Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier allegedly responsible for leaking sensitive information to the WikiLeaks website, will have to face all 22 charges brought against him in a military court of law, an Army judge ruled April 26.

Col. Denise Lind, who is presiding over the case, decided to maintain the original charges, which include the severe offense of helping enemy forces.
Lawyers for Manning sought to have that charge and others dismissed, according to The Huffington Post.

Even if Manning is found guilty only on the most serious charge, the 24-year-old soldier could be ordered to spend the rest of his adult life in a prison cell.

The military judge also declined requests to combine charges that defense attorneys argued were repetitive. Lind did leave open an opportunity for the defense to reintroduce those requests for consolidation at a later date, should Manning be convicted.

“The number of charges does not misrepresent or exaggerate the accused theft of government property,” Lind told ABC News.

Manning is an Oklahoma native, and a member of the U.S. Army. He is accused of disclosing thousands of reports and diplomatic cables about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the WikiLeaks website. The leak was the largest dispersal of classified government information in U.S. history, according to the Huffington Post.

While the U.S. government has fought to keep the discussion of actual damage caused- or not caused- by the leak out of the courtroom, Americans have rallied behind Manning and his actions.

“Everything we know about Bradley Manning is the complete opposite of this charge—nothing about aiding the enemy but everything about aiding the public’s understanding of an unpopular war,” said leader of the Bradley Manning Support Group, Jeff Paterson.

That information included a 2007 cockpit video of an attack that accidentally killed civilians from a U.S. Apache helicopter, war logs, and other classified information Manning allegedly downloaded illegally from government computers while serving in Baghdad, where he analyzed intelligence between late 2009 and the beginning of 2010.

Prosecutors say that Manning was aware he was giving classified information to WikiLeaks, a website that prides itself on exposing secrets of major corporations and governments.
Manning’s representation, according to The Huffington Post, claims that he did not have intentions of helping al-Qaida when he sent the material to WikiLeaks.

Manning is currently being held in Kansas at Fort Leavenworth. He was charged in 2010, and has been in pretrial confinement ever since.

The soldier is set to stand trial in the fall, from Sept. 21 to Oct 12. He has not entered a plea for the charges, and has not decided whether he will request a trial by jury or judge. 

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer