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People Turn Out for Bradley Manning
By Gerry Condon
The court martial of Bradley Manning recessed on Wednesday after three days. Because the court room testimony is proceeding quicker than anticipated, the next of the government's 141 witnesses will not be available until Monday. Lawyers and activists alike welcomed the break, except for a few who had planned to attend the court martial on Thursday and Friday.
The first three days of Bradley's court martial featured testimony from computer forensics experts, infamous hacker Adrian Lamo (who turned in Bradley to Army intelligence after chatting online with Bradley), and a parade of Army witnesses who were his instructors, supervisors and co-workers in intelligence gathering in Iraq. The court proceedings arguably were to Bradley's advantage. His lawyer David Coombs elicited testimony that undercut the aiding the enemy charge as well as other attempts by Army prosecutors to cast Bradley in an unfavorable light.
For summaries and complete transcripts of the court martial testimony, go to www.bradleymanning.org
Tons of Media Coverage
The virtual media blackout of the prosecution of Bradley Manning has ended, with the beginning of his court martial. You can find tons of media coverage here and a very interesting article in New Yorker.
VFP Board member Gerry Condon, who is anchoring VFP's presence at Fort Meade, reports being interviewed by a dozen radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. This is a BIG story around the world, and many foreign reporters showed up for both the court martial and the rally that preceded it.
Veterans For Peace featured in Real News Video from Fort Meade Rally (5 min).
featuring VFP members Ward Reilly, Gerry Condon, David Swanson and Ann Wright.
Ward Reilly is misidentified as Bob Meola of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Eisenhower Chapter Gives HERO OF PEACE Award to Bradley Manning
At the Monday morning vigil outside of Fort Meade, just prior to the beginning of the historic court martial, the Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans For Peace (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina) presented a Hero For Peace award, in the form of a beautiful plaque, to Bradley Manning. Eisenhower Chapter president John Heuer who serves on VFP's Board of Directors, presented the award to Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. The award will be passed on to Bradley through his lawyer, David Coombs.
The plaque reads as follows:
When the violence of war kills the innocent, our shared humanity cries out against the brutality. When the deceit of war attacks truth, our shared hope for justice compels some to testify and all to listen.
We count as heroes of peace, those willing to sacrifice themselves to save the innocent, those willing to suffer from lies to reveal the truth, those willing to be condemned by criminals for disobeying them, and those willing to be persecuted to stop the brutality.
These are the deeds of Bradley Manning.
Monday Morning Vigil at Fort Meade
A vigil will take place outside the front gate of Fort Meade on Monday morning, when the court martial resumes, and every Monday morning thereafter, beginning at 7 am. A Friday morning “visibility action” is also being planned.
Bradley Manning Contingents in Washington DC and Boston Pride Parades Saturday
VFP members will join in the Bradley Manning contingent of the Gay Pride Parade in Washington, DC this Saturday, June 8. The Parade begins at 4:30 p.m. from 22nd St. & P Sts. NW.
Contact in advance for details for the contingent meeting time and location: 206-499-1220.
VFP's Smedley Butler Brigade will march in the Boston Pride parade this Saturday, June 8, with the message "Free Bradley Manning." They invite other chapters to join them. Assemble between 10;30 am and11 am at the corner of Boyleston and Exeter streets (one block from the Copley T station). For more information, email Pat Scanlon at email@example.com.
Loads more information is available at www.bradleymanning.org.
Fight over truth underway in courtroom
Report on the first week of the trial, protests, solidarity actions, and press coverage.
International week of action. June 1-8. Rally in Sydney, Australia.
After a grueling 3 years in prison awaiting trial, 3 time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning’s court martial has begun. Supporters held actions in solidarity with the heroic whistleblower. On June 1st the largest rally of supporters yet was held at Fort Meade, and throughout the week more than three dozen events were organized around the world.
On the first day of the trial the defense and prosecution faced off with opening statements that both asked “what would you do” if you were given access to evidence of the true nature of the war, civilian murders, illegal torture, unnecessary secrecy and thousands of documents revealing government corruption? What would you do if your reports to superiors were ignored, and if you learned that the American people had been lied to?
Rally in South Korea
Rally in Toledo, OH
Rally in Portland, ME
In his opening arguments defense lawyer David Coombs highlighted that Bradley Manning is not your typical soldier - rather he is a conscientious soldier who cared more than most about people, fellow soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike. Bradley Manning, he explained, is a "Humanist," who prior to deploying to Iraq had that printed on his dog tags as his religious preference. For Bradley Manning the horrors of civilian and his fellow soldier’s deaths were troubling and transforming: it inspired him to learn the truth about the war, a war that we now know, thanks in part to Bradley and the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has been based on lies. Read Bradley Manning Support Network correspondent Nathan Fuller’s report on the opening statements from the first day of the hearing.
On the second day, hacker and informant Adrian Lamo who in 2010 reported Bradley to authorities and then published private chat logs via Wired and the Washington Post, confirmed for the court Bradley’s conscientious motivations for releasing the information. The remainder of the second and third days of the hearing focused largely on Bradley’s training. Witnesses testified that he performed his duties well and he was praised for being well organized and computer savvy.
Many of the charges against Bradley are specified three different ways. First that Bradley was not authorized to access the information, at least in the way he did. Second that he violated regulations in transferring that information from secure to non-secure computers or media. Finally, that he gave the information to WikiLeaks. The latter is the only part Bradley has admitted to. Witnesses agreed that Bradley indeed had authorized access to all of the information, and that it was normal for additional, unauthorized programs and files, to be installed on these secure computers. Read the Support Network’s reports from day 2, and from day 3.
Supporters were blocked from wearing Truth t-shirts in the court room on the first day, but the decision was later overturned.
Bradley Manning and supporters received a lot of positive press over the week. The New York Times highlights supporter efforts in its article “Manning’s supporters are loud and online!”, while Rolling Stone magazine rips into media outlets that failed to understand Bradley’s motives, or to grasp the big picture: “The debate we should be having is over whether as a people we approve of the acts he uncovered that were being done in our names.” And former US Representative Dennis Kucinich takes Bill O’Reilly to task, defending Bradley Manning’s actions on the Bill O’Reilly factor. Watch the video here.
Transcripts of the trial are now available thanks to the Freedom of the Press Foundation who have hired a stenographer. Throughout three years leading up to this court martial no transcripts have been issued from the numerous pre-trial hearings. It has been up to bloggers, journalists, and Bradley’s supporters to take notes by hand in court. The hiring of a stenographer by the public brings a touch of transparency back into the court. Read transcripts from the first week.