In a discussion yesterday with Logan Price, a Bradley Manning supporter who was part of a group of activists who sang a song during the President’s San Francisco fundraiser, President Obama stated that Bradley Manning “dumped” documents and that “he broke the law.” This raises the question whether or not Bradley Manning can get a fair trial or a hearing.
Obama didn’t address the war crimes committed by the U.S. military revealed in the military video that was released by Wikileaks (the video showed a U.S. military helicopter killing some Reuters journalists). Obama also claimed that the Wikileaks content was not the same as Daniel Ellsberg’s sending the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.
A rough transcript follows, provided by UK Friends of Bradley Manning:
OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]… That’s not how the world works.
And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law.
We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.
[Q: Didn’t he release evidence of war crimes?]
OBAMA: What he did was he dumped…
[Q: Isn’t that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]
OBAMA: No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.