Bradley Manning admits to leaking “the most significant documents of our time”
Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence officer accused of passing sensitive military documents to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has pleaded guilty to ten separate charges. The army, however, will pursue the grave charge of aiding the enemy.
Although the army judge has accepted Manning’s guilty pleas on ten counts, the remaining 12 charges are still to be reviewed. The army accuses Manning, 25, of aiding the enemy. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.
Private First Manning told a military court that he was responsible for uploading a trove of material to the website and pleaded guilty to 10 counts, RT’s Andrew Blake reported from the courtroom.
After his plea was read to the court, Pfc Manning for the first time formally admitted guilt in the court, more than 1,000 days after being arrested. Reading a 35-page statement from his seat before Col. Denise Lind, Manning explained why exactly he risked his life to publish state-secrets.
Pfc. Manning pleaded not guilty to aiding the enemy and a number of other lesser charges, but told the court he’d like to take the blame for a series of other counts — charges that were not presented by the government but introduced by the soldier himself. In lieu of a laundry list of charges that could put Manning away in prison for life, he hopes the court will convict him of only ten lesser offenses that come with only a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Manning pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession and willful communication of sensitive material, including the hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and other materials provided to WikiLeaks. By pleading guilty, he waves the right to appeal a decision made earlier in the week in which the court ruled that Manning’s right to a speedy trial was not violated.
In explaining himself, Manning told the court that he communicated with unidentified persons he believed to be working for WikiLeaks, and assumed he was speaking with founder Julian Assange. Manning says he only sent the anti-secrecy website material after being rejected by other outlets, however.
While on break from the Army, Manning says he called up the Washington Post and claimed to have materials with “enormous value to the American public.” Manning told the judge that he “spoke for 5 minutes about the general nature” of the documents but said, “I do not believe she took me seriously.”
Rejected, Pfc. Manning approached The New York Times, an outlet he described as “the largest and most popular newspaper” in the world. “I left a message saying I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I thought was very important,” he said.
“I never received a reply from the New York Times,” claimed Manning, even though he left the paper with multiple ways to be reached, including his Skype name.
Believing there were few appropriate conduits for the materials he collected as an intelligence officer, he said WikiLeaks “seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information.”
In an interview with British public television, Assange referred to Manning as “America’s foremost political prisoner,” adding that “the only safe way to get these cowards to publish anything is to get WikiLeaks to do it first.”
“All those involved in the persecution of Bradley Manning will find cause to reflect on their actions,” Assange asserted.
the ultimate whistleblower..and look hows hes treated..nobody was endangered..they only ones in danger were the lying governments who were exposed..he will get life..you can see that coming..its a near certainty..disgraceful..