On Tuesday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation released Pfc. Bradley Manning’s full court statement — a one-hour, seven-minute speech to a military court, in which Manning explains why he shared hundreds of thousands of government documents with WikiLeaks.
The full audio is available at the bottom of this post. (The foundation’s website is currently down for many users.) Manning’s statement was previously only available through notes taken by journalists in court.
Below is an edited clip of Manning describing his reaction to a 2007 video that he eventually gave to WikiLeaks. The footage shows American soldiers killing civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists. This audio clip is not the full version — here is the full unofficial transcript.
“At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me …
It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely “good samaritans.” The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.”
On its blog, the Freedom of Press Foundation explains why it published the leaked audio.
Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial 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.