It is the release of this video that put Wikileaks on the American political stage, as the first of four major releases of documents and other media relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the continuing trickle of a quarter million diplomatic cables.
None of us had heard the name Bradley Manning one year ago. Indeed, 365 days ago, PFC. Manning was in Baghdad, serving as an Army intelligence specialist. Today, Manning sits in almost total solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Brig, having been charged with allegedly leaking the Collateral Murder video and other documents currently in Wikileaks’ possession.
For 11 months, Bradley Manning has been in military custody. Manning is still subject to forced stripping and excessively punitive conditions against the advice of Marine psychologists. He is still isolated not just from other people in the Quantico brig, but largely from the outside world while he continues to await trial. Manning will continue to sit in these grueling, oftentimes humiliating conditions until the government decides to put him on trial.
It was one year ago that the world saw “Collateral Murder” for the first time, sparking a fire that continues to burn around the world, fueled by the continued release of documents from Wikileaks. So today, it is important to remember that the man who allegedly helped light this match sits alone in his cell, cut off from a world that is quite different from that of one year ago.