US Army Private Bradley Manning read a prepared statement on Thursday, revealing before a packed military courtroom exactly what government and military information he leaked to the whistleblower media outlet Wikileaks, and why he chose to do so.
Manning has reportedly pleaded guilty to providing Wikileaks with confidential military information though he has denied the most serious charge against him, “aiding the enemy.”
According to FireDogLake’s Kevin Gosztola, reporting live from the courtroom, Manning’s plea makes possible two rulings by the presiding judge: “guilty to lesser-included offenses pursuant to the plea” or “guilty of the greater offenses in the original charges.” The court cannot find him “not guilty” based on his plea.
Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington, also at the trial, said that Manning “confirmed he wants to be tried by military judge [Colonel Denise Lind] alone,” with no military equivalent of a jury.
As part of his statement, Manning said that before turning to Wikileaks he had attempted to contact both the New York Times and the Washington Post, but failed. In addition, he stated: “No one associated with WikiLeaks pressured me into sending more information.”