Rock stars, Hollywood actors, comedians and writers Wednesday released a video lauding confessed Wikileaks leaker Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is being court-martialed for passing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy web site.
The campaigners include maverick anti-establishment filmmaker Oliver Stone; actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Wallace Shawn, and Peter Sarsgaard; British comedian Russell Brand; and UK musicians Moby and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.
They hold signs declaring “I am Bradley Manning,” and read from the testimony given by the junior U.S. Army intelligence analyst who faces 30 years prison at his military, judge-only trial being conducted at Fort Mead, Md.
The court martial, which began June 3, adjourned until next week on Tuesday. Manning, who has already pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information and illegally accessing government computer systems, faces continuing trial on a charge of “aiding the enemy.”
Prosecutors say print-outs or downloads of documents he leaked were found in terrorist safe-houses and hideouts, including that of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
But to some Americans, and many more abroad, Pfc. Manning is a whistleblower who exposed malfeasance by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; highlighting, on issues such as civilian casualties, the gap between official statements in Washington and the reality on the front lines.
“I want people to see the truth,” the video quotes him as saying.
The video says that for much of his three years of pre-trial detention, Pfc. Manning was held in conditions amounting to “torture” — solitary confinement and constant cell lighting and security checks which amounted to sleep deprivation.
The military says Manning was on suicide watch.