Bradley Manning will attend his arraignment today at Fort Meade in front of a military judge and officers. The 24-year old former intelligence analyst is accused of handing over hundreds of thousands of classified military action documents to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks on there website claims to be a self described not-for-profit website with, “important activities to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.”
Bradley Manning was a source for a site, “that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Manning seems to be at the mercy of those frontiers today.
He will hear all 22 charges against him at the arraignment this afternoon. Charges include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, stealing public records and transmitting defense information.
Manning’s lawyers are providing a case of a young soldier, in a gender identity crisis isolated from his fellow soldiers. This type of person should not have been given access to classified materials.
Aiding a foreign enemy is a crime punishable by death, but the Army prosecutor has said if convicted, the Army will seek out a life in prison sentence for Bradley Manning.
Some activists, like Max Obuszewski from Baltimore, argue in favor of the so called crimes Manning committed, saying, “He is a hero for blowing the whistle.”
Despite some support, Bradley Manning will enter his plea today, beginning the court process. Along with a potential for life in prison, if convicted, the soldier will be reduced to the lowest ranking pay grade, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and will receive a dishonorable discharge from the military.
The possibility for a plea deal is possible at the arraignment but no such agreement has been announced.