Target: United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Justice
Goal: Drop unfounded “aiding the enemy” charge against government whistleblower Bradley Manning
Human rights group Amnesty International has called for the United States to drop an unfounded “aiding the enemy” charge against Bradley Manning, a U.S. soldier who released classified documents to whistleblower website Wikileaks. Manning has pleaded guilty to 11 other charges and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; the U.S. has failed to adequately prove other charges, including the accusation that Manning knowingly released classified information to an enemy. Urge the U.S. Attorney General at the Justice Department to drop the “aiding the enemy” charge against Manning and follow only what the evidence suggests in prosecuting this case.
“We’ve now seen the evidence presented by both sides, and it’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director for International Law and Policy at Amnesty International. “The government should withdraw that charge.” During the case, witnesses have failed to testify that Manning was ever aligned with terrorist groups, and the prosecution has not proven that Manning’s intent in making classified information publicly available on the internet was to help an enemy of the country. Recently the prosecution withdrew a charge that Manning had released intelligence to a “classified enemy.”
Manning has been held in military custody since 2010 and has been subject to inhumane treatment such as solitary confinement, according to human rights organizations. Among the documents Manning leaked was a 2007 video of a U.S. Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad. Twelve people are shown being killed in the video, including civilians. Earlier in the case the judge ruled that Manning’s motives were not relevant to his defense and did not allow Manning to use a “public interest” defense, though Manning expressed that he believed he was exposing abuses in disclosing the classified information to Wikileaks.
The United States must protect whistleblowers, not prosecute them with spurious charges. Manning has already pleaded guilty to 11 charges and knowingly broke the law, but did so to reveal information that he believed was in the public interest. “Aiding the enemy” carries a possible death sentence; though the prosecution is not pursuing this, it is a very serious charge that could lead to life in prison, and it is excessive as well as unproven. Tell the U.S. Department of Justice to drop the “aiding the enemy” charge against Bradley Manning by signing the petition below.
Dear Attorney General Eric Holder,
I urge the Justice Department to drop the “aiding the enemy” charge against Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. The charge, as you know, carries the possibility of a death sentence or life in prison, but the U.S. has failed to adequately prove that Manning intentionally and knowingly gave classified information to an enemy.
Manning has already pleaded guilty to 11 charges and could face a maximum combined sentence of 20 years in prison. The other charges do not reflect what has been presented in evidence.
Drop the “aiding the enemy” charge against Bradley Manning, and give him a fair trial as a whistleblower who leaked information in the public’s interest, not as an enemy of the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Army