Private first class Bradley Manning spent three years in custody after he made WikiLeaks an overnight sensation. Authorities alleged Manning sent three quarters of a million pages and videos to the secret-sharing site owned by Julian Assange. After WikiLeaks published documents pertaining to the 2010 Afghanistan war it became internationally known.
“We call those types of people that are willing to risk….being a martyr for all the rest of us, we call those people heroes,” said Assange to CNN reporter Jake Tapper. “Bradley Manning is a hero.” CNN interviewed Assange after the WikiLeaks site broke the story. Upon it being discovered that Manning was the culprit, Assange was immediately sought after for comments.
Bradley Manning is facing a military court martial for aiding the enemy, if found guilty he faces the possibility of life imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to approximately a dozen lesser charges which could carry 20 years or less. Bradley Manning is accused of the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history.
“A verdict from the judge in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning will be announced at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday,” said a spokeswoman for the military district of Washington. Many observers await the verdict with interest and curiosity. It is unclear if Manning can be referred to as a whistle-blower or labeled a traitor in the eyes of the public. In releasing U.S. military strategies in Iraq and U.S. State Department diplomacy procedures Bradley Manning made WikiLeaks an overnight sensation.
“I believed if the public was aware of the data, it would start a public debate of the wars,” said Manning during his court martial. Manning was stationed in Iraq as an intelligence analyst and was depressed with conditions there. He thought the documents were outdated and would have no detrimental effect on ongoing military contingencies.
He initially approached the Washington Post and the New York Times with the documents. Both News organizations either didn’t take him seriously or blew him off. He conceded to sending his information to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange became an overnight sensation. Critics raise the point that Manning was an attention seeker and wanted to obtain some sort of notoriety. However, Manning insists in his statement during the court martial that he was upset with what was occurring in military operations. He felt the public needed to know what was going on in the wars.
Assange is of the opinion that the charge against Manning is an attack on investigative journalism. He made the accusations while taking Asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He was slapped with sex crime allegations shortly after WikiLeaks released the Manning documents. Assange thinks the charges were an orchestrated way by the U.S. to have him extradited to face charges related to the release.
“It will be the end, essentially, of national security journalism in the United States,” said Assange of the possible verdict on the Manning case. Bradley Manning felt that he was doing the public justice upon releasing the information which made Assange’s WikiLeaks an overnight sensation.
By Thomas Barr