This week, we salute fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald for lending his voice to the cause of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks source whose life may well be on the line if the U.S. Army’s newest and most severe charges play out against him in court.

Greenwald, who has flexed his considerable talents on for years, cut straight to the quick in his March 3 column about Manning’s plight, posing the key question by way of his headline: “Bradley Manning could face death: For what?” Luckily for Manning (not to mention the American public at large), Greenwald is more than prepared to give an answer, complete with a detailed dissection of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. First, he lays the groundwork:

Under 104(b) — almost certainly the provision to be applied — a person is guilty if he “gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly” (emphasis added), and, if convicted, “shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.” The charge sheet filed by the Army is quite vague and neither indicates what specifically Manning did to violate this provision nor the identity of the “enemy” to whom he is alleged to have given intelligence.

Then, Greenwald takes issue with the Army’s possible interpretation of what exactly constitutes “the enemy” in this scenario, noting that WikiLeaks could be directly or indirectly implicated; either way, this case could turn out to be very bad news for whistle-blowers — not to mention the American media — down the line:

That would mean that it is a capital offense not only to furnish intelligence specifically and intentionally to actual enemies — the way that, say, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were convicted of passing intelligence to the Soviet Union — but also to act as a whistle-blower by leaking classified information to a newspaper with the intent that it be published to the world. Logically, if one can “aid the enemy” even by leaking to WikiLeaks, then one can also be guilty of this crime by leaking to The New York Times.

So, it’s clear that more is on the line than one man’s fate, but Greenwald brings his discussion back to the personal level at the end, reminding readers that “Manning — convicted of nothing — continues to be held in 23-hour/day, highly repressive solitary confinement,” and has been in that state for the last 10 months. For now, Manning’s situation is not improving, but at least Greenwald is watching and taking notes.

Click here to catch Glenn Greenwald’s discussion with Amy Goodman about Pfc. Manning on Thursday’s edition of “Democracy Now!”


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