WIKILEAKS Bradley Manning Faces 22 Charges and Death Penalty

What was this guy thinking?

Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of the Afghan war files, raged against his US Army employers and “society at large” on his Facebook page in the days before he allegedly downloaded thousands of secret memos.  Then published them.

After a long investigation,  U.S. officials have now  filed 22  charges against  Manning, accused of downloading thousands of classified documents released by Wikleaks .

NBC News reports:  The charges filed Wednesday include 16 specifications of wrongfully obtaining classified material for the purpose of posting it on the Internet, knowing that the information would be accessed by the enemy.  Other charges include the illegal transmission of defense information and fraud.

While conviction on the charge of “aiding the enemy” could result in the death penalty, military prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on that charge alone.  But the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution’s recommendation and impose the death penalty.

“While the military is downplaying the fact, the option to execute Bradley has been placed on the table,” said Paterson, whose organization has raised money for Manning’s legal defense. Paterson went on to say that “it’s beyond ironic that leaked U.S. State Department cables have contributed to revolution and revolt” in the Middle East, “yet an American may be executed, or at best face life in prison, for being the primary whistleblower.”

Officials have not been able to connect Manning with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Manning’s previous charges included “illegally downloading and transferring defense information to an ‘unauthorized source.'”

In recent months there has been concern for Manning’s health and the “needless brutality” of his solitary confinement, and accusations of torture.