Chelsea Manning, the soldier previously known as Bradley Manning, spoke out for the first time since being sentenced to 35 years in prison on espionage charges. After delivering 700,000 secret documents to the website WikiLeaks, the former military intelligence analyst’s actions are referred to as the “largest-scale leak in US history.”
Manning addressed the current affairs in Iraq, by saying, “As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan.”
While President Obama claimed to be “looking at all the options,” regarding US interference in Iraq, he has also been under scrutiny for the failure of Iraq’s security forces. After spending billions of US dollars on training and equipping Iraq’s security forces in 2010, the United States tried to paint a positive picture of the status of affairs.
However, Manning wrote, “Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality. Military and diplomatic reports coming across my desk detailed a brutal crackdown against political dissidents by the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and federal police, on behalf of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Detainees were often tortured, or even killed.”
“I understand that my actions violated the law,” Manning wrote, in regards to speaking out for the first time since his sentence. “However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved.”
Manning also went on to criticize the media coverage in Iraq, writing that he was shocked by the amount of troubling details that “flew under the American media’s radar.”
“The current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance,” said Manning.