Bradley Manning admits to leaking ‘the most significant documents of our time’

Protesters carry signs in support of US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)
Protesters carry signs in support of US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)

Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence officer accused of passing sensitive military documents to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, pleaded guilty to ten separate charges on Thursday.

Private First Class Bradley Manning, 25, told a military court that he was responsible for uploading a trove of material to the website and pleaded guilty to 10 counts. He has been charged with 22 in all, though, and the court could reject his plea.

After his plea was read to the court, Pfc Manning for the first time formally admitted guilt in the court, more than 1,000 days after being arrested. Reading a 35-page statement from his seat before Col. Denise Lind, Manning explained why exactly he risked his life to publish state-secrets.

Pfc. Manning pleaded not guilty to aiding the enemy and a number of other lesser charges, but told the court he’d like to take the blame for a series of other counts — charges that were not presented by the government but introduced by the soldier himself. In lieu of a laundry list of charges that could put Manning away in prison for life, he hopes the court will convict him of only ten lesser offenses that come with only a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Manning pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession and willful communication of sensitive material, including the hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and other materials provided to WikiLeaks. By pleading guilty, he waves the right to appeal a decision made earlier in the week in which the court ruled that Manning’s right to a speedy trial was not violated.

Bradley Manning (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)
Bradley Manning (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

In explaining himself, Manning told the court that he communicated with unidentified persons he believed to be working for WikiLeaks, and assumed he was speaking with founder Julian Assange. Manning says he only sent the anti-secrecy website material after being rejected by other outlets, however.

While on break from the Army, Manning says he called up the Washington Post and claimed to have materials with “enormous value to the American public.” Manning told the judge that he “spoke for 5 minutes about the general nature” of the documents but said, “I do not believe she took me seriously.”

Rejected, Pfc. Manning approached The New York Times, an outlet he described as “the largest and most popular newspaper” in the world. “I left a message saying I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I thought was very important,” he said.

“I never received a reply from the New York Times,” claimed Manning, even though he left the paper with multiple ways to be reached, including his Skype name.

Believing there were few appropriate conduits for the materials he collected as an intelligence officer, he said WikiLeaks “seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information.”

In an interview with British public television, Assange referred to Manning as “America’s foremost political prisoner,” adding that “the only safe way to get these cowards to publish anything is to get WikiLeaks to do it first.”

All those involved in the persecution of Bradley Manning will find cause to reflect on their actions,” Assange asserted.

During pre-trial motion hearings earlier in the case, prosecutors admitted that they would have charged the Times with releasing the information had they published them before WikiLeaks. In January, prosecuting attorney Capt. Angel Overgaard, said, “publishing information in a newspaper [can] indirectly convey information to the enemy.” When Col. Lind asked if that would apply to WikiLeaks, Capt. Overgaard said, “‘Yes, ma’am.”

Manning is slated to go before a military court-martial this June, and faces life imprisonment if convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of the charges against him. On Thursday, however, the Kansas-born pleaded guilty to lesser charges in hopes of a more lenient sentence. Earlier, during this week’s pre-trial hearing, those in the Ft. Meade, Maryland, courtroom were told that Manning hoped releasing intelligence to WikiLeaks would “spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general.” Last year, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange credited the materials attributed to Manning with helping end the US war in Iraq.

“If Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and invaluable to all of us,” Assange said during a December address penned from London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. “It was WikiLeaks’ revelations — not the actions of President Obama — that forced the US administration out of the Iraq War… By exposing the killing of Iraqi children, WikiLeaks directly motivated the Iraqi government to strip the US military of legal immunity, which in turn forced the US withdrawal.”

Among the materials Manning said he handed over were State Dept. cables, Pentagon logs referred to today as the ‘Iraq and Afghan War Diaries,’ as well as video published by WikiLeaks under the title ‘Collateral Murder.’ With that release, WikiLeaks showed US soldiers onboard an Apache helicopter opening fire on Iraqi civilians, including a Reuters photographer.

Members of the Bradley Manning Support Group protest under the rain during a rally at the entrance of Fort George G. Meade military base in Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov)
Members of the Bradley Manning Support Group protest under the rain during a rally at the entrance of Fort George G. Meade military base in Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov)

“For me, this seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass,” Manning said Thursday of the footage. In regards to the war logs, he said his opinion remains that the releases consisted of “two of the most significant documents of our time.” The cables, he added, “documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn’t seem” to fit with the public’s perception of an ethically-sound America.

“I thought these cables were the perfect example of a need for more open state diplomacy,” he said.

Previously, Col. Lind expressed concern over having Manning read a sworn statement, instead preferring for him only to answer questions while on the stand. “He can try to read it, but I am going to stop him” if the contents are not relevant to being guilty of committing the lesser offenses of entered in the plea, she said.

“He understands his statement and he understands the elements he needs to plead guilty,” Manning’s attorney David Coombs told the judge.

Manning has been detained for over 1,000 days without a formal military trial, and will see the start of his fourth year behind bars this May. The only other time he has spoken publicly on the stand was in December 2012, when he testified about the conditions he endured while detained at a military brig in Northern Virginia.

Lind agreed to take 122 days off any eventual sentence for Manning due to the poor treatment. Earlier this week, she dismissed an attempt by the defense to have all charges against Manning dropped over an alleged violation of the ‘speedy trial’ statute.

Source: RT

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15 Responses to Bradley Manning admits to leaking ‘the most significant documents of our time’

  1. George Collins March 1, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    I read once about a whistle blower in the Middle Ages that found out the pope was actually an atheist who was entertaining prostitutes in the Vatican. The pope found out this man had told the truth about him and had him burned at the stake.

    Same thing here.

    Reply
  2. Jack Nelson March 1, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    Although he thought he was doing “right” in his own eyes, and although the information showed that there were civilians being killed, that doesn’t give him the right to illegally transmit this data to others outside of the military. Having been in the service myself, there are always things that don’t seem right, correct, etc., but you’re under oath that you will perform your military duty according to what you signed up for.

    It would be a different story if he waited until he got out of the service and then verbally relayed this information to someone, but irregardless whether the US does wrong in conflicts (as all countries do), doesn’t give a pass to someone to divulge this info while currently serving in the military.

    I totally agree with the fact that the US is wrong in what it’s done and should pay for the atrocities that it has done since WW1, but there’s other avenues to go with.

    Reply
    • Edward March 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Did you read the article? There AREN’T any other avenues for this information. Our media was sold a long time ago.

      Reply
    • DDearborn March 2, 2013 at 5:21 AM

      Hmmm

      You know I took that oath when I signed up to defend my country. I swore an oath that I would uphold and defend the Constitution. That is precisely what Private Manning was doing. Also under the UCMJ you are required to come forward if you have knowledge that a crime was committed. Again Private Manning was doing his duty.

      Sir when you become a member of the Military your first allegence was to your country, not your command structure. All members of the Armed Forces are serving their country not the President, not the Joints Chiefs.

      Reply
  3. Dan March 1, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    The brutality has always been there. In German

    Reply
  4. Anthony Migchels March 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Jack Nelson, but apparently he is far from done with negating the Army’s brainwashing.

    Nelson’s buddies were slaughtering innocent people for fun and Manning had both the morals and the balls to see it and loath it and do something about it.

    The people now locking him up for 20 years plus are complete psychopaths, as we have come to expect from soldiers, prosecutors and other executives in the system.

    Reply
  5. John March 1, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    ” but there’s other avenues to go with”

    After a decade of the lying war of terror & the 911 lie, what are the other avenues?

    They are locking up & suiciding the whistleblowers.

    Our politicians of both parties went along with 20 years of deregulation greenspan for their favorite corporations, wallstreet & the banksters, and due to massive fraud & corruption caused & created the 2008 collapse. This is a management created crisis.

    Reply
  6. John March 1, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    At the end of the bush/cheney crime team, obama & the demos made many promises:

    End the war, bring the troops home – didn’t happen, still invading countries
    Prosecute wallstreet & the banksters – bailed out, given bonuses & called best & brightest
    Prosecute bush & cheney for Iraq war crimes – didn’t happen
    Repeal NAFTA/CAFTA, Bring jobs back to America – didn’t happen
    Ban lobbyist – didn’t happen, the secrecy is even worse than bush/cheney crime team
    Creat secure borders – didn’t happen

    All we got was forced pay health care to save the insurance companies.
    The two party system is completely corrupted. They are all becoming multimillionaires while they impoverish the rest of america & the global economy.

    Reply
  7. paul March 1, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    I worked with similar high-level classified materiel while in the military many years ago. We are entitled to our feelings, and once out of the military, to engage in lawful efforts to change things, if possible (like running for office, or working for media without divulging national secrets). While this may be a bit dodgy, I probably think that discussing things with close family members and fellow servicemen has its place if done responsibly. But what this young PFC (NOT an officer) did was reprehensible. What a jerk, at a minimum. There definitely exists a need to pursue truth in this nation’s foreign policies. And this is not the way to do it.

    Reply
    • Edward March 1, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      So tell us how.

      Reply
    • nygrump March 3, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      You don’t seem to have any exceptions. So if you found out the govt officials were raping small children and told it was necessary security, you would do your job and ocntinue to help the govt rape small children? That is the worst kind of cowardice. Manley is a hero because he stood up to the sociopathic child killers, and is paying the price.

      Reply
  8. Wayne March 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Let’s not forget the documents that US Navy analyst, Jonathan Pollard, stole and then gave to Israel. The nuclear launch codes of the US armed forces. Our “good friends and allies”, then sold them to the Soviet Union. There was a two year period that both Israel and the Soviets could stop our nuclear weapons. The USA was totally vulnerable. Every year Israel tries to get Pollard released, but he is imprisoned. Then Secretary of Defense, Weinberger, said that Pollard is lucky he was not executed as he should have been.

    Reply
  9. Jos March 1, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    “Although he thought he was doing “right” in his own eyes, and although the information showed that there were civilians being killed, that doesn’t give him the right to illegally transmit this data to others outside of the military.”

    I disagree vehemently.

    Manning had the right ….. no …. the obligation …. to report criminal conduct and crimes against humanity. If real Americans — people of caring conscience — put it all on the line like Manning, 9/11 would have been solved already and millions of Iraqis would not have been murdered.

    Manning should have never joined the military. He has too much integrity.

    Reply
  10. Eochaidh MacDhalaigh OghaChruithne March 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Yesterday a big truck consisting of a metal tube about 50 feet long and about 12 feet in diameter that carried a ballistic missile drove East on the business loop (Motel Drive) of Interstate 10 in my town (Lordsburg) in order to avoid the D.H.S. truck inspection port-of-entry. Being a patriotic and loyal American I phoned my contact in the Chinese embassy. They didn’t believe me. So I phoned my source “Bob” at the F.B.I. She got real hinkey and just repeated over and over and over “You did not see a Coast Guard food container” “The Coast Guard doesn’t ship by truck.”. I’ve never been able to figure out where the F.B.I. is coming from. I only wish “Bob” would share some of that cool-aid with me that’s she’s drinking.

    I’ve been reporting to Julian Assange at the Russian embassy whenever I spot a train going by that has three or more engines. According to a Russian General intercontinental ballistic missiles are so heavy that they require three engines to pull them across Siberia. There’s a lot of 3 engine trains going through towm. Do the math?

    Anyway, after the editors of the Washington Post and New York Times wouldn’t even take my calls I phoned Julian again at the embassy. It was late around 10:00 p.m. But, he was still there. It was him. But he kept shouting “Nyet” “Nyet” “Nyet” and screaming that he was the janitor Natashya Putin.

    I can’t wait til my day in court.

    Reply
  11. waltry March 1, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Wasn’t it Obamy who said in a speech “….If you have nothing to hide…”

    Reply

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