Tuesday 27th November 2012:
STANDING WITH BRAD AS BRAD TAKES THE STAND
As Bradley Manning’s ‘Unlawful Pretrial Punishment’ motion hearing began in Fort Meade, Maryland, so a group of around 20 people braved the elements to gather in solidarity outside the US embassy in London.
Standing opposite the grim facade of the building has become a familiar act of opposition every time Bradley has appeared before the military judge. We are mindful that today, or in the next few days, Bradley will be speaking in court for the first time. With rain showers and wind whipping around us, weather-beaten Londoners scurry by, glancing across to take in our messages and to make sense of the audio bombardment of the Collateral Murder sound track that Veterans for Peace in the UK are playing loudly for all to hear and to contemplate.
We stand in silence and let our placards and the audio do our talking. Policemen stand together in conference, but keep their distance. Some passers-by are slowing to take it in. One or two stop to take photographs. We stand in solidarity for around 40 minutes.
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PIECE OF WAR RESISTANCE BY ONE INDIVIDUAL, EVER
Afterwards, we form our usual circle to share updates on Brad’s case and news from our various groups. Many here are simply concerned citizens, roused into action by the injustices of Bradley’s case: his torturous treatment, especially in contrast to the treatment of the perpetrators of the crimes he exposed, and the plight of the victims of the wars he resisted.
Iraq War veteran, Ben Griffin, of Veterans for Peace in the UK, addressed the circle and reminded us all of the importance and bravery of Bradley’s actions:
“…as far as I’m concerned Bradley Manning carried out the most significant piece of war resistance by one individual, ever. No-one has made an impact like that.
…we must continue to concentrate on the true significance of Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in that they have let us know about the true nature of the wars that we’re involved in, now, and in the last ten years.”
Ciaron O’Reilly spoke of his experiences as an active war resister and the importance of solidarity, particularly for those in prison or detention We noted the similar acts of support taking place in Fort Meade, in Melbourne and in Berlin and, after a quick phone call, Giorgio from Payday passed on good wishes from the folks in Frankfurt, who were shortly to commence their action. Giorgio stressed the importance of connecting with other groups and of developing support and giving encouragement in that way. Anthony updated on the tactics of Bradley’s legal team and the possible outcomes that may arise from the current and upcoming hearings.
Bradley’s next appearance in court is scheduled for Monday 10th December. We shall be back. We owe him much more than these simple acts.
Following the vigil and info exchange a group of us made our way down to the Ecuadorian embassy and stood in solidarity with Julian Assange there.