[JURIST] US Army [official website] commander Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington [official profile] referred Pfc. Bradley Manning [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] to a general court-marital Friday on all charges for allegedly releasing classified information to WikiLeaks [website; JURIST news archive]. The referral to a court-martial means Manning will now stand trial [AP report] on 22 counts brought against him for his alleged disclosure of over 700,000 confidential documents and videos to the Wikileaks website. It was the largest leak of classified information in US history. Manning’s defense lawyers argue he should have never been sent to Iraq nor given access to the confidential information because he was emotionally troubled. Prosecutors for the military presented evidence at a preliminary hearing in December showing that Manning downloaded battle reports, diplomatic cables, and a video of a helicopter attack by the US Army and sent them to WikiLeaks. Manning may face life imprisonment if convicted of “aiding the enemy.” A judge has yet to be appointed to preside over the trial and a trial date has not yet been set.
WikiLeaks has recently revealed more confidential information concerning the United States. In August, the website began publishing “The Guantanamo Files” [JURIST report], a collection of more than 700 classified documents relating to the evidence and treatment of almost all detainees held at Guantanamo Bay between 2002 and 2008. In November 2010, US Attorney General Eric Holder, condemned WikiLeaks [JURIST report] for its publication of confidential information, saying that it threatens US national security, specifically by risking the safety of those serving the country and straining important diplomatic relationships. WikiLeaks has alleged the information must be revealed to the public as evidence of potential crimes against humanity. In July 2010, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that the Afghan War Diaries, a compilation of 91,000 documents leaked to the organization on the US war effort in Afghanistan, may provide evidence [JURIST report] of war crimes committed by US forces.