Private Bradley Manning: The White House Protest


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“If you ask me, it’s torture. You don’t do this to an American servicemember before he has even been tried and convicted. They had him in solitary confinement before he was even charged with anything. That’s wrong. Last time I checked, one of the most fundamental rights we have according to the Constitution is habeas corpus, and that’s totally been denied for Bradley Manning.”

“We’re here to take a stand for our brother,” said disabled military veteran Jason Hurd while clutching the White House fence. An organizer with Iraq Veterans Against the War, Hurd was the 92 out of 113 arrested at Saturday’s protest on the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. “Bradley Manning is being accused of treason and all these earnest things when all he was doing was exposing lies, and that is not a crime.”

A March 14 New York Times editorial (“The Abuse of Private Manning”) stated, “Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned for nine months on charges of handing government files to WikiLeaks, has not even been tried let alone convicted. Yet the military has been treating him abusively, in a way that conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects. Inexplicably, it appears to have President Obama’s support to do so.”

“Private Manning is not an enemy combatant, and there is no indication that the military is trying to extract information from him. Many military and government officials remain furious at the huge dump of classified materials to WikiLeaks. But if this treatment is someone’s way of expressing that emotion, it would be useful to revisit the presumption of innocence and the Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.”

The 23-year-old Manning is being held in Quantico, Virginia, 35 miles south of D.C. Sunday, Hurd joined hundreds of demonstrators, including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, for a protest outside the Marine Corps base where Manning is imprisoned. Ellsberg said, “I see people here with signs that say ‘I am Bradley Manning.’ Well, this may sound self-serving of me or boastful, but I was the Bradley Manning of my day.”


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