Several dozen supporters of U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning gathered Friday at the entrance to Fort Meade, where his preliminary hearing is taking place. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Months of debate and demonstrations over the flood of classified U.S. government documents that spilled onto the Internet and into the international media have come down to a military court proceeding with an Army private.
In spring 2010, WikiLeaks published more than 500,000 secret files, including diplomatic memos and war documents from Iraq and Afghanistan. The move caused a public furor and renewed debate over how much government materials should be protected for security reasons and how much made public.
When former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was arrested on May 26, 2010, for allegedly supplying those classified documents, a new controversy arose. He was detained in isolation at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and forced to wear a smock rather than regular prison clothing because he might be a suicide risk, military officials said. He was later moved to a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Manning’s Article 32 military hearing, which began Friday in Fort Meade, Md., is expected to last about a week. The 24-year-old faces life in prison.
Here are some resources to help you follow the trial:
Read the Guardian’s live updates of the scenes inside and outside the courtroom, including this nugget: “Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement have been joined by local veterans at the vigil.”
Arun Rath, reporter for PBS’ Frontline and PRI’s The World, is also covering the trial. Follow his tweets. In a report for The World, he describes the “WikiLeaks Effect” and how instead of encouraging transparency, the opposite is happening as the government heightens security and increases the number of documents it classifies.
Wired.com has the chat logs between Manning and former hacker Adrian Lamo in which Manning allegedly confesses to providing WikiLeaks with the classified documents and a video.
A Frontline documentary, “WikiSecrets,” outlines what led to Manning’s arrest. View an excerpt:
Manning’s father, Brian Manning, talked to Frontline in March about his son’s incarceration.
What’s an Article 32 hearing? Like a preliminary hearing in civilian courts, an Article 32 hearing is a military proceeding under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice. It’s required for different infractions, the most serious of which is a general court-martial.
We’ll have the latest on Manning’s trial on Friday’s NewsHour.