Bradley Manning court-martial begins in WikiLeaks case | News | DW | 03.06.2013
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Bradley Manning court-martial begins in WikiLeaks case

The US soldier accused of providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website has gone on trial at Fort Meade, Maryland. Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to some charges.

Bradley Manning confirmed in his opening statements at his court martial that he was pleading guilty to 10 charges, but not to the most serious one leveled against him - that of aiding the enemy.

The 25-year-old US army private, a former intelligence analyst who was arrested in May 2010, wore a dress black uniform. He told the judge that he was happy with his defense team and was happy to content for the verdict to be reached by the judge, not a jury.

Colonel Denise Lind is presiding over the court martial. Lind said last month that parts of the case would be kept secret, citing the protection of classified material.

Manning has admitted to downloading more than 700,000 intelligence documents and transferring them to the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website founded by Julian Assange. Assange faces legal problems of his own; he has stayed in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012, avoiding extradition to Sweden where he is wanted on sex offence charges.

The leaked information - ranging from candid character assessments of world leaders to lighter messages like the story of a brown bear named Bruno, who briefly and famously wandered the Alps and eventually met his death in Bavaria - stunned diplomats who said the data could put lives at risk.

The most famous piece of WikiLeaks data was arguably video footage, published in April 2010, of US soldiers shooting at civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks called the video "Collateral Murder." Manning was serving in Iraq at the time.

If convicted on all counts, he could face a lifetime in prison - prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.

msh/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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