Because of your support, Bradley in good spirits ahead of court-martial

Bradley’s family report that because of your support, his spirits are high, his conditions vastly improved, and that he’s very grateful for his legal defense team—completely funded by the Bradley Manning Support Network.  Despite these accomplishments, we currently have $30,000 in outstanding legal expenses, and another $17,000 needed to fund a DC area organizer position. Please donate today to stand with Bradley!

By Ed Pilkington, The Guardian (UK). May 29, 2012.

Two years into his military confinement for allegedly being the source of the biggest leak of state secrets in US history, Bradley Manning is keeping himself in a relatively positive state of mind, buoyed by trust in his lawyers and the support of close family and backers from around the world.

With a full court-martial scheduled for September, which could result in the US soldier spending the rest of his life in military jail, Manning appears to be in surprisingly good humour. His aunt, who visits him frequently in the military brig, told the Guardian that his mood had improved substantially along with his conditions. “He seems to be in good spirits, and quite optimistic about his case – he’s not letting anything get him down as far as I can tell,” she said.

The intelligence analyst, who was arrested two years ago this week at the Forward Operating Base Hammer outside Baghdad, spends his days reading, exercising or watching television with other military inmates of the brig at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and an institution at an undisclosed location in the Washington area where his aunt visits him.

As told by his aunt, who asked not to be named to avoid media attention, Manning comes across as a quiet, bookish individual with interests in the interface between science and philosophy, as well as world affairs. He has subscriptions to Scientific American, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair and has requested a daily copy of the Washington Post.

He borrows regularly from the relatively well-stocked library at Fort Leavenworth, supplemented by gifts from his aunt who has given him copies of Immanuel Kant and Isaac Newton. On a more popular note, his father Brian Manning has sent him the best-selling Swedish thriller Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, though it’s not clear whether Manning has read it.

“He doesn’t ask for any popular books,” his aunt said.

Manning also follows the news avidly, both internationally and domestically. “When I’m talking to him, he’ll often mention something political that’s going on around the world; he’s definitely keeping up with what’s going on,” said the aunt.

At face value Manning’s predicament appears serious. He is charged with 22 counts relating to the transfer of some 700,000 secret documents from US secure computers to WikiLeaks.

The charges include aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public records and computer fraud.

Attempts by his lawyers to have many of the counts dismissed have so far failed and the military prosecutors are pursuing the case against him aggressively.

The nadir in his treatment over the past two years came in early 2011 when, over a period of weeks, he was held in isolation at Quantico marine base in Virginia. During that time he was stripped naked at night and forced to stand for hours on end.

He protested about the treatment, which was later classified as a form of torture by the UN special rapporteur. Amnesty International recently cited Manning’s regime at Quantico in its annual human rights report.

Yet the soldier’s treatment has improved dramatically and with it his spirits. He was moved to Fort Leavenworth in April 2011, where he is afforded much more contact with other inmates and more privileges, including exercise on the basketball court.

“The situation in Fort Leavenworth is night and day compared to Quantico,” his aunt said. “He has freedom of movement and access to books and TV.”

The other reason for his relatively cheerful state is that he has total faith in his defence team. “Bradley has tremendous confidence in David Coombs,” she said, referring to his lead civilian lawyer. “He seems pretty optimistic about how things are going and encouraged that the case is now moving along.”

Manning and Coombs speak at least once a week, and spend hours together discussing legal strategy when the soldier is brought to the Washington area ahead of pre-trial hearings in Fort Meade, Maryland. The next hearing will be on 6 June.

Occasionally, Manning expresses discouragement at what he sees as the lack of co-operation he is getting from the US government. This has become a cause of contention with the defence, which has complained in a series of motions lodged with the military court that the army has failed to meet its constitutional obligations to allow Manning a fair trial.

Kevin Zeese, Lt. Dan Choi, Gen. Ray McGovern, Col. Ann Wright, and hundreds more protest Bradley's imprisonment at Ft. Meade

The other explanation for Manning’s relatively bouyant mood is the support he receives from his immediate family in America and Wales where his mother and another aunt live, as well as his support network and concerned individuals around the world. Several public figures spoke about Manning on the second anniversary of his military custody.

Graham Nash, the songwriter with the band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, said that “this is supposed to be a nation of laws. If so, why are we torturing a man who truly believed that he was doing his duty to his country and to his own soul?”

The Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who has been closely involved with the private’s Welsh family, said: “It is an outrage that Bradley Manning is still being held two years after he was first arrested. He should not be made the scapegoat for the errors of the US military.”

Writing in the Guardian, Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament who has been a vocal advocate for WikiLeaks, likened the stance of the US government to China’s “oppression, secrecy and fear mongering”.

Similar sentiments are contained in Manning’s bulging mail bag. His aunt said the soldier receives many letters each week from around the world.

He is also very aware how closely the media is watching his case. After his first pre-trial hearing in Fort Meade in December, he remarked: “Gee, I was twiddling with my pen, and the papers wrote about it!”

He feels a little self-conscious about being in the spotlight, but hugely thankful none the less. “He feels good that people haven’t forgotten him,” she said.

Please donate today to stand with Bradley!

19 thoughts on “Because of your support, Bradley in good spirits ahead of court-martial

  1. Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Save Private Bradley Manning-Make Every Town Square A Bradley Manning Square From Boston To Berkeley-Join Us In Davis Square, Somerville Every Friday-1:00-2:00 PM

    Markin comment:

    The Private Bradley Manning case is headed toward a fall trial. Those of us who support his cause should redouble our efforts to secure his freedom. For the past several months there has been a weekly vigil in Greater Boston across from the Davis Square Redline MBTA stop (renamed Bradley Manning Square for the vigil’s duration) in Somerville from 1:00-2:00 PM on Fridays. This vigil has, to say the least, been very sparsely attended. We need to build it up with more supporters present. Please join us when you can. Or better yet if you can’t join us start a Support Bradley Manning weekly vigil in some location in your town whether it is in the Boston area or Berkeley. And please sign the petition for his release. I have placed links to the Manning Network and Manning Square website below.

    Bradley Manning Support Network

    http://www.bradleymanning.org/

    Manning Square website

    http://freemanz.com/2012/01/20/somerville_paper_photo-bradmanningsquare/bradleymanningsquare-2011_01_13/

    The following are remarks that I have been focusing on of late to build support for Bradley Manning’s cause.

    Veterans for Peace proudly stands in solidarity with, and defense of, Private Bradley Manning.

    We of the anti-war movement were not able to do much to affect the Bush- Obama Iraq War timetable but we can save the one hero of that war, Bradley Manning.

    I stand in solidarity with the alleged actions of Private Bradley Manning in bringing to light, just a little light, some of the nefarious war-related doings of this government, under Bush and Obama. If he did such acts they are no crime. No crime at all in my eyes or in the eyes of the vast majority of people who know of the case and of its importance as an individual act of resistance to the unjust and barbaric American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sleep just a shade bit easier these days knowing that Private Manning may have exposed what we all knew, or should have known- the Iraq war and the Afghan war justifications rested on a house of cards. American imperialism’s gun-toting house of cards, but cards nevertheless.

    I am standing in solidarity with Private Bradley Manning because I am outraged by the treatment meted out to Private Manning, presumably an innocent man, by a government who alleges itself to be some “beacon” of the civilized world. Bradley Manning had been held in solidarity at Quantico and other locales for over 500 days, and has been held without trial for much longer, as the government and its military try to glue a case together. The military, and its henchmen in the Justice Department, have gotten more devious although not smarter since I was a soldier in their crosshairs over forty years ago.

    These are more than sufficient reasons to stand in solidarity with Private Manning and will be until the day he is freed by his jailers. And I will continue to stand in proud solidarity with Private Manning until that great day.

    Immediate Unconditional Withdrawal of All U.S./Allied Troops And Mercenaries From Afghanistan! Hands Off Iran! Free Bradley Manning Now!

    • I totaly agree with everything you have said. I could not say it better. I tried to call Obama at 312-698-3620 and they put me on hold forever, I had to hang up. This is a better way to talk. Only one walking of foreign ground is Americans and others they persuade to envade them. No other countries come to America on our soil to start wars. Our Hero,s are treated worst than Black Slaves, Obama should have some concern for that and Free Bradley Manning and let all the Secret Negotions with the Military Stop.Let all the Evidence be Heard. All Soldiers Stand up for your Fellow Bradley Now.

  2. Every time I think and read about this H-E-R-O, Bradley Manning, tears well up in my eyes. Not only for what Bradley is being unconstitutionally and otherwise illegally subjected to (the case should be dismissed simply on the grounds that he has not been given a speedy trial, that he is being denied bail or “own recognizance” release pending trial, that he is being subjected to pre-conviction punishment and imprisonment, and because he has been tortured), but because of what a clear sign of what our beloved country, the U.S. is degenerating into, a corporate-fascist totalitarian militarized police state where everyone, including U.S. citizens, is subject to unconstitutionally being called a “terrorist” and/or “unprivileged (with supposedly no human and civil rights) ‘enemy’ combatant” for doing nothing but speaking the truth, being presumed guilty, being summarily executed without due process of law, being indefinitely detained without due process of law, and being tortured. Actually, all of that is torture!

    RELEASE BRADLEY MANNING *NOW*, AND DISMISS ALL CHARGES AGAINST HIM!

    God save the United States of America and Bradley Manning!

    • well as we all can see, we have no freedoms so to speak. When do people rule over the government?If we don,t why vote? Maybe all us persons should vote these people out of office for direlect of duty, for abusive practices to the people of the united states. Everyone of them Stop Voting Get Ron Paul in and things will change. We the people have to take our government back from the military and gov offices , this is just one of many that is going on in this country. At this time in my life I am totaly unexceptable to all these practices , where is even buying a home a pleasure when its all interest you pay and by the time you get thru you have paid 3 to 4 times the value of a home? Is that freedom? And No Job!!!!

  3. Anyone interested in a Bradley Manning support rally in Los Angeles please contact me at sendme@earthlink.net.

    Surely we can find some people out here who want to make some noise on his behalf.

    I want to remind everyone also that Courage To Resist has a great Brad Manning support package that includes stickers and tons of postcards. The postcards can be left on vehicles and I’ve found that this is an easy way to get the word out.

    And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sticking these stickers around town.
    So few people are really aware of Brad Manning—-please help!

  4. Stay positive Brad!! Soooo many people are on your side who support you! You’re a real soldier, you brought truth to the surface when our own government wouldnt. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and I hope you get to go home soon!!!!

  5. Thank you for this update, good to hear of Bradleys daily life. What a strange kind of “fight” for this brave soldier!
    Hello from Sweden

  6. From Max of the Occupy Berkeley Solidarity Knit-in:

    Just want to let people know that we sent off a box overflowing with lovely, hand-knitted things to keep Bradley’s support group warm during the Fall and Winter as they bring to light more about the information Bradley brought to light for us all.

    Blog post and some photos of some of what we sent are at: http://www.occupyknit-in.org.

    Solidarity!

    Max Ventura

  7. Please let Brad know that it is not just gay/bi/les/trans who are supporting him! As a straight man I want to say that Bradley is one of a very small number of people in the world whom I admire for their moral and political actions (including whatever actions he may or may not have actually taken in any context, such as simply speaking out about the issues). I am very grateful for his devotion to truth and human rights.

  8. Hmmm. They say he put the soldiers in danger. What about the assholes who sent the soldiers there in the first place? I think they put the soldiers in greater danger. Let’s see a couple of them locked up!

    You’ve got fans in South Africa too Brad. Just believe that some day it’s going to be better. You’re in good company with Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing and Nelson Mandela. History will vindicate you and condemn those who were against you. The pendulum swings.

  9. Hats off to you Brad – bravest move I ever saw and having served, I know bravery when I see it. Have the best Christmas you can man, in the knowledge that thousands of us are right behind you.

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