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Bradley Manning's Surprising Statement to the Court Details Why He Made His Historic Wikileak

A transcription of the soldier's statement, read in court, explaining why he leaked state secrets to Wikileaks.

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I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes and a flow chart from the 2007 time period — as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW, the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in Summer 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.

However, after the WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13, I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I redeployed from Iraq. On about 21 February 2010, I described above, I used the WLO submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on 5 April 2010. After the release, I was concerned about the impact of the video and how it would been received by the general public.

I hoped that 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 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 warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public, who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled — if not more troubled that me by what they saw.

At this time, I began seeing reports claiming that the Department of Defense and CENTCOM could not confirm the authenticity of the video. Additionally, one of my supervisors,  Captain Casey Fulton, stated her belief that the video was not authentic. In her response, I decided to ensure that the authenticity of the video would not be questioned in the future. On 25 February 2010, I emailed Captain Fulton, a link to the video that was on our ‘T’ drive, and a copy of the video published by WLO that was collected by the open-source center, so she could compare them herself.

Around this time frame, I burned a second CD-RW containing the aerial weapons team video. In order to made it appear authentic, I placed a classification sticker and wrote Reuters FOIA REQ on its face. I placed the CD-RW in one of my personal CD cases containing a set of ‘Starting Out in Arabic CDs.’ I planned on mailing out the CD-RW to Reuters after our redeployment, so they could have a copy that was unquestionably authentic.

Almost immediately after submitting the aerial weapons team video and rules of engagement documents, I notified the individuals in the WLO IRC to expect an important submission. I received a response from an individual going by the handle of “ox” — at first our conversations were general in nature, but over time as our conversations progressed, I assessed this individual to be an important part of the WLO.

Due to the strict adherence of anonymity by the WLO, we never exchanged identifying information. However, I believe the individual was likely Mr. Julian Assange [he pronounced it with three syllables], Mr. Daniel Schmidt, or a proxy representative of Mr. Assange and Schmidt.

 
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