by JULIAN ASSANGE
Today I want to tell you an American story. I want to tell you the story of a young American soldier in Iraq. The soldier was born in Crescent, Oklahoma, to a Welsh mother and to a U.S. Navy father. His parents fell in love. His father was stationed at the U.S. military base in Wales. The soldier showed early promise as a boy, winning top prizes at science fairs three years in a row. He believed in the truth, and like all of us, he hated hypocrisy. He believed in liberty and the right for all of us to pursue it and happiness. He believed in the values that founded an independent United States. He believed in Madison, he believed in Jefferson, and he believed in Paine. Like many teenagers, he was unsure what to do with his life, but he knew he wanted to defend his country, and he knew he wanted to learn about the world.
He entered the U.S. military and, like his father, trained as an intelligence analyst. In late 2009, age 21, he was deployed to Iraq. There, it is alleged, he saw a U.S. military that did not often follow the rule of law and, in fact, engaged in murder and supported political corruption. It is alleged it was there, in Baghdad, in 2010 that he gave to WikiLeaks, he gave to me, and, it is alleged, he gave to the world, details that exposed the torture of Iraqis, the murder of journalists and the detailed records of over 120,000 civilian killings in Iraq and in Afghanistan. He is also alleged to have given WikiLeaks 251,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, which then went on to help trigger the Arab Spring. This young soldier’s name is Bradley Manning.
Allegedly betrayed by an informer, he was then imprisoned in Baghdad, imprisoned in Kuwait, and imprisoned in Virginia, where he was kept for nine months in isolation and subject to severe abuse. The U.N. special rapporteur for torture, Juan Méndez, investigated and formally found against the United States. Hillary Clinton’s spokesman resigned. Bradley Manning, science fair all-star, soldier and patriot, was degraded, abused and psychologically tortured by his own government. He was charged with a death penalty offense. These things happened to him, as the U.S. government tried to break him, to force him to testify against WikiLeaks and me. As of today, Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for 856 days. The legal maximum in the U.S. military is 120 days.
The U.S. administration has been trying to erect a national regime of secrecy, a national regime of obfuscation, a regime where any government employee revealing sensitive information to a media organization can be sentenced to death, life imprisonment or espionage, and journalists from the media organization with them.
We should not underestimate the scale of the investigation which has happened into WikiLeaks. I only wish I could say that Bradley Manning was the only victim of the situation. But the assault on WikiLeaks in relation to that matter and others has produced an investigation that Australian diplomats say is without precedence in its scale and nature, that the U.S. government called a “whole of government investigation.” Those government agencies identified so far, as a matter of public record, having been involved in this investigation include the Department of Defense; CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defence Intelligence Agency; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division; the United States forces in Iraq; the First Armored Division; the U.S. Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit, the CCIU; the Second Army Cyber Command; and within that three separate intelligence investigations, the Department of Justice, most significantly, and its U.S. grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which now has, according to court testimony early this year produced a file of 42,135 pages into WikiLeaks, of which less than 8,000 concern Bradley Manning; the Department of State; the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Services. In addition, we have been investigated by the Office of the Director General of National Intelligence, the ODNI; the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive; the Central Intelligence Agency; the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee; and the PIAB, the President’s Intelligence—the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. The Department of Justice spokesperson, Dean Boyd, confirmed in July 2012 that the Department of Justice investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing.