• Secret tape of Manning’s court martial smuggled out of court
By Ralph Forbes
For three years, Army private Bradley Manning has been muzzled by the government and censored by the controlled media, preventing him from telling his story. However, just before this issue of AMERICAN FREE PRESS goes to press, a secret recording of Manning’s testimony was released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation. In it, you can hear Manning tell his account of what happened, in his own words, without the usual filters.
For the first time Manning can be heard saying duty and honor required him to report war crimes and expose the “true costs of war.” This included the now infamous “Collateral Murders” video, which he leaked, showing a United States Apache helicopter attack slaughtering 12 people, including women, children and two Reuter’s reporters on July 12, 2007.
Manning testifies: “The most alarming aspect of the video to me . . . was the . . . delightful bloodlust [of] the aerial weapons team. . . . [They called them] ‘dead bastards’ [and congratulated] each other on the ability to kill . . . in large numbers. . . . There’s [seriously wounded] individual[s] on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. . . . For me, this [is like] torturing ants with a magnifying glass. . . . [The] crew’s lack of concern about human life . . . injured children. . . . [They fire upon the rescue vehicle] at least six times. . . . The crew exhibits no remorse. . . . ‘Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.’ [They have no] sympathy for the children or the parents . . . the aerial weapons team crew verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body.”
This video was just one of tens of thousands of incriminating files of war crimes, including a secret video of an even more horrendous attack, when U.S. warplanes bombed the village of Garani in Afghanistan in May 2009, slaughtering at least 150 women and children.
Manning knew these arrogant crimes were morally wrong and would lead to the deaths of many American soldiers. He says he wanted to show the American public, and “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general . . .” Manning hoped the public would be as alarmed as “me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure-cooker environment of what we call ‘asymmetric warfare’.”
Manning tried to leak these reports first to the most major U.S. media—including The Washington Post, and The New York Times—who decided to cover up the crimes. Only as a last resort did Manning leak copies of the evidence to WikiLeaks.
But instead of a medal for bringing these crimes to light, Manning faces execution or possible life in prison. And under the pretext of “aiding the enemy,” the Bush and Obama administrations have kept Manning in harsh military detention, including many months in solitary confinement.
Ralph Forbes is a freelance writer based in Arkansas. He is also a member of AFP’s Southern Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.