Bradley Manning and the Snowden Situation

I’m a bit upset to say that The Surveillance-Free Day (Part II) was not as impressive and education as Part I. While the first piece of the story walked us through the measures of  flying under the radar and the software needed to be digitally undetected, the second part showed us how paranoid one can be about the whole thing. The investigator seemed crazy as he pointed out the amount of surveillance cameras in the bay area. It was not nearly as helpful not did it dive deeper into the NSA PRISM scandal.

However, a current event that is relevant to Edward Snowden is the news regarding the Bradley Manning trial. On Tuesday July 30th, Bradley Manning was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy” as a result of his information leak to Wikileaks. He was found guilty on nineteen counts of espionage. So while he will not be up for the death sentence, Manning could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison because of his classified document leak. According to NBC News, Julian Assange stated that, “the convictions were a “clear abuse” of First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press and Espionage Act, and that the only just verdict would have acquittal on all counts. He warned the judge’s verdict set a “dangerous precedent.” ”  We don’t know what Manning’s formal sentence is yet, it could take a few weeks until that decision has been made. And considering that there are appeals that will be filed in response to the verdict, this case is certainly far from over. But what does this mean for Edward Snowden, who is still stuck in the transit zone at Moscow’s International airport for committing a similar crime?

Well for one thing, it means Snowden is not at risk for the death penalty, should he come back to the US and face trial. It was found that the papers Bradley Manning leaked were found in the possession of terrorist group Al Queda during the bin Laden raid, hence the aiding the enemy charge. Snowden leaked his papers directly to the press so we the people would find out about it through more mainstream media outlets. Since Manning was found not guilty of it, Snowden could never be charged with the same severity.

However, Manning was found guilty on nineteen counts of espionage. Nineteen counts! That sentence could add up to a lifetime in prison. Since Snowden leaked equally classified documents, he could expect to encounter similar charges should he ever return to the US. The bottom line is that while Edward Snowden will not be subjected to the death penalty, he will certainly find himself spending the best years of his life in a jail cell. 

I guess the US was correct when they said they would not subject Edward Snowden to torture or death in the letter that they recently sent to Russia. Yet I’m sure after hearing about this, Edward Snowden will not willingly return to his homeland anytime soon.

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