Bradley Manning

Bradley Edward Manning, born December 17, 1987, is a United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013, of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly three-quarters of a million classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years’ imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in the eighth year, and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

photograph
By United States Army – Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs [2] (Google Docs, “MANNING, BRADLEY PFC HEAD AND SHOULDERS 4-26-2012.jpg”); [3]
“The Defense has obtained the most recent Department of Army Photo of PFC Manning. This image is considered to be in the public domain, and may be used for print and publication.”, Public Domain, Link

Assigned in 2009 to an Army unit in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Manning had access to classified databases. In early 2010, leaked classified information to WikiLeaks and confided this to Adrian Lamo, an online acquaintance. Lamo informed Army Counterintelligence and Manning was arrested in May that same year. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike, and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables; and 482,832 Army reports that came to be known as the “Iraq War Logs” and Afghan War Diary. Much of the material was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.

Manning was ultimately charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, which was the most serious charge and could have resulted in a death sentence. Manning was held at the Marine Corps Brig, in Quantico in Virginia, from July 2010 to April 2011, under Prevention of Injury status—which entailed de facto solitary confinement and other restrictions that caused domestic and international concern—before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he could interact with other detainees. Manning pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the charges. The trial on the remaining charges began on June 3, 2013, and on July 30, he was convicted of 17 of the original charges and amended versions of four others, but was acquitted of aiding the enemy. Manning was sentenced to serve a 35-year sentence at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to a total of seven years of confinement dating from the date of arrest (May 20, 2010) by military authorities. Manning is a transgender woman who, in a statement the day after sentencing, said she had felt female since childhood, wanted to be known as Chelsea, and desired to begin hormone replacement therapy. Now going by the name Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, from early life and throughout much of his Army career, Manning was known as Bradley. He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2013.

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On February 18, 2010, WikiLeaks posted the first of the material from Manning, the diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík, a document now known as Reykjavik13.

On March 15, WikiLeaks posted a 32-page report written in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Defense about WikiLeaks itself, and on March 29 it posted U.S. State Department profiles of politicians in Iceland.

Baghdad Airstrike

Further information: July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike
File:CollateralMurder.ogvPlay media
Manning said she gave WikiLeaks the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike video in early 2010.

WikiLeaks named the Baghdad airstrike video “Collateral Murder”, and Assange released it on April 5, 2010, during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The video showed two American helicopters firing on a group of 10 men in the Amin District of Baghdad. Two were Reuters employees there to photograph an American Humvee under attack by the Mahdi Army. Pilots mistook their cameras for weapons. The helicopters also fired on a van, targeted earlier by one helicopter, that had stopped to help wounded members of the first group. Two children in the van were wounded, and their father was killed. Pilots also engaged a building where retreating insurgents were holed up. The Washington Post wrote that it was this video, viewed by millions, that put WikiLeaks on the map. According to Nicks, Manning emailed a superior officer after the video aired and tried to persuade her that it was the same version as the one stored on SIPRNet. Nicks writes that it seemed as though Manning wanted to be caught.

On July 25, 2010, WikiLeaks and three media partners—The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel—began publishing the 91,731 documents that, in their entirety, became known as the Afghan War logs. (Around 77,000 of these had been published as of May 2012.)

This was followed on October 22, 2010, by 391,832 classified military reports covering the period January 2004 to December 2009, which became known as the Iraq War logs. Nicks writes that the publication of the former was a watershed moment, the “beginning of the information age exploding upon itself”.

Afghan War Logs, Iraq War Logs

Further information: Afghan War documents leak and Iraq War documents leak

Diplomatic Cables

Further information: United States diplomatic cables leak and Guantanamo Bay files leak

Manning was also responsible for the “Cablegate” leak of 251,287 State Department cables, written by 271 American embassies and consulates in 180 countries, dated December 1966 to February 2010. The cables were passed by Assange to his three media partners, plus El País and others, and published in stages from November 28, 2010, with the names of sources removed. WikiLeaks said it was the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain.
WikiLeaks published the remaining cables, unredacted, on September 1, 2011, after David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian inadvertently published the passphrase for a file that was still online; Nicks writes that, consequently, one Ethiopian journalist had to leave his country, and the U.S. government said it had to relocate several sources.

 

Guantanamo Bay Files

Manning was also the source of the Guantanamo Bay files leak, obtained by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by The New York Times on April 24, 2011.

Granai Airstrike

Further information: Granai airstrike

Manning said he gave WikiLeaks a video, in late March 2010, of the Granai airstrike in Afghanistan. The airstrike occurred on May 4, 2009, in the village of Granai, Afghanistan, killing 86 to 147 Afghan civilians. The video was never published; Julian Assange said in March 2013 that Daniel Domscheit-Berg had taken it with him when he left WikiLeaks and had apparently destroyed it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Manning