Friday, March 15, 2013

Bradley Manning Tells His Story in Leaked Court Recording

Democracy Now! is reporting on a leaked court recording of Private Bradley Manning speaking at his pretrial hearing last month. It is the first time Manning has been heard publicly since he was arrested three years ago for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, including the "Collateral Murder" video of US soldiers in Baghdad firing on civillians from an apache helicopter (viewable below).

This is a fascinating opportunity to hear from the man whose actions sparked the controversy that put WikiLeaks on the map. It's also a reminder that Manning's legal battle is still ongoing and that his guilt is yet to be determined, despite President Obama's problematic assertion in 2011 that Manning "broke the law." In fact Manning only just recently pled guilty to the charges against him for leaking classified materials to WikiLeaks, and notably continues to deny charges including "aiding the enemy."

Manning's battle continues to be politically and ethically charged, inspired by horror at the US Military's "bloodlust" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democracy Now!'s transcript demonstrates Manning's belief that greater public knowledge would lead to more informed political discourse and foreign policy:
I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables, this could 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. 
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the debate—that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment every day.
It's hard to believe this is the first time the public has heard directly from Manning since his arrest, but then it must be difficult to release statements when you're in custody. To this day Manning remains confined at Fort Leavenworth, KS, where he continues his three year wait for a trial.

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