In a pre-trial hearing on 28 February, Bradley Manning spoke publicly for the first time, accepting responsibility for the release of 250,000diplomatic cables and 500,000 army reports. He pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 counts against him saying that he did so in the public interest.
The prosecution are attempting to have him charged with the more serious offence of ‘aiding the enemy’ so that they can look for a longer sentence without the possibility of parole. They intend to claim that the information leaked was found in Osama Bin Laden’s possession, with witnesses testifying anonymously and only asked pre-agreed questions with a media blackout being in place.
Manning has already spent nearly 3 years in detention awaiting trial. During this time he has been held in three different facilities, ranging from a ‘shark cage in Kuwait’, Quantico Marine base in Virginia, to Fort Leavenworth. While in custody, he has been tortured and degraded. From regular strip searches, to being locked in his cell for 23 hours a day, not being allowed to lie down or go asleep.
The leaks exposed war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan and showed the lengths to which U.S imperialism will go to in order to protect its own interests in relation to the Middle East and Mexico among others.
The most notable video to be released was ‘Collateral Murder’ which showed the murder by American military in an Apache helicopter of 11 unarmed people, including two Reuter’s journalists and children. The commentary by the soldiers includes them taunting the dead. This incident was covered up, with Reuters being denied access to the video despite repeated requests.
The cables expose the U.S military’s role in helping the puppet Iraqi regime repress political opponents, and that many of the prisoners in Guantanamo are known to be innocent or of little value to U.S intelligence yet they continue to be held without trial and many are on hunger strike.
The trial will start on 3 June. Manning should be hailed as a hero for lifting the veil on the secret diplomacy that goes on between the world-powers. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and in the midst of World War I, Leon Trotsky released documents showing the secret diplomacy and agreements made between imperialists, and exposing the real reason why millions of workers were to die fighting in the trenches.
The Socialist Party calls for all charges against Manning to be dropped and for him to be released immediately