of information about big things like war. Did we see in the mainstream media the Pulitzer war rewarded picture this spring related to drone attacks? No we didn’t. How do my students perceive me if I bring this picture to their attention? Imagine.

      • Bill Tutuki

        Well True I seen Free Speech TV and Pacifica they tend to lean in favor of Wikileaks.

    • I’ll be Frank

      Check out RussiaToday. They employ American dissidents to tell us what is really going on.

      • ivaray

        I’ll be frank too:-), I can read even the articles written in Cyrillic, good idea.

  • Mr_Right

    Anybody else see parallels between the cases of Manning and Sgt Robert Bales, another young enlisted man who disagreed with his superiors’ handling of the war and acted in stealth to handle military matters according to his own judgment?

  • I’ll be Frank

    Manning’s a hero, period. Anyone who helps protect us from neofascists is a hero. We Americans went to war against the Nazis and Fascists and won, but now their ideological descendants have taken over our country.

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