By Ashley Fantz and Chelsea J. Carter
A military judge has found Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, not guilty of aiding the enemy - a charge that would have carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Manning was also found not guilty of unauthorized possession of information relating to national defense.
He was found guilty of most of the remaining charges against him, with the judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepting only two of the guilty pleas he had made previously to lesser charges. Those two were possession of a video that was marked classified and that he exceeded authority by obtaining a State Department cable.
Though those two counts carry a maximum sentence of two years, the rest of the charges that Manning was found guilty of could lead to a maximum sentence of 136 years in prison. Among the charges Manning was found guilty of - which carry a maximum 10-year sentence - are the theft of more than 700 U.S. Southern Command records, the possession of records pertaining to Afghanistan; the theft of State Department cables and the possession of classified Army documents.FULL STORY
By Michael Schwartz and Ashley Fantz from Jerusalem
For the first time in three years, Israelis and Palestinians will come to the negotiating table in Washington on Monday night.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated praise for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday morning.
The talks will be "a difficult process," but he added that the consequences of not trying could be worse. Kerry said the goal is to seek "reasonable compromises" on "tough, complicated, emotional" and symbolic issues, then he announced former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, as U.S. envoy to the talks.
Indyk understands that peace will not come easily, but that "there is now a path forward, and we must follow that path with urgency," Kerry added.FULL STORY
It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.
CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers' spouse club because she's gay. Less than a day later, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation. Read the full story
A gay member of the military and her spouse's experience may reflect a struggle at the nation's military bases to adapt culturally to the legal changes brought on by 2011's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Though gay people can now serve openly, the military doesn't formally recognize same-sex marriage under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed in 1996 that denies many benefits to same-sex spouses. One of those benefits is military IDs.
In 2008, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens warned in a diplomatic cable about a growing jihadist group in Derna, operating not far from Benghazi.
Stevens was killed this week in an attack that U.S. sources tell CNN was planned by a pro-al Qaeda group of extremists.
In his 2008 missive, Stevens wrote about the group, apparently operating in the port city of Derna.
"One Libyan interlocutor likened young men in Derna to Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly," Stevens wrote.
Libya has been in a "very fragile" state of security for a while, and the U.S. and international community failed in paying the country consistent and adequate attention so that it would grow stronger since the killing of its longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011.
That's according to Fran Townsend, a former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush and current CNN contributor who spoke Wednesday morning in the wake of the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Stevens was killed in an attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi on Tuesday.
Libya "really needs the attention and support of the international community," Townsend said. "Unfortunately it will now get the attention it needed before this tragedy."
"I think we [the United States] have supported the freedom movement [throughout the region], especially in Libya," Townsend said. "We supported the strikes. We were a part of the effort by NATO. But it's not enough, right? It's not enough to help people actually get their freedom, overthrow a government. You're going to have to come in behind them and help them as a fledgling democracy." FULL POST
Editor's note: Watch Barbara Starr's report on Sanjay Gupta MD (Saturday at 430pET/Sunday at 730aET).
By Ashley Fantz, with reporting from Barbara Starr and Larry Shaughnessy
If it were a movie, the moment would play slowly.
The big, boyish eyes of 23-year-old Marine Cpl. Winder Perez would widen. His lips would part. The sound of chaos around him would be muted as he watched a rocket-propelled grenade zooming toward him.
Then, snapped back to real time, Perez would look down and think: "Oh, crap! I have an RPG in my leg!"
By Ashley Fantz
A former spokesman for Iran's nuclear program whose life was turned upside down when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused him of spying still vigorously defended his homeland's nuclear efforts on Tuesday.
Sayed Hossein Mousavian stressed that the West is making a mistake in believing that Iran is making a bomb, or that the country has nefarious intentions with its nuclear plan.
Mousavian, an associate research scholar at Princeton, spoke for an hour at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
He repeatedly said that the West, particularly the United States, must recognize Iran's right to build its nuclear program and that the United States and Iran would be better served if they were less suspicious of each other. He also argued that the international community should ease sanctions against Iran. FULL POST
Editor's Note: After Kim Jong Il's death brought tears in North Korea and caused concern for South Korea, we're taking a look at the secretive nation from the view of those who have traveled there.
The first time that Brit Simon Cockerell visited North Korea, he noticed how clean it seemed. The air was not polluted like in Beijing, where he has lived since 2000. Another curiosity also struck him: In the capital of Pyongyang, there were no advertisements or billboards, and there was no traffic.
One of the rare times one might see North Koreans out and about during the day is when co-workers are doing aerobics with their "work unit" in the morning, he said. Around lunchtime, workers might venture outside again, perhaps stringing up a net or marking a line in the street to play a quick match of volleyball before returning to the grind.
"It's a place that can seem very dead during the week. There are a few bars in Pyongyang, but they close around 10 p.m. There are no crowds. And this is odd, because there are 3 million who live in that city," said Cockerell, who has visited North Korea more than 100 times.
"There isn't any hustle or bustle. Everything is a five-minute drive away. You wind up, typically, on your first day saying to yourself, 'Bloody hell, I'm in North Korea, where is everyone?'" Read the full story
Andrew Feinstein's new book "The Shadow World" uncovers the inner workings of the global arms trade. Written with an insider's tone, the book describes backroom weapons deals, including an arms deal between the British and Saudi governments and the guns-for-diamonds deals in Africa. Feinstein was a member of the African National Congress from 1997 to 2001, resigning when the ANC declined to investigate corruption claims regarding a major South African arms deal. Feinstein is an Open Society fellow and the founder of Corruption Watch in London.
Feinstein e-mailed with CNN.com about how the arms trade has mushroomed since World War II, its role in the Arab Spring uprisings, and what he thinks can be done about all those unchecked weapons in Libya.
CNN.com: What is the global arms trade?
Feinstein: It is the trade in conventional arms, so not (weapons of mass destruction), but everything from small and light weapons to aircraft carriers and jet fighters. It accounts for sales of about $60 billion a year on average, and is responsible for around 40 percent of all corruption in all world trade.
CNN.com: Why is it important to understand the distinction you make in your book between government to government trading and illicit weapons dealing? What is the "grey market?"
Feinstein: Governments and defense contractors argue that the government-to-government trade is "clean," whereas in fact it is riven with corruption, and also supports the illegal or black market trade. The grey market is where governments attempt to influence foreign policy covertly through the use of illegal dealers to undertake arms transactions on their behalf. A well-known example would be the Iran-Contra deal, perhaps the most cynical arms deal of all time.
CNN.com: Your book isn't an academic history, though you do explain how and why the military industrial complex grew after World War II. Your book is mostly packed with thriller-type stories about arms dealers and corrupt government officials, backroom wheeling and dealing. Much of that is based on top secret information you obtained. How did you manage to get that information?
Feinstein: The book is intended as an accessible, narrative account of the trade that is hopefully entertaining to read. But it is also backed by extensive research – there are between 2,500 and 3,000 endnotes in the book for anyone who wants to check where any piece of information was sourced. This information came from a wide variety of sources: interviews with arms dealers who have never been reported on or interviewed before, massive investigation archives that have not been in the public domain, whistle-blowers and publicly available sources.
CNN.com: You joined the African National Congress during Nelson Mandela's administration when you were a student and you resigned in 2001 when the ANC wouldn't investigate a major arms dealer. Was this your first up-close introduction to the world of arms dealing? What was that experience like?
Feinstein: That's correct. I was committed to the ANC from the mid-1980s when it was still a banned organization in South Africa. After working as a facilitator in the negotiations that led to our first democratic elections in 1994, I became a Member of Parliament for the party in those elections. It was an extraordinary experience to serve under Mandela but it was disappointing how quickly his successor adopted the tawdry norms of global politics. The point at which the ANC lost its moral compass was when they decided to spend $10 billion on weapons the country didn't need, and barely use today, with $300 million in bribes being paid to senior politicians, officials and the ANC itself. My financial oversight committee was stopped by President Thabo Mbeki from investigating this corruption, which led to my resignation, and the writing of a book on the deal and its devastating impact on South Africa's young democracy. It was a sad time for me personally and politically, as I saw at first hand how an extraordinary liberation movement was prepared to undermine the democracy it had created to protect its leaders from the consequences of their corrupt behavior. It was also the first of myriad grand corruption scandals in the country and the demise of the early years of hope.