Bradley Manning’s 1000th day in prison without trial draws international protest

On February 23rd Bradley Manning spent his 1000th day in prison without trial, for having exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy, and disturbing foreign policy, through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Over the weekend, in an incredible showing of public support, more than 70 events were organized internationally to raise awareness about his ongoing persecution.

Soldiers have the right to a speedy trial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice but by the time Bradley Manning reaches court martial, now scheduled for June 1, 2013, he will have spent more than 3 years behind bars. For 11 months he was held in solitary confinement against the recommendations of every health professional who assessed him – treatment the presiding Judge agreed amounted to unlawful pretrial punishment. Supporters are rightfully demanding justice. Enough is enough.

In San Francisco 150 supporters gathered. Speakers from a number of organizations came out in support: from Iraq Vets Against the War, Veterans for Peace, CodePink, and World Can’t Wait. Rainey Reitman and Jeff Paterson spoke on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network, giving brief legal updates on the case, and on next week’s pre-trial motion hearing hearing.

In New York City supporters enjoyed a theatrical performance of “Bradass87”, a play named after one of Bradley Manning’s online usernames, written by Claire Lebowitz and directed by David Shweizer. In both San Francisco and New York city, photos from the “I Am Bradley Manning” project, an online campaign to raise awareness about Bradley Manning, were printed and hung along clotheslines. Petitions in support of Bradley were also passed around.

In Washington DC, supporters organized a concert with Folk Punk artist Ryan Harvey, which also included guest speakers activist Geoff Millard from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Patrick McCann from Veterans for Peace President, and national organizer for the Bradley Manning Support Network Emma Cape.

Slideshow of photos from events around the world:

In France, supporters report:
“Americans Against the War France (AAW) held a vigil at the Fontaine St. Michel in Paris on February 23 to show our solidarity with Bradley Manning, now unjustly imprisoned without a trial for more than 1000 days. Our vigil, posted on the Manning website, drew several new and committed people – from France, Canada, Australia and the US – who will breathe new life into future actions. Thirteen people distribute leaflets to passers-by in zero-degree weather. Despite the bitter cold, distribution was successful and numerous people stopped to discuss Bradley’s situation. On this occasion, as well as at previous vigils, the response to Bradley Manning and his plight has drawn a positive response from the French public, as well as passers-by from various parts of the world.”

In Tempe Arizona:
“In Tempe, Arizona near the Arizona State University campus a rally for Bradley Manning took place on the corner of Mill and University following the Local to Global Forum. There was chanting “Free Bradley Manning” and some horn honking by passing traffic. It was a spirited rally and provided and opportunity to educate and provide updates to those that stopped by to talk.”

In Boston, supporters invited passerby’s to show their support for Bradley by taking photos for the “I Am Bradley Manning” photo campaign.

And from Houston:
“Houston was honored to be apart of the action to free Army whistle-blower Bradley Manning on the 1,000th day since his arrest with no trial. We had about 10 supporters meet up, some from Occupy Houston and The Houston Free Thinkers, as group at a local venue, Numbers, that was hosting a community bazaar. We utilized this community event to spread awareness about Bradley through flyers, holding signs, getting petitions signed, talking one on one or to a group of people, and through social media. We reached many people about Braldey’s situation and we got over 100 signatures for our petitions! Also we had supporters sign a letter that we will be sending to Bradley expressing our solidarity with him. Many other supporters went to various events around town to spread awareness on the issue and had great feedback as well. It was an amazing event in which crucial topics were discussed, with the most important being FREE BRADLEY MANNING! Solidarity from Houston, Texas!”

In Sydney, Australia supporters stood out in the rain in solidarity with Bradley Manning while preparing and practicing an upcoming Mardi Gras action:
“Due to the heavy rain storms in Sydney today not many people turned up to our event. For a while we handed out flyers to the few passers by as our masks on sticks attracted attention, but as our sound equipment wasn’t able to be waterproofed in time we went to a computer lab. This is the result . Our Mardi Gras action will be big because 400,000 will still turn out rain or not as it usually rains 2 out of 3 MardiGras.”

Tomorrow Bradley Manning returns to Fort Meade for a motion hearing where Judge Lind is expected to rule on the defense motion to dismiss the case based on the lack of a speedy trial. Judge Lind should do the right thing: it is time to free Bradley Manning.


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