Dec. 15 - U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, accused of leaking thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, will appear in court for the first time. Deborah Lutterbeck reports
Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive U.S. government documents that were later published by WikiLeaks makes his first appearance in a military court Friday. The former intelligence analyst suspected of obtaining documents while serving in Iraq, was arrested in June, 2010 on charges that include "aiding the enemy." Kevin Zeese, is an attorney for the Bradley Manning Support Network and one is one of the organizers of Occupy Washington DC (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK ATTORNEY KEVIN ZEESE SAYING: : "The people who should be prosecuted are not Bradley Manning. He is accused of letting the truth out. He is not accused of doing any, any criminal activity. He is accused of letting the truth out and he should be given an award for that, not prosecuted," In April, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network questioned President Barack Obama about the case during a fundraiser and recorded the conversation with his cell phone camera. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "If I release stuff that I am not authorized to release, I am breaking the law. We are a nation of laws. He broke the law," (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK ATTORNEY KEVIN ZEESE SAYING: "President Obama has said that Manning is guilty. He is the Commander in Chief, the top of the command structure. Everybody who is a prosecutor, a judge, juror, convening officer in the Manning case is under his command, is under his command. So how can you get a fair trial when the Commander in Chief has said he is guilty?" The WikiLeaks affair was a major blow to the United States as allies and adversaries around the world saw themselves mocked or second-guessed in secret diplomatic cables. Top U.S. officials have repeatedly stated concern that the exposed information endangered troops and civilians. Julian Assange, the Australian computer expert behind the WikiLeaks website, has denied knowing Manning. But he has accused the United States of using the jailed soldier to build a case against him. The host of charges Manning faces include downloading and transmitting to an unauthorized person a classified video of a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters employees. The military will not seek the death penalty against Manning, but Manning could face life in prison if convicted. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.