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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My First Weekly Column: Gibney on WikiLeaks Flick

After three years of daily blogging at The Nation, my first weekly column posted: An interview with Alex Gibney on early controversy over his upcoming WikiLeaks film.   Here's an excerpt on his support for Bradley Manning:
ON THE MEDIA SHOWING MORE SYMPATHY FOR MANNING LATELY: "The larger story is not a change in views about him but how much he’d been ignored. When you see the film you’ll see—and the thing I’m most gratified about—how much we put him at the center of story. Where he should have been but hasn’t been. Part of it was he was just the 'alleged' leaker and now he has pleaded guilty. Finally he’s being noticed, which is a good thing.
"My personal view—he’s the new Pvt. Eddie Slovik [the American soldier our military executed for desertion during World War II.] They picked on Manning because they could. They felt he was weak, he was marginalized. And I think now it’s beginning to surprise the government that public opinion is shifting in his direction [since his statement at his recent hearing]."
ON MEDIA ACCOUNTS ATTRIBUTING MANNING'S  LEAKING TO GENDER CONFUSION: "In my film I recognize that Bradley Manning had personal troubles. He made a difference, and I think he thought about trying to make a difference—but he was also different himself.
"The idea of Manning leaking because he wanted to become a woman is a joke. Not at all credible. But  I think a reason he turned to [Adrian] Lamo in those chats was he needed someone to talk to
"I took some criticism at Sundace for saying Manning was 'alienated.' I think it was twisted into me saying he leaked because he was a malcontent. But if he was perfectly in alignment with the military culture he would have never leaked! Sometimes whistleblowers get distanced from the culture and feel they should or must speak out. These issues are important to the story."

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