PETER TATCHELL ISSUES STATEMENT AS TRIAL GETS UNDERWAY
Peter Tatchell has issued a new statement at the start of Bradley’s trial.
Bradley Manning: Whistle-blowing human rights hero. On trial for exposing US war crimes, while killers walk free. Manning faces life imprisonment plus 150 years. LGBT campaigner & humanist, motivated by humanitarian ideals
London, UK – 10 June 2013
This is the second week of the trial of US military whistle-blower, humanist and LGBT rights activist, Private Bradley Manning. He is on trial for passing to Wikileaks files that exposed the truth about US war crimes in Iraq – including this massacre: www.collateralmurder.com
For exposing these crimes, Bradley faces 21 charges – including ‘aiding the enemy’ which carries the death penalty, although US prosecutors are only asking for life imprisonment without parole. Other charges add up to a maximum sentence of more than 150 years behind bars. Bradley faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in jail.
The charge that Bradley aided the enemy is absurd. He didn’t give the files to enemy agents or military operatives. He gave them to Wikileaks, motivated by a desire to expose wrong-doing by the US government and military. There is no evidence that his actions harmed anyone.
It is outrageous that Bradley is not allowed to give evidence of his honourable motives during his trial – only after the verdict has been delivered and prior to sentencing. It is also shameful that parts of his trial will be held in secret with secret witnesses concerning leaked documents that are now public.
Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US: an open, honest government, accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means and respects human rights.
Bradley is a hero who has attempted to uphold international human rights law against those who have violated the laws of war. He is on trial for exposing the killing of civilians, while the US soldiers who did the killing, and those who covered up their war crimes, have never been prosecuted.
At great personal risk, Manning sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by idealism and altruism. There is no evidence that his leaks harmed anyone. He caused the US authorities huge public embarrassment, that’s all. That’s why he is on trial.
Bradley is an LGBT campaigner. He has participated in LGBT Pride marches and he campaigned against the homophobic US military policy, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. In 2008, he attended a rally in New York to oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.
see more at Peter Tatchell Foundation
A CONSISTENT SUPPORTER OF BRADLEY
Peter Tatchell, veteran human rights campaigner, known to many as our most prominent and longstanding LGBT rights advocate, has been a vocal and visual supporter of Bradley from an early point in the campaign.
After WikiLeaks’ release of the State Dept Cables, he tweeted on Bradley’s 23rd birthday – 17th December 2010:
If Bradley Manning was the person who copied the secret US diplomatic cables to WikilLeaks, he is a hero for exposing human rights abuses
When we first went to the US Embassy in March 2011 and were protesting the torture of Bradley Manning in Quantico Brig, Peter Tatchell was one of the speakers who were demanding an immediate end to the abusive treatment Bradley was being subjected to at Quantico Brig (a demand that was, in fact, complied with less than a month after these worldwide protests, when Bradley was moved to the far easier medium security custody at the new ‘state of the art’ facility at Fort Leavenworth).
At New York Pride in 2011 he was seen supporting Brad
And here he is back in London also in 2011 with a clear message for the Obama administration.
Shortly after this on 9th July 2011, he addressed a meeting at Giuseppe Conlon House on the strength of character exhibited by Bradley in his coming through that Quantico abuse without capitulating, and how it contrasted with the pitiful picture that had been dished up by the media in the preceding months.
VARIOUS VIGILS AND THEN SAT 1ST JUNE 2013
Over the past two years, he has joined us and/or sent his support to several of the vigils at the US Embassy to show solidarity with Brad on his multiple pretrial court appearances, and he then spoke at the demo on Sat 1st June. You can find his complete speech on the whole event compilation video below from 21.06 to 26.00.
OTHER STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT – SF PRIDE
Peter Tatchell has over the past few years time made various statements in support of Bradley as well as this latest one. Notably on the San Fransisco Pride debacle.
CENTURY CLUB – 8TH MAY 2013
Finally, this is a speech he gave at the Century Club on 8th March this year for the support event during Chase Madar’s book tour (The Passion of Bradley Manning).
FOR PETER TATCHELL’S full statement of 10th June 2013 and background see here