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After three years of solitary confinement without trial the US military’s most famous whistleblower, Private First Class Bradley Manning finally goes to court today.
He faces 21 counts including treason for actions the government claims damaged national security and endangered American lives, including the most serious, aiding the enemy. He risks life imprisonment.
The 25-year-old soldier was the “deep throat” who provided 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks. In February he testified he wanted to spark debate about US military and foreign policy.
Civil liberties groups are angry at the treatment of Manning, who faces a military tribunal whose workings have often been shrouded in secrecy. They claim his conditions of imprisonment have contravened international law, and that the government has often resorted to “extralegal” devices during the affair.
They and the media also complain that since Manning’s arrest sources have dried up as informers are afraid to speak out.