PFC Manning tells us that he repeatedly informed his actual superiors of incidents which troubled him, that his duties as a security analyst had made him aware of. I do not remember him as saying that his superiors ordered him to cease and desist from such troublesome noticing. However, the detailed evidence of criminal actions continued to come in--and continued to trouble him.
In the United States, the military establishment supposedly remains subordinate to the civilian population. Having failed to elicit interest--much less action--from supposedly responsible parts of the news media, Manning communicated the masses of incriminating data to Wikileaks, and thus to the civilian populations of the United States--and to the rest of the citizens of Planet Earth.
The incriminating documents, as I understand them from afar, present detailed evidence of many of the crimes defined in the Nuremberg principles. Further, they show these criminal acts as occurring in at least several branches of the US Government besides the military. And I do not see how PFC Manning could have avoided inferring that those who commit such crimes define themselves as "enemies, foreign or domestic"--murderously corrupt enemies of the Constitution of the United States and U.S. civil code laws, of the civilian citizens of the United States, whom they allegedly serve, and of the civilian citizens of the rest of Planet Earth, whom they threaten or actually assassinate.
"A moral choice in fact possible to him"
I believe we cannot see what PFC Manning accomplished, in the nearly-impossible situation in which he found himself, unless we take into account the requirements of his job as a security analyst, of his oath, of "regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice," of the Nuremberg principles, etc. PFC Manning found "a moral choice [that] was in fact possible to him." It exactly satisfied the requirements of his job, his oath, the "regulations" (as I understand them), the Nuremberg principles, and so on: He reported the crimes to the highest authorities that exist--the civilian citizens of the world.
And, as Mr. Gatto comments, "I expect that PFC Manning knew exactly what he was doing, and exactly what the consequences would be."
In the first sentence of the text of his 7 May 2013 essay, Mr. Gatto makes a powerful argument.
Mr. Gatto's thundering text:
" If truth is treason, then those that claim the treason are criminals."
Allow me to offer a paraphrase, for the sake of what I judge as clarity--and to maintain the pretense that we do not hold people guilty as charged until after a fair trial in which the jury or the judges has/have reached a verdict of "Guilty!"
"Exponents of the status quo tell us to regard and treat truth-telling as treason . Given the hundreds of thousands of documents made public by Wikileaks, Assange, Manning, and others, which give first-hand evidence of crimes, we must infer that we have probable cause to allege that those that claim that the truth-teller commits treason have, by their now-revealed actions, defined themselves as criminals."
And as PFC Manning surely foresaw, the (alleged) criminals had the power, and, corruptly, used it: to arrest Manning; to hold him for unacceptably long periods without trial; to torture him; to attempt to prevent anyone outside their curtains of secrecy from hearing his voice and his (in my opinion, unstinting) account of what he did, and why he did it; to keep secret the details of the "case" they mount against him, the plans for his "trial"--and so on. I do not for a moment imagine that I know full details of their perpetrations against this man. Much less, what they will do next.
But I hope I can honor him by telling how I see him, and his actions (before and after his incarceration).