Posted 5 years ago on March 12, 2013, 2:40 p.m. EST by TrevorMnemonic
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.
While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.
He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would "spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan."
Here is a post on this from Daniel Ellsberg, a former American military analyst who sparked a national uproar in 1971.
Excerpt - Aiding the enemy
It's important to remember through all this that Manning has already pled guilty to ten charges of violating military regulations (few of which, if any would be civilian crimes) and faces twenty years in jail. Yet the prosecutors are still going ahead with the absurd charge of "aiding the enemy," a capital offense, of which the prosecutors are asking for life in prison.
Nixon could have brought that charge against me too. I was revealing wrongdoing by our government in a public way, and that information could have been read by our enemies in Vietnam. Of course, I never had that intent and Manning didn't either. We both leaked information to provoke a domestic debate about military force and government secrecy. And to say we did so to aid the enemy is absurd.
This charge could have huge effects on the free speech of anyone in the military and journalists across the country. Any op-ed that is critical of military tactics or any news story that exposes misdeeds of the government can potentially lead to a capital offense.
Worse, the charge purports to apply to anyone, not just the military. It's blatantly unconstitutional.
Manning was discriminating
Critics have alleged that a major difference between my case and Manning's is that I was discriminating in what I leaked, while Manning wasn't. He just dumped some material that doesn't need to be out, they say. This is simply false.
First, it's important to point out most of the material he put out was unclassified. The rest was classified 'secret,' which is relatively low level. All of the Pentagon Papers was classified top secret.
But in a fact no one seems to observe from his statement, Manning was working within a "SCIF," which stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. To get into a SCIF, a soldier needs a clearance higher than top secret. This means he had access to the highest classified material, such as communications and signals intelligence. This means he could've put out information top secret and higher, and purposely chose not to do so.
Some of the most critical documents leaked by Manning revealed torture by the Iraqi government, which the US knew about, and according to the international treaty on torture, the US should have required investigations.
In fact, the Iraq war logs show hundreds of instances of cases of torture, and in every case, the soldiers were given the illegal order not to investigate.
In his statement to the court, Manning talks about an incident where he thought men who were apprehended shouldn't have been, and that they were being handed over to the Iraqis to possibly be tortured. He went to his superior and was told to forget about it.
Bradley Manning, by releasing this information, is the only solider who actually obeyed this law, the international treaty, and by extension, the Constitution.