Manning Speaks: "I am a Good Person"
Army whistleblower apologizes for any harm done by his release of government information, and asks for opportunity to prove "through actions" that he has more positive things to offer society
Pfc. Bradley Manning spoke on his own behalf during the final sentencing phase of his trial in a military courtroom at Ft. Meade in Maryland on Wednesday.
What follows is the transcribed version of his spoken testimony as recorded by the stenographer sponsored by the Freedom of the Press Foundation (via FireDogLake's K. Gosztola):
First, your honour I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I ‘m sorry that they hurt the United States.
At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing and continuing to effect me. Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions.
I understood what I was doing, and decisions I made. However I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions.
Those factors are clear to me now, through both self-refection during my confinement in various forms, and through the merits and sentecing testimony that I have seen here.
I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.
The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back at my decisions and wonder how on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better […] on decisions of those with the proper authority.
In retrospect I should have worked more aggressively inside the system, as we discussed during the […] statement, I had options and I should have used these options.
Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things. I can only go forward. I want to go forward. Before I can do that, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.
Once I pay that price, I hope to one day live in a manner that I haven’t been able to in the past. I want to be a better person, to go to college, to get a degree and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister with my sister’s family and my family.
I want to be a positive influence in their lives, just as my Aunt Deborah has been to me. I have flaws and issues that I have to deal with, but I know that I can and will be a better person.
I hope that you can give me the opportunity to prove, not through words, but through conduct, that I am a good person and that I can return to productive place in society. Thank you, Your Honor.