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.
Why are you talking about Bradley Manning on your birthday?
I don’t know a great deal about international espionage, but sometimes one senses that an issue is drifting in a certain direction, and just by speaking out in a small way, you can make a subtle difference on that perception. Some people have made their mind up no matter what: “Bradley Manning is a traitor because of revealing classified information.” It’s very difficult to impact those people. W.B. Yeats said, The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity. But it might be nice, if I, from my gentle position—bouncing around on the Left elegantly and Englishly—suggest that it doesn’t seem like this person is acting particularly out of self-interest, but rather [Manning] was motivated out of a different kind of patriotism: a genuine love of the people of this country and concern for the people.
So what’s your realistic expectation when you lend your name to a campaign like this?
That you’ll get a degree of abuse from people who are intrinsically opposed. The best you can do is draw the attention of people who are otherwise unsure or curious.
The culture has been expertly constructed so that what’s now regarded as esoteric information is everything except for stuff that directly concerns Kim Kardashian. So everything other than that, you might as well be speaking Aristotle in Greek. For me, I live, to a degree, in popular culture. So if I say, “Oh, that Bradley Manning seems that he was really trying his best to expose information he thought was important to American people regarding what was being done in their name,” all I’m hoping is that people who would otherwise entirely ignore it may have a flickering awareness, and some who would have had a flickering awareness would investigate further. So it’s a very modest ambition. I’m not singlehandedly imagining that I could make any particular impact.
You’re Tweeting about what’s happening in Turkey, you’re Tweeting about supporting Bradley Manning, you’re Tweeting links to Kickstarter campaigns. Do you consider that your constant and various endorsements will lessen theimpact of your individual involvements?
No. For me, it’s like, one day, I’ll Tweet a cute little kid saying he wants to be a vegetarian and another a photograph of my mates.
Please—it would be delightful for me that if somewhere among the verbiage, you were to put that I’m under no illusions as to the impact of what I’m saying. I happen to believe that Bradley Manning has the right to a fair trial; it seems clear to me that some of the charges against him are mendacious and duplicitous from the outset. So I’m just saying, “Keep an eye on that.” The things I’d say I’m highly qualified to talk about are drugs and alcohol abstinence, social consciousness broadly, and sex. Under my libertarian umbrella, occasionally Bradley Manning or the demonstrations in Turkey will fall under my shade. That’s all.
You’re British, and this is technically an American situation, so how do you respond to critics who say that Bradley Manning’s trial is none of your business?
I think it’s a global issue. I eschew those kinds of categorizations at a time when we have to start thinking and behaving as one species in collusion with an ecological system.
Besides, who defines the parameters of these arguments? Hey, an English person can’t talk about an American thing! Oh yeah, I remember know, from that rulebook that fell out of the sky at the dawn of time! Hey, what is American by the way? Some word people said in relation to a geographical mass a couple of hundred years ago! [laughing]
As long as you know that all of this stuff is arbitrary—that karate is invention, that Catholicism is invention, that America in an invention—but that humanity is an actual thing, we don’t have to all pretend to believe this shit.
What’s actually important? A human being doing a thing that was quite bold—possibly from a position of some personal trauma—but that regardless has brought attention to important stuff. We all know that shit goes on! But he’s brought palpable, tangible evidence of mendacious—oh no, don’t want to use that word again—conduct apparently for the protection or for the furtherment of the American people.
I’ve reached the point, Camille, where it’s an intuitive understanding [that] I don’t trust any of these people anymore.
Do you support of the general idea of whistleblowing? Or is your support of Bradley Manning’s actions specific?
I think [whistle-blowing] is necessary, Camille. I think it’s really brave. We know that institutions have a tendency toward corruption. And we are, to some degree, dependent on people within those institutions to arbitrate their conduct. No one within those institutions in higher positions is going to go, “Oh, we’ve got to be honest: we’ve done some dodgy stuff.” So it’s going to take some sort of rare quirk, some peculiar anomaly like Bradley Manning to demonstrate or highlight injustices.
Do you think Bradley Manning is a hero?
I suppose. But we have to be careful how we use these terms, particularly when you’re talking to a journalist. Don’t make me look like a dickhead.
I planned to run our conversation.
Will you? How post-modern is this piece of writing on Gawker?
Here’s what I would say: If the defining characteristic of heroism, from the perspective of constructing a myth or a screenplay, is the protagonist’s way to sacrifice himself for a greater good, by that definition—which I think is as good a definition as any of a hero—then he would have to be.
If you turn that into “yes” when you write this up, then you are bad.
Thanks Andy & CA! I can’t wait for everyone to see Collider next month! This image is actually by Robbi and I. It was made for promotional use before the mighty Nathan Fox signed on to do covers for the series. -rico
By Andy Khouri
Collider is a new ongoing Vertigo series starting next month that sees its authors returning to a high concept hook that may be familiar to readers of their previous work, but from all appearances seems to be a considerable step up in style from the already enjoyable comics they’ve created before. Previously writer Simon Oliver worked on Vertigo’s five-volume series The Exterminators (with Tony Moore), which detailed the adventures of a hapless ex-con employed as a pest control professional who runs up against dangerous cockroach monsters mutated by a chemical agents created by an irresponsible super-science outfit. Along similar lines but in a completely different tone, artist Robbi Rodriguez is a ComicsAlliance favorite who made a name for himself (with writer Jim Massey) on the Oni Press comedy Maintenance. Optioned as a film by DreamWorks Animation, that three-volume series followed the exploits of a couple of janitors employed by TerrorMax, Inc., purveyor of various crimes against science and nature.
What Rodriguez has described as ”a mash-up of Bruce Springsteen and Kurt Vonnegut —blue collar sci-fi,” Collider features the fictional Federal Bureau of Physics, whose mandate is to address problems like “temporary gravity failures, time reversal loops, and entropy reversals.” Those are the kinds of words we like to hear coming out of Vertigo, and the following pictures by Rodriguez, the extremely talented colorist Rico Renzi and cover artist Nathan Fox are definitely the kinds of things we want to see more of in sci-fi comics.
You don’t even NEED to “troll the NSA”, or “everyone talk like a terrorist all the time”. Because according to this list, absolutely anything that has to do with money, sex, current events, or the government at all flags you as a potential terrorist….
Even on the darkest days, there’s always a silver lining!!! #happyfathersday (at The $3cr3t Layer)
My #awesome family woke me with a couple gifts this morn’… #HappyFathersDay #NewVintageSyndicate #handsomeboyclothingco #levis504s #nikeindees #ipadmini #cktoneontonetee #mrnicewatch (at The $3cr3t Layer)
To All Dads/Fathers: Happy Fathers Day from the Evol Gnus family!!! #lilralphlowin #happyfahjasday
There’s a reason NSA is not in law enforcement: there’s nothing limited or legal about the above. It has absolutely, positively zero to do with rights or the law as we understand them. They do what the CIA does to its targets: extralegal gathering of evidence for exploitation at a time of the government’s choosing. That is espionage, and there’s a reason we abhor it being done to people who are not part of the spy game, let alone people who are supposed to watch over the very government running the spy game.
Yet the most pundits can offer is a shallow, parochial debate about some bourgeois, neutered conception of privacy. For them, this is only about the exact nature of our freedom to share with sufficient insularity pictures of cats, what we had for lunch, and silly memes. Now we need to all sit around indian style and figure out the kind of Stasi with which we’d be most comfortable, what kinds of checks and balances, safeguards and oversight would allow us a good night’s monitored sleep.
Don’t be fooled. The onus is not on us to properly circumscribe the boundaries of our private lives. The onus is on them to explain the way their leviathan, totalitarian institutions spill out of the confines they agreed to obey, those charters that give them their existence in the first place, the enumerated powers they claim separate them from totalitarian regimes or organized crime syndicates. The lesson here that no pundit will mention is that the state is inherently a scam. This domestic spying on us is but one facet of the overall institutional hegemony that dominates us and teaches us helplessness.
#DJ #soldier #n8vandyke
Inception vs Paprika
I don’t think Chris NOlan brought the rights to Satoshi Kon’s PAPRIKA for his movie “INCEPTION” however….
It’s no secret that Christopher Nolan was heavily inspired by Paprika to make inception. My only issue that is the dreams in Inception felt a little too linear and realistic. Where as the Paprika dreams were completely imaginative and off the wall. I would’ve loved to see that in a live action format.
Happy pre-Father’s Day! A roster of new ideas were born this week. I’m going that the #evlgnsmindstate audience is ready for #openhouse. Starting Monday, the #evlgnsmindstate FB page & my personal page will be holding a #Summer13 GraphicHabit tourney!!!! Drop by the FB page, click a ‘Like’ & participants will be able to DL an asset package containing Evol Gnus IP & mockup templates. Submission info is available, hit up: info(at)evolgeniusclothing.com…. (at The $3cr3t Layer)
Had 2 have a mtg w/ “The Backbone Brigade” b4 I push the Summer 13 collection… #smackdown #theyecon #thegreatdeception #evlgnsmindstate #conspiretoinspire (at The $3cr3t Layer)
We ‘bout to school ‘em! #yallgonlearn #theyecon #evlgnsmindstate (at The $3cr3t Layer)