Glenn Greenwald writes of some bad-for-press-freedom implications of the latest charges against alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning:
the most serious new charge is for "aiding the enemy," a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.
Article 104—which, like all provisions of the UCMJ, applies only to members of the military—is incredibly broad. 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."…
In light of the implicit allegation that Manning transmitted this material to WikiLeaks, it is quite possible that WikiLeaks is the "enemy" referenced by Article 104, i.e., that the U.S. military now openly decrees (as opposed to secretly declaring) that the whistle-blowing group is an "enemy" of the U.S. More likely, the Army will contend that by transmitting classified documents to WikiLeaks for intended publication, Manning "indirectly" furnished those documents to Al Qaeda and the Taliban by enabling those groups to learn their contents. 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…..
since the UCMJ applies only to members of the military, newspapers (or WikiLeaks) couldn't actually be charged under Article 104; still, "there is still something profoundly disturbing about the prospect of convicting Manning and sentencing him to life imprisonment [GG: or the death penalty] for doing exactly what media organizations did, as well."
In other Manning commentary, to paraphrase Ali G, "What do you think about the conspiracy theory involving Bradley Manning?" "What, that he's being cruelly repressed by a transnational system of murder and mayhem out to crush the spread of information?" "No, that he don't exist!"