11:01am Wednesday 28th July 2010
Exclusive By Lee Day
Friends of a former Pembrokeshire pupil who faces more than 50 years in prison for allegedly leaking classified US military material have spoken of their shock at his arrest.
Last week the Western Telegraph exclusively revealed that Bradley Manning, who is currently being held in Kuwait, is a former pupil of Tasker Milward school in Haverfordwest.
US Army soldier Bradley, aged 22, is charged with leaking sensitive documents and a chilling gun camera video apparently showing Iraqi civilians being killed by an Apache attack helicopter.
The video was labelled ‘collateral murder’ by whistleblower website Wikileaks.
James Kirkpatrick, a close friend of Bradley, said: “I heard about his arrest while surfing news websites. I couldn’t believe what had happened.
“I had seen the ‘collateral murder’ video and would never have imagined him to have leaked it.”
James, who now lives in Cardiff, last spoke to Bradley around six months ago, prior to his arrest in Baghdad.
“Bradley didn’t mention anything about what was happening, but at the same time he did seem a bit secretive,” James said.
“He was being a bit paranoid about what we did speak about on the internet, he wouldn’t mention anything about how he was doing in the army and what he thought of it.”
Friends describe Bradley as a computer whizz who was never afraid to voice his opinion.
Tom Dyer said: “He even had his own computer server — I was impressed at the time even though I did not know what it meant. I think he had his own domain name for his emails, so he’s got a history of being good on the old computer business.
“Bradley had a great sense of justice in school. He has seen something is wrong and he wants people to act on it.”
James added: “Bradley was very interesting in school, always had an interesting opinion to give.”
“The way the American forces are treating him is unacceptable. He has used his right to freedom and the right to whistle blow to bring this injustice to light.”
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group