Defying the military’s ban on making recordings at Manning’spre-trial tribunal at the military court at Fort Meade, the Freedomof the Press Foundation (FPF) has released Manning’s Februaryaccount to the judge explaining why he exposed militarysecrets.”We hope this recording will shed light on one of the mostsecret court trials in recent history, in which the government isputting on trial a concerned government employee whose only statedgoal was to bring attention to what he viewed as seriousgovernmental misconduct and criminal activity,” the FPF said ina statement.While unofficial transcripts of the statement are available,this is the first time anyone outside the court has heard Manning’sown explanation of how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video,Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs and State Department DiplomaticCables to WikiLeaks.Manning justifies his actions with a firm belief that what heidentifies as US government wrongdoings need to be exposed in orderto “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and ourforeign policy in general as it related to Iraq andAfghanistan.”In the recording he goes on to accuse the army of “notvalu[ing] human life,” comparing servicemen “to a childtorturing ants with a magnifying glass.”In regards to the “Collateral Murder” video, which shows USApache helicopters opening fire on and killing civilians, includingjournalists, Manning said “the most alarming aspect of the videoto me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust theyappeared to have.”The attacks footage received worldwide coverage following therelease of 39 minutes of classified cockpit gunsight material in2010, starting the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks and itswhistleblowing founder Julian Assange.Because recording is prohibited at Manning’s hearings, thePentagon is pursuing measures that would strengthen security andprevent information leaks from the trial.Military judge Denise Lind, who is trying Manning’s case, hasbeen informed by the Department of Defense that there was “aviolation of the rules for the court,” a spokesman said in astatement sent to AFP, and that the “US Army is currentlyreviewing the procedures set in place to safeguard the security andintegrity of the legal proceedings and ensure PFC Manning receivesa fair and impartial trial.”Twenty-five-year-old Private First Class Manning has beenheld in US military custody following his arrest in May 2010. Hehas pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges set against him. Ifconvicted, he could face 20 years in jail. He is pending trial asthe prosecution still intends to pursue the 12 remainingcharges.
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