An organization dedicated to creating greater government transparency has released an audio recording of testimony delivered by U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, ignoring a ban put into place by the American military. Manning spoke at a military hearing two weeks ago, detailing his reasons for releasing more than 700,000 government documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
During the almost hourlong hearing, Manning admitted to releasing the files in an attempt to start a “public debate.” He said that he would plead guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, but refused to acknowledge the more serious counts including “aiding the enemy.” Though the lesser charges could land the 25-year-old in prison for up to 20 years, a conviction for aiding the enemy carries a life sentence.
The tape was published by the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Foundation co-founder Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, released a statement thanking the unknown person who created the tape.
“Whoever made this recording, and I don’t know who the person is, has done the American public a great service,” Ellsberg wrote on the Huffington Post. “This marks the first time the American public can hear Bradley Manning, in his own voice, explain what he did and how he did it.”
Manning said that he was motivated to action after seeing a video of U.S. soldiers celebrating in Baghdad after killing innocent civilians. The video caused an international uproar when WikiLeaks released it.
“The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have,” Manning said.
Transcribed versions of Manning’s testimony have already been provided, but a statement from the FPF focused on the importance of being able to see and hear inside of the government’s courts.
“The courtrooms of America should be open to the public so they can see and hear what is being done in their name,” the statement read.