Note: This article has been updated since its original publication to accurately reflect Chelsea Manning’s gender identity.
After just a few hours my previous blog post on the ramifications of the worst potential outcome of the Manning trial is already outdated. And I can’t say I am sorry as it means Manning was found not guilty of the most serious charge against him–aiding the enemy. She was also not found guilty of charges under the Espionage Act for her release of the collateral murder video.
However, today was not an overwhelming victory for Manning. In addition to the charges she pleaded guilty to earlier this year she was convicted of 19 counts, including violations of the draconian Espionage Act which was created during World War I and used at that time largely to criminalize the anti-war movement. Together, these charges means Manning could face up to 154 years in prison. The graphic below breaks down the charges, Manning’s pleas, and the verdict.
As someone who has followed this story from when the Collateral Murder video was first posted online, through Manning’s torture and pretrial punishment, and finally the trial itself I have very mixed emotions about today. I am glad the worst that could have happened did not happen. Still, I am very disgusted that any whistleblower should be persecuted under the color of law while war criminals go free. As I take time to decompress what happened, I will be writing more about my thoughts on the verdict, Manning, the war on whistleblowers, and the unsavory history of the Espionage Act.