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Bradley Manning let the world know some of the US government's most valuable secrets. We break them down.
While stationed at a military base in Baghdad, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning had access to hundreds of thousands of classified documents, which he passed on to WikiLeaks to share with the world. As Manning faces his sentencing, we've summarized six essential details he revealed.
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1) Iceland’s economy was much worse than we thought.
WikiLeaks published a classified US diplomatic cable on Feb. 10, 2010, leaked by Bradley Manning, which revealed the extent of a dire economic crisis in Iceland. Reykjavik13, as the cable is now called, summarized a meeting on Jan. 13, 2010, between a US diplomat and two officials from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The officials predicted that Iceland could go bankrupt by 2011 if a dispute over repaying British and Dutch depositors in online savings accounts, or “Icesave” accounts, at Landsbanki — which collapsed in 2008 — was not settled.
The cable disclosed that the British government had considered intervening to stop a referendum on the “Icesave” repayment plan and explore other options, including a bailout from Norway. The Icelandic officials asked for US assistance in raising the issue with the IMF, and to counter “bullying” by Dutch and British governments.
While the referendum went as planned, Iceland was eventually not required to guarantee the British and Dutch deposits, and was able to saved its domestic depositors by transfering their deposits into “good” banks.
As part of the European Economic Area (EEA), which adheres to European Union common-market policies, the outcome raised larger concerns about the effectiveness of the EU’s deposit-guarantee schemes. The issue remains central in ongoing efforts to harmonize EU banking policies.
2) Rules for war?
In April 2010, a video titled “Collateral Murder” was published by Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, on YouTube. Manning sent WikiLeaks the video, which was also screened at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The video shows US soldiers killing a dozen people in Baghdad, Iraq from two US Army Apache helicopters in July 2007, while talking rapturously about the mission. Two of those killed were Reuters journalists, and two children were injured in the attack.
Supporters of the video’s release questioned the military’s conduct under war-time rules of engagement.
Responding to public outcry, the military said the video did not provide adequate context for the attack. US authorities defended the soldiers, who said they mistook the journalists’ cameras for weapons and people coming to the journalists’ aid for armed insurgents.
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3) How not to make friends
Adrian Lamo, a California-based hacker, handed over a record of his online chat with Manning to Pentagon criminal investigators at a Starbucks near his house in May 2010.
The chat explained how Manning downloaded documents from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, SIPRNet, onto a CD while stationed with the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade near Baghdad, Iraq.
On May 26, days after Lamo turned him in, Manning was arrested. He was held at a temporary detention facility in Kuwait before being moved to the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, where he was charged under military law for downloading more than 150,000 US State Department documents and cables.
The US government eventually tried to build a case against Julian Assange for orchestrating the document theft, but Manning did not name Assange in the chat log and there was no evidence that Assange directly contacted