Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Manning was 'upset' over Iraq, witness

09 July 2013, 16:26

Fort Meade - Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of espionage, was "upset" about the plight of Iraqi civilians before he handed over a trove of secret files to WikiLeaks, a witness testified on Monday.

The Army private was dismayed over an incident in which 15 Iraqi civilians had been jailed - with US backing - for handing out pamphlets criticising the government, said Sergeant David Sadtler, who helped oversee Manning's work as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad.

Manning "was concerned that this was happening," said Sadtler, who was called as a witness for the defence.

"He was upset at the situation."

Manning's lawyers focused on the episode as they began to present the case for the defence, painting a picture of a conscientious young man bothered by injustice and eager to shed light on US foreign policy.

In an earlier statement to the court, Manning said the Iraqis who were arrested had no ties to militants and their pamphlets were only a "scholarly critique" of government corruption.

Sadtler said Manning was up on international events and that other troops in his unit would come to him "if they needed to know what was going on in the world".

‘Delightful blood lust’

Manning, aged 25, has admitted to giving WikiLeaks more than 700 000 secret military intelligence files and diplomatic cables in the worst leak of classified information in American history.

He has pleaded guilty to lesser offenses that could carry a 20-year prison sentence.

But he is contesting 21 other charges, including the most serious count that he knew he was "aiding the enemy" by funnelling the files to the website. That charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Manning's lawyers earlier filed motions asking the military judge to dismiss several counts against their client, including the most serious charge that he "aided" al-Qaeda by spilling secrets.

The defence lawyers argued prosecutors lack evidence to back allegations he broke rules for using military computers, stole government "property", disclosed email addresses and assisted the enemy when he gave classified files to the anti-secrecy website.

The defence opened the proceedings by playing a 39min video of a 2007 US helicopter attack in Baghdad that went viral in 2010 after Manning passed the footage to WikiLeaks, which released the clip under the title "Collateral Murder".

The disturbing video, from a cockpit gunsight, shows two Apache helicopters firing at a group of Iraqi men whom the crew mistakenly believed were carrying weapons.

Two of those killed in the assault were Iraqis working for the Reuters news agency.

Manning has told the court the video troubled him, particularly jokes made by the air crew that showed what he called "seemingly delightful blood lust".


The prosecution rested its case last week but suffered an embarrassing setback after acknowledging the military had lost the contract Manning signed laying out the terms of his access to classified information.

As the trial entered its sixth week at Fort Meade in Maryland, north of Washington, the first defence witness told the court Manning had been one of the most talented members of an intelligence analysis unit, excelling at "data mining".

"He was our best analyst by far when it came to developing products," said Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Ehresman, who oversaw intelligence work produced by Manning and other enlisted soldiers.

Unlike other troops who often needed assignments to be spelled out in detail, Manning was the "go-to guy" and "would come up with exactly what you were looking for," he said.

Ehresman and two other witnesses said there were no rules in Manning's unit barring soldiers from running an executable file or program off of a CD.

The testimony was meant to bolster the defence’s argument that Manning did not exceed his authorised access to government databases or violate computer regulations.

The defence also called a former chief prosecutor of terror suspects at the US prison at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Morris Davis, to try to cast doubt on the importance of documents leaked by Manning about detainees at the jail.

The "detainee assessment briefs" on Guantanamo inmates, which were leaked by Manning, were superficial biographical information that "were so wildly inaccurate as not to be useful" to prosecutors, Davis told the court.

The case has taken on added weight in the aftermath of another round of leaks from a former contractor for the National Security Agency.

Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong and later to Moscow after handing over documents to the media revealing far-reaching US electronic surveillance of phone records and Internet traffic.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...