STAND WITH BRAD:
at: US EMBASSY, GROSVENOR SQUARE, LONDON W1:
on: WEDNESDAY 16TH JAN, 2PM
Come and show solidarity with Brad on Wednesday along with VFPUK&I and others, as he appears in court for his next pretrial hearing - Weds 16th – Thurs 17th Jan.
PLEASE COME ALONG FOR THIS VIGIL WHICH MARKS A KEY HEARING
Please make and bring any placards, banners you can to demonstrate what a disgrace it is that Bradley will have spent more than three years in pretrial imprisonment by the time he gets to be tried in this court martial.
On this day Brad will have already been in pretrial detention for 963 days
As previously, the entire soundtrack of the important Collateral Murder video will be played at the US Embassy as supporters stand in solidarity with Brad.
THESE ARE REPEATED GATHERINGS
This (or something different) is a repeated gathering usually on one of the days Brad is in court for each hearing, and usually at the US EMBASSY LONDON when supporters in the US are gathering at FORT MEADE – check the court diary below to be aware of likely dates, and watch out for advance notices of day and time. Join our email lists for planning or notifications! You can also check Upcoming Events. And on BMSN all intl. events here.
Focusing again, in this place and at this time, on the shocking video that more than anything else came to symbolise the what and why of WikiLeaks and the need for courageous whistleblowers like Bradley Manning, combines at least four objectives.
As we stand facing the Eagle, we are telling the powers perpetuating this ‘asymmetric warfare’ that we have not forgotten the things that have been revealed to us, the things that they hoped to keep under wraps: we will still out lies.
We are showing our respect and gratitude by standing in solidarity with Brad, the one now in the dock for standing for truth and justice, and reminding the authorities that we oppose their persecution of him.
And we are reminding ourselves of what matters, taking time out of our perpetual busyness to stop and focus, to remember, and to think about who we are and what we stand for. This is a meditation that all who seek change can ill do without.
REPORT FROM LAST TIME – 8TH JAN
The last gathering at the Embassy in London was on Tues 8th Jan and was pretty international, with no less than nine countries represented!
British veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars, former anti-war prisoners, an activist recently returned from Afghanistan joined other anti-war activists outside London’s U.S. embassy as Bradley Manning was brought to a military tribunal in Ft. Meade Maryland on Tuesday.
The international grouping included folks from Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland and the U.S.
The grouping initially lined up silently facing the U.S. embassy demanding the immediate release of Bradley Manning as the audio of http://collateralmurder.com/ rang out.
The anti-war activists then formed a circle to hear speeches regarding the nature of Bradley’s pre-trial hearing underway at Ft. Meade/ USA and reflections on the ongoing wars on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, the need for solidarity for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.
Following networking, activists then proceeded to the Ecuadoran embassy where they joined the daily (2pm-5pm) vigil in solidarity with Julian Assange surrounded by Met Police for the past 6 months….
More photos and another very short video on ITfriendsofBM flickr photostream
DEFENCE ‘SPEEDY TRIAL’ MOTION – BACKGROUND
This latest hearing – January 16 and 17 – is the continuation of the defence motion to dismiss the charges for lack of a speedy trial.
NEARLY 1000 DAYS
Just to underline the pertinence of this motion; when it is argued, PFC Manning will have been awaiting trial in prison for nearly 1,000 days. Clearly, by no stretch of the imagination is this ‘speedy’, yet that is what the military is supposed to guarantee any soldier facing court martial. The time from arrest to arraignment, for instance, should not exceed 120 days, and in Brad’s case it was 635…..
AND NOW, HERE IS THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING -
DUH, WHY?? Well, because David Coombs wrote on his blog:
PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010. As of the date of the filing of this motion, PFC Manning had been in pretrial confinement for 845 days.
To put this amount of time into perspecive, it took only 410 days to construct the Empire State Building. By the time the Government actually brings PFC Manning to trial….. the Empire State Building could have been constructed almost three times over.
………the Defense will argue that the military judge should dismiss this case with prejudice due to the Government’s abject failure to honor PFC Manning’s fundamental speedy trial rights.
SPEEDY TRIAL LITIGATION COULD WIN SIGNIFICANT GROUND FOR BRAD
This is therefore another critical hearing when significant gains could be won for Brad, as the defence has argued that the exceptional amount of time Brad has had to wait for trial has almost all been caused by totally unacceptable delays.
In connection with this David Coombs has just published another redacted defence document - ‘a defence reply to a govt response to defence speedy trial motion’ from October 2012. And the original motion (19th Sept) can be read here.At a hearing on the 7th and 8th November 2012, we heard witnesses for the govt opposing this motion; with skillful cross questioning David Coombs brought out that not only did the prosecution have no good reason for requesting most of the delays, but that the convening authority (who can give permission for delays which then won’t ‘count’ towards the 120), was extraordinary lax in regulating these delays.
On the 16th and 17th January we should hear the defence witnesses.
BRAD’S PRETRIAL IMPRISONMENT WILL NOW BE MORE THAN THREE YEARS
This motion has, of course, become even more poignant since the last hearing when we heard that, yet again, the trial has been postponed, and that the new date is not till June – June 3rd – and it is even more important, if anything, since we heard that, although Judge Lind ruled (in a fairly awful judgment) that there had been ‘unlawful pretrial punishment’ while Brad was at Quantico, she wasn’t actually going to do a whole lot to compensate Brad for this.
We should also be getting a ruling at this hearing on the prosecution’s motion (argued at the previous hearing; 8th – 9th Jan) to prevent the defence from presenting evidence (in the ‘merits’ part of the trial) as to Brad’s ‘whistleblower’ motives and respecting the mad ‘over-classification’ of documents in the US.
If the rulings are in favour of the prosecution it means that the heart of the defence against the actual charges is knocked out – ie this evidence cannot then be presented to argue for Brad’s innocence of charges against him.
The defence has argued that the argument for not convicting Brad (in particular of the crazy charge of ‘aiding the enemy’) rests on presenting the evidence of his motives and also showing (from over-classification evidence) that he understood that what he was releasing into the public domain was not harmful to the national defence of the USA.
It DOESN’T mean, however, that if the judge rules that these things cannot be argued to determine Brad’s guilt or innocence, that this evidence is inadmissable when the Judge comes to pass any sentence in the event of any conviction – it CAN be still be used as mitigation.
NOTE: Court art by CLARK STOECKLEY again
US and Ecuadorian Embassy Photos from ITfriendsofBM
And yet another revised COURT DIARY:
Jan. 16 – 17: Speedy trial litigation, expected rulings on disallowing (or allowing)’whistleblower’ (motive) defence evidence and over classification’ evidence
Feb. 27 – March 1: Accused plea and anticipated speedy trial ruling
May 21 – 24: Use of classified information during trial
The trial is scheduled to occur, tentatively, on Monday, June 3.