By Ciaron O’Reilly:
THURSDAY 8TH NOV 2012 – BRADLEY’S 900th DAY
We are back in front of the U.S. embassy Grosvenor Square London. It is huge, taking up an entire city block, its Golden Eagle sculpture astride the building looks ready to strike against any dissent to Pax Americana; armed police patrol the perimeter. We are standing in line stretched out confronting the edifice with our message “Free Bradley Manning!”
It is Bradley’s 900th day in custody since being arrested in Baghdad, tortured in Quantico and now going through the pre-trial motions of his militay tribunal at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Somewhere along the line we adopted the discipline of whenever they take Bradley to court, we would go to the streets. Others have gathered today in solidarity at the gates of Ft. Meade and in the military courtroom itself. As we maintain a disciplined silence, the audio of the Collateralmurder.com video is played aloud on the amp we have dragged into town on the tube. The audio the U.S. state tried to suppress and is presently seeking revenge on Bradley Manning and Julian Assange for making known.
CIVIL SOCIETY: DISENGAGEMENT, SILENCE AND SEDATION? OR WIKILEAKS?
All the warmaking state desires from civil society in order to carry out such crimes in these daze is disengagement, silence and sedation. They no longer require popular support to wage their wars that are increasingly undeclared, robotic and constant background muzac. All we are asked to do in these times at the centre of empire, whether that be London, D.C. or Sydney, is to avert our gaze from the killing on the extremities of empire. Bradley and Julian are accused of offending this arrangement. WikiLeaks put the realities of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and the daily machinations of empire before us. That is why Bradley and Julian remain in the crosshairs of empire.
JULIAN – TWO YEARS THIS DEC
This December will mark two years since Julian Assange was taken into custody in England. He has been detained two years without charge by a European Extradition Request issued by a police officer in Sweden. We accompanied Julian through all his dozen court appearances in London from Horseferry to Woolwich to the High Court and the Supreme Court as he ran a gauntlet of character assassination and state harassment.
Here we are outside the Ecuadorian embassy where we have managed to maintain a daily solidarity presence since Julian sought asylum there 5 months ago. This is the latest stage on a 2 year sojourn.
Five months in, Irish Tom and Chilean Clara are the mainstays of the daily solidarity presence. Clara lived through the U.S. sponsored coup in Chile as a nurse tending to torture victims, her husband detained for 2 years. She is aware that the British prosecutor of Julian Assange had defended Gen. Pinochet previously when he was fighting an extradition order in England from Spain. Tom crossed the water as a teenager many moons ago. He is aware that the solicitor defending Julian Assange is Gareth Peirce who freed the Birmingham 6, the Guildford 4, Maguire 7 and other Irish set up on bogus charges. We stand silently confronting the diplomatic police surrounding the embassy waiting to arrest Julian should he emerge.
There was a 24/7 solidarity presence maintained during the period before the granting of asylum when British Foreign Minister Hague was threatening to invade the embassy. The government has downsized the police presence since asylum was granted. The present cost of maintaining the siege is reported as 11,000 quid a day.
OUR OBLIGATION TO BRAD AND JULIAN
The way I look at it is if you were one of the millions who marched against this war in 2003, you implicitly incited Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and others to seriously nonviolently resist this war. Now that they are in legal jeopardy we have an obligation to accompany them in solidarity as the state places them in chains and confinement.
As we stand in the light rain a block up from Harrods assuring Julian he is not forgotten or abandoned we do not know when and where this will end. Neither, it seems, do the cops. We regret the lack of courage and solidarity for Julian and Bradley of those who claim to be the peace movement and are reminded of the words of Fr. Daniel Berrigan:
“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total — but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial. So a whole will and a whole heart and a whole national life bent toward war prevail over the mere desire for peace..”
*The 19th November marked 5 months since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy!
*Daily solidarity vigil Ecuadorian embassy, Knightsbridge London (now 2-5pm)