WikiLeaks US soldier 'naive'

The attorney of US soldier Private Bradley Manning has described his client as 'Young, naive, but good intentioned' during a brief opening statement. Manning is accused of passing on a quarter of a million secret files to the website WikiLeaks.

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Assange: Trial condemns America's 'spirit of liberty'

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has released a statement on the trial of Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of passing on around 250,000 secret files to the website.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

In a statement posted on the WikiLeaks website, he said: "When communicating with the press is 'aiding the enemy' it is the 'general knowledge among the people' itself which has become criminal.

"Just as Bradley Manning is condemned, so too is that spirit of liberty in which America was founded.

"In the end it is not Bradley Manning who is on trial. His trial ended long ago. The defendant now, and for the next 12 weeks, is the United States.

"A runaway military, whose misdeeds have been laid bare, and a secretive government at war with the public. They sit in the docks. We are called to serve as jurists. We must not turn away."

Read: WikiLeaks US soldier trial divides America

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WikiLeaks US soldier was 'naive, but good intentioned'

The attorney of US soldier Private Bradley Manning has described his client as "Young, naive, but good intentioned" during a brief opening statement.

David Coombs said that Manning arrived in Iraq when he was "22-years young".

He was deployed to Iraq with custom dog tags that said "humanist" on the back, with the hope that he could make the country a safer.

The attorney spoke of a formative event on Christmas Eve in 2009, when an explosively-formed projectile (EFP) missed a US convoy but struck a car with an Iraqi family.

He was 22-years old. He was young. A little naive, but good intentioned in that he was selecting information that he thought would make a difference.

He is not the typical soldier.

He was a humanist.

– Attorney of US soldier Private Bradley Manning

Coombs said Manning could not forget the Iraqi civilians hurt and killed in the attack, and how he "started to struggle".

He said Manning began to select specific information that he believed the public should see, that could not be used against the US, and "would make the world a better place".

Prosecutor: WikiLeaks US soldier case of 'arrogance'

In an opening statement prosecutor captain Joe Morrow said that the case against US soldier Private Bradley Manning was about what happens when 'arrogance meets access to sensitive information'.

This, your honour, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information on to the Internet into the hands of the enemy.

This is a case of about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information.

– Prosecutor captain Joe Morrow

American soldier goes on trial in WikiLeaks case

The trial has begun of an American soldier accused of providing thousands of secret documents to the WikiLeaks website. In its opening statement, the prosecution said Private Bradley Manning dumped classified documents onto the internet and into enemy hands.

A poster of Private Bradley Manning outside the US Army's Fort George G Meade in Maryland
A poster of Private Bradley Manning outside the US Army's Fort George G Meade in Maryland Credit: Reuters

Prosecutors are trying to prove Manning helped the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence. Manning says he did not believe the information would harm the US.

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WikiLeaks US soldier faces a possible life sentence

Private Manning faces a possible life sentence for aiding America's enemies following allegations he leaked thousands of classified documents in 2009 and 2010. He has pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, but not to the most serious of aiding the enemy.

  • Manning is accused of passing a video to WikiLeaks showing an Apache helicopter apparently opening fire on a group of civilians
  • He was working as an Army Intelligence Analyst in Baghdad and is said to have found it impossible to stay quiet when he saw unarmed men being killed
  • Further leaks allegedly followed and in July 2010, and 90,000 classified documents about the war in Afghanistan were published
  • A few months later thousands more documents were released, some suggesting the US military ignored the abuse of Iraqi prisoners
  • After that, it was claimed Manning was behind the release of 250,000 US State Department cables, which contained controversial comments about political figures