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US private Bradley Manning’s trial for “aiding the enemy” is under way and prosecutors are asking for a life sentence. Manning has pled guilty to leaking documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, but under question for many is the future of whistle-blowing.

If leaking information can lead to life imprisonment, then it follows that freedom of the press and protection of their sources, not to mention public access to information, would be directly affected.

“I want people to see the truth, because without it you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” – Bradley Manning.

Actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Russell Brand, and director Oliver Stone appear in a video on the iam.bradleymanning.org website in support of Manning.

“[Bradley Manning] was deeply disturbed by what he was seeing as an intelligence analyst in Iraq,” says Stone. “The shooting of the Reuters reporters, civilians, by helicopter. He leaked documents during the war, and they were enormously helpful for people on the outside to understand what the government was thinking about on the inside.”

Brand also voiced his concerns in an interview with Gawker: “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.’ I think whistle-blowing is necessary. We know that institutions have a tendency toward corruption.”

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