Veterans for Peace Stand Up For Bradley Manning
Over 250 activists from all over the
Manning has been held without trial since May 2010. He was held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia from July 2010 until his transfer to
Veterans For Peace (VFP) organized the protest that began with a rally in
Eighty-six- year-old Sally-Alice Thompson made the trip from
Ed Flaherty of Iowa Chapter 61 Veterans for Peace agrees. “If we wind up convicting him of treason for releasing information about war crimes, what some people feel we fought for in World War II and the
What is a soldier to do when he becomes aware of war crimes? Bob Meola of the War Resisters League says like every American soldier, Manning took the oath to defend the Constitution and that once a soldier knows of a war crime, he has a duty to report it. “If he did what he is accused of, then he is an American hero and a patriot and he should get a Congressional Medal of Honor for telling the American people about war crimes,” Meola says.
Among the thousands of documents Manning allegedly released to Wiki Leaks, a video called Collateral Murder shows
After the rally, protestors marched to Leavenworth Prison chanting, “I am Bradley. You are Bradley. We are Bradley Manning” and “What do we want? Peace and Freedom. When do we want it? Now.” Across the street, a small group of counter protestors held signs calling Manning a traitor. “He did not commit treason,” says Flaherty, noting that the documents Manning allegedly released had a lesser security classification than the ones Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971. “Ellsberg is recognized rightfully as a hero, at least by anyone who knows anything. Even Defense Secretary Gates says there has been no harm to people in the armed forces or our ‘allies’ in
Jeff Strottman came from
Ralph Earls and his wife Roma of Baldwin City, Kansas say they think people who reveal the truth should be rewarded not punished. “Especially people who are in a position that is ruled by the uniformed military code of justice that makes it clear to every soldier that their true loyalty is to the
Brian Terrell visited
Manning has been charged with “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system in connection with the leaking of a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source and disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States,” between November 19, 2009, and May 27, 2010. In March, the government issued 22 additional charges against him. “If we really believe what he has done or has been suspected of doing actually frees us as a society, that it creates the transparency we need to make correct decisions, then we need to fight for him,” says Stewart-Stark. “We need to fight for due process of law.”
An artist who graduated with a fine arts degree from
Though most of the media continues to overlook the Manning case, public pressure succeeded in getting him out of solitary confinement where his treatment was described by many of his supporters as torture. Amnesty International and Psychologists for Social Responsibility both sent letters to Secretary Gates calling for an end to the inhumane treatment of Manning.
Gloria Williams is a freelance journalist, activist, and member of the War Resisters League. For more information on the case, go to www.bradleymanning.org. Photos by Williams.