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article imageAudio: Bradley Manning's statement to court martial leaked

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 13, 2013 in World
The audio of Pfc.Bradley Manning's statement before a court martial in Fort Meade, Md., explaining the motive for his actions has been leaked to the Freedom of the Press Foundation which published it late Monday in violation of court rules.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation is a nonprofit group of activists advocating for transparency. The group was formed in December 2012.
The group released the full audio of Bradley Manning's statement that lasted one hour and eight minutes. The recording is the first time the public has heard Manning's voice since he was arrested in May 2012.
The audio helps to circumvent the secrecy in which the military trial of Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst, is being conducted. The US government has prohibited video, audio and photographs of the proceedings and it is still unclear who leaked the audio.
Listen to the full audio of manning's statement and six excerpts above, courtesy of the Freedom of Press Foundation:
Excerpt 1: motive in releasing war logs
Excerpt 2: Contacting media outlets
Excerpt 3: Manning's reaction when he found the Apache helicopter video
Excerpt 4: On reporting that Iraqi detainees did nothing wrong
Excerpt 5: Motives in releasing cables
Excerpt 6: Assessing sensitivity diplomatic cables
The video below (a short film by Laura Poitras and Jenny Perlin) includes the leaked recording in which Manning describes his reaction to the July 12, 2007 Baghdad Apache airstrike video that documented the killing of two Reuters journalists (Exceprt 3). The video includes disturbing scenes of the attack.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation explaining why it released the audio, said: "We have been disturbed that Manning’s pretrial 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... By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation's most prolific whistleblower can be heard — literally — by the world."
The statement said further: "Extreme secrecy in our courts, just like in our government's policies and our politics, is an anathema to democracy. Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public's right-to-know and journalists' ability to report on matters of deep public concern."
Digital Journal reported that in February, a military judge accepted the guilty pleas of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 10 lesser charges against him in a case considered the biggest leak of state secrets in US history. He is now left to face 12 other criminal charges for allegedly leaking thousands of government documents to the WikiLeaks website.
He spent more than an hour reading a 35-page statement in which he explained the motives behind his actions. Manning said he leaked the documents to "spark a debate about US foreign policy" and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He claimed he released the information to enlighten the public about "what happens and why it happens," Digital Journal reported.
He portrayed himself as a person with "insatiable thirst for geopolitical information" and a desire to enlighten the public about what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his words, he became disillusioned after he witnessed in Iraq actions that to him "didn't seem characteristic" of the U.S. as the leader of free world.
He said he carefully considered his actions and took care not release more sensitive documents. He said the most difficult documents for him to release were the diplomatic cables which revealed "back-room deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn't reflect the so-called leader of the free world."
Digital Journal reported he said: "I thought these cables were a prime example of the need for a more open diplomacy. I believed that these cables would not damage the United States. However, I believed these cables would be embarrassing."
He said: "I believed if the public — in particular the American public — had access to the information... this could spark a debate about foreign policy in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan."
"I am the type of person who always wants to figure out how things work, and as an analyst this always means I want to figure out the truth."
Describing one of the videos, a 2007 airstrike in which a US helicopter fired on a group of men including Reuters employees, he said: "At first, I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other 'war porn'-type videos depicting combat. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team seemed to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging in and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as 'dead bastards' and congratulating themselves on their ability to kill in large numbers."
He said in the audio that burdened him "emotionally."
The Huffington Post reports that the US military says it will pursue additional charges which may lead to a life sentence. Digital Journal reported that Manning is expected to receive at least 20 years after his guilty pleas to 10 lesser charges against him. The Huffington Post adds he will also receive a dishonorable discharge from the military.
According to The Huffington Post, the US Army has responded to the violation of the court rules of secrecy. The Army said in a statement:
"The U.S. Army Military District of Washington has notified the military judge presiding over the United States vs. Pfc Bradley Manning court-martial that there was a violation of the Rules for Court. The U.S. Army is currently reviewing the procedures set in place to safeguard the security and integrity of the legal proceedings, and ensure Pfc Manning receives a fair and impartial trial."
Alternet reports that the UN special rapporteur on torture has accused the US of violating article 16 of the UN convention against torture in its treatment of Manning. The UN official Juan Mendez told The Guardian: "I conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement (regardless of the name given to his regime by the prison authorities) constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture. If the effects in regards to pain and suffering inflicted on Manning were more severe, they could constitute torture."
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