Bradley Manning: The Face of Heroism

PVT Bradley ManningThrough his lawyer, 25-year-old Army Private Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges that include possessing and wilfully communicating to an unauthorized person all the main elements of the WikiLeaks disclosure. That covered the so-called “collateral murder” video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some US diplomatic cables including one of the early WikiLeaks publications the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, some of the files on detainees in Guantanamo; and two intelligence memos.

These lesser charges each carry a two-year maximum sentence, committing PVT Manning to a possible upper limit of 20 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty to “aiding the enemy,” which carries a life sentence. Manning’s court martial is expected to begin on June 3.

For the first time, Bradley Manning explained why he decided to reveal U.S. government secrets to the media.

Manning spoke for over an hour as he read from a 35-page document detailing and explaining his actions that drove him to disclose what he said he “believed, and still believe… are some of the most significant documents of our time.”

…Manning’s motivations in leaking, he said, was to “spark a domestic debate of the role of the military and foreign policy in general,” he said, and “cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.” Manning said he was in sound mind when he leaked, and did so deliberately, regardless of the legal circumstances.

Remarkably, Manning said he first tried to take his information to the Washington Post, the New York Times and Politico, before contacting WikiLeaks.

…He said he took “full responsibility” for a decision that will likely land him in prison for the next 20 years — and possibly the rest of his life.

Glenn Greenwald:

Without question, Manning’s leaks produced more significant international news scoops in 2010 than those of every media outlet on the planet combined.

This was all achieved because a then-22-year-old Army Private knowingly risked his liberty in order to inform the world about what he learned. He endured treatment which the top UN torture investigator deemed “cruel and inhuman”, and he now faces decades in prison if not life. He knew exactly what he was risking, what he was likely subjecting himself to. But he made the choice to do it anyway because of the good he believed he could achieve, because of the evil that he believed needed urgently to be exposed and combated, and because of his conviction that only leaks enable the public to learn the truth about the bad acts their governments are doing in secret.

Heroism is a slippery and ambiguous concept. But whatever it means, it is embodied by Bradley Manning and the acts which he unflinchingly acknowledged Friday he chose to undertake.

This is where we are today. We only learn about government crimes when someone in the know is courageous enough to risk torture and life imprisonment in order to reveal the truth. Consider how thousands of people had access to the same information, but only Bradley Manning did the right thing. By the way, nothing he gave to Wikileaks damaged operational security. The court-martial judge will determine whether publishing evidence of un-prosecuted war crimes amounts to “aiding the enemy.”

More info:
Wikileaks Obtains Video of 2007 War Crime (April 5, 2010)

UPDATE: Leaked Audio: US Citizens Can Now Hear Bradley Manning Give His Statement

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on March 3, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    May Bradley Manning haunt the cowards who have the audacity to stand in front of the flag without mentioning his name.

  2. #2 by cav on March 6, 2013 - 10:32 am

    Re Bradley Manning

    “When UPI’s Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” other than to voice disapproval.

    But Pace had a different view. “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.

    Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”

    But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/29/AR2005112901405.html

  3. #3 by Larry Bergan on March 6, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    Everybody knew that Nixon had been tutored in the skill of doubletalk. Since Rumsfeld and Cheney were there at the time, they probably had the same teacher.

    I don’t think I understood a single thing either of those guys said. That was the purpose. Whenever Rumsfeld got caught having to say something he couldn’t figure out how to twist, he would just say that he hadn’t heard anything about it.

  4. #4 by Larry Bergan on March 6, 2013 - 5:13 pm

    Rumsfeld aside. Anybody who sits and watches Bradley Manning go through anymore of this dark charade should be ashamed.

    Got to say; considering what he’s gone through, he seems to be holding up remarkably well!

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