Bradley Manning’s Trial Starts Today
On Saturday, nearly 2,000 supporters of Army Private Bradley Manning drove or took the bus from all across the country to march in defense of the soldier on the eve of the first day of his trial for leaking military documents to Wikileaks—including charges of aiding al Qaeda—and could bring Manning a life sentence in jail.
Antiwar activists, veterans, LGBT rights advocates, and journalists were heavily represented within the gathered Manning supporters over the weekend. The march was one of hundreds of rallies in support of the 25-year-old former intelligence analyst from Crescent, Oklahoma, since he was first put in pretrial confinement over three years ago. Some have been coming to Fort Meade near Baltimore off and on since preliminary hearings began there in late 2011; other events happened were happening this weekend in cities from Seoul to Santa Cruz.
During the course of the military trial that starts today, army prosecutors will argue that Manning aided al Qaeda terrorists by taking sensitive military information and sending it to the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning started uploading intelligence about the Iraq and Afghan wars to WikiLeaks in 2009, and just a few months later he found himself even more distressed when he was picked up by authorities at his base outside of Baghdad. Manning has already pled guilty to ten of the 22 charges against him, spending one-fourth of his time since arrest in isolation, but he not to the most serious charges, including aiding the enemy, which could land him a life sentence in prison.