Bradley Manning’s plea statement: Americans had a right to know ‘true cost of war’

After admitting guilt in 10 of 22 charges, soldier reveals how he came to share classified documents with WikiLeaks and talks of ‘bloodlust’ of US helicopter crew

The Guardian

Fort Meade, Maryland, Thursday 28 February 2013

 

Manning's statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Manning’s statement recounted how he had first become aware of WikiLeaks in 2009. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Bradley Manning, the solider accused of the biggest unauthorised disclosure of state secrets in US history, has admitted for the first time to being the source of the leak, telling a military court that he passed the information to a whistleblowing website because he believed the American people had a right to know the “true costs of war”.

At a pre-trial hearing on a Maryland military base, Manning, 25, who faces spending the rest of his life in military custody, read out a 35-page statement in which he gave an impassioned account of his motives for transmitting classified documents and videos he had obtained while working as an intelligence analyst outside Baghdad.

Sitting at the defence bench in a hushed courtroom, Manning said he was sickened by the apparent “bloodlust” of a helicopter crew involved in an attack on a group in Baghdad that turned out to include Reuters correspondents and children. Continue reading