Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whistleblower Bradley Manning Supporters Protest in Cambridge, Boston, Demand Obama Free Him

by @SarahCortes-As over 30 press outlets filed an amicus brief to protest secrecy surrounding PVC Bradley Manning's trial, protestors in Cambridge, Boston and 33 Obama campaign headquarters around the US joined yesterday in the demand to free Manning.

Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents and media, including the video www.CollateralMurder.com, to Wikileaks. Many view Wikileaks as a news outlet similar to the New York Times, and Manning as a whistleblower similar to Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers. Documents and media allegedly leaked by Manning to Wikileaks portray misconduct by the US military, such as that in the Collateral Murder video. Wikileaks director Julian Assange is currently in refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, under threat of arrest and deportation to Sweden. Four US congressional representatives have called for Assange's death. The US seeks his extradition for publishing the classified material. Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, unauthorized disclosure of national security information and violating orders. The maximum punishment for these crimes includes life imprisonment. The government has not charged any of those persons revealed in the material to have committed atrocities or other crimes.

The Collateral Murder video, shot from the gunsight of a US Army helicopter in Iraq in 2007, shows the killing of unarmed civilians, children and two Reuters photographers by a soldier identified only as "Crazyhorse 1/8." The US Army refused to release it under a 2007 FOIA request by Reuters, claiming its release would jeopardize national security. No one is known to have been harmed since the release of the material attributed to Manning.

Protestors at the Primary Day rally likened Bradley Manning's alleged crimes to the disclosures by Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers, which revealed widespread atrocities and corruption in the US military in southeast asia in the 1960s and 1970s. Susan McLucas stated, "Manning has been held in jail for over two years without a trial. We're here on the eve of Obama's nomination to demand that he free Manning, who [allegedly] released information vital to our interests, which should never have been secret."

Many of the protestors had previously supported Occupy Boston. Jesse Perrier, of Veterans for Peace added, "to a lot of people [Manning] is a hero, for letting people know a lot of falsehoods about the Iraq war." Leslie Tetrault added, "I learned some things today about the torture of Bradley Manning that I couldn't believe. We have to all stand together. Because that could be me in there [in the US military prison in Ft. Meade}, too." Susan Rose of Cambridge, who participated in the protest, and Pat Scanlon, who helped organize itagreed. Dave Lewit of www.NewEnglandAlliance.org, a member of the Alliance for Democracy, added that Manning's Treatment was "an indictment of a corrupt justice system- civilian as well as military."

Politico reporter @JoshGerstein reported, "The amicus brief filed with the military's highest court, the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, supports a request from the Center for Constitutional Rights to allow public access to motions, briefs, written rulings and the docket in Manning's court-martial."

The Boston and Cambridge protets were supported and publicized by a wide variety of organizations, including www.wiki.OccupyBoston.org and www.DirectActionRadio.blogspot.com, as well as www.MassPirates.org

According to www.BradleyManning.org, emails turned over to Manning's legal defense team after months of wrangling over discovery, revealed that Lieutenant General George Flynn, who was serving as the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command at the time, ordered Manning’s solitary confinement.

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