The nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation has released hour-long audio and a transcript of Pfc. Bradley Manning, in his own words, to the world—about his time in the military, his dismay at the kill-and-capture attitude towards entire nations of people the US was ostensibly trying to "liberate," and why he decided to work with Wikileaks.
The court-martial proceeding of Bradley Manning has, rather ironically, been shrouded in extreme secrecy, often exceeding even that which prevails at Guantanamo military commissions. This secrecy prompted the Center for Constitutional Rights to commence formal legal action on behalf of several journalists and activists, including myself, to compel greater transparency. One particularly oppressive rule governing the Manning trial has barred not only all video or audio recordings of the proceedings, but also any photographs being taken of Manning or even transcripts made of what is said in court. Combined with the prohibition on all press interviews with him, this extraordinary secrecy regime has meant that, in the two-and-a-half years since his arrest, the world has been prevented, literally, from hearing Manning's voice.
Huh. Sounds similar to a certain legal situation in this week's news section.
Manning seems to disclose pretty much everything, including his rocky relationship with his boyfriend in the states ("he did not seem very excited about my return from Iraq"). Manning is human. And the government informant who turned him in claimed to be a journalist and a pastor who'd promised him confidentiality.
Talk about a chilling effect.
But more to the point, Manning talks about why he did what he did—after seeing videos of soldiers merrily shooting civilians and journalists, a lack of critical thinking about why certain people were on "target lists" (which might have had more to do with domestic beefs than terrorism), and how the American people were being kept in the dark about what the US was doing in these highly publicized wars.
Manning's tone is clinical but what he describes is damning—the US military working against democracy, against the exercise of speech and political dissent, against the purported reasons our military invaded in the first place.
Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several reports from the scene – from this subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on the S2 section and she forwarded them to me...
The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn't need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote 'drop it' unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote "anti-Iraqi literature" unquote.
I couldn't believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it...
I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.
Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the [WikiLeaks organization], in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down in political opponents of al-Maliki.