New Film by an Oscar Nominee Exposes the 'War' on Whistleblowing With Kickstarter Help neededSubmitted by phathead on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 04:45
It all began with Bradley Manning and the grainy video of that US gunship attack on civilians and journalists in Baghdad, leaked to WikiLeaks in early 2010. It caused an international sensation and put WikiLeaks on the map as a central media player for a full year as leaks about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and then Cablegate, emerged.
James Spione decided to make a short film about the video and a central figure in it—a US soldier who helped steer to safety a youngster injured in the US attack. The soldier, Ethan McCord, became an eloquent critic of the US war effort. I was perhaps the first to write about the making of the film, Incident in New Baghdad, which went on to gain an Academy Award nomination for best short doc.
Now Spione is completing a kind of follow-up, called Silenced, on whistleblowing, federal government crackdowns and the war over information. He’s currently seekng completion funds via Kickstarter (a process that proved vital with his previous film). Here’s the current trailer:
At his Kickstarter page, Spione elaborates:
What does it take for an individual of conscience to speak out in this environment? What kind of courage and character does it take to challenge the national security policies of the most powerful nation on Earth? Though Incident was not directly about Manning, the experience of making it got me to thinking about the power of information: who controls and classifies it, who is allowed to release it, who is rewarded for its use and who is punished.
The targeting of whistleblowers raises profound questions that have implications far beyond the fates of the individuals profiled in this film. In an age where the spectre of terrorism is deemed an appropriate reason for the Executive branch to claim greater and greater powers, can the United States government maintain a commitment to the rule of law? How can a democracy that purports to champion human rights simultaneously attempt to quash criticism from within its ranks? What is the effect on our First Amendment right to dissent—and on the whole idea of a free press—when those in power single out whistleblowers for prosecution?