“What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began
Tell the truth and it will set you free
That’s what they taught me as a child
But I can’t be silent after all I’ve seen and done
24 bright light I’m almost gone, almost gone”
from “Almost Gone (Ballad Of Bradley Manning),"
a song by Graham Nash and James Raymond
On May 15th peace-loving people in Vancouver listened to the above song as they gathered at Joe's Cafe for an event about accused Wikileaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning. The public forum featured speakers, multi-media, and discussion focused on understanding the significance of Bradley Manning's case and on international support for his immediate freedom. This forum was the second organized in Vancouver since the launching of the Free Bradley Manning Campaign – Vancouver.
From June 6th - 8th Bradley Manning faced a pre-trial hearing, in which the brutality and injustice of the US military courts was once again exposed as all charges against him were upheld. These charges include “aiding the enemy,” which carries with it the possibility that Bradley Manning could spend the rest of his life behind prison walls. The Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) forum was organized to discuss these latest developments in his case, but also to discuss the role of whistleblowers in defending the democratic rights of people all over the world, and why people in Canada should defend Bradley Manning.
Alison Bodine, co-chair of MAWO, opened the forum. She talked about the fundamental democratic rights that came under attack when Bradley Manning was arrested over two years ago. While the US and Canadian governments claim that they are following their own rules, and fighting for human rights and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Alison questioned how what Bradley Manning did in exposing the true could even be considered a crime. “All he did was spread the truth, and isn't this a fundamental right? Don't the governments of Canada and the US claim to represent the people? Isn't it then our right to hold those governments to what they say and do?”
Following Alison, Aaron Mercredi, Indigenous activist and member of editorial board of Fire This Time Newspaper, spoke about Bradley Manning and his role and contributions to the world-wide antiwar movement. Aaron examined the history of whistleblowers -- including Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers that exposed the US governments lies about the Vietnam War. The information that was released by Daniel Ellsberg contributed to a growing mass-consciousness and helped to fuel the US antiwar movement that, together with the Vietnamese resistance, ended the Vietnam war. Aaron also outlined some of the basic facts about the case of Bradley Manning, including his horrific treatment in a US military prison where he was in solitary confinement for ten months, during which he was denied many of his basic rights as a prisoner and sometimes forced to be completely naked.
This educational forum and discussion was the fifth action in defence of Bradley Manning organized by MAWO and the Free Bradley Manning Campaign – Vancouver. Since the launching of the campaign in April there have been two petition campaign stops, one emergency rally (the 2nd emergency rally is scheduled for June 7th -- the day that this paper goes to print) and two public forums. During these events over 500 signatures from peace-loving people here in Vancouver, demanding freedom for Bradley Manning, have been collected.
When Bradley Manning released over 700,000 pages of documents, the Afghan War Diary and Iraq War Logs exposing the true face of a brutal, destructive and inhuman wars and occupations carried out by the US government, he did so as a “Soldier for Humanity.” Bradley Manning is a hero who should be celebrated, not a criminal who should be put away in prison. When he made the decision to expose the US government, Bradley Manning stood up for oppressed people all over the world, including for all of us in Canada. The government of Canada was and remains complicit in the crimes revealed in the released documents; it is time for people in Canada to defend Bradley Manning and, in doing so, build a stronger and more united antiwar movement in Canada.
Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) will be out on the streets of Vancouver rallying, passing out information and collection petition signatures for Bradley Manning until he is free. We are joining together with the Bradley Manning Support Network in the US and groups from England to Australia demonstrating for his freedom at every turning point is his case. Pre-trial hearings, which determine what evidence and arguments will be allowed in court, are scheduled to continue once a month through the summer, and up until his trial is set to begin on September 21st. It is crucial that people in Canada let the US government know that “all eyes are on them” as Bradley's trial begins, and that we join together to demand his freedom.
For more information on the Free Bradley Manning Campaign – Vancouver, including campaign brochures and buttons visit: http://www.mawovancouver.org For more updates on the case of Bradley Manning visit: http://www.bradleymanning.org
Free Bradley Manning Now!
Justice for Bradley Manning!
Back to Article Listing