Whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning’s admission to leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks along with his guilty plea to several of the lesser charges he faces have dramatically changed the face of his eventual trial. Public opinion of Manning seems only to be improving with the statement, however.
After years of bizarre media reports bashing Manning and speculating that his leaks were somehow a function of his homosexuality, the long statement dealing his idealistic desire to fuel debate on America’s overseas wars perhaps may seem anti-climactic to the casual observer, but not to his backers.
“I hope people will see these quotes and realize how well-motivated he was,” noted Daniel Ellsberg, perhaps the most famous whistleblower in American history. Others praised the leaks for having uncovered US war crimes abroad, and having helped inspire the pro-democracy Arab Spring.
Naturally, Manning’s detractors don’t seem to have changed their tune, but experts are conceding that this will make the effort to prove him as a “traitor” who was “aiding the enemy” an uphill battle in the trial, now that the details are taken out of the trial and it will be centering more than ever on officials seeking harsh retribution against someone who caused many of them personal embarrassment.