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Last updated at 16:25 GMT, Friday, 01 March 2013

Wikileaks soldier reveals why he shared secrets

Summary

1 March 2013

The US soldier accused of giving large numbers of secret documents to Wikileaks has admitted he is guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him. But he denied a more serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Reporter:

Steve Kingstone

Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning said he did not believe the leaks would harm the US

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Report

We now have a first-hand account of what compelled Bradley Manning to carry out the biggest leak of government secrets in American history.

He told the military court he'd been appalled by the "bloodlust" of a helicopter mission in Iraq - video of which he passed on to Wikileaks. He said that while serving in Iraq, he'd become depressed at what he called America's "obsession" with capturing and killing human targets. And that the American people should know the "true costs of war".

As for the leaked State Department cables, Private Manning said they "documented backdoor deals and criminality" unbecoming of a superpower, and insisted his conscience was clear.

The military judge accepted the defendant's plea of guilty to 10 of the 22 counts. But Bradley Manning denies the most serious charge of aiding America's enemies - a charge which potentially carries a life sentence. Prosecutors have indicated that they plan to push ahead with a full court martial in the summer.

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Vocabulary

first-hand account

a written or spoken report about something given by somebody who was involved

compelled

forced, caused

leak

release and deliberate sharing of secret information with the public

bloodlust

the enjoyment of and desire to see violence

cables

messages sent by cable (a length of wire, often covered with plastic)

backdoor

secretive and often dishonest or illegal

unbecoming

inappropriate or unacceptable (of behaviour)

plea

statement given in court in response to being accused of a crime

life sentence

punishment of being put in jail for a long time or until death, depending on the laws of the country

push ahead with

continue doing something difficult or unpleasant

court martial

(a trial in) a military court which examines accusations against members of the armed forces

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