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Galindez reports: "Bradley Manning took the stand and made an unsworn statement during the sentencing phase of his trial. At times he appeared to be struggling to control his emotions."

Bradley Manning made a statement today to close the Defenses sentencing phase of his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN )
Bradley Manning made a statement today to close the Defenses sentencing phase of his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN )

Manning Apologizes for Any Harm Done By His Actions

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

14 August 13



RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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radley Manning took the stand and made an unsworn statement during the sentencing phase of his trial. At times he appeared to be struggling to control his emotions. Sounding nervous, he turned to the judge:

First, Your Honor, I want to start off with an apology. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm 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 are continuing to affect me. Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing, and the decisions I made. However I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now, through both self-reflection during my confinement, in its various forms, and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I've seen here. I'm 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 on 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 [...] statements. 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 though, 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 on 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 you can give me an opportunity to prove, not through words but through conduct, that I am a good person and that I can return to a productive life in society. Thank you, Your Honor.

While Manning said his personal issues were not an excuse for his actions, much of the day's testimony was related to his troubled upbringing and mental health.

Two military mental health professionals testified for the defense on wednesday as to Manning's mental health prior and during the time of the leaks.

Captain Michael Worsley was Manning's psychologist while deployed. Manning saw Capt. Worsley voluntarily half a dozen times, from 30 December 2009 to 26 May 2010, for anxiety and personality disorders.

Worsley was concerned that Manning had nobody to share his feelings with. He didn't open up to the doctor during treatment and didn't appear to be close to anyone, or to have any friends. Worsley described Manning as guarded in during his sessions and noted workplace problems in which Manning complained that he was working with "rednecks." On cross examination the former Marine said he read nothing into that statement because he considered many he worked with in the Marines as "rednecks." What the Army was trying to get the doctor to say was that Manning didn't interact with people because he thought he was better than them.

Capt. Worsley was not aware of Manning's gender issues until receiving an email from him in late April titled "My Problem." The email started out: "This is my problem, I have had signs of it for a very long time. It has caused problems with my family. I thought a career in the military would solve it." It was accompanied by an image of Manning wearing a blonde wig and make-up.

Worsley did not discuss the email with Manning until May 8, the day he punched his supervisor, Specialist Showman, and was brought to Worsley by his master sergeant at 1:30 am. It was then that Worsley diagnosed Manning with a gender identity disorder and recommended separation from the military. He testified that Manning's gender identity disorder isolated him, and said that Manning could not have openly sought treatment for his disorder, because the military was hostile to the disorder and would not have treated him for it.

Worsley also spoke of a pattern of mental issues for Manning prior to entering the military. This pattern was further detailed by the next witness.

Commander David Moulton is the defense expert on mental health issues. He met with Manning seven times during his confinement and reviewed prior mental health evaluations and medical records. Manning first sought mental health treatment when he was 17, before entering the military. Manning was also was evaluated during basic training at Fort Leonardwood. Prior to entering the military, Manning was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and was prescribed Lexipro.

Cmdr. Moulton testified that Manning's parents were alcoholic and that his family was homeless for a period. He described Manning as being under severe emotional distress at the time of the leaks. He used the terms highly stressed, acting out, and suicidal tendencies. Moulton said that without a support system at the time of the leaks, Manning's frustrations led to extreme behavior.

Moulton testified that Manning believed the leaks would lead to a greater good, that society would realize the wars were wrong.

Moulton used the term crowdsourcing to describe what Manning was doing when he leaked the documents. He testified that Manning thought that the greater the number of people who could analyze the documents, the more likely it would be that the wars would end.

Moulton concluded by stating that Manning's personality disorders hindered his ability to make the right decisions.

Casey Major, Manning's sister, was the next witness. She also testified that their parents were alcoholic. She said her mother was "drunk" daily, and was very mean during hangovers. Manning's mother began drinking at lunch time. Casey testified that her mother drank through her pregnancy with "Brad." Casey described herself performing the responsibilities of a mother with Brad, like preparing a bottle and changing diapers, when she was 11. Bradley's mother continued drinking during his upbringing. Casey left the house when Bradley was eight, after a disagreement with her father. When Manning was 12, his mother attempted suicide. Casey returned to take care of Bradley and her mother when her father left the family. Casey described daily suicidal threats from her mother.

The defense then showed a few photographs, one of Bradley at 6 months old playing in a box in a hotel room they were living in, and other childhood photos of him playing with a puppy and on a computer. Casey and Brad were close. She was in tears while describing the photos.

I was not in the courtroom during most of Bradley Manning's aunt's testimony. They would not allow me back in the media center after I stepped out to report on Manning's statement. When I finally got in, I heard Manning's aunt ask Judge Lind to consider Manning's troubled upbringing when sentencing him.

The defense then rested. The prosecution has until 6 pm tomorrow to notify the court if they will rebut the defense's sentencing witnesses.

Defense lawyer David Coombs addressed a few dozen supporters who gathered in the courtyard after the day's session adjourned.

"Bradley is certainly a person who had his heart in the right place and he was thinking about you ... the American public," Coombs said. "His one goal was to make this world a better place."

One supporter had tears in her eyes and sniffled as Coomb spoke, and another wiped tears from her face. Several applauded and thanked Coombs for his work.

The court will reconvene at 1 pm Friday.

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+59 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-14 19:26
Awful! Just awful that a man who performed a heroic and patriotic act, who obeyered international law in reporting war crimes and US law, the UCMJ, in reporting the crimes of his superiors, should have been reduced to such a statement. I cannot blame him for trying to save what is left of his life, but what an undeserved humiliation!
+30 # Scott Galindez 2013-08-15 02:52
I agree, I had trouble sleeping tonight and woke up and wrote my response to should be published later today. Bradley deserves the apology.
+18 # 666 2013-08-15 05:01
reminds me of winston's post-torture realization that he really does love big brother...
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-08-19 17:39
God yes. No kidding. Stockholm Syndrome lives.
+37 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-14 19:59
What an awful and undeserved self-humiliatio n for a man who obeyed the UCMJ and international law!
+20 # RMDC 2013-08-15 06:40
Yes, the system requires that people humble themselves before it. Manning did not hurt people and did not hurt the United States -- unless of course these terms only mean the military and the politicians. But for 99% of Americans he did a great service. He is a hero.

All trials require this kind of language. It is ritual like saying foolish things like "your honor." There is nothing honorable about a judge. It is all a performance. If it gets him less time in prison, then it is good. There will have to be an appeal. This trial did not seem fair.
0 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-08-19 17:40
This trial was a joke. This statement is proof of how upside down things are. Galindez is right, Manning is the one who deserves the apology.
+39 # treadlightly 2013-08-14 22:10
He was the one person brave enough to take a stand against the most mighty military force in the history of the world. Everything else is aftermath.
In a world gone mad he had a moment of clarity and acted on it. He tried to disrupt the violence and the hate mongers will have none of that. The money is too good, not to mention the job security.
+33 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-14 22:51
Yes, he defied the gods for the sake of mankind. Regrettably, he is not a Prometheus, defiant to the end, but he is only human and not a half-god himself. One may hope that he wins the Nobel for his sake, for ours, and for the restoration of the Peace Prize itself.
+39 # djnova50 2013-08-14 23:06
I'm still not clear what kind of actions Bradley Manning did that were so harmful to the US. We the People of the United States of America... Isn't that us? Of course, there is the other side of the US, you know - The President, Congress, the Military. I suppose that's the side Brad is referring to. I certainly don't feel harmed by what Bradley Manning did. He's the patriot in this.
+27 # soularddave 2013-08-14 23:32
Pvt. Manning's personal truths may be awfully ugly, but he's confronting them, perhaps not soon enough, but the truths that he's revealed to the world are astoundingly ugly, but we must confront them, ourselves, and better sooner than later. The process has begun.

Like the truths revealed by Edward Snowden, they are very big issues and must be dealt with at the very highest levels and at our insistence. We owe a great debt to these young men and several others, as they have shown great bravery in their efforts.

Let us remember and celebrate whistleblowers every time we hear the last few words of our National Anthem.
+15 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-15 05:00
Do you mean "The land of the free and the home of the brave"? The land where the financial crooks go free and the home of the brave who allow their President to be their Lord High Executioner (The Mikado)!
+31 # seeuingoa 2013-08-14 23:34
Dear Bradley Manning

Whatever you are saying now moulded
by torturous behaviour of your capturers
doesn´t diminish your bravery in the first place.

All decent people in this world know
that the helicopter pilots are still
free men.
+6 # RHytonen 2013-08-15 07:02
Quoting seeuingoa:
Dear Bradley Manning

Whatever you are saying now moulded
by torturous behaviour of your capturers
doesn´t diminish your bravery in the first place.

All decent people in this world know
that the helicopter pilots are still
free men.

Where can we find their names?
The system of justice in this country has become a pathetic and humiliating joke.
Average, everyday-encoun tered Americans need to begin our own ostracizing punishment of those who, like Zimmermann, Scott Walker, the Koch Bros., Jaime Dimon, Cheney and Bush, yet walk free. Their presence anywhere should never go without comment - accompanied by vast quantities of spittle.
+2 # intheEPZ 2013-08-15 11:43
Bush and Cheney are wanted men in Brattleboro, VT. By local ordinance, if they enter the town they can be arrested as war criminals. This was a resolution passed at Town Meeting. If every town banned these greedy murderers, they wouldn't be able to get from their homes to the airports for their junkets. Democracy only lives if the Demos lives. Use it or lose it.
+38 # Milarepa 2013-08-14 23:37
" 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."

Mr. Manning, you HAVE changed the world for the better!
+10 # johnnyjubilee 2013-08-15 01:20
may we grow in utter amazement at the spread of healing engendered and empowered by this heroic honesty
+10 # Beakie 2013-08-15 06:09
Quoting johnnyjubilee:
may we grow in utter amazement at the spread of healing engendered and empowered by this heroic honesty

Yes. The comments here show that something real and powerful has touched the minds and hearts of those who are paying attention. I have to say as I sit here crying that I have hope. How could anyone say that Manning's "disfunction" caused his actions? It was nothing other than compassion.
+24 # ericlipps 2013-08-15 04:26
One suspects that Manning was told., perhaps in so many words, that this sort of full-court grovel was the price if he wanted to ever walk free again in his lifetime.
+8 # RHytonen 2013-08-15 07:09
It is WE who in our cowardice, tolerate such treatment of whistleblowers and encourage "our" country to continue committing the horrors they expose.

The very worst of it is, it's all in the name of corporate profits, which come directly from our pockets, as well as those who can even LESS afford it than ourselves - and YET- WE DO NOTHING about it.
+16 # keenon the truth 2013-08-15 05:07
Really, I am so sad for Private Manning, and can easily understand how he was brought to capitulate in this manner. He remains in my mind a very brave person, and I hope that he will be allowed some kind of life.
I worry for Assange and Snowden, as this will reinforce the opinions of those who criticise them, and make their already very difficult situation almost untenable. "Hang on in there" seems a painfully inadequate thing to say, but still, we need them to do just that.
+12 # keenon the truth 2013-08-15 05:09
Oh no, what will happen to him in prison?Is he going to have to be in solitary again, this time for his personal safety?
+16 # frederico 2013-08-15 05:46
Look what the great aMeriKa is doing to people who have principles and who act upon those noble and patriotic principles, for the common good, while our "leaders" Obama and Bush and all the other war criminals and corporate flesh eating slime get promotions and rewards, and then on to retire in luxury, while the true Heroes rot in prisons and in exile. No wonder the human species is racing towards extinction. A long time ago, the moral compass got run over by the runaway train of darkness and evil. Truth, out. frederico
+7 # mclaire12 2013-08-15 06:29
to Frederico:Thank you for expressing what i feel so vividly.
we must join in defeating these greedy war criminals
mclaire 26
+8 # tedrey 2013-08-15 06:07
The show trials under Stalin in the Soviet Union also didn't end until the victim expressed total subjection and guilt. Then they killed him.
+4 # cwbystache 2013-08-15 06:48
You can continue raging against the dying light only so long as there is any light to rage against. At some point he realized we've gone dark. We who still have a flashlight ... maybe we can get out, like Snowden, and maybe we can't.
+7 # RHytonen 2013-08-15 06:56
The day will come that Assange, Manning and Snowden - and all other TRUE Patriot whistleblowers - will receive a group Nobel Peace Prize.

I can only despair that the truly heinous criminals they exposed will probably not receive THEIR just desserts in a Nuremberg court.
+4 # frederico 2013-08-15 07:15
"mclaire12 2013-08-15 04:29
to Frederico:Thank you for expressing what i feel so vividly..."

mclaire, You are a beautiful human being. Not because you agree with me, but because you feel the passion. If many felt like us, we could drive the dark forces into the light. Respect, f
+5 # Gord84 2013-08-15 07:37
Manning's statement sounds like it was lifted right out of Orwell's "1984"!
+6 # Moefwn 2013-08-15 07:52
Poor man, they've broken him. Years of inhumane treatment and psychological manipulation finally worked for them. I only hope that someday he'll be free and have access to an excellent non-military psychologist.
+8 # fredboy 2013-08-15 08:15
No apologies needed. He prevented US gunships from randomly strafing and killing innocent civilians, including news crews. And exposed the fact that the military will do all in its power to cover up and forgive such atrocities. I still say the guy deserves a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. And Obama should ship his back, pronto.
+9 # oakes721 2013-08-15 08:30
This unseemly submissiveness appears not as a sworn statement, but as a requirement that Manning officially recognize those who still hold the power to punish the innocent and the brave with impunity. His actions certainly did NOT hurt the USA, but opened the dark shades and allowed a healthy stream of sunlight flow upon the festering corruption. Manning is America's son: from a drunken military industrial complex that forces Our Constitution into homelessness, also forced his hand to protect it. Being human makes him no less a hero, but more so.
+6 # born1929 2013-08-15 08:43
It saddens me to see Manning capitulate ...
Stan Levin
+4 # Vern Radul 2013-08-15 09:48
If viewed as sarcasm (or sarchasm) his statement stand miles above anything I've ever heard said.
+6 # engelbach 2013-08-15 11:18
The unqualified support for Manning on this thread is uplifting.

I'm glad to see no sign of the usual gang of trolls.

To turn Pogo's pessimistic mantra on its head:

We have met Manning, and he is us.
+7 # intheEPZ 2013-08-15 11:37
Bradley Manning did not harm the U. S. of A. He harmed the military industrial complex. The truth harmed the oligarchy, and the murderous idiots (like the pilots of that attack helicopter) who serve them.

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