Michael Ratner on Bradley Manning

If you want a good source of news, check out The Real News Network, which, in order to maintain their independence, does not accept advertising, government, or corporate funding. They rely on donations. One of the people the network regularly features is Michael Ratner, the former head of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Julian Assange’s lawyer in America. He attended the Bradley Manning hearing at Fort Mead where the latter read his statement explaining what drove him to download the documents and give it over to WikiLeaks, and spoke about what he drew from it.

If you cannot watch the video, Susie Madrak has a posted a transcript of Ratner’s comments, where he went through the things that steadily pushed Manning to do what he did.

But what you see in each of these incidents is that in each one, he was affected by what he read or what he saw, and deeply affected, and he couldn’t really do much with going up the chain of command. He couldn’t do much with—what could he do with it? And he decided that the public, the U.S. people, and the world ought to know about it, because they ought to discuss it, and maybe that would change policy.

I guess for me sitting in the courtroom and seeing this young man, [incompr.] 22 years old, joined the military—20 years old, and at 22 started to upload documents to WikiLeaks because he was so disturbed, it made you realize what a hero Bradley Manning is. I mean, here he saw what the U.S. military was doing, what they were doing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and what the State Department was doing, and he decided that I should do—that he should do something about it.

You know, this is—the first time I saw it was when I went to Bradley Manning’s hearing, where he actually got on the stand and testified about the abuse and torture that he underwent for almost a year between Iraq and Quantico. And at that point you realized this is not a weak, this is not a disturbed—this is something very different than that. This is a strong person, very intelligent. That came out in the hearing on the abuse, and it came out today. First, he was obviously very intelligent. I mean, he was put into this high-level computer thing. When you heard him talk about computers, he just knows a heck of a lot.

But in addition, he’s a strong person politically about what he thinks, about how he presents himself. He didn’t have a weak voice.


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