WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning Says He Wanted to
the Public the "True Costs of War"
Reading for more than an hour from a 35-page statement, Manning
"I believed that if the general public, especially the
American public, had
access to the information ... this could spark
a domestic debate on the
role of the military and our foreign policy in
In the absence of a full official copy of Manning's statement,
have had to rely on their own note-taking from court.
" I found several new accounts involving two Reuters employees who
were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story
explained that Reuters had requested for a copy of the video under the
Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video
in order to understand what had happened and to improve their safety
practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted
saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy
and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of
Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained
that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time
frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer
exist. Another story I found written a year later said that even though
Reuters was still pursuing their request. They still did not receive a
response or written determination in accordance with
The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would
not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to
that the event happened because the aerial weapons team
identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that
the people in
the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the
wounded. The people
in the van were not a threat but merely 'good
samaritans'. The most alarming
aspect of the video to me, however, was
the seemly delightful bloodlust they
appeared to have.
The dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not
human life by referring to them as quote "dead bastards" unquote
congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers.
At one point
in the video there is an individual on the ground
attempting to crawl to safety.
The individual is seriously wounded.
Instead of calling for medical attention to
the location, one of the
aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for
the wounded person to
pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage.
For me, this
seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.
While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew's lack of concern about
human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured
at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck
driving up to assist
the wounded individual. In response the aerial
weapons team crew-- as soon as
the individuals are a threat, they
repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the
bongo truck and once
granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.
Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives
scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that
in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no
remorse. Instead, they
downplay the significance of their actions,
saying quote 'Well, it's their fault for
bringing their kid's into a
The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for
children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner,
weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the
driving over a body-- or one of the bodies."
"I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of
weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to
know that not
everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed
to be neutralized, but
rather people who were struggling to live in
the pressure cooker environment of
what we call asymmetric
"I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the
States, however, I did believe that the cables might be
embarrassing, since they
represented very honest opinions and statements
behind the backs of other
nations and organizations."
"I did not see anything in the 15-6 report or its annexes that gave
information. Rather, the investigation and its
conclusions were and what those
involved should have done, and how to
avoid an event like this from occurring again."
"We stand for truth, for government transparency, and for an end to our
tax-dollars funding endless occupation abroad.
We stand with accused whistle-blower US Army PFC Bradley Manning