The transparency group Freedom of the Press Foundation has published an illicit audio recording of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s full statement on releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks as an act of conscience.
Despite this being among the most important trials in America today, journalists are not allowed to record any audio or video of the proceedings.
In the statement, Bradley describes joining the Army as an intelligence analyst, discovering and investigating grave abuses like the ‘Collateral Murder’ video and Garani air strike, and concluding that the American public deserved to know about how their government operates abroad.
He details his decisions to release the Iraq and Afghan war databases, the Collateral Murder video, Department of State diplomatic cables. He said he hoped these releases would “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” Glenn Greenwald breaks down the statement in several audio segments here.
Upon hearing the audio recording, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg said, “I believe Bradley Manning is the personification of the word whistleblower.”
Prior to this release, the public and press at large have never been able to hear Bradley Manning’s voice. They’ve also been unable to see basic rulings, transcripts of the proceedings, and legal motions, as the military withholds all of these documents, severely hampering the press’ ability to follow and cover this case. The Center for Constitutional Rights, along with several media organizations, has sued the military to make documents in Manning’s proceedings public.
The Department of Defense just last month finally began releasing judicial notices and rulings, but most are several months old and don’t provide the press with contemporaneous access to the case. Reporters have become increasingly frustrated with their access to these proceedings.
As the Freedom of the Press’s announcement reads,
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.The press and public should be allowed full access to Bradley’s proceedings. This recording is a welcome development toward that end, as it finally broadcasts Bradley’s voice and whistle-blowing motivations to the world.
Filmmaker Laura Poitras made a five-minute documentary using Bradley’s own words describing the Collateral Murder video here: