Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old US army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking a video showing the 2007 killing of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also charged with sharing with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks documents known as the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs, plus thousands of embarrassing US diplomatic cables.
Arrested in Iraq in May 2010, Manning is currently in a US military prison in Kansas. The conditions of his previous imprisonment of nearly 9 months in a brig in Virginia, including solitary confinement, may have amounted to torture. Over 12 months have passed since his arrest; he has not been brought to trial or convicted of anything.
Of particular relevance to Swan Island Peace Convergence is the Afghan War Diary, described by the New York Times as “a six-year archive of classified military documents [that] offers an unvarnished and grim picture of the Afghan war”. The Guardian has called the material “one of the biggest leaks in US military history”:
“… a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and NATO commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency”.
The Swan Island Peace Convergence is calling on people to “Be brave – Resist the War”. An essential element of this call is an understanding that when people do resist they face personal risks. In Bradley’s case this could mean life in prison or even the death penalty. It is essential that we demonstrate as a movement that we are prepared to stand by brave resisters like Bradley and show him solidarity. This is important not just for Bradley’s sake, but to show any future resisters to the war within or outside the military that they will not stand alone if the State moves against them.
So bring along a sign or banner about Bradley Manning to the Peace Convergence, write a letter to Bradley (c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 USA) or donate to his defence fund. Read about more about Bradley and the solidarity campaign which has made this excellent 90-second video: