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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid