Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wikileaks: The Forgotten Man (Private Bradley Manning)

Private Bradley Manning is clearly the most interesting and important figure in the WikiLeaks controversy, but the media has been obsessed with WikiLeaks publsiher Julian Assange. Currently, Manning is wasting away in solitary confinement, with David House being one of the small number of civilians allowed to see him.

House describes the young soldier's mental deterioration and his struggle to deal with long hours of solitary confinement, often without clothing. "The US Government is just trying to put immense pressure on him in order to get him to crack open.

A lot of people see Manning as a hero - a young man who was appalled by the things he saw happening (including war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions) in Iraq and decided that the American people should know what their government is doing. Others see him as a traitor who deserves nothing less than conviction and execution for treason.

What do you think?

The film includes interviews with Julian Assange, former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Dmosceit-Berf, Manning supporter David House, hacker Adrian Lamo, and New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet.


Private Bradley Manning is the man United States authorities allege stole classified military files, providing them to WikiLeaks for publication.

While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange battles to avoid extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, on the other side of the Atlantic Bradley Manning is facing a court martial. If found guilty Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison.

It’s a case that has all the hallmarks of a spy thriller. Bradley Manning was an American soldier serving in Iraq, when he allegedly downloaded classified military files onto a disk storing Lady Gaga songs. A short time later the authorities arrested Manning and he’s been in a military jail ever since.

Early last year reporter Quentin McDermott told the story of Bradley Manning and the people who’d helped the United States government build a case against him. This film uncovers crucial new elements describing the ferocious battle between hackers and the U.S. government as they pursue Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

The Forgotten Man also interviews Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, about the treatment of Bradley Manning. Mr Mendez says Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment during his “excessive and prolonged isolation” at Quantico Marine Corps Base outside Washington.

But one question still remains: will Bradley Manning attempt to avoid a life sentence by turning against Julian Assange?

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