Manning finally speaks.
In conjunction with this statement given below, Private First Class Bradley Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, though not any of the most serious charges.
In a secret recording smuggled from military court Manning admits to the Judge: 'I leaked the most significant documents of our time.'
In April, 2010, WikiLeaks made major news around the world when it published its 'Collateral Murder' video, showing US soldiers in Baghdad gleefully celebrating as they gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and then showered their rescuers with bullets, killing several children in the barrage.
Here is Manning, in his own words, explaining his reaction when he first saw the footage and the process that led him to leak it to the world.
VIDEO: Manning explains why he leaked secret documents.
Manning's thoughts on the Apache helicopter file.
"At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me ...
It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely "good samaritans." The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have."
On its blog, the Freedom of Press Foundation explains why it published the leaked audio.
Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning's pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review.
Here's an interesting read on how the Freedom of Press Foundation (founded by Glenn Greenwald) acquired the audio:
A leaked recording of Bradley Manning's testimony in a military court has given the public its first chance to hear the young soldier justifying his decision to leak hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning admits to leaking 'most significant documents of our time.'
Private Manning’s Confidant - Must Read NYT Piece
Source for Leak:
Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation published 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.
While unofficial transcripts of this statement are widely available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.
Trevor Timm, Executive Director and founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, stated: "Transparency is vital for an informed public, whether we're talking about the courtroom, Congress, or the executive branch. We hope this release will shine light on the plight of whistleblowers everywhere."
In the audio file, Private First Class Manning 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 well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan." In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.
Daniel Ellsberg, famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower as well as a founder and board member for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, noted the similarities between Manning’s situation and his own prosecution: "Manning faces some of exact same charges I faced forty-two years ago when I leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times and eighteen other papers. The only difference is I was a civilian, so I could stay out of jail on bond while the trial was going on, and was able to talk to the media throughout."
Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to support and defend cutting-edge transparency journalism by supporting those organizations that publish leaks in the public interest. It often reports on news surrounding government secrecy, educating the public about the important relationship between leaking and independent journalism. This recording presented a unique opportunity to bring some small measure of transparency directly by allowing the world to hear for itself the voice of someone who took a controversial and important stance for government transparency.
John Cusack, famed actor and activist who is also a founder and board member for the organization, said: "Growing up with the living legacy of the Berrigan brothers and fellow board member Daniel Ellsberg, I deeply and profoundly respect the sacrifice made by those heroic individuals who speak their truth no matter what price they may pay. We hope this recording inspires more participation in a broad-based movement to restore and protect the First Amendment."
Freedom of the Press Foundation was founded in the winter of 2012 to crowd-fund a variety of journalism institutions—both start-ups and established organizations—who are dedicated to aggressive, uncompromising journalism in the vein of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers.
The Foundation's Board of Directors is comprised of journalists and free expression advocates, including John Perry Barlow, Daniel Ellsberg, Xeni Jardin, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Josh Stearns, Rainey Reitman, Trevor Timm, and John Cusack.
I was the Bradley Manning of my day. In 1971 I too faced life (115 years) in prison for exposing classified government lies and crimes. President Obama says “the Ellsberg material was classified on a different basis.” True. The Pentagon Papers were not Secret like the Wikileaks revelations, they were all marked Top Secret—Sensitive.
Ultimately all charges in my case were dropped because of criminal governmental misconduct toward me during my proceedings. Exactly the same outcome should occur now, in light of the criminal conditions of Manning’s confinement for the last six months.
Dylan Ratigan and panel discuss the video - 2010.
The original video released by WikiLeaks.
Remember when watching this video -- They hate us for our freedom.
Private Manning’s Confidant - Must Read NYT Piece