By Kenneth Lipp, Dustin Slaughter and Joanne Michele
On what will be Manning’s 1,000th day of pretrial incarceration, supporters in Philadelphia will join an international network on February 23rd, 2013 to demonstrate against the conditions of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s arrest and nearly 3 year confinement.
The international day of action is being organized by the Bradley Manning Support Network, a grassroots advocacy collective dedicated to the accused whistleblower.
Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking a video highlighting U.S. war crimes in Iraq, as well as over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, is a 25 year old Private First Class in the United States Army, a prisoner at Fort Leavenworth, and former prisoner at the CIA Detention Facility at Langley and in Kuwait. PFC Manning is charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with multiple counts, the most serious of which is aiding the enemy. Whistleblowers ranging from Daniel Ellsberg to former National Security Agency employee Thomas Drake have lent their support to Manning.
Authorities, it should be noted, have been unable to prove that the leak of diplomatic cables has endangered lives or done more than embarrass officials.
Each of the editors at the Declaration have covered the Manning Article 13 hearings in Ft. Meade, MD at various times over the past twelve months . With the exception of some of the more sensational angles, such as the veritable cult of disdain around Adrian Lamo (who informed the Department of Defense of Manning’s online admission to him of his possession and disclosure of classified media), the Fourth Estate writ large has not deemed what in scope is easily the biggest national security story of the 21st Century worthy of more than peripheral coverage.
The United States’ case against Manning raises issues at the core of systemic secrecy, or Secrecy for Secrecy’s Sake.
Alexa O’Brien, a journalist and activist who has immersed herself in the particulars of Manning’s case and its broader implications – and in organizing and presenting information synthesized from a complicated and often arbitrary military legal process – once said of the government’s posture in this case (and as she clarified recently, was the subject of a defense filing in the Manning hearings):
The government is trying to craft a State Secrets Act.
Michael Salvi, a principal organizer for this Saturday’s local rally, says:
We’re standing in solidarity with the rest of the nation to let Bradley know he is supported and appreciated, in addition to raising awareness that in 2013 an American citizen has been detained without a trial by his peers for 1,000 days.
Bradley Manning’s case should be in the top 3 topics of discussion in every household. Most people are under the impression that we’re innocent until proven guilty, that we have a right to legal council, and the right to a fair, speedy trial by our peers. Bradley Manning’s case proves none of the above. This revelation has the potential to shake the foundation of a belief that our government is fair and designed to protect its people.
It is anything but that.
The National Security State protects its own interests, and will step on anyone and anything in its way. It has manipulated consent, as well as the law, to favor themselves and their actions.
Bradley Manning could be any one of us, and if we don’t push back, we may quickly find ourselves in a similar situation.