By Nathan Fuller
March 09, 2013
Antiwar.com

What would you do if you had evidence of war crimes? What would you do if ‘following orders’ meant participating in grave abuses that you opposed? Would you have the courage to risk everything – even your life – to do the right thing?

Most of us would keep our mouths shut. Not Pfc. Bradley Manning.

With a 10,000-word statement that he read aloud last week at a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland, Bradley Manning detailed how his conscience led him to expose crimes, abuse, and corruption, by releasing the Iraq and Afghan War Logs, the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, State Department cables, Guantanamo Bay files, and more to WikiLeaks.

An historic document in its own right, the statement lays out Bradley’s work as an intelligence analyst, what he saw while working in eastern Baghdad, and how he concluded that the American people needed to know what really happens in our wars abroad.

Bradley stored backup versions of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs – databases of ‘Significant Activities (or ‘SigActs,’ in Army terminology), which document enemy engagements and casualties – on rewritable CDs, initially because he believed that he and fellow analysts would need to access them during the frequent computer network failures at the base in Iraq.

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