Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty To Some Charges: Reveals That Major Newspapers Ignored His Offer To Leak Collateral Murder Video (Techdirt)
Friday March 1st, 2013
As he made clear last year, Bradley Manning has now pled guilty to 10 of the lesser charges brought against him, while pleading not guilty to 12 charges, including the more serious charges of "aiding the enemy" and that he leaked the info to Wikileaks knowing that it would harm the US. He's also pleading not guilty to violating the CFAA. He has argued, in the past, that he believed what he was doing would help the US by exposing bad actions that were being swept under the rug. The case will now continue on those other charges (and possibly the ones he's pled guilty to, as the judge can still choose whether or not to accept the pleas). This is not a plea bargain situation -- he's just taking some of the charges out of the trial phase by flat out admitting to them.
However, the much more interesting revelation is that prior to releasing the information to Wikileaks, Manning claims that he approached both the NY Times and the Washington Post to see if they were interested in the infamous Collateral Murder video. Both ignored him. According to Manning's claims, he felt that the data and information he had collected showed that the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan was problematic and doing more harm than good:
He thought about what to do and was convinced that the United States was "risking so much for people who felt so unwilling to cooperate with us" and it was "leading to hatred and frustration on both sides." Manning was upset with counterinsurgency operations that consisted of the "capture and killing of human targets." So he felt that revealing the information he had collected might "spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general." In order to do that, he reached out to a few publications:
He called the Washington Post. A woman answered who seemed to not take him seriously, even though he suggested the information would be valuable to the American public. Then, he decided to contact the New York Times. Nobody answered the phone so he left a message explaining he had information that was "very important." He left the Times his email and a Skype address but never received a reply. That's a pretty big revelation, and once again, shows how Wikileaks was providing a service where the mainstream press completely fell down on the job. People -- including the judge in the case -- have wondered that if the NY Times had published this kind of information, rather than Wikileaks, would there still be the same hysteria and prosecution over the leak. The prosecutors have insisted they would have gone after Manning just as much in that case, but their own actions following other NY Times-published leaks suggests otherwise.
For what it's worth, the NY Times denies that Manning contacted them:
"This is the first we're hearing of it. We have no record of Manning contacting The Times in advance of WikiLeaks." Separately, it's worth pointing out that Manning also noted that the information he leaked was hardly secret, and was available to tons and tons of people.
"I view the SIGACTS as historical data," Manning stated. It is a "first look impression of a past event." They show IED attacks, small arms fire engagement or engagement with hostile forces. Either way, it seems likely that the government will continue to go after him on those bigger charges, so this case is far, far, far from over.
The reports are "not very sensitive." The "events encapsulated involve enemy casualties," that are "publicly reported" by the Public Affairs Office of the military or reported by "embedded media pools." They are like a daily journal or log that captures "what happened on an immediate day or time and they are constantly updated."