Bradley Manning supporters face judge for attempting to lay flowers outside Quantico marine base

November 7, 2011. Bradley Manning Support Network.

flowers for Bradley ManningFour supporters of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning appeared today before a judge in Manassas, Virginia, to face charges stemming from their arrests in March outside of a Marine military brig in Quantico, Virginia. These supporters were arrested along with many others who are outraged at the abusive confinement conditions to which PFC Manning was subjected during the eight months he was held at the Quantico Pre-Trial Confinement Facility. They were detained after military officials reneged on their offer to allow flowers to be placed at an Iwo Jima Memorial located at the entrance to the base.

Among those arrested attempting to lay flowers were veterans and family members of veterans, including Daniel Ellsberg, the “Pentagon Papers” whistle-blower. Instead of accepting their charges and paying fines, these four supporters pleaded not-guilty and chose to assert their First Amendment rights inside the courtroom.

Speaking before her scheduled appearance today, retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright explained why she felt obliged to speak out:

“I felt the pre-trial conditions of solitary confinement and nudity that PFC Bradley Manning was subjected to in the Quantico brig for many months were outrageous and that public action by veterans and citizens to show their concern for the rights of this soldier was necessary.”

Following sustained public pressure, Bradley Manning was moved to a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is no longer being held in solitary confinement. Military officials have denied speculation that the recent announcement of the impending closure of the confinement facility at Quantico was a result of widespread condemnation of the mistreatment.

Circuit Court Judge Mary Grace O’Brien dismissed the charge against Col. Wright of “remaining at place of riot or unlawful assembly after warning to disperse,” finding insufficient evidence. Various minor traffic-related charges were upheld against the other three defendants. The defendants testified that they were compelled to directly petition the Quantico military detention center, because PFC Manning was being subjected to severe mistreatment in violation of his constitutional rights and international standards of human rights.

The Commonwealth Attorney, arguing on behalf of the state, claimed that the defendants should be found guilty because they were engaging in civil disobedience.  Drawing parallels to the civil rights movement, the Commonwealth Attorney argued that the defendants should accept their punishments instead of challenging them.  Speaking in his own defense, Mr Obuszewski, a long-time peace and justice activist from Baltimore, Maryland, clarified that the demonstrators at Quantico were engaging in “civil resistance” and not “civil disobedience.”  He noted that civil disobedience typically refers to deliberately breaking a law that one considers to be unjust, and that they found nothing inherently unjust about the normal application of traffic laws.  Civil resistance, on the other hand, entails the use of direct action to challenge unjust abuses of power. Demonstrators had engaged in civil resistance by shutting down the entrance to the Marine base for several hours.

In announcing her findings, Justice O’Brien concurred that the case “does bring in larger questions” about the motivations of the demonstrators.  Although she agreed that these larger issues are relevant, she felt that they “would not be appropriate for me to consider.”

The guilty parties were each ordered to pay fifteen dollars in fines and court costs.

38 thoughts on “Bradley Manning supporters face judge for attempting to lay flowers outside Quantico marine base

  1. Seems like the Judge was very supportive of Bradley’s supporters. I am a Decorated Vietnam Combat Veteran, who has continuously been robbed of the America I once believed in at governmental levels. Bradley’s treatment demonstrates clearly that the White House has been infiltrated by the very same ‘so-called enemy and philosophy’ Armed Force’s Personnel are trained, and pledge, to protect America from. Unfortunately, this is not new. America has been blinded by propagandist stars and stripes; instead of protecting their visions with eyes on the facts.

  2. To all those Americans supporting Bradley Manning and defending the right to free speech, be encouraged that the whole world is watching. Even down here in far-flung New Zealand we are with you.
    People all over the world people are finding their voice and hopefully, eventually, those in power will realise they are in the minority and respond with more humanity than they have previously shown.

  3. When “civil resistance” occurs elsewhere, our hypocritical government publicly calls for tolerance. Thank goodness for the judges that apply the law justly.
    Thank goodness for Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning!

  4. I think we should make Obama acknowledge his failure to lead in letting the military dominate this situation. His “I asked and they said it was ok” response was to me just more weakness. He is the Commander in Chief. He does not ask. He orders

  5. I am sending angels of love and justice that the judge’s heart be penetrated with truth and justice. May obstacles be removed, doors opened and light shine brightly and lovingly on this whole situation. I am praying that Bradley is released and filled with joy, support and freedom. May the universe bless Bradley and all those who are supporting him.

  6. F Gregg Meagher: I agree with you 100%. I’ve been called such ugly names including traitor for the desire to keep our troops safe from “war profit for oil” and other like positions our men & women have been placed in over the last 11 years with specifics to the 8 years during the Bush Administration. I am sickened when I think there will likely be the need for another memorial similar to that of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which I have gone to many times with my dad where I watched him break down each time we visited this memorial for him to pay respects not only to men he knew but also to men he trained.

    I support and honor our troops; however, I believe I have the right and the reason to question the government officials and the reasons in which they put our soldiers in harms way for the wrong reasons then demand and ensure they hide the hundreds of thousands of flag-draped coffins from the public even when the families of these men & women were refused to take or retain photographs that might actually end up in the news where others would be as outraged as the rest of us for the loss of such precious resources. It is long overdue for our troops to come home to their families. We have enough troubles at home that need sorting out; we have no need to be elsewhere. It is long overdue that we clean up our own proverbial backyards before trying to take to cleaning that of others or attempting to police the world.

    Please know that I do and always shall commend your efforts and the duties you performed as member our military just as I do for my dad, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandfathers, etc… I know you gave your all. It is my greatest hope that the governmental officials who are making the decisions between life and death of those in a military will for one minute, think about the concept as to whether or not it is worth putting our troops in danger in addition to putting the lives of so many civilians who likely didn’t agree with their own government’s actions but sadly, it is up to them to take control of their country because if someone else does it, then they will never hold the peace nor the government they want if they allow someone else to do their job for them. I say this as a Native American Indian whose family has been in the United States since long before the English Settlers came here from England; however, if the settlers can find a king and his armies and win the country that is now the United States, why can’t other citizens take up arms against their own governments to make it right?

    The Soviet Republic did it! Why can’t the members of the various countries in the Middle East or even more closer to home, why can’t the citizens who illegally enter our country from Mexico trying to find a better life when they should be taking control of their country making it their better life rather than trying to destroy ours?

    Again, thank you for your service and for your words here on behalf of the treatment of PFC Manning. No soldier in the United States Military should ever be treated with such lack of respect regardless of what he/she has or may have done before being heard in a court of law. It is inhumane and it is illegal but most of all, it is wrong.

  7. 15$ Is Excesive and it should have been a Negative number that the Prosicuter would have had deducted from his Govt Pension . These people Protesting and desrupting a Military establishment conducting Atrocieties is a Good Thing ..More should follow there example ..Shame on the Judge for even concedering a negative view on them ..Should have been a Positive one to send a message to the Sick Prosicuter…

  8. Jon Stewart’s comment above is highly apposite: consider Obama’s response to the demonstrations against the (appalling) regime in Syria: he’s full of support for them. Not that this is wrong, far from it, but it does point up his complete hypocrisy in the case of Bradley Manning. It’s easy to support people in a foreign country (albeit passively without actually doing a damned thing), but not so easy in your own country is it, Obama?

  9. We – the people of the world – have had enough. Freedom is not just a nice word nor is it something which is just given to us. We have to acknowledge that we are slaves under the belief that we can’t do anything about the way the world looks. This is a daily battle. But we are strong when we are together, and we CAN change the world order. Because we are the people of the world and we are many. Peace, love and freedom wishes from Sweden and Occupy Göteborg!

  10. Bradley, I salute you for your humanity and courage. I see you have many USA supporters. You have many supporters here in Australia too.
    As for you, President Obama, you should hang your head in shame.

  11. Bradley Manning is not only an American hero. He is a world hero. He has done and is doing a lot to clean the name of America, made so dirty by Wall Street, the Pentagon and the CIA.

  12. Like fellow-Australian living in England, John Pilger, I weep for the US, where the Very Bad Cowboys have taken over from the Good Guys and are persecuting Bradley Manning and other people of honour. I am sure the people of the US will wake up some day and think the last 20-odd years have been a bad dream. They can. of course, only thank the ones who set the alarm, such as the folk who run this website.

  13. Everybody must join the protests! March! Chant! Sit-in! Speak-Out! Nonviolent Direct Action! Civil Disobedience and Civil Resistance! Don’t Pay War Taxes! Sing! Laugh! And talk about Brad Manning to all your friends and foes, on supermarket check-out lines, everywhere! Brad is an American hero! Hooray!

  14. I am ashamed and appalled at the crimes the US government has engaged in. Torture, indiscriminate killing without accountability, and except for brave souls like Bradley Manning we wouldn’t even know! Having voted for Obama I expected more from the President. Certainly Pres. Obama as a constitutional lawyer must realize that a democracy cannot exist with such secrecy. Power is corrupting, absolute power is absolutely corrupting.

  15. Everytime I think about President Obama’s 2008 campaign I feel betrayed. He presented himself as a courageous leader and yet on many fronts since his inauguration he has proven to be extremely guarded and at times a moral coward. The worst part is that President Obama knows better, particularly when it comes to cases like Private Manning’s. Obviously, the military is scapegoating Private Manning for its embarassment over the helicopter fire that killed innocent Iraqis in the video Manning released via Wikileaks. The treatment of this whistle-blowing soldier is worse than the treatment of troops who spoke out during Vietnam. Imagine if those GIs who revealed the My Lai massacre, for example, had been stripped naked and tossed into solitary confinement for months. The Manning case is a disgrace to the US military and a disgrace to the White House. I supported Obama in ’08 but I absolutely will not vote for him on Election Day if Private Manning is still being persecuted.

  16. Thank you to all the people who stand up for Bradley Manning and for freedom. You have many people supporting and appreciating your efforts here in Australia.

  17. I BELIEVE THE HORRENDOUS TREATMENT OF BRADLEY MANNING FOR SIMPLY WANTING THE WORLD TO KNOW WHAT WAS JUST AND RIGHT-THAT IS HUMAN RIGHTS MATTER, IS WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT. I AM BRADLEY MANNING TOO. HE IS MY HERO-AS WELL AS ALL THE BRAVE PEOPLE WHO FOUGHT FOR HIS RIGHTS. ALL OF THIS FIGHTING AND KILLING FOR OIL PROFITS HAS GOT TO BE STOPPED, BECAUSE NOBODY WOULD BE KILLING PEOPLE IF IT WASN’T FOR OIL. THAT IS MY TWO CENTS, FOR ALL IT’S WORTH.

  18. God bless the courage of Bradley Manning to expose acts of appalling brutality against the Geneva Convention. Here in the uk we are hoping for justice for the Iraqi hotel worker who died at the hands of violent bullies (British soldiers). This is what war does to people. This is what soldiers are trained for. They are working us up to a war with Iran now. God bless whistle blowers. Rosanne Adams Uk

  19. I think there should be a collection lifted to cover all costs of the fine and commercial court charges. Persons donating toward the fund should donate exactly 1 cent, no more no less. This draws awareness and support to the matter, and indeed is a mass act of rebellion. The fact that the fines were nominal is not to be taken lightly, it is the principle at stake. The establishment must soon realise it has been one sided for long enough.

    Ray

  20. Free Bradley Manning, I agree, though I cannot agree with some of these comments posted here. I warn you to be wary of any issue like this one that has been widely posted by establishment media.

  21. What ever happened to the Constitutional concept of a speedy trial? Bradley is being punished now and may never get a chance to face and refute his accusers.

  22. Yes, and how about the helicopter gunship murderers? Why aren’t they imprisoned and facing charges, like Bradley?

    Or rather, why aren’t they imprisoned and facing charges, instead of Bradley?

  23. We love you Bradley!
    You courageous young man- who gave all (as alleged leaker of human rights abuses) so that we could live in a more enlightened nation.
    I entreat Amnesty International, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Mr Mendez, Un Rapporteur on Torture to INSIST once again on visiting Bradley at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, where he has been since April 2011 with NO credible reports of his well-being. His acquaintance David House was knocked off his visitors’ list in April and has not gone to see him in Kansas. Please write the President at whitehouse.gov – and call Congressman Kucinich at Capitol Hill (202) 224-3121 and ask him to go see Bradley. I have no way to reach Amnesty International or Juan Mendez at the UN.

    I wish to thank these wonderful activists for the sacrifices they have endured to honor and defend Bradley.

  24. An expression of respect from Australia. We both have great people governed by slimy hypocritical political leaders. We live in pretend democracies.

  25. This entire situation is appalling and I cannot believe it is STILL going on. I voted for President Obama and I support many of his policies, but I’m disappointed that he hasn’t “cleaned house” in this area. Bradley should be freed immediately AND paid compensation. The perpetrators of the “helicopter murders” should be prosecuted asap. War or no war, this was wrong and they damn well knew it – which is why it was hidden away.

  26. Barry (aka Obama) knows very well what is happening to Bradley! He (Barry aka Obama – Imposter)is the decision-maker! Look deep into who brought down the Twin Towers and who keeps covering it up… with this administration. Just facts!

  27. People in prison are zero. Bradley Manning is a hero. Bradley Manning is in prison. Something doesn’t match up here.

    FREE BRADLEY MANNING FREE BRADLEY MANNING FREE BRADLEY MANNING He is one out of the millions who stood up and exposed the truth. FREE BRADLEY MANNING American national hero.

  28. But is that all end? He is an American Hero but not like McCain! Bradley is real McCain shown his face in Libya and Mideast! But why is it so hard for Republicans special the teaparty to see. He done all of it to protect Uniform+Responsebilaty in USA for all not US civilien outside in that world came that an Miracle like. Hand bag and hope all veterans that now produced are not end like other before.

  29. One reason a citizen might choose civil disobedience is to produce conscience-directed change: to hope that the people’s motivations will be heard in court, that obscurity will be brought to light and so impact the rule of law that better law will emerge. I will be praying for that to happen regarding Bradley Manning’s case.

    Civil disobedience is an act of submission to the law as we know it, as well as a simultaneous witness to a higher law. An act of civil disobedience committed with serious intent compels us to examine our laws in the light of higher principles. Manning’s case, as far as I can tell, was an act of civil disobedience, although he has not been able to speak to the public to say so. If Manning did intend civil disobedience, then he should face legal consequences. I would hope to see his case in court: individuals who commit acts of civil disobedience usually want to have their day in court anyway. (I don’t pretend to be able to speak for Manning in any way.)
    Every American should be shaken to the core by the Stalin-like treatment of Manning by the U.S. military. Manning’s treatment includes extreme, cruel and unusual punishment which exceeds both moral and legal definitions of torture. This cruel and extended sadistic torture, perpetrated by our own military, has been sanctioned by the Obama Administration. [This violation of many of our most sacred American traditions began with the sadism of the previous administration, which planted the seeds of Abu Ghraib. Only individual citizens can reverse the situation.]

    We cannot afford to look the other way. What has happened to Bradley Manning has happened to all of us.
    I call on each American reading this to reaffirm his or her own birthright today, a heritage perhaps riddled with contradiction yet still grounded in humanity’s fundamental progress. Speak out for the rights of Bradley Manning and by doing so proclaim the rights of all Americans, rights safeguarded by an eroded but still living U.S. Constitution. Exercise citizenship by contacting Senators, Congresspersons and the President of the United States to protest the practice of torture especially in the Manning case. Remind them that they safeguard the United States Constitution. Demand that Manning be afforded no more and no less than the rights he is guaranteed under the U.S. Code of Military Justice. And please, don’t forget to call upon members of the media for unbiased coverage of the Manning situation and legal case.

    Most of all, American citizens, review history to see that every free Republic has been vulnerable to people who used the tactics perpetrated, sadly, by some elements within our own government, on a very young soldier named Bradley Manning.

    When enough citizens become aware, and participate in defending the constitutional rights that our fathers died defending, surely the rest will take care of itself.

  30. Sorry for my late entry to this discussion. I’m slow at reading all my emails.
    This story is misleading. I know because I was one of the 34 or so arrested at the Quantico protest.
    Everyone was released with a summons to appear in District Court for trial. Mine was the first on June 6, 2011. I was found guilty. At the trial two police officers lied about what had occurred at the protest, including the circumstances of my arrest, in order to make it look like it was a violent protest; which it was not. I was found guilty and I immediately went to the Clerk’s window just outside the courtroom and filed an appeal to Circuit Court requesting a jury trial. I later got a trial date of November 6, 2011 at a first appearance hearing in Circuit Court.
    I appeared on that date to be informed that my charges and those of about nine others were being dismissed. Unbeknownest to me, the Commonwealth’s Attorney (prosecutor)had decided to proceed with the prosecution of only a handful which they had identified as the leaders. I’m not sure what that means because no one was leading me.
    I stayed for the trial which was to a judge without a jury. As you reported three persons were found guilty and given a $15.00 fine. One person asked for community service instead and the judge agreed to that.
    My disagreement with your article has to do with your assertion that we were arrested because we were upset over their refusal to let a small contingent lay a wreath at the Iwo Jima statue at the base entrance.
    I knew beforehand that there was going to be civil resistance. The whole wreath thing was a convenient pretext, if they had let us lay the wreath it would have made no difference.
    On their way back from the statue the contingent sat down on Route 1, which runs in front of the base entrance. At that point others came out from behind the barriers, where they had been ordered to be, and came out onto the roadway. We were arrested.
    Whoever told you that it was about a wreath or flowers pulled your leg. It may sound more patriotic, that we were just trying to lay a wreath at a war memorial, but its not true. When we lie and mislead we are engaging in the same tactics that the police in my trial engaged in. Dishonesty and dishonor.
    Rather than resort to their tactics, which we who care about peace and justice are always pointing to and complaining about, let’s speak the truth to power. Be the example. No lies.
    Those police officers probably felt justified in what they did because we do it to. Where does that get us all?
    Break the chains. Be honest and tell it like it is; don’t sugar-coat it. We went there to RAISE CAIN and we succeeded. Their treatment of that young man in the full glare of the day’s sun, in front of the entire world, treatment which they didn’t even deny, gave us the obligation as fellow citizens to rise up. I’m only sorry that there weren’t a hundred thousand of us.
    Bradley Manning is an American Hero. He will be remembered in that way by posterity, long after the current war making shitheads at all levels are forgotten.

    Bradley Manning is AWESOME !! VIVA!!

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