Free Bradley Manning! Protest Planned for August 1st and 2nd

Bradley Manning is a 23 year old soldier who is accused of leaking classified military information to WikiLeaks including a video showing an Apache helicopter killing civilians and two Reuter's journalists in Iraq as well as "embarassing" diplomatic cables.  His heroic actions have shed light on the true nature of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For his efforts he has been kept in solitary confinement since May 2010 while he awaits trial.  In protest of the deplorable treatment of this heroic young man by the U.S. military, WRL will be holding a protest on August 1st and 2nd leading up to the Veterans for Peace National convention at Portland Statue University August 4-7.  For more information on the August 1st event click here, and for the August 2nd event click here.  For more information and ways to get involved, please visit the Bradley Manning Support Network and sign one of their petitions, or write letters to your congressman demanding his release.  Below is an article from the Bradley Manning Support Network with more information about Bradley and his plight.

Bradley Manning

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

“God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

-Quotes from an online chat attributed to Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking a video showing the killing of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also charged with sharing the documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and embarrassing US diplomatic cables, with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.  The video and documents have illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy.

Not a single person has been harmed by the release of this information.  Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has called their affect on U.S. foreign relations “fairly modest.” Yet, Bradley faces 22 charges*, including “Aiding the enemy by indirect means,” for which a conviction could result in the death penalty or life in prison.

Although Bradley has not yet been tried, he has been held in solitary confinement since May 2010. He has been denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and has occasionally been kept completely naked. These conditions are unique to Bradley and are illegal even under US military law as they amount to extreme pre-trial punishment.

In March 2011, chief US State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley called Bradley’s treatment at the Quantico, Virginia Marine Corps brig “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He was forced to resign within hours. Bradley’s treatment has sparked a probe by the United Nations chief torture investigator Juan Mendez. According to Mr. Mendez, he has been, “frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr. Manning.” After also being rejected an official visit, Congressman Dennis Kucinich noted, “What is going on…with respect to Pfc. Manning’s treatment is more consistent with Kafka then the US Constitution.”

In one week in April 2011, over a half million people signed a petition calling on President Obama to end the isolation and torture of Bradley Manning, as those condition serve as “a chilling deterrent to other potential whistleblowers committed to public integrity.”

Over 300 top legal scholars have declared Bradley’s conditions of detention a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial.  Among the signatories is Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who taught Barack Obama. Prof. Tribe was until recently a senior advisor to the US Justice Department.

Partially in response to public outcry, on April 21, 2011, Bradley was moved from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, KS.  We do not yet know if his confinement conditions have changed.  The very day he was moved, President Obama was surprised at a breakfast fundraiser by a group of protesters.  At the end of the fundraiser, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Logan Price, began questioning him about Bradley’s situation.  The President stated that “He [Bradley Manning] broke the law,” a pretrial declaration of guilt that has caused concern among many legal experts.

Now, at the start of the second decade in the second millennium, Bradley Manning has a growing list of supporters. Included among them is another famous whistle blower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. We hope that you will join us as well. See what you can do to support justice in this historic time.