BIRGITTA JÓNSDÓTTIR, Member of the Icelandic Parliament and co-producer of the Wikileaks video Collateral Murder:
If he, in fact, has leaked this, he should be considered a hero, because he is reporting on war crimes that the rest of the world, and in particular the countries that are participating in this war, this illegal war, should know what is happening on the ground there.
"...Manning isolated a key turning point in his regard for the military; he said it was when he was ordered to look the other way in the face of an injustice.
Manning had been tasked with evaluating the arrest of 15 Iraqis rounded up by the Iraqi Federal Police for printing “anti Iraq” literature. “The Iraqi federal police wouldn’t cooperate with U.S. forces, so I was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the ‘bad guys’ were, and how significant this was for the FPs,” he wrote.
But when Manning had the literature translated, he discovered it was a scholarly critique of Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki titled Where Did the Money Go?, he wrote. The document was nothing more than a “benign political critique … following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet.
“I immediately took that information and ran to the [U.S. Army] officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding MORE detainees.”
He continued. “Everything started slipping after that. I saw things differently. I had always questioned the [way] things worked, and investigated to find the truth. But that was a point where I was a part of something. I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.”
The elusive founder of WikiLeaks, who is at the centre of a potential US national security sensation, has surfaced from almost a month in hiding to tell the Guardian he does not fear for his safety but is on permanent alert.
Julian Assange, a renowned Australian hacker who founded the electronic whistleblowers' platform WikiLeaks, vanished when a young US intelligence analyst in Baghdad was arrested.
The prospect of the cache of classified intelligence on the US conduct of the two wars being put online is a nightmare for Washington. The sensitivity of the information has generated media reports that Assange is the target of a US manhunt.
"[US] public statements have all been reasonable. But some statements made in private are a bit more questionable," Assange told the Guardian in Brussels. "Politically it would be a great error for them to act. I feel perfectly safe … but I have been advised by my lawyers not to travel to the US during this period."
Assange appeared in public in Brussels for the first time in almost a month to speak at a seminar on freedom of information at the European parliament.
He said: "We need support and protection. We have that. More is always helpful. But we believe that the situation is stable and under control. There's no need to be worried. There's a need always to be on the alert."
-Also see video coverage in Democracy Now!