The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on 28 February
when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak
tens of thousands of official files. It was a statement of morality, conscience
and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed
mainstream news in America; and were it not for Alexa O’Brien, an independent
freelance journalist, Manning’s voice would have been silenced. Working through
the night, she transcribed and released his every word. It
is a rare, revealing document.
Describing the attack by an Apache helicopter crew who filmed civilians as they murdered and wounded them in Baghdad in 2007, Manning said: "The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have. They seemed not to value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards’ and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety [who] is seriously wounded … For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass." He hoped "the public would be as alarmed as me" about a crime which, as his subsequent leaks revealed, was not an aberration.