Defying the U.S. military ban on making recordings at Manning’s pre-trial tribunal at the military court at Fort Meade, on Tuesday, Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) released Manning’s February account to the judge, explaining why he exposed military secrets.
This marks the first time the public has heard Manning's voice since 2010 when he was arrested for exposing U.S. war crimes.
(Watch the film by Laura Poitras, courtesy of Freedom of the Press Foundation, on the left side of this page. It is the leaked audio recording of Bradley Manning describing his response to the July 12, 2007 Baghdad Apache airstrike video that documented the killing of two Reuters journalists. )
"We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity," FPF said in a written statement.
U.S. Army's 'delightful bloodlust'
This is the first time anyone outside court has heard Manning explain how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video that became known as Collateral Murder, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks.
In the audio, one can hear Manning's firm belief that what he identifies as US government wrongdoings need to be exposed to “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Regarding the Collateral Murder video, showing U.S. Apache helicopters opening fire on and killing civilians, including Reuters journalists, Manning said, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.”
Pentagon works harder to cover up war crimes
Due to recording prohibited at Manning’s hearings, the Pentagon is now pursuing measures to strengthen security and prevent information leaks from the trial, according to Russia Today:
Military judge Denise Lind, who is trying Manning’s case, has been informed by the Department of Defense that there was "a violation of the rules for the court," a spokesman said in a statement sent to AFP, and that the “US 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.”
Daniel Ellsberg is a co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation board includes writers and advocates for press freedom and transparency. Some of these are Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, actor and activist John Cusack, Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin, Free Press' Josh Stearns, and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras.
Rainey Reitman, founder of a support network for suspected WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning, serves as FPF chief operating officer.
FPF's Trevor Timm said it's been "disappointing" that major news organizations, many of whom utilized WikiLeaks documents, did not strongly support FPF as "they were having their financial livelihood taken away from them."
Bradley Manning, Nobel Peace Prize nominee
On Feb. 1, the entire parliamentary group of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, and former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youth nominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"The lengthy personal statement to the pre-trial hearing February 28th by Bradley Manning in his own words validate that his motives were for the greater good of humankind," his nominees say.
The Nobel Peace Prize nomination statement includes:
Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other democratic nations by the United States government in international dealings.
These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.
Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for more then 1000 days by the U.S. Government. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which expert worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.
The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations – including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq – have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about the overseas engagements of the United States, civilian casualties of war and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so we urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.
We can already be reasonably certain that Bradley Manning will not have a fair trial as the head of State, the USA President Mr. Barack Obama, stated over a year ago on record that Manning is guilty.
Private First Class Manning, 25, has been held and tortured in U.S. military custody since he was arrested in May 2010.
He pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges set against him. The prosecution still intends to pursue the 12 remaining charges.
If convicted, Manning could face 20 years in jail.
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