The 24-year-old private-first-class is now in prison, facing a general court martial. He's accused of disclosing more than 250,000 diplomatic cables as well as video of a 2007 airstrike in which two Reuters news service reporters and 10 other unarmed people were killed.
Manning, a member of the elite 10th Mountain Division, allegedly pulled the items from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network the U. S. government uses to transmit classified information during his time in Iraq as an intelligence analyst. He is accused of leaking the documents to the WikiLeaks transparency website, which subsequently made them available to people around the world.
Manning was nominated by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of Iceland's parliament who champions freedom of the press. She advocates turning Iceland into a haven of press freedom.
"The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings," Jónsdóttir said in her nominating letter. "These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq."
The embassy cables detailed the peculiar behavior of despots like the late Moammar Gadhafi. Despite government claims that they endangered the safety of intelligence agents, it's clear that many of the leaked documents should never have been classified.
Removing them from public scrutiny served no other purpose than to create an environment in which the 99% had little or no idea what was being done in their name by the ruling political machines of the 1%.
Manning and his alleged collaborator, Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, have both paid a heavy price for making the videos and cables available to the 99%. Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010 and has spent at least 10 months in solitary confinement.
Assange was accused of forcing himself on two women in Sweden in 2010, shortly after the cables were made public. He has been waging a lengthy battle in British courts against extradition to Sweden, where the alleged acts supposedly occurred.
Assange says the sex was consentual. An article in The Guardian about the incidents indicated that both alleged victims continued to interact socially afterward with Assange. Their concerns revolved around his unwillingness to wear a condom during sex, rather than any act that would commonly be considered rape in the United States.
Manning's arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 23. That's when the dates for a series of hearings on pre-trial motions will be established, as well as the start of the full court-martial.