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Manning Statement Audio Leaked in Opposition to 'Extreme Secrecy in Our Courts'

First time the public has heard Manning's voice since his initial arrest in early 2010

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

A recording of Pfc. Bradley Manning's recent courtroom statement was leaked by transparency group Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), in an a bid to fight 'extreme secrecy' surrounding the Manning case.

In the recording, leaked in violation of court orders late Monday, Manning explains to a pre-trial military court in Fort Meade why he released the United States government files to WikiLeaks. The recording is the first time the public has heard Manning's voice since his arrest in May 2010.(Credit: Reuters)

FPF stated that the audio leak surfaced despite "extreme secrecy in our courts," which, just as in government, "is an anathema to democracy."

The group continued: "Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public's right-to-know and journalists' ability to report on matters of deep public concern."

Read FPF's full statement here.

Concerning the leak of the audio, Glenn Greenwald writes Tuesday:

The court-martial proceeding of Bradley Manning has, rather ironically, been shrouded in extreme secrecy, often exceeding even that which prevails at Guantanamo military commissions. [...]

Combined with the prohibition on all press interviews with him, this extraordinary secrecy regime has meant that, in the two-and-a-half years since his arrest, the world has been prevented, literally, from hearing Manning's voice. That changes today.

On March 11, 2013, a redacted version of Manning's statement was officially released (doc).

However, last week journalist Alexa O'Brien who has been covering Manning's case, published a full unofficial transcript. That transcript appeared also at Common Dreams and follows below.

* * *

Judge Colonel Denise Lind: Pfc Manning you may read your statement.

Pfc Bradley Manning: Yes, your honor. I wrote this statement in the confinement facility. The following facts are provided in support of the providence inquiry for my court martial, United States v. Pfc Bradley E. Manning.

Personal facts

I am a 25-year-old Private First Class in the United States Army currently assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, HHC, US Army Garrison (USAG), Joint Base Myer, Henderson Hall, Fort Meyer, Virginia.

My [missed word] assignment I was assigned to HHC, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. My primary military occupational specialty or MOS is 35 Foxtrot intelligence analyst. I entered active duty status on 2 October 2007. I enlisted with the hope of obtaining both real world experience and earning benefits under the GI Bill for college opportunities.

Facts regarding my position as an intelligence analyst

In order to enlist in the Army I took the Standard Armed Services Aptitude Battery, My score on this battery was high enough for me to qualify for any enlisted MOS position. My recruiter informed me that I should select an MOS that complimented my interests outside the military. In response, I told him that I was interested in geopolitical matters and information technology. He suggested that I consider becoming an intelligence analyst.

After researching the intelligence analyst position, I agreed that this would be a good fit for me. In particular, I enjoyed the fact that an analyst could use information derived from a variety of sources to create work products that informed the command of its available choices for determining the best course of action or COAs. Although the MOS required working knowledge of computers, it primarily required me to consider how raw information can be combined with other available intelligence sources in order to create products that assisted the command in its situational awareness or SA.

I accessed that my natural interest in geopolitical affairs and my computer skills would make me an excellent intelligence analyst. After enlisting I reported to the Fort Meade military entrance processing station on 1 October 2007. I then traveled to and reported at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on 2 October 2007 to begin basic combat training or BCT.

Once at Fort Leonard Wood I quickly realized that I was neither physically nor mentally prepared for the requirements of basic training. My BCT experience lasted six months instead of the normal ten weeks. Due to medical issues, I was placed on a hold status. A physical examination indicated that I sustained injuries to my right soldier and left foot.

Due to those injuries I was unable to continue "basic". During medical hold, I was informed that I may be out processed from the Army, however, I resisted being chaptered out because I felt that I could overcome my medical issues and continue to serve. On 2[8 or 20?] January 2008, I returned to basic combat training. This time I was better prepared and I completed training on 2 April 2008.

I then reported for the MOS specific Advanced Individual Training or AIT on 7 April 2008. AIT was an enjoyable experience for me. Unlike basic training where I felt different from the other soldiers, I fit in did well. I preferred the mental challenges of reviewing a large amount of information from various sources and trying to create useful or actionable products. I especially enjoyed the practice of analysis through the use of computer applications and methods that I was familiar with.

I graduated from AIT on 16 August 2008 and reported to my first duty station, Fort Drum, NY on 28 August 2008. As an analyst, Significant Activities or SigActs were a frequent source of information for me to use in creating work products. I started working extensively with SigActs early after my arrival at Fort Drum. My computer background allowed me to use the tools of organic to the Distributed Common Ground System-Army or D6-A computers to create polished work products for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team chain of command.

The non-commissioned officer in charge, or NCOIC, of the S2 section, then Master Sergeant David P. Adkins recognized my skills and potential and tasked me to work on a tool abandoned by a previously assigned analyst, the incident tracker. The incident tracker was viewed as a back up to the Combined Information Data Network Exchange or CIDNE and as a unit, historical reference to work with.

In the months preceding my upcoming deployment, I worked on creating a new version of the incident tracker and used SigActs to populate it. The SigActs I used were from Afghanistan, because at the time our unit was scheduled to deploy to the Logar and Wardak Provinces of Afghanistan. Later my unit was reassigned to deploy to Eastern Baghdad, Iraq. At that point, I removed the Afghanistan SigActs and switched to Iraq SigActs.

As and analyst I viewed the SigActs as historical data. I believed this view is shared by other all-source analysts as well. SigActs give a first look impression of a specific or isolated event. This event can be an improvised explosive device attack or IED, small arms fire engagement or SAF engagement with a hostile force, or any other event a specific unit documented and recorded in real time.

In my perspective the information contained within a single SigAct or group of SigActs is not very sensitive. The events encapsulated within most SigActs involve either enemy engagements or causalities. Most of this information is publicly reported by the public affairs office or PAO, embedded media pools, or host nation HN media.

As I started working with SigActs I felt they were similar to a daily journal or log that a person may keep. They capture what happens on a particular day in time. They are created immediately after the event, and are potentially updated over a period of hours until final version is published on the Combined Information Data Network Exchange. Each unit has its own Standard Operating Procedure or SOP for reporting recording SigActs. The SOP may differ between reporting in a particular deployment and reporting in garrison.

In garrison a SigAct normally involves personnel issues such as driving under the influence or DUI incidents or an automobile accident involving the death or serious injury of a soldier. The reports starts at the company level and goes up to the battalion, brigade, and even up to the division level.

In deployed environment a unit may observe or participate in an event and a platoon leader or platoon sergeant may report the event as a SigAct to the company headquarters and the radio transmission operator or RTO. The commander or RTO will then forward the report to the battalion battle captain or battle non-commissioned officer or NCO. Once the battalion battle captain or battle NCO receives the report they will either (1) notify the battalion operations officer or S3; (2) conduct an action, such as launching a quick reaction force; or (3) record the event and report and further report it up the chain of command to the brigade.

The reporting of each event is done by radio or over the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network or SIPRNet, normally by an assigned soldier, usually junior enlisted E-4 and below. Once the SigAct is recorded, the SigAct is further sent up the chain of command. At each level, additional information can either be added or corrected as needed. Normally within 24 to 48 hours, the updating and reporting or a particular SigAct is complete. Eventually all reports and SigActs go through the chain of command from brigade to division and division to corp. At corp level the SigAct is finalized and [missed word].

The CIDNE system contains a database that is used by thousands of Department of Defense (DoD) personel including soldiers, civilians, and contractors support. It was the United States Central Command or CENTCOM reporting tool for operational reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two separate but similar databases were maintained for each theater –CIDNE-I for Iraq and CIDNE-A for Afghanistan. Each database encompasses over a hundred types of reports and other historical information for access. They contain millions of vetted and finalized directories including operational intelligence reporting.

CIDNE was created to collect and analyze battle-space data to provide daily operational and Intelligence Community (IC) reporting relevant to a commander's daily decision making process. The CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases contain reporting and analysis fields for multiple disciplines including Human Intelligence or HUMINT reports, Psychological Operations or PSYOP reports, Engagement reports, Counter Improvised Explosive Device or CIED reports, SigAct reports, Targeting reports, Social and Cultural reports, Civil Affairs reports, and Human Terrain reporting.

As an intelligence analyst, I had unlimited access to the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases and the information contained within them. Although each table within the database is important, I primarily dealt with HUMINT reports, SigAct reports and Counter IED reports, because these reports were used to create a work-product I was required to published as an analyst.

In working on an assignment I looked anywhere and everywhere for information. As an all-source analyst, this was something that was expected. The D6-A systems had databases built in, and I utilized them on a daily basis. This simply was – the search tools available on the D6-A systems on SIPRNet such as Query Tree and the DoD and Intellink search engines.

Primarily, I utilized the CIDNE database using the historical and HUMINT reporting to conduct my analysis and provide a back up for my work product. I did statistical analysis on historical data including SigActs to back up analysis that were based on HUMINT reporting and produce charts, graphs, and tables. I also created maps and charts to conduct predictive analysis based on statistical trends. The SigAct reporting provided a reference point for what occurred and provided myself and other analysts with the information to conclude possible outcome.

Although SigAct reporting is sensitive at the time of their creation, their sensitivity normally dissipates within 48 to 72 hours as the information is either publicly released or the unit involved is no longer in the area and not in danger.

It is my understanding that the SigAct reports remain classified only because they are maintained within CIDNE – because it is only accessible on SIPRnet. Everything on CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A to include SigAct reporting was treated as classified information.

Facts regarding the storage of SigAct reports

As part of my training at Fort Drum, I was instructed to ensure that I create back ups of my work product. The need to create back ups was particularly acute given the relative instability and reliability of the computer systems we used in the field during deployment. These computer systems included both organic and theater provided equipment (TPE) D6-A machines.

The organic D6-A machines we brought with us into the field on our deployment were Dell [missed word] laptops and the TPE D6-A machines were Alienware brand laptops. The [M90?] D6-A laptops were the preferred machine to use as they were slightly faster and had fewer problems with dust and temperature than the theater provided Alienware laptops. I used several D6-A machines during the deployment due to various technical problems with the laptops.

With these issues several analysts lost information, but I never lost information due to the multiple backups I created. I attempted to backup as much relevant information as possible. I would save the information so that I or another analyst could quickly access it whenever a 1machine crashed, SIPRnet connectivity was down, or I forgot where the data was stored.

When backing up information I would do one or all of the following things based on my training:

1. Physical back up. I tried to keep physical back up copies of information on paper so that the information could be grabbed quickly. Also, it was easier to brief from hard copies of research and HUMINT reports.

2. Local drive back up. I tried to sort out information I deemed relevant and keep complete copies of the information on each of the computers I used in the Temporary Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or T-SCIF, including my primary and secondary D6-A machines. This was stored under my user profile on the desktop.

3. Shared drive backup. Each analyst had access to a T- drive – what we called T-drive shared across the SIPRnet. It allowed others to access information that was stored on it. S6 operated the T-drive.

4. Compact disk rewritable or CD-RW back up. For larger datasets I saved the information onto a re-writable disk, labeled the disks, and stored them in the conference room of the T-SCIF. This redundancy permitted us to not worry about information loss. If the system crashed, I could easily pull the information from a secondary computer, the T-drive, or one of the CD-RWs.

If another analysts wanted to access my data, but I was unavailable she could find my published products directory on the T-drive or on the CD-RWs. I sorted all of my products or research by date, time, and group; and updated the information on each of the storage methods to ensure that the latest information was available to them.

During the deployment I had several of the D6-A machines crash on me. Whenever one of the computer crashed, I usually lost information but the redundancy method ensured my ability to quickly restore old backup data and add my current information to the machine when it was repaired or replaced.

I stored the backup CD-RW with larger datasets in the conference room of the T-SCIF or next to my workstation. I marked the CD-RWs based on the classification level and its content. Unclassified CD-RWs were only labeled with the content type and not marked with classification markings. Early on in the deployment, I only saved and stored the SigActs that were within or near operational environment.

Later I thought it would be easier to just to save all of the SigActs onto a CD-RW. The process would not take very long to complete and so I downloaded the SigActs from CIDNE-I onto a CD-RW. After finishing with CIDNE-I, I did the same with CIDNE-A. By retrieving the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs I was able to retrieve the information whenever I needed it, and not rely upon the unreliable and slow SIPRnet connectivity needed to pull. Instead, I could just find the CD-RW and open up a pre-loaded spreadsheet.

This process began in late December 2009 and continued through early January 2010. I could quickly export one month of the SigAct data at a time and download in the background as I did other tasks.

The process took approximately a week for each table. After downloading the SigAct tables, I periodically updated them, by pulling the most recent SigActs and simply copying them and pasting them into the database saved on the CD-RW. I never hid the fact that I had downloaded copies of both the SigAct tables from CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A. They were stored on appropriately labeled and marked CD-RW, stored in the open.

I viewed this the saving copies of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A as for both for my use and the use of anyone within the S2 section during the SIPRnet connectivity issues.

In addition to the SigAct tables, I had a large repository of HUMINT reports and Counter IED reports downloaded from CIDNE-I. These contained reports that were relevant to the area in and around our operational environment in Eastern Baghdad and the Diyala Province of Iraq.
In order to compress the data to fit onto a CD-RW, I used a compression algorithm called "bzip2". The program used to compress the data is called WinRAR. WinRAR is an application that is free, and can be easily downloaded from the internet via the Non-Secure Internet Relay Protocol Network or NIPRnet. I downloaded WinRAR on NIPRnet and transfered it to the D6-A machine user profile desktop using a CD-RW. I did not try to hide the fact that I was downloading WinRAR onto my SIPRnet D6-A machine or computer.

With the assistance of the bzip2 algorithm using the WinRAR program, I was able to fit All of the SigActs onto a single CD-RW and relevant HUMINT and Counter ID reports onto a separate CD-RW.

Facts regarding my knowledge of the WikiLeaks organization or WLO

I first became vaguely aware of the WLO during my AIT at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, although I did not fully pay attention until the WLO released purported Short Messaging System or SMS messages from 11 September 2001 on 25 November 2009. At that time references to the release and the WLO website showed up in my daily Google news open source search for information related to US foreign policy.

The stories were about how WLO published about approximately 500,000 messages. I then reviewed the messages myself and realized that the posted messages were very likely real given the sheer volume and detail of the content.

After this, I began conducting research on WLO. I conducted searched on both NIPRnet and SIPRnet on WLO beginning in late November 2009 and early December 2009. At this time I also began to routinely monitor the WLO website. In response to one of my searches in 2009, I found the United States Army Counter Intelligence Center or USACIC report on the WikiLeaks organization. After reviewing the report, I believed that this report was possibly the one that my AIT referenced in early 2008.

I may or may not have saved the report on my D6-A workstation. I know I reviewed the document on other occasions throughout early 2010, and saved it on both my primary and secondary laptops. After reviewing the report, I continued doing research on WLO. However, based upon my open-source collection, I discovered information that contradicted the 2008 USACIC report including information that indicated that similar to other press agencies, WLO seemed to be dedicated to exposing illegal activities and corruption.

WLO received numerous award and recognition for its reporting activities. Also, in reviewing the WLO website, I found information regarding US military SOPs for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and information on the then outdated rules of engagement for ROE in Iraq for cross-border pursuits of former members of Saddam Hussein [missed word] government.

After seeing the information available on the WLO website, I continued following it and collecting open sources information from it. During this time period, I followed several organizations and groups including wire press agencies such as the Associated Press and Reuters and private intelligence agencies including Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor. This practice was something I was trained to do during AIT, and was something that good analysts were expected to do.

During the searches of WLO, I found several pieces of information that I found useful in my work product in my work as an analyst, specifically I recall WLO publishing documents related to weapons trafficking between two nations that affected my OP. I integrated this information into one or more of my work products.

In addition to visiting the WLO website, I began following WLO using Instand Relay Chat or IRC Client called XChat sometime in early January 2010.

IRC is a protocol for real time internet communications by messaging and conferencing, colloquially referred to as chat rooms or chats. The IRC chat rooms are designed for group communication discussion forums. Each IRC chat room is called a channel – similar to a Television where you can tune in or follow a channel – so long as it is open and does not require [missed word].

Once you [missed word] a specific IRC conversation, other users in the conversation can see that you have joined the room. On the Internet there are millions of different IRC channels across several services. Channel topics span a range of topics covering all kinds of interests and hobbies. The primary reason for following WLO on IRC was curiosity – particularly in regards to how and why they obtained the SMS messages referenced above. I believed that collecting information on the WLO would assist me in this goal.

Initially I simply observed the IRC conversations. I wanted to know how the organization was structured, and how they obtained their data. The conversations I viewed were usually technical in nature but sometimes switched to a lively debate on issue the particular individual may have felt strongly about.

Over a period of time I became more involved in these discussions especially when conversations turned to geopolitical events and information technology topics, such as networking and encryption methods. Based on these observations, I would describe the WL organization as almost academic in nature. In addition to the WLO conversations, I participated in numerous other IRC channels acros at least three different networks. The other IRC channels I participated in normally dealt with technical topics including with Linux and Berkley Secure Distribution BSD operating systems or OSs, networking, encryption algorithms and techniques and other more political topics, such as politics and [missed word].

I normally engaged in multiple IRC conversations simultaneously –mostly publicly, but often privately. The XChat client enabled me to manage these multiple conversations across different channels and servers. The screen for XChat was often busy, but its screens enabled me to see when something was interesting. I would then select the conversation and either observe or participate.

I really enjoyed the IRC conversations pertaining to and involving the WLO, however, at some point in late February or early March of 2010, the WLO IRC channel was no longer accessible. Instead, regular participants of this channel switched to using the Jabber server. Jabber is another internet communication [missed word] similar but more sophisticated than IRC.

The IRC and Jabber conversations, allowed me to feel connected to others even when alone. They helped pass the time and keep motivated throughout the deployment.

[...]

Read the full unofficial transcript here.

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