After three years characterised by delay, obfuscation and mistreatment, the trial of US army whistleblower Bradley Manning has finally commenced at a military facility in Maryland.

The material released by Manning has been of historic significance. It has revealed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the casual approach of US forces to the killing of unarmed civilians, the involvement of the US in military operations hitherto kept secret, the systematic use of the State Department to aggressively pursue the economic interests of the US without regard to cost, and the close involvement of non-Americans in US diplomatic and intelligence circles.