‘‘He’s laying the groundwork for a more lenient sentence and laying the groundwork for a potential defense to the aiding the enemy and the espionage charges,’’ Navarre said. ‘‘You end up with a more reasonable starting position — ‘I admit I did it, but I didn’t think it was going to harm anyone.'’’
Internationally, Manning tends to be seen far more favorably than in the United States — particularly in countries such as Britain where many opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and see his prosecution as an attempt by the Pentagon to punish a soldier who dared challenge the war.
Manning’s picture was on the front page of Britain’s left-leaning Guardian and The Independent newspapers Friday.
Supporters held an early-evening vigil in Manning’s honor Friday in front of the U.S. Embassy in London. Ben Griffin, a former British soldier who resigned to protest the tactics of his American colleagues in Iraq, said Manning was trying to gain control over a trial that has been weighted against him.
‘‘He is defining — before the prosecution and anyone else can try to define for him — why he did this,’’ Griffin said. ‘‘It’s been put out into the public domain now.’’
Jude Fleming, a 50-year-old Canadian teacher, said Manning’s statement of principles had raised his moral stature in the eyes of the world.
‘‘I think it elevates him,’’ she said. ‘‘It takes the word ‘alleged’ out. Instead of saying ‘alleged whistleblower,’ all of a sudden he becomes the hero: He is the whistleblower. He’s proud to say that he’s the whistleblower.’’
Jesselyn Radack, an attorney with the Government Accountability Project, said her clients accused of leaking classified material are treated like ‘‘rock stars’’ abroad. But she doesn’t envision a groundswell of support for Manning in the U.S.
‘‘We continue to move on this very draconian path in terms of whistleblowers,’’ Radack said. ‘‘I think historically, people will be vindicated, but that may not be for decades or even in my lifetime.’’
Associated Press writer Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.
Follow Ben Nuckols on Twitter at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols.