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Military Whistleblower -- Criminal or Patriot?

Pfc. Bradley Manning, presently confined in detention at a U.S. Army camp in Kuwait, is at the center of a whistle blowing storm reminiscent of Daniel Elllsberg's leak of the Pentagon papers in 1971.

Manning was charged in early July with 12 counts of transferring classified military information to his personal computer and then sending it on to a third party not authorized to receive it. Among other things that Manning allegedly provided, while he was stationed in Iraq, was a classified video showing a 2007 Army helicopter airstrike that killed 12 civilians. WikiLeaks, a whistleblower organization, posted the video, which war critics have cited to allege that the U.S. military knowingly killed non-combatants. WikiLeaks has also just posted an additional 75,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan.

Manning was stationed in Iraq from November 2009 to May of this year. A person alleging to be an online friend and sounding board, ex-hacker Adrian Lamo, reported Manning in late May, stating that he did so out of concerns that the security breaches endangered national security.

The Army has issued a statement indicating that a military version of a grand jury will decide whether Manning will face a court martial. He potentially faces up to 52 years in prison.

As to Ellsberg, now 79 and watching the matter closely, he says that Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are heroes, not villains, for providing the public with information that the government is trying to keep secret. He says that Manning "is the first person in 39 years to do something comparable to what I did - and really better than what I did, because it's current."

www.foxnews.com "Accused Army Whistleblower Remains Jailed as Another Leak Hits Washington" July 26, 2010

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