Today marks the eighth day of Bradley Manning’s court-martial for leaking more than 700,000 United States government documents to Wikileaks. Although the 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst has confessed to disclosing classified information, including diplomatic cables and war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, Manning has not pled guilty to his most serious allegation, “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense that could result in a life sentence.
Many people think this charge—an accusation that purports Manning knew he’d also be giving intelligence to Al Qaeda by leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks—is trumped-up, fear-mongering, fraudulent bullshit. That’s the (less polite) perspective of a volunteer group of independent producers and filmmakers, who in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network, spent the last month corralling more than 20 notable figures to appear in the IAmBradleyManning.org video above, a clip they’re releasing for the first time in full here today.
Among the recognizable figures who agreed to voice their disapproval of Manning’s treatment are director Oliver Stone, married actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, talk-show icon Phil Donahue, and comedian Russell Brand, who we spoke with about Manning earlier this month, before he publicly shamed a trio of inane MSNBC hosts. Brand was celebrating his 38th birthday on the day we talked and did not find an occasion to call us a “shaft-grasper,” unfortunately. A lightly edited transcript of our phone conversation follows.