Yesterday, in an unsworn statement made during the sentencing phase of his trial, Bradley Manning, looking at Judge Denise Lind, and according to those present, struggling to contain his emotions said:
“First your Honor. I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that it 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 they are continuing to affect me.”
Manning went on to say:
When I made these decisions I believed I was gonna 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 over the decisions of those with the proper authority?’In retrospect I should have worked more aggressively inside the system as we discussed during the Providence Statement and 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 though, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.
His remarks were in stark contrast to the remarks he made at his pre-trial hearing where he said: “I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.”
A statement released by Wikileaks reads in part:
“Mr. Manning’s forced decision to apologise to the US government in the hope of shaving a decade or more off his sentence must be regarded with compassion and understanding. Mr. Manning’s apology is a statement extorted from him under the overbearing weight of the United States military justice system. It took three years and millions of dollars to extract two minutes of tactical remorse from this brave soldier.”