Update March 12 below.
While the original 35-page statement by Bradley Manning last week at the pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, Md, has not yet been released, one can read through a rough transcript of it on the Bradley Manning Support Network. It is a testimony of an exemplary young American soldier, highly competent in his work as intelligence analyst, committed to his tasks, reliable and responsible. Well, and no longer loyal when having experienced war crimes.
“After sending this [the compressed data files of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs which became the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs when WikiLeaks published them], I left the SD card in a camera case at my aunt’s house in the event I needed it again in the future. I returned from mid-tour leave on 11 February 2010. Although the information had not yet been published by the WLO (WikiLeaks Organization), I felt this sense of relief by them having it. I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and what I had read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.” (Emphasis added.)
True, after having sent the Iran and Afghanistan War Logs in February 2010 from his aunt’s home in Maryland, he became a repeater when later sending to WikiLeaks the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable, and outright “war porn” as what has become known as the Collateral Murder video of the 12 July 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad. It’s amazing to read Manning’s words here.
“The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the [killed in the attack] children or the parents. Later, in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team crew vocalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over one of the bodies.
As I continued my research [on the Apache helicopter attack], I found an article discussing a book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.
In Mr. Finkel[‘s] book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize[d] that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.
It is clear to me Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as payback for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account of the engagement by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together—a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture with his middle finger.
The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter.
“I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period, as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW at the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU [Containerized Housing Unit]. I planned to keep this information there until I re-deployed in Summer 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.
“After the release, I was concern[ed] about the impact of the video and how it would be […] received by the general public. I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled—if not more troubled—tha[n] me by what they saw.
At this time, I began seeing reports claiming that the Department of Defense an[d] CENTCOM could not confirm the authenticity of the video. Additionally, one of my supervisors, Captain Casey Fulton, stated her belief that the video was not authentic. In [my] response, I decided to ensure that the authenticity of the video would not be questioned in the future. On 25 February 2010, I emailed Captain Fulton a link to the video that was on our T-drive, and a copy of the video published by WLO that was collected by the open source center so she could compare them herself.“
Manning describes that several attempts to inform superiors about what he had to analyze on a daily basis were unavailing. He sent, to WikiLeaks, the Guantanamo files; then, between 28 March and 3 May 2010, he downloaded the diplomatic cables. He also saved on his computer the video of the Granai air strike of May 2009 in Afghanistan when probably more than 100 civilians, mainly women and children, had “accidentally” been killed.
Shortly after that, Manning had been betrayed by a former hacker with whom he had chatted by email and was then arrested by the FBI. During his 28 February 2013 pretrial hearing, he pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 lesser charges but anyway has to expect to be held in prison between 20 years or lifelong.
9 March 2013 @ 2:54 pm.
Last modified March 9, 2013.
Update March 12. The audio recording of Bradley Manning when reading his manuscript on February 28 in his pretrial hearing in Fort Meade has been leaked by Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF). You can hear it after having clicked here. See more information by Glenn Greenwald here. He concludes,
“It [the leak by FPF] is a cause for celebration that the US government’s efforts to silence his voice, literally, have now been thwarted. Now, people can and should hear directly from Manning himself and make their own assessment. Whoever made this illicit recording (as well as the FPF in publishing it) acted in the best spirit of Manning himself: defying corrupt, unjust and self-protecting government secrecy rules in order to inform the world about vital matters.”