At Fort Meade in Maryland, a pretrial hearing is underway in the government’s case against Private Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly turned over hundreds of thousands of secret reports and cables to Wikileaks. This month, an important new book on the 24-year-old has been published. In The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History, Chase Madar says that Manning deserves the Presidential medal of Freedom for opening up our secretive foreign policy to public discussion. I talked to the author this morning.

Tell us what’s happening in the case:

Chase Madar: It’s absolutely a given that Manning is going to be convicted and sentenced to at least 50 years. It’s inexorable. That said, I don’t think the case itself is one of the major injustices that’s colliding here. There’s some unfairness in the way the prosecution is taking liberties, but the real and major injustices are laws that encourage extreme secrecy and punish transparency and everything that goes long with that, like the Iraq war.

One good development– in yesterday’s pretrial hearing, the judge did require the prosecution to provide all the internal damage reports– what damage was done or really not done by these leaks. I think what you’re going to see is that even by the government’s own estimates, these disclosures did not harm national security or national interests, broadly defined.

Read the full interview on Mondoweiss

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