When Will It Be Enough? One-Year-Old Died After Being Shot In The Head In Brooklyn [TW: Infant Violence, Death]
A one-year-old was shot in the head and killed Sunday night after a gunman allegedly attempted to shoot the toddler’s father.
Antiq Hennis was in a stroller being pushed across the street by his parents in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, when a single bullet struck his head just a block from the family’s home. The child’s father began looking for help after the shots rang out.
“He was screaming ‘My baby got shot.’ He was going crazy,” Gina Gamboa, 22, told the Daily News. “The baby was breathing, but his eyes were closed. It’s crazy. They just will start shooting.”
Four shots were fired at around 7:30 P.M. Only Antiq was hit. He was pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital shortly before 9 P.M.
Antiq’s father, the intended target, has a record of more than 20 arrests. “They shot at him and ended up shooting the baby,” the child’s great-uncle, Chris Dobson said.
This follows another incident last week where a toddler was also shot in the head in Brooklyn. Luckily, that child survived.
Do You Know Your Enemy? Congress Wanted A Verdict That Would Make The Next Bradley Manning Think Twice Before He/She Leaked Government Secrets
The verdict in the Pfc. Bradley Manning trial came down a little after 1 p.m., not an ideal time for members of the U.S. Senate. Democrats and Republicans were meeting for their weekly lunches, and when they exited, around 2 p.m., most of them pled ignorance of the WikiLeaks source’s fate—guilty of violating the Espionage Act, guilty of stealing government property, acquitted of “aiding the enemy.”
Only the disappointed senators seemed willing to dish. “I’m very surprised by the verdict,” said Maine Sen. Susan Collins, ranking member of the Homeland Security committee and one of the Republicans on the Select Committee on Intelligence. “I believe the information he disclosed was extremely harmful to our country. It is not in the same category as [Edward] Snowden’s betrayals, but it’s very serious nonetheless. I respect the judgment, even though I find it hard to believe.”
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, another member of the intelligence committee, cheered himself with the guilty verdicts. “Clearly if you look at the other charges, many of which he pleaded guilty to, there’s a substantial amount of jail time that’s probably triggered—probably at least 20 years,” said Burr. “I’m more focused now on trying to find Snowden, and trying to get him in front of the judicial process, but I think this should discourage other leakers. I don’t think anybody wants to serve jail time.”
The dream of dissuading future leakers had been a goal all along—the executive branch’s goal, and the Senate’s. Convicting Manning of violating the Espionage Act was the sort of win Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein had wanted all along. “The Supreme Court has held that its protections of free speech and freedom of the press are not a green light to abandon the protection of our vital national interests,” she argued in 2010, at that time making the case for prosecuting Julian Assange, the man who took Manning’s information and spread it online. Assange called today’s verdict “the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower” and “a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism.”
But it wasn’t a new definition or precedent on “aiding the enemy.” The government had argued that Manning possessed an “evil intent” when he burned diplomatic cables onto CDs then handed the information to the Assange organization. It cited, for example, the case of Pvt. Henry Vanderwater, a treacherous soldier in the Union army who’d given a command roster to a Confederate newspaper. And had the government won, someone who revealed information later used by, say, al-Qaida, would have been as legally liable as someone who passed secrets directly to the terrorists.
The government didn’t win. The legislators and spymasters who insist that Manning was a traitor—and that Snowden is a traitor too—have a weaker case today. Feinstein insisted that Snowden “violated his oath,” and thus committed “treason.” Over in Fort Meade, Col. Denise Lind has declared that Manning didn’t truly intend to aid the enemy. That’s a major setback for intel hawks (or whatever you can call these people), because despite the outrage generated on the Hill, there’s no real momentum for legislation to further criminalize leaking. A brutal judgment from Lind was the best they could have hoped for, and this one wasn’t brutal enough.
So Manning’s critics gritted their teeth and praised the court. “I’m not saying WikiLeaks was the enemy,” said Collins today. “I’m saying that the information revealed was helpful to those who do not wish us well. “
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former JAG lawyer, declined to second-guess the judgment from Fort Meade. “I think it’s a logical consequence that the enemy might pick up the information leaked here, but I think the statute is written that you have to intend that,” he said. “But I can understand why the judge ruled that way, and I think the process has been fair. I respect the court’s decision. I think he should have been tried for all the crimes, including aiding the enemy. The process worked, didn’t it?”
Graham headed out of the Capitol on a hopeful note. “This is one of the more serious things that I’ve seen a military member do in 30 years,” he said. “I hope people who say he’s a hero see they’re misguided in terms of what a hero might be.”
A Moderate Verdict: The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Failure of Prosecutorial Overreach
Reporters and leakers all over Washington, D.C., are heaving a sigh of relief: On Tuesday, a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy.”
Manning, whose sentencing begins tomorrow, will probably still be spending at least a couple of decades in prison for 19 other crimes, but his conviction on most of those charges had been expected; he’d already pled guilty to some of them. But “aiding the enemy” was the most serious accusation. It’s labeled a capital crime; although prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty in this instance. He would have been put behind bars for life. More broadly, a guilty verdict on the charge of aiding the enemy would have turned the climate for investigative journalism—already as tense as it has been for many years—into a toxic dust cloud.
Prosecutors had argued during the trial that the documents Manning supplied in 2010 to WikiLeaks—which, in turn, provided them to the New York Times and other publications—were read by Osama Bin Laden, who took comfort from them. Therefore, they contended, Manning had aided the enemy.
It was an explosive argument. Few officers or enlisted personnel had ever been tried for “aiding the enemy”—codified at Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice—and none had been convicted on that charge merely for leaking classified documents to a news agency (or, in WikiLeaks’ unusual case, an intermediary to news agencies).
Had the judge accepted the argument and found Manning guilty of the broad new charge, the implications would have been profound. By such a verdict’s logic, The New Yorker could have been accused of aiding the enemy for publishing Seymour Hersh’s article about the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib. Hersh’s intention may have been to call attention to war crimes being committed by U.S. officers in Iraq, but a prosecutor could certainly have argued that the story served al-Qaida’s interests; and it’s certainly true that the revelations over Abu Ghraib were used as recruitment tools by jihadists worldwide.
In fact, by this logic, any published criticism of an American war, or of U.S. foreign policy generally, could be interpreted as “aiding the enemy” if copies were found in enemy hands. For that matter, news reports of Southern racism in the 1950s could have been prosecuted on those grounds because the Soviet Union—the enemy in the era’s Cold War—cited those reports in its anti-American propaganda campaigns, especially in the developing world.
True, Manning was tried in a military court by military prosecutors and a military judge. A newspaper or magazine, in these hypothetical scenarios, would be tried in a federal court by Justice Department prosecutors and a civilian judge. The standards are different. Precedents from military trials are rarely cited—and have no legal standing—in civilian courts.
Still, judges and prosecutors are free to cite legal arguments from any type of court they wish. Steven Aftergood of the Secrecy News website notes that, in the indictment against Stephen Kim—the State Department official who recently leaked information about North Korean nuclear testing to a FoxNews reporter—the Justice Department prosecutors cite an argument used by Chief Judge Denise R. Lind; the military judge in the Manning case. Specifically, they quote Col. Lind as saying (on Pages 59–60) that the accused “had reason to believe the information he communicated could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” They add that Lind said the actual damage done by the leak is irrelevant to the fact that he had “reason to believe” the information “could be used” to ill effect.
In the Manning verdict today, Judge Lind herself didn’t buy that argument. We don’t yet know why. Was it because she thought the prosecutors hadn’t made their case that Manning knew, or had reason to believe, that Osama Bin Laden would read the news reports based on his leaks? Or did she think the argument was absurdly broad on the face of it?
A federal judge in Virginia came to that latter conclusion in the 2006 case, United States of America vs. Lawrence Franklin, et al., in which a Pentagon official (Franklin) was indicted for leaking classified information to two executives of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee—and, more alarmingly, the two AIPAC executives were indicted for receivingthat information, a crime under the rarely invoked Espionage Act of 1917.
Initially, the presiding judge, T.S. Ellis, allowed the charge to stand, noting that the law “applies to academics, lawyers, journalists, professors, whatever.” He added that if there’s a problem with that, the law should be changed; but judges can only interpret and apply the law, not nullify it. In the end, though, Ellis went against his earlier pronouncement and dismissed the indictment against the AIPAC analysts, on the grounds that the statute was too vague, broad, inconsistently applied, and draconian. (Franklin, the Pentagon official, was convicted, however for violating his security oath.)
There is another possible reason for Manning’s acquittal on the charge of aiding the enemy: It’s possible the judge simply thought he wasn’t guilty. The charge was always a bit of a stretch for the prosecutors. Article 104 of the UCMJ states that the crime applies to any person who
“(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or (2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly. (Italics added.)”
For the judge to find Manning guilty under Article 104, she would have had to conclude that “other things” includes classified documents, and that giving intelligence to the enemy “indirectly” includes giving it to WikiLeaks, which gives it to a newspaper, which is read by the enemy. Such stretches wouldn’t have been unprecedented, in civilian or military courts, but, again, Judge Lind chose not to go there.
It may be that the prosecutor overreached. In his summary remarks, he lambasted Pvt. Manning as not only a leaker, a thief, a security threat, and all the rest, but also a “traitor.” Whatever one thinks of Manning and his motives, this went too far. Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution states: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” (Italics added.) One could make a stretch and claim that Manning’s actions gave aid and comfort to some enemies; but there’s no way that he could be seen as “adhering” to enemies or as “levying war” (which later Supreme Court decisions have interpreted to mean physically waging war against the United States).
Whether what Manning did was right or wrong in the broader book of morality, it did violate military law. He knew that; and, in his plea, he accepted responsibility for it, accepted his fate, but always insisted that he had no intention to aid the enemy. The military court’s assent on that point was wise, beneficial for free speech, and for the country.