FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) — In a Maryland courtroom, the former Army intelligence analyst accused of giving thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks is formally charged with aiding the enemy.
As Mike Schuh reports, Bradley Manning’s case is drawing attention around the world.
This is U.S. Army gunship video of innocent civilians killed on a Baghdad street. It’s video that Manning is accused of giving to WikiLeaks.
He’s also accused of turning over hundreds of thousands of Army documents and secret cables.
The 24-year-old was at Ft. Meade Thursday to enter a plea to the charges of aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act.
Using a legal maneuver intended to give his attorneys more time to see what will be used against him, he deferred entering a plea and he didn’t choose whether to be tried by a military judge or jury.
“They’re going after Bradley Manning, the whistle-blower,” a protester at Fort Meade said.
At the front gate– five protesters from Baltimore.
“We feel he’s innocent, we feel he’s a hero,” protestor Richard Ochs said. “If anyone helped to end the Iraq war, it’s the people who leaked.”
Several motorists though yelled “Traitor” after reading the protesters’ signs.
“When we know the government is breaking the law, we have to speak out,” Max Obuszewski, from Pledge of Resistance Baltimore, said. “And that’s what I would argue: Bradley Manning saw what was going on.”
While the reporter is talking to Obuszewski, men in unmarked cars take telephoto pictures from across the street.
Three Russian TV networks are covering this case. One correspondent tells WJZ viewers there love to see what he called “American hypocrisy.”
Unlike in the civilian world, justice in military courts happens pretty quickly. Manning’s court-martial is expected in early spring.
The military court has set a tentative date of March 15 through March 16 for the next session. If convicted, Manning could spend life in prison.