Hundreds of people gathered today outside a U.S. military base where evidence against Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, is being presented before a military judge for the first time since Manning's arrest.
An U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Manning was arrested in May 2010 by U.S. military police in Iraq when a government informant reported him to law enforcement after he allegedly confessed to leaking to the public scores of classified information containing evidence of corruption and war crimes.
He has been charged with aiding "the enemy" through the disclosures, a charge that carries the possibility of death, though prosecutors says they are seeking a life sentence.
"Bradley shouldn't be doing time for the Pentagon's war crimes," chanted approximately 300 supporters outside the gates of Maryland's Fort Meade, home of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), as dozens of police and a helicopter circling above looked on.
The rally, one of 50 taking place across the world, coincided with Manning's 24th birthday and the second day of court hearings aimed at determining whether evidence against him is sufficient to proceed to trial. According to Manning's counsel, David E. Coombs, the hearings are expected to conclude before Christmas.
Manning is accused of leaking video evidence of a 2007 massacre outside Baghdad in which at least 18 people, including two Reuters journalists, were killed by U.S. troops in what many consider a war crime.
He also reportedly leaked hundreds of thousands of State Department cables exposing ...