You can read all about the background on this and listen to it on Glenn Greenwald's column at The Guardian.
I haven't had a chance to listen. Right now I'm working on my follow up essay to the Dagny Taggert / Dominique Francon post from January, but when I get it finished, I'll give Manning a listen and update this post with my thoughts.
Feel free to share yours, and please help spread the word. Rand Paul stood for 13 hours to defend your liberty. Bradley Manning has spent 23 hours a day, every day, in solitary confinement to defend your liberty and reveal to you what Washington wants to hide from you.
UPDATE: So I listened to the whole thing. If you haven't yet, I must warn you that the audio is a little rough because it was being recorded secretly in defiance of the rules for this hearing, and that Manning uses a lot of military jargon making it a tough listen.
In order to help me know what to listen for, I was reading a word on this audio tape by Daniel Ellsberg, who broke down Manning's performance perfectly.
Essentially, Manning did three things in his testimony:
1) Manning explained exactly what he did and how he did it, absolving Julian Assange and WikiLeaks of any active role as conspirators in this. Can we drop the witch hunt now? It is clear that Assange acted as the New York Times would (and did), reporting information that was leaked to him. He did not actively help Manning commit espionage. Bradley Manning is incredibly brave to take full responsibility for his actions and attempt to get the world's governments off Assange's back.
2) Manning showed how careful and discriminating he was in leaking the information that he did. He explains what kind of unit he was in and what kind of clearance he had. He was working with a lot of very top secret information, but didn't just dump everything he had access to on WikiLeaks. In fact, what he leaked was information at a low level of security clearance.
3) Manning explained why he did what he did. He detailed how the abuses he disclosed were in fact violations of military policy and international treaty. He was the one obeying the law. Those other guys should be facing hearings. Manning should be getting a medal.