Report from Bradley Manning’s arraignment

Bradley Manning (right) is escorted from his arraignment at Fort Meade 2/23/12 (Photo: EPA)

By Bradley Manning Support Network. February 24, 2012

Yesterday’s arraignment for Bradley Manning lasted a little under an hour, as expected. Replacing the Investigating Officer from the Article 32 hearing is military judge Denise Lind. After members of the prosecution and defense declared their certifications and qualifications, the judge addressed Pfc. Manning directly, asking if he understood that a military counsel is available to him at no cost, or a civilian counsel is available at no cost to the government. “Yes, your honor,” Manning replied. She then asked who he wished to represent him, and he replied that he wanted to keep Mr. Coombs and the rest of the defense team with him.

Then the prosecution and defense were allowed to question the judge. The prosecution declined, but Coombs stood for the defense. He asked her what prior knowledge she had of Manning’s case. She responded, “I knew there was a case, that it involved classified information. I knew the case involved someone named Pfc. Manning.”

Coombs asked if the judge had made any impressions with her knowledge of the case, and she replied that she’d made none. She said she’d had no discussions of the case that she could recall. When asked, she said “I have formed no opinion” about Pfc. Manning or the leaked information.

Then Coombs asked about her background, to determine her experience with national security and classified documents. The judge said she had dealt with classified information on at least two cases as a military judge, and that she was “sure” there had been others where classified information was involved. Asked if she’d received training in classified information, she said there were “short classification classes” as part of her training, but she didn’t remember if she’d attended a full week of those classes.

Coombs pressed her to remember. Between 2007 and 2009, he asked, had she taken any short courses on classified information? She replied that between ’07 and ’08 she hadn’t taken any, but that she had between ’08 and ’09. Coombs, ready for the answer, asked, “Do you recall me teaching?” The judge replied that yes, she had thought he looked familiar, and that she had taken his class. Asked if she’d had any impression of Coombs from that class, the judge replied she had not.

The arraignment proceeded, with Ashden Fein of the prosecution reading all 22 of the charges against Pfc. Manning aloud. Then the judge read Manning his rights, notifying him that if a jury found him guilty, it would need at least a two-thirds majority to agree on sentencing, and if the sentence exceeded ten years, the jury would need at least a three-fourths majority. She asked Manning if he’d like a trial by judge or by jury, and Coombs stood to announce that Manning would defer that decision.

Next the judge brought up a previous RCM-802 telephonic conference, which is a phone call between the judge, prosecution, and defense to discuss scheduling and logistics of court proceedings. The judge reviewed the contents of the call before asking Coombs and Fein to supplement her summary if necessary.

First, the judge mentioned the defense’s proposal to compel discovery and deposition. What came after that was revealing. There had been a series of email communications between the court, the prosecution and the defense team as part of the RCM-802 process. One of the items at issue involved something the judge referred to as a “bill of particulars.” The judge said that she had set a deadline of 21 Feb 2012 for the prosecution, acting on behalf of the government, to produce these materials. The government had asked for an additional three week delay beyond the 21st of February. On 15 Feb 2012, according to the judge, she had notified the prosecution via email that the request for the delay had been denied. Today in court, Fein responded by saying “we have not received that email.” David Coombs then followed him up by noting that, in a subsequent email from the prosecution dated on 21 Feb 2012, they had in fact referenced the earlier decision. This fact appeared to expose Fein’s claim as being false.

Three hundred supporters march on Fort Meade during Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing 12/17/11. Photo: Jeff Paterson

The judge moved on, to announce that tentatively, the next hearing date would be March 15th or 16th, to discuss remaining unsolved issues. She asked if either counsel wished to address something else from the RCM-802, and Fein announced that the prosecution “saw spillage” in something the defense filed, implying some classified material was leaked, and sought to deal with that. Fein said that “two out of three filings” contained, in his view, an issue with spillage. Coombs stated that it was the defense’s position that there was no spillage and requested a protective order, so that the “government can’t unilaterally declare spillage.” Coombs also noted that experts that had been provided to the defense team had seen no spillage.

The defense raised another complaint with the way the prosecution was handling the case: when referring to certain documents, Coombs said, the prosecution referred to a “range of bates numbers” it had assigned to the pages, instead of to the content therein. Fein responded that with 41,000 documents already gone through, with different cable numbers there were far too many to reference easily without bates numbers. The defense disagreed, but the judge told Coombs he should raise the issue again at a later date.

Further supplementing the judge’s review of the RCM-802, Coombs reminded the court that Pfc. Manning has been detained for 635 days, and that that number will be over 800 by the time we get to the court martial if it starts at the prosecution’s preferred date in August. He reminded the judge and prosecution that he’s repeatedly entered speedy trial requests, the first of which is dated January 9, 2011. The prosecution had responded that the complexities of this case had warranted a delay, but Coombs, prepared for that reply, remarked that when necessary the prosecution has acted very quickly, and there was no need for any more delays. For example, he noted that at one point in this process, a security clearance had been provided to an individual within 48 hours.

To conclude the arraignment, the judge asked Pfc. Manning how he wished to plea. Once again, Coombs stood to announce that the defense would defer on entering a plea. Court was declared in recess, and before we had the chance to stretch our legs, a white-suited man from CodePink jumped up to ask aloud, “Judge, isn’t a soldier required to report a war crime?” The judge gave no response, and we walked back outside as stern-faced security personnel began forming a barrier between us and those on the other side of the bar.

17 thoughts on “Report from Bradley Manning’s arraignment

  1. The most peaple nows abut you Bradley Manning!We are so many peaple over the World think that you are the real Soldier in the US arme.A HERO for us all!We follow you everyday on your F-B or Twitter!Whe are with you,dont forgett it!!!Love Rita <3 "I AM BRADLEY MANNING"!!!

  2. Maybe the case is starting to go on Bradley Manning side. Maybe only Jesus Christ can help me now. Pray that the promised other counselor comes to save Bradley Manning and many others around the world.

  3. Hang in there, Bradley!! Mr. Coomb seems like a very good lawyer!

    I pray for your freedom every day!

    You are not alone, even if it feels like that. Many friends of mine also support you in New Jersey.

  4. Some of us VFPers are proposing that Bradley Manning be an honorary grand marshal of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade on March 18th. More later. Free Bradley Now!

    To All Concerned Progressive And Socially- Concerned Activists And Organizations: The Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade On March 18th In South Boston

    Hello, I am a member of Veterans For Peace (VFP) and of the Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade Committee initiated by VFP to plan a peace-oriented action/parade on March 18, 2012 as an alternative to the official parade. (See below for details and contact information.) As you may know VFP (and others) have been denied permission to march in the official parade (see below for an account of the history of this struggle). I have volunteered to help with outreach to other progressive and social concern activists and organizations. We are looking for endorsements for our action but, more importantly, others to organize contingents and participate in the march in order to spread the word of social activism and freedom of expression.

    Among those organizations which have already endorsed are Occupy Boston and some of its working groups who will form their own contingent in the parade. This is the model we are proposing for other groups as well. Organize and participant as a contingent. Or individuals can link to organized groups on that day. I have provided the contact information below and I fervently hope that you and your organization will formally endorse our action and organize and participate in the Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade on March 18, 2012 in South Boston.

    In solidarity- Al Johnson for the Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade Committee
    Veterans For Peace

    Call for Help

    Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade

    Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice

    When: Sunday, March 18-2:00 PM

    Where: South Boston- form up outside the Broadway Redline Station

    Please join us for our Second Annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice.

    Once again Veterans for Peace have been denied to walk in the Saint Patrick’s Parade in South Boston. Last year they gave us a reason for the denial, “They did not want the word Peace associated with the word Veteran”. Well last year, in three weeks time, we pulled our own permit and had our own parade with 500 participants. We had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. We had lead cars with our older vets asGrand Marshals, Vets For Peace, MFSO, Code Pink and numerous other local peace groups.

    Also: Seventeen years ago the gay and bisexual groups in Boston were also denied. They were the first groups we reached out to and invited them to walk in our parade. Last year we had Join the Impact with us. We also had church / religious groups, and labor. Last year we stole the press, it was a controversy and we received front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers, radio and television reports.

    This year we anticipate 2,000 people in our parade, multiple bands, we have a Duck Boat, the Ragging Grannies will be singing from the top of the boat. We have a trolley for older folks not able to walk. We may have floats. We will have multiple street bands, a large religious division, a large labor division and “Occupy Everywhere” division, including Occupy Boston and numerous other Occupy groups.

    All we need is you, your VFP chapter, peace groups, GLBT groups, religious and labor groups and Occupy groups. Please come to Boston and join us in this fabulous parade.

    Please see the attached flyer and a description of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, it’s history and where we are.

    On behalf of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade Organizing Committee.

    Thank you,
    Pat Scanlon (VN 69’)
    Coordinator, VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade
    [email protected]


    Cole Harrison 617-354-2169 [email protected]

    On Facebook:


    Twitter: @SmedleyVFP
    From Veterans For Peace:

    Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade-History

    Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice

    Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland was a man of peace. Saint Patrick’s Day should be a day to celebrate Saint Patrick and the Irish Heritage of Boston and the contributions of the Irish throughout American history. In Boston the parade should be a day to celebrate the changes in our culture, the ethnic, religious diversity, points of views and politics of our great City of Boston. For on Saint Patrick’s Day we are all Irish.

    Saint Patrick Day parades have been held in Boston since 1737 (Unofficial parades). In 1901 Evacuation Day was declared a holiday in the City of Boston. Because of the coincidence of the proximity of the two holidays the celebrations were combined and for the past forty years the Allied War Veterans Council have been organizing the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, turning what should be the celebration of Saint Patrick, the Irish Heritage and History into a military parade.

    In 2011, the local chapter of Veterans For Peace, the Smedley Butler Brigade submitted an application to march in the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Veterans For Peace is a national veterans organization with 130 chapters across the country. The Smedley Butler Brigade has over 200 members locally. It’s members range from veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq and the Afghanistan War. All Veterans For Peace wanted to do was to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and carry their flags and banners. Their application was denied by the “Allied War Council”. When the organizer of the parade, Phil Wuschke, was asked why their application was denied, he stated, “Because they did not want to have the word peace associated with the word Veteran”. They were also told that they were too political, as if the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and other activities surrounding the parade are not political.

    Veterans For Peace subsequently filed for their own permit for the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade. Seventeen years ago, the gay and bisexual community (GLBT) had also applied to march in the parade and like the veterans were denied. GBLT sued the Allied War Council and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, resulting in the Hurley Decision, named after Wacko Hurley, the ruler supreme of the parade. This decision states that whoever is organizing the parade has the right to say who is in and who can be excluded from the parade, no questions asked. Even though the City of Boston will spend in excess of $300,000.00 in support of this parade, they have no say in who can be in the parade. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade should be sponsored by the City of Boston and not a private group, who have secretive, private meetings, not open to the public and who practice discrimination and exclusion.

    In the case of Veterans For Peace, if you are carrying a gun or drive a tank you can be in the parade, if you are a veteran of the US Military and carrying a peace symbol, you are excluded. Once Veterans For Peace had their parade permit in hand the first group they reached out to was the gay and bisexual community in Boston. “You were not allowed to walk in their parade seventeen years ago, how would you like to walk in our parade” The response was immediate and Join the Impact, one of many GLBT organizations in the Boston area enthusiastically joined the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the alternative peoples parade. Because of another Massachusetts’s Court decision the “Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade” had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. With only three weeks to organize the parade when it stepped off this little parade had over 500 participants, grand marshals, a Duck Boat, a band, veterans, peace groups, church groups, GBLT groups, labor groups and more. It was a wonderful parade and was very warmly welcomed by the residents of South Boston.

    This year, once again, Veterans For Peace submitted an application to the “Allied War Council” for the inclusion of the small “Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade” into the larger parade. Once again the Veterans were denied;

    “Your application has been reviewed, we refer you to the Supreme Court ruling on June 19,1995your application to participate in the March 18,2012 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade had been denied”

    No reason given as to why, just denied. This should be unacceptable to every citizen of Boston, especially the politicians who will be flocking to the Breakfast and Roast on March 18th. This kind of exclusion should not be condoned nor supported by anyone in the City of Boston, especially our elected political leaders.

    Just in case the Allied War Council has not noticed, South Boston is no longer a strictly Irish Catholic community. In fact the Irish are no longer a majority in South Boston. The community is much more diverse in 2012 in ethnicity, life styles, religion, points of view and politics then it was forty years ago. Times have changed, the City has changed, the population has changed, social norms have changed. People are much more accepting of those that may be different, have a different religion, customs or ideas. We are a much more inclusive society, everyone that is except the antiquated Allied War Veterans.

    It is time for the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to be inclusive of these differing groups. It is time for the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to be reflective of the changes in our culture. It is time for this parade to include groups of differing life styles, points of views and politics or the City of Boston should take back this parade. There is no place in Boston or anywhere in this country for bigotry, hatred, censorship, discrimination and exclusion. This should be a day of celebration, for all the peoples of the great City of Boston to come together, to celebrate Saint Patrick and our Irish History and Heritage. In 2012 this parade should be inclusive and also celebrate what makes us Americans, what makes this country great, our multi-ethnic diversity, differing life-styles, religious affiliations, differing politics and points of views. All of us should wear the green, no one should be excluded, since on Saint Patrick’s Day we are all Irish.

  5. I hope everybody in the United States and everybody in all the other countries finally sees the u.s.government for what they are Corrupt.Bradley Manning did his duty and reported war crimes.He’s is no traitor,but there are traitors out there,that would be the u.s.government.The government has betrayed it’s own country and it’s people.

  6. From:mattseaton
    24 February 2012 9:41PM
    Ironically, by the way, Nixon’s Watergate ‘plumbers’ did raid Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in an effort to gain information about his mental state in order to discredit him.

    We do know Manning was unhappy as a serving gay soldier before repeal of DADT, but I don’t see how you could leap to your conclusion. Manning’s defense attonrneys are hardly claiming diminished responsibility on grounds of mental illness. The argument is about the Army’s failures of duty of care and therefore of some share of responsibility for the alleged leaks.

  7. From the bottom of my heart, and from all the members of my Viet Nam Veterans organization- We back Brevet Corporal Manning (we gave him a field promotion 2 years ago) to the hilt, respect him to his boot soles, and wait the day we can but him a beer and put on a week long party for him. He is paying a terrible price for doing the right thing…….but he stands in some of humankinds best company, there.
    For what he has suffered, he has done a tremendous amount of good, if, indeed, he did what a routinely lying Government says he did.
    He’ll never have to pay for a beer again, for what thats worth.
    ALL of us in VVAW wish to hell we could have done what he’s accused of doing.
    He’s a soldier any one of us would be proud to serve next to.
    Nick Velvet/Mutt, (fb) VVAW/OSS

  8. Why is a St. Patrick’s Day Parade relevant to Bradley Manning’s plight? I think I know the answer.

    On one side, we have the people who make money from the economics of empire, together with the people they have succeeded in persuading that it’s good to make personal sacrifices, and to kill other people, for the sake of empire.

    On the other side, we have people who care more about other people, including people very different than they are, than they care about empire.

    The messages of the two groups conflict, but only one side seeks to prevent the message of the other from being publicly visible.

    Did I get that right?

    I recently moved from southern North Carolina to central New York State. The contrast between the two communities’ celebrations of Martin Luther King Day was very strong. In NC, the celebration was held in a union hall, emphasized Jesus, included an ROTC (military) ceremony, had terrific music, and very few of MLK’s own words were spoken. In NY, the celebration was held in a protestant church, never mentioned Jesus, and consisted entirely of terrific music and MLK’s own words (which of course did refer to the ministry of Jesus at least by implication).

    Those differences, strong as they were, were all arguably stylistic and not especially substantive. There seems to be a much more substantive difference between these two St. Paddy parades. One parade regards the other as downright threatening; the other just wants to join in. But in both cases, the very name of the celebration, “St. Patrick’s” is an unmistakeable reference to the ministry of (guess who). Go figure. The difference is probably as inscrutable to outsiders as the differences between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites are to most Americans.

    Which kind of America do YOU choose? Inclusive, or exclusive? A doomed empire, or a living, renewable republic? Personally, I like a St. Paddy parade in which I can be Irish for a day, no matter my politics. The exclusively-militaristic parade is, of course, doomed anyway. It would be best to ignore it, I think, except at public-funding-decision time. At funding time, it would be important to make sure that everyone knows that it’s not actually a public event, but the public is asked to pay for it anyway. What really matters here, probably, is what the Roman Catholic Church has to say about it, with ample reference to the ministry of Jesus, of course. They can provide leadership here if they choose to do so. To fail to choose is still to choose; there’s no avoiding the choice. Which choice will they make? We’ll know the next time the funding question comes up. The key, for people of good will towards other people, is to make sure the funding question is resolved in a public manner.

  9. May the Good Lord bless yer and save yer!
    I’m in London ‘across the pond’, but if I was in Mass I’d be after joining you all.
    I’m a pensioner and can’t send much, but I’ll make a donation to brave Bradley Manning’s exposure of atrocious War Crimes.
    Here are three cases which need as much exposure as possible; I’m sure that like Abu Ghraib, Bagram, My Lai and the few publicised cases of ‘Extraordinary Rendition’, these cases are just the tip of the iceberg:

    On the Dark Side in Al Doura:;

    Families of Soldiers Call for Investigation into Deaths After Military Hazing

  10. It’s great Bradley has David Coombs as defense lawyer, he got our Aussie David Hicks out of Guantanamo. Bradley must continue to trust him.David Coombs sounds like he already has them on the hop. Hope so.

  11. If this was on Health and Safety in the workplace then it wouldn’t even get to court and Bradley would be hailed a hero for saving lives and preventing civilian casualties. As you can’t try anyone for whistleblowing in the case of H&S, why isn’t it the same for the military? Clean up your act USA!

  12. Thank you for the fantastic notes! I wrote the following after reading those notes and as a letter to someone who challenged me regarding the sign on the back of my minivan. That sign reads:

    “For President–BRADLEY MANNING 2012; conscience, courage, responsibility”

    I wrote about war, the consequences of war, alternatives to war, and on the responsibilities of soldiers. Again, it’s the body of a letter to a vet who challenged me regarding my support of Bradley Manning. I deeply apologize for the length and hope it was right to post here.

    “I have not been a soldier and cannot imagine a job more demanding, stressful, and complicated, to say the least. I understand that soldiers are taught, along with all their other duties, that they have a duty to NOT follow orders which are illegal, and to report war crimes. I’ve not been in that class and so don’t know the particulars.

    “I understand that killing of children and countless other civilians is among the material stamped “classified” (or “secret”?) and allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning. (The released documents contain nothing classified “TOP SECRET.”) Not only is this unjustified and immoral and criminal (war crime), but stamping so much material as “classified” seems a new strategy to hide our inexcusable actions and present mode of operation.

    “In my reading yesterday, I learned that the head of Bradley Manning’s defense team is a Mr. Coombs who actually was one of the judge’s teachers in the law regarding classified material. While I don’t know the law regarding classified material, I am sure he does, and he has apparently thought Bradley Manning’s case worthy of taking. I believe that using the classification of “secret” has been misused here to hide things merely because of their nature as atrocities.

    “You and I both mentioned WWII on Monday, and your point is well taken that our entering the war seemed very necessary at the time we did. I understand that one of the outcomes of the Nuremberg trials was to question and deny a country’s right to make war just because its leader want and choose to. And if I am not mistaken, the Nuremberg conclusions declared and clarified a soldier’s responsibility to NOT participate in crimes and atrocities. And weren’t the collaborators tried and punished? The Nuremberg conclusions are very important in pointing out the responsibility of soldiers to be moral. They also point to how WWII could have been prevented: if soldiers refused illegal orders and refused to participate in atrocities, these kinds of wars would be stopped even before they begin.

    “But Nazi soldiers followed orders to kill without reason. They did not respond to conscience or morality, not even Christian morality.

    “In Iraq, soldiers have been told to spray fire in 360 degrees of direction in urban areas with civilians present if they think they have been fired on from any direction. They conduct war from the air like it’s a video game, shooting at anyone without any provocation or threat, and the briefest “okay” from higher ups by radio. A video of such behavior, targeting a group of unarmed civilians (including children) and journalists, is one of the items released–it has been called “Collateral Murder.” I doubt the major networks gave it much air time if any at all. You can get a sense of the careless and eager behavior of our soldiers in firing on them from the air, and on firing on those who tried to help the wounded, as I recall. I don’t know the total death count, but I do know the two Reuters journalists were killed.

    “I think you asked me if I believe in war. It is a hard thing to answer because I realize how easily people (or groups of people such as countries) get themselves into situations for which they haven’t yet adequate skills, and how easy it is to fall back on the biological and cultural habits of just going after the other guy because of the stress of the situation. I recognize how easily one can feel, especially one who feels themselves to be in a position of responsibility, that one must act now, and with aggression. This is fundamentally an issue of our human biology when experiencing stress. Stress and this immediately-emerging reaction to fight with all we’ve got can make us big and scary and can make a predator run off. But we aren’t dealing with a hungry tiger here, and it is the wrong response. It is all the more the wrong response because of the danger and harm of the powerful weapons we now have. This is no time to be acting without the combined safety-lock of combined conscience, consideration of both short and long-term consequences, and consideration of the well-being and needs of ALL those affected. With acts of harmful aggression, we end the capacity for well-being of those we war on with this response, which in turn harms our chances for security as well. That’s our best case scenario. Worse case outcomes include the deaths of many of even “our side,” with a high likelihood of worsening situations that result in ALL of us dead, all for having relied on a response that was geared more for surviving a hungry tiger attack, or for chasing down a hoped-for dinner. This ain’t the jungle (or savanna) of our ancestors, and the time for war is OVER. War is too dangerous now, and cannot have good outcomes.

    “Just because it isn’t easy to work out a better approach to solve problems, also doesn’t make it an appropriate response even if we don’t yet know what else to do. War is the equivalent of a parent, who doesn’t know how to be there for their kid and to help and guide them, beating that kid to death and calling it discipline. We have NO RIGHT to do wrong to others, and furthermore, as I have already suggested, in this very small present world with very our incredibly dangerous weaponry, war is strategically suicide, a kind of ongoing “Russian roulette,” not knowing when or how long it will take before the bullet gets back to kill us. It has already left the gun, and only great wisdom and effort can still stop it now.

    “Modern war, as we practice it, is terrorism, and begets terrorism. Many Americans now fear terrorism at home, and this fear encourages a response of war-making. War fuels perpetuating ramps ups of fear and violence, and all this should go by another name, insanity.

    “Bradley Manning is accused of releasing documents which show our war behavior. If we pay attention, I think we will see and understand that the nature of the way we are making war cannot be justified from any appropriate perspective whatsoever.

    “I am convinced that most soldiers sign up either because they really want to do good for our country and/or because they have to. The first group deserves to be able to ACTUALLY DO GOOD, and the second group deserves good livelihoods without risking or losing their lives, limbs and much of their brain function. Everyone deserves both for that matter—good livelihood and participation in making things better. The purposes we go to war for can be met far better in other ways, and I would far rather see our soldiers working for national security by helping people around the world SOLVE real problems, rather than being the cause of furthering their problems and killing them.

    “Even while President Bush was suppressing information on climate change, the pentagon was studying and predicting the destabilizing effects of it around the world in preparation. Rather than go to war and destroying already devastated peoples, we can prevent war by addressing those needs now. THAT would be a smart use of our intelligence and power. We could be building wind turbines (for our neighbors AND ourselves) instead of drones and fighter planes, and saving our own lives as well as that of others, while making friends instead of enemies.

    “The pentagon and armed forces are already moving ahead on these technologies; they just haven’t yet been given a go-ahead to pursue these peaceful technologies in the cause of peace. (National security is their mandate–they should be allowed to pursue this in the BEST way, via HELPING in the first place, rather than destroying.) It is my understanding that the Air Force has flown jets on biofuels made from algae (no net carbon added to the atmosphere or global warming effect) and that solar arrays are used by the Army for power in Afghanistan in remote operations.

    “So, no, actually I DON’T believe in war. I believe the pursuit of security requires extending our circle of caring to include all of our own people rather than sacrificing our young and our poor to the idea that “conflict cures,” and by extending our circle of caring more widely whatever our neighbors’s present situation, and offering them help not harm. I believe in developing and using the wisdom born of the experience of soldiers in the field and people warred upon, and on the outcomes of peaceful helps. I believe in figuring out what establishes security and good relations and solves real problems and meets real needs.

    “For example, when there are nations or leaders not acting with the consent of or in the interest of the people, I believe our best helps are not with weapons, guns, etc., but with others forms of assistance. I understand that NATO bombing tried in the late 90’s to remove the dictator Milosevich from power, and failed. Then a handful of young people under his rule started a nonviolent movement to do the same, and, using money for xeroxing expense and literature provided by the USA Department of State, managed to do just that in about one year. No guns, no harm, almost no deaths. (There were two deaths total, none from violence. On the day of the march on the capital one person died in a car accident and another from a heart attack.) The US is capable of helping immensely, without an iota of violence.

    “Before we entered Iraq to dispose Saddam Hussain, there were at least five organizations of Iraqis inside Iraq already working on removing their leader. Rather than war on the people and country of Iraq (which was not justified on the any basis we were told), we could have offered our support to these peaceful groups. We ALWAYS have BETTER alternatives to war. IF our role, as you wisely suggest, is to END wars, it would be our wisdom to engage in these powerful nonviolent ways to prevent violence and end it sooner, rather than engaging in destructive behaviors that ruin lives and destabilize communities and regions.

    “In the case of WWII, we could have acted in many ways to prevent the atrocities by acting early and responsibly including speaking up and opening our doors to those in jeopardy. We could have given assistance and international voice to those resisting from within movement towards atrocities. We chose to NOT involve ourselves; we let it be “Germany’s affair” until the situation was so entrenched and murderous that Roosevelt felt we had to engage in war to stop its worsening. Surely we can all agree that that was millions of lives too late, and at the cost of more lives. (Though YES, essential to stop!)

    “What if other countries around the world decide they tire of our abuses and terrorism around the world, and get together to put sanctions on us, and if that has no effect, to invade the US in an attempt to stop our aggressions? Well, that would be foolish of them (at least the second), but wouldn’t it be wiser of us as well if we were persuaded earlier on by some brave soldiers of our own who make public our ill-advised strategies, and who get our populace to listen to reality instead of the war-glorifying and fear-tactics of our present leaders? I’d rather be the country that corrects its ways than a country corrected by a hundred other nations who finally stop sitting on the fence of easy criticism and their hope that we’ll grow up and restrain ourselves.

    “I have “For President–Bradley Manning 2012” on the back of my car, not because I have identified him as a candidate who I’m sure is already on the track of pursuit of better methods, but because he is, (if he’s the leak) someone who in the worst of situations was able to say, “No, this is wrong, and I will do what I can in my position where I am, to let people know and hopefully get it stopped.” That’s brave and that’s smart. And if my one person campaign bore fruit, I think he’d be smart enough to continue a humanitarian response, to look for human and humane responses to human problems. He clearly has a conscience, and the ability to listen to it, and the ability to contemplate appropriate responses.

    “So that’s my take on war, on responsibilities of soldiers, on the wisdom of looking for appropriate responses instead of relying on instincts and technologies that don’t fit our needs or those of the world now. I feel it is time to wise up, look deeper, work with one another, solve problems, and turn things around. I also think we CAN do it, and that people of our military along with people all over the planet would be happy to transition to a more successful and far happier set of strategies.”

    (end of excerpted text)

    Again, I hope that was not too long, and hope it turns out to be worth reading for those who do. I am deeply grateful for the notes and all the work you do in support of Bradley Manning and moving us towards real peace. Thanks so much.

  13. On 2/23/12, Bradley Manning was arraigned at Fort Meade, Maryland- meaning his case will proceed to court martial in June or August and he will be tried on 20 + counts- including leaking classified documents (to wikileaks) , unauthorized use of these documents, theft of same, aiding the enemy and so many others. He could receive a life sentence.
    Of course, one of the items he leaked was a video of an Apache helicopter attack on Iraqis where civilians, including children, and Reuters newspersons were murdered by U.S. gunners (a documentary entitled is now being shown ( see Washington Post article of 2/22 in the Style section entitled ).
    I – David Eberhardt, peacenik and Cde Pink member from Baltimore, Md. was able to address the court at the end of the proceedings and say, “Judge? Isn’t a soldier required by law to report war crimes?” There were many other stretches of silence during the quite boring and routine procedure of arraignment- in which prosecutors, defense, and even Bradley all nod their heads in agreement with the Judge- but, besides wondering if Bradley’s defense really wants loud demonstrations, many other occasions where I could have shouted out this message- but- I was glad not to be hustled out of the courtroom, let alone arrested.
    I chatted with Michael Ratner, down from New York from the Constitutional Law Center and looking after Jul;ian Assange’s (wikileaks director) interests (Michael has much experience as a lawyer defending radical defendants- whether Bradley is one or not). I asked him if he had see the movie about the “White Rose”- the student group executed in Nazi Germany- had he seen the courtroom scene.
    I can’t say this ws too similar- what with the female Judge so unlike Herr what was his name, who screamed out insane Nazi proclamations- but, still….the comparison was unavaoidable.
    The courtroom – with its spiffy US uniformed bailiffs- had an eerie, horrible feel- as if a humonguous train was bearing down on the petite Manning- it had the feel of a gas chamber entrance with all its hypocriseys (too strong)?
    Press was there in abundance- possibly more from the rest of the world than the sleepy US which would rather not be bothered about war crimes. I would say- in the courtroom-20 media and 15 civilian. I do not know if Manning’s relatives were present. I wish I had asked.
    Bradley has not expressed a great deal of political involvement- p;erhaps wise given the sentence he faces.
    But- the whole world is watching. I wish I had said that also.

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