The military trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who passed thousands of classified documents to transparency organization WikiLeaks, began Monday at Fort Meade, Md. The charges he faces include mishandling of classified documents and aiding the enemy. Manning chose to have his case decided by a judge rather than a jury, and the trial is expected to last all summer.

Manning was arrested in 2010 and has been incarcerated ever since. During his detention at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the conditions there were likened to those at the jail at Guantanamo Bay.

Twice honored as our Truthdigger of the Week, Manning has become a rallying point for advocates of a free press, who argue that his imprisonment spells disaster for the ability of journalists to report on classified information.

The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Three years ago the transparency website WikiLeaks released a video of a U.S. Apache helicopter gunning down Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street.

It was just one chilling public revelation from a cache of 700,000 documents a young Army private first class named Bradley Manning gave the site. Soon after would follow sobering field reports from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, and candid diplomatic cables from the U.S. Department of State.

To Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Manning is “an embodiment of what sort of person I would like to be.” An activist as well as a politician, she helped edit the so-called “Collateral Murder” gun cam video.

“I would like to have the same courage, the same sense of justice, the same integrity as Bradley Manning,” she said. “He in my opinion is in the exact category as [Pentagon Papers whistle-blower] Daniel Ellsberg and other fighters for freedom of expression.”

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— Posted by Christian Neumeister

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