Bradley Manning Support Network in solidarity with Occupy Movement
Bradley Manning Supporters Among Those Arrested at Boston Occupation
The Bradley Manning Support Network issued the following statement of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement today:
“The Bradley Manning Support Network stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to hundreds of cities and town squares across America. We share a common commitment to exposing the corruption of corporate power upon our democratic system.
Over the last few weeks, organizers with the Bradley Manning Support Network have been on the ground at occupations in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere, along with countless other supporters for the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower.
Earlier this week, a veteran wearing a “Free Bradley Manning” shirt was among the first to be arrested in a police raid of the Occupy Boston encampment.
We condemn this crackdown on our fellow citizens and veterans in Boston and elsewhere around the country. There is no excuse to silence those who speak freely, assemble peacefully, and seek to petition their government.
We also stand for the right of the press to operate free from government harassment. For over 16 months, the Obama administration has withheld the freedom of PFC Bradley Manning in retaliation for allegedly exposing evidence of abuse via WikiLeaks and other media outlets. The administration’s unprecedented pursuit of whistle-blowers like Manning has created a severe chilling effect on those who seek to expose and correct wrongdoing.
The sustained campaign of civil liberties violations that began under the Bush administration continues to play a major role in undermining the public’s trust in our government. The Occupy movement presents a powerful way for citizens to reclaim control of our government by engaging nonviolently in direct democracy.
Many Occupy participants have drawn inspiration from the Arab Spring. The ongoing democratic uprisings across the Arab world have been fueled in part by access to previously-withheld evidence of abuse that has been released via WikiLeaks and other publishers supporting whistle-blowers. Countless anonymous activists have used their technical skills to relay this critical information to areas where governments have sought to cut off avenues of communication.
Now in the United States, we rely on each other to preserve our freedom to communicate in the face of authoritarian crackdowns on our rights.
Similarly to the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement can draw from information revealed by WikiLeaks that exposes corporate manipulation of our foreign policy. An October 2009 diplomatic cable shows how U.S. diplomatic officials shared sensitive intelligence with Shell to give the oil corporation unfair economic leverage in Nigeria. Shell executives privately boasted to U.S. diplomats that its agents had managed to infiltrate all of the major Nigerian government ministries. Another series of cables illustrate how diplomatic officials successfully squashed a proposed increase in the Haitian minimum wage. Pressure from U.S. diplomats on Haitian officials enabled major American clothing companies like Levi’s and Hanes to continue exploiting sweatshop labor in Haiti. Other cables show that Chevron executives worked in tandem with U.S. officials to avoid paying $18.2 billion in court-ordered damages after the energy giant acquired Texaco, which had dumped billions of gallons of waste in indigenous areas.
Taken as a whole, the material allegedly revealed by PFC Manning shows that an unjust accumulation of informational power runs parallel to widespread economic and political inequalities. In both the United States and abroad, 99% of the people are kept in the dark, while corporate elites use restricted information to manipulate government policies for their personal profit.
Our struggle for Bradley Manning’s freedom is a struggle for everyone’s freedom. The Occupy movement’s fight for true democracy is everyone’s fight. That is why we’re standing in solidarity, in person, as we Occupy everywhere.”