PFC Bradley Manning, the gay 24-year-old Army intelligence analyst on trial for the accusation of releasing the “Collateral Murder” video on WikiLeaks in 2010, has developed strong global support groups. Most recently, this support came from the LGBT community in gay pride celebrations across the nation.
On June 24th, supporters in San Francisco, New York , and Chicago formed “Free Bradley Manning” contingents, marching for hours while holding signs in solidarity. The Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist sponsored the San Francisco march, Veterans For Peace and other peace and justice organizations marched in New York, and Chicago’s contingent was spear headed by the Gay Liberation Network.
The Bradley Manning Support Network and Courage To Fight have been doing great work year round by updating other supporters on PFC Manning’s trail, establishing a defense fund, and hosting various events throughout the nation to show support and bring awareness, such as at the recent Pride events (view photos from the Pride 2012 events here).
Find out more, including a trial update, after the jump…
The “Collateral Murder” video released shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists, by a U.S. Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. PFC Manning is also accused of sharing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and series of embarrassing U.S. diplomatic cables. Manning was held from July 2010 for 10 months in solitary confinement where, according to the Bradley Manning Support Network, “[he] was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and on a number of occasions he was forced to stay completely naked.”
PFC Manning’s treatment was deemed inhumane and in violation of his rights by over half a million people who signed an online petition and almost 300 top legal scholars who signed an online letter arguing that the detention conditions violated the Constitution. He was then moved to a medium-security jail where conditions greatly improved; showing the power supporters can have and impact that can be made.
The Nobel Peace Prize nominee is currently on pre-trial, and recent news in the case shows a partial early victory for PFC Manning with a military judge on June 25 ordering military prosecutors to prepare a “due diligence statement”, which would outline in detail all the efforts the government has taken to disclose evidence during the two years since PFC Manning was arrested; this information could be crucial in his defense. According to The Guardian, “leading lawyer, David Coombs, has argued in motions presented to the court that the prosecution has been actively trying to avoid meeting its legal obligations to hand over information that could help in preparation of the soldier’s defense.” Military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, sided with Coombs and had given the prosecutors until July 25 to draft the due diligence statement. PFC Manning’s trial is currently set to begin Sept. 21, but Lind has said it will likely be postponed to November or January, as reported by The Huffington Post.