by Steven Hale
Breaking news this hour, in a story that is not local but nevertheless crucial for anyone who isn't eager to live in a totalitarian state.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning — the man arrested three years ago and charged with leaking, among other things, a trove of diplomatic cables and the now famous video of a U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq that killed civilians, including a Reuters journalist, to WikiLeaks — was found not guilty on Tuesday of aiding the enemy, but guilty on other charges including espionage and theft. A report from the United Nations last year deemed the United States' treatment of Manning during his pre-trial incarceration was "cruel, inhuman and degrading." He now faces a possible sentence of more than 100 years in prison.
The not guilty verdict on the charge of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge, both practically and theoretically — is cause for some celebration, though. Many people who like the idea of a free press — count us in — feared that a guilty verdict on that charge would set a frightening precedent in which a person who shares damaging information about the government that "the enemy" might see (e.g., in a newspaper) is aiding the other side.
For now, anyway, your government does not consider the free press to be "the enemy." So at least there's that.