News / USA

WikiLeaks Court Martial Underway

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse at Fort Meade, Md., June 4, 2013.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse at Fort Meade, Md., June 4, 2013.
Meredith Buel
The court martial of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, who gave hundreds of thousands of secret government files to the WikiLeaks website, began this week in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland.  Some analysts say Manning is a traitor who endangered American lives, while supporters believe he is a whistleblowing hero.  

Prosecutors contend the 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst effectively put U.S. military secrets into the hands of the enemy, including Osama bin Laden.  They want to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

But Manning’s lawyers say he was young and naïve, and only wanted to enlighten the public about the harsh reality of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Steven Bucci is a senior foreign policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.  He says Manning engaged in espionage and broke the trust of the nation.  \

“He took an oath not to violate that trust and he willfully and with disregard for any of the potential implications of what he did, stole information and gave it away to people who were not authorized to have it. That’s called spying in the vernacular," said Bucci.

Manning has admitted turning over hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.  He had access to the material and was arrested while serving in Iraq.

It is the largest release of classified information in U.S. history and is the most sensational since publication in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, a secret Defense Department history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Morris Davis is a former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay who says he plans to testify in Manning’s defense at the court martial.   

He says the prosecution in the Manning case is overzealous.

“I think the government, when it started, thought it was going to be like the trial of the century and I think the impact has not borne that out.  So they ought to accept a reasonable resolution and move on," said Davis.

As Manning’s trial opens, a grassroots activist network is supporting him through a Facebook page, Twitter account and website.  

Rallies are being held this week in dozens of U.S. cities and at least six foreign countries.  Thousands of people have donated more than $1 million for his defense fund.

Anne Wright is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former diplomat who supports Bradley Manning and his decision to release classified documents.

“And these are particular cables that we need to know because they, many of them identify government malfeasance or even criminal actions being done by government employees that should be exposed to the world," said Wright.

But others say the release of the material threatened to expose valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America’s relations with other governments.

Steven Bucci of the Heritage Foundation says Manning should be prosecuted.  

“So it’s a very important message to send to everyone in the military and to everyone in government service that if you have a security clearance you better play by the rules, and you should. If you don’t want to play by the rules, resign and leave. But you don’t get to try and torpedo the actions from within," he said.

Private Manning could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted.  The court martial is expected to last about three months.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid