It will be the first time he has spoken in public about his situation, unless you count his recent admission that he was the source of the information provided to Wikileaks. Info published by mainstream news outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times though you don't see any of them in 900+ days of detention without a trial and no editors got put in nine months of solitary confinement at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia.
Quantico is the place I witnessed what seems now to be foreshadowing of the large scale military style response to fairly small crowds of non-violent protestors. It mirrored the out of proportion violence being done to a young intelligence officer who followed his conscience and dared to defy authority.
The government is hard pressed to prove that what Manning did harmed anyone, but he has been brutally treated just the same. A portent of what the response would be in cities across the continent when Occupy broke out. OWS sign: "If banking regulations were enforced like camping laws in this country, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in."
In March 2011 when we stood outside Quantico when Bradley was being detained in the worst conditions -- sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and other humiliation tactics. This was before they moved him to Leavenworth. While he faced the demons inside the facility, his supporters outside faced scores of the following: military police, state police, town police, county sheriffs, mounted police, K-9 police, riot squad police, and commandos in cammo with automatic weapons. We were outside the gates of the base and at one point officers shut down the major road that we were standing along side in an open field, a couple hundred of us, with our signs. Then they kettled us into the now closed street using metal barricades. In an act of civil disobedience retired Col. Ann Wright sat down in the road and, according to his own account, Dan Ellsberg was then inspired to sit down with her. Then others joined in. Last I saw of her that day, riot police with shields were wrenching her arm as she did not get up quickly enough when they told her to get up.
Now the action has moved to Ft. Meade where the pre-trial hearings have been going on. Today's update for Nov. 27, 2012 from the website BradleyManning.org:
At this extremely important hearing, Bradley’s lawyer David Coombs will focus on the abuse Bradley endured in Quantico, VA. It is now well-known that Bradley was held for nine months in solitary confinement, in conditions that were declared by UN Chief Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading.” David Coombs will present evidence that brig psychiatrists opposed the decision to hold Bradley in solitary, and that brig commanders misled the public when they said that Bradley’s treatment was for “Prevention of Injury”.I am looking forward to hearing what Brad has to say in court. He is the most significant political prisoner in the U.S. of our time. He has been in jail for years for sharing mildly classified information, even though war criminals who have waged genocide walk free.
|A cool holiday gift that communicates. Note: T-shirts benefit Firedoglake, not the Manning defense fund.|