“Bradley Manning has been found guilty of theft and espionage after a biased, unfair trial in which he was not allowed to provide evidence of his motives and intentions when he released secret US files. These files included evidence of US war crimes, lies and cover-ups. Although he was found not guilty of aiding the enemy, the verdict is a travesty of justice. It mocks the honesty and idealism of a good soldier who sought to expose human rights abuses and defend international humanitarian law,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which has campaigned in support of Manning’s right to expose wrong-doing.
“Manning is a LGBT equality supporter and has attended LGBT protests. He was subjected to homophobic abuse while in military detention awaiting trial. Some of his critics have tried to discredit him by falsely insinuating that anger and confusion over his sexuality and gender identity was a factor that led him to make his revelations. There has been an anti-gay sub-text to the way Manning has sometimes been portrayed by the media and his critics.
“Bradley Manning is an honourable whistle-blower – not a thief or spy. He exposed the truth about US war crimes in Iraq.
“Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US: the notion of an open, honest government that is accountable to the people and that pursues its policies by lawful means with respect for human rights. At great personal sacrifice, he exposed grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Thanks to Manning, the US people now know the truth.
“One of the war crimes he exposed was a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.
“The video of the massacre can be seen at: www.collateralmurder.com
“This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.
“It is only thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this massacre of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.
“The trial judge’s ruling that Manning was not allowed to use a ‘public interest’ defence during his trial was outrageous. Knowing that his motives were to tell the American people the truth and spark a public debate is an essential element to determine his guilt or innocence,” said Mr Tatchell.
Anne FitzGerald, Director of Research and Crisis Response at Amnesty International, agrees. She believes it was unfair that Bradley was unable to use a public interest defence, as "he reasonably believed he was exposing human rights and humanitarian law violations."
There is no evidence that Manning aided any enemy of the US, caused harm to US personnel or that he had any intention to do so. This view is shared by Amnesty International