This Saturday, mass demonstrations will be happening all over the country and the world to protest Bradley Manning‘s imprisonment. I’ve written enough about Manning here (on Obama’s legacy of secrecy, drones, prisons, and kill lists), here (on why whistleblowing is NOT a crime), here (on the Obama administration’s attack on whistleblowers) and here (on what Dzokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Bomber, has to do with Bradley Manning) for you to refresh yourself if you are unaware of Manning’s case and why it is important.
I’ll give you the Cliffs Notes version: PFC Bradley Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010 for suspicion of leaking classified military documents to Wikileaks. Among the documents were the Collateral Murder video, which shows the 2007 murder of over a dozen people in Baghdad by a U.S. Apache helicopter. The murdered included civilians and two Reuter’s employees, photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver Saeed Chmagh. The leak also included the Iraq War Logs, comprised of nearly 400,000 military logs recorded from 2004 to 2009. The files revealed thousands of reports of prisoner torture and abuse filed against coalition forces in Iraq, including reports of people being hung from the ceiling on hooks, whipped with cables, sexually assaulted, urinated on, and having holes bored into their legs with electric drills. The logs also added an additional 15,000 civilian deaths to the known body count, totalling over 150,000 deaths, of which roughly 80% were civilian. You can read more at the Bradley Manning Support Network.
For exposing these war crimes, Bradley Manning has now spent four years in prison without trial, part of which was spent in solitary confinement where he was denied exercise, sunlight, social interaction, and a number of times was forced to stay completely naked, all in violation of U.S. military law.
With Manning’s trial set to begin on June 3rd, mass demonstrations against his imprisonment are taking place all over the globe. At Ft. Meade in Maryland, where Manning is imprisoned, the largest demonstration will be happening (RSVP on Facebook). Featured speakers include famous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers, Ethan McCord, the soldier who saved the children attacked in the Collateral Murder video released by Manning to Wikileaks, Col. Ann Wright, a senior State Department official who resigned in protest of the Iraq War, Sarah Shourd, the hiker who was imprisoned by Iran, and Lt. Dan Choi, an activist for LGBT rights. The rally begins at 1 p.m. and will continue throughout the afternoon.
This is not an event to be missed. The U.S. government has tried to silence Bradley Manning by blocking full access to his trial and important documents and by trying to hide him away for the past four years. We need to send a message that he has not been forgotten. Join the rally at Ft. Meade or find one near you. If I can’t convince you, perhaps this ten-year-old girl can as she explains why Manning is a hero to her: