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Updated: August 21, 2010 16:12 IST

Michael Moore comes out in support of ‘WikiLeaks’ source

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 Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore
AP Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore

Michael Moore, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, will contribute USD 5,000 to help defend the army private, suspected of leaking classified documents to internet whistle-blower WikiLeaks, from serving time in prison.

A champion of liberal and left-wing causes, Mr. Moore told The Associated Press in a telephone interview he also hopes to make the public understand that Pfc. Bradley Manning exposed what Mr. Moore called “war crimes.”

“He did a courageous thing and he did a patriotic thing,” Mr. Moore said.

Mr. Manning, 22, faces up to 52 years in prison if convicted of downloading classified material and passing it to an unauthorised person while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

He is charged with leaking video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack that killed 11, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. WikiLeaks posted the video on its website in April.

U.S. officials say the July disclosure of Afghan war details endangered innocent people or confidential informants.

Mike Gogulski, founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network, said he was delighted with Mr. Moore’s support. The group is raising money for a civilian defence attorney for Mr. Manning.

Maj Thomas F. Hurley, one of Manning’s military lawyers, declined to comment.

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