Reports from the International Day of Action for Bradley Manning, 27 July 2013

Events in Wales, Ireland, Scotland & England

This article will continue to be updated as reports come in. Send your reports and photos from events in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England to wiseupforbm@yahoo.com so we can add them. Click on images to view full size.

(1) Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire: Cymru – Falch o Bradley

by Genny Bove

Bradley has family connections in Haverfordwest on his mother’s side: his parents met in Pembrokeshire while his father, then a US Marine, was stationed here and many relatives still live in the area. Bradley himself lived here for three or four years as a teenager, attending the local Tasker Milward comprehensive school – this is where Tim Price’s play The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning was performed last year. The play is at the Edinburgh Festival in August and performances will be livestreamed and available to all. Don’t miss it.

I’ve returned to the town three times in the past couple of months: at the beginning of the trial as part of a Bristol & south Wales solidarity effort, several weeks into the trial at the end of June, and now for the International Day of Action on Saturday 27 July. As the ‘merits’ part of the trial concludes, we await a verdict and the ‘sentencing’ phase which will involve more witnesses and evidence. Read more here.

02 castle sq 27 jul

It was great to be joined in Haverfordwest this time by others from Wrexham and Pembrokeshire. The Western Telegraph showed up to take a photo before we started, after which we put up the rest of the banners and ranged ourselves around the square to offer postcards, flyers and information leaflets, to answer questions and to encourage people to send a card or letter to Bradley in prison.

09 castle sq 27 jul

A little later Vicky and her young helper, who had been displaying their ‘Cymru – Falch o Bradley’ (Wales – Proud of Bradley) banner elsewhere in town, arrived to join us. By the end, we were nine in all. We had a very visible presence in the town centre from midday until after 2pm, had many interesting conversations and heard a variety of views from young and old, mostly sympathetic and supportive.

04 castle sq 27 jul 03 castle sq 27 jul 05 castle sq 27 jul 07 castle sq 27 jul 06 castle sq 27 jul

More photos here.

(2) NSA Menwith Hill, N. Yorkshire: Standing Firm with Bradley Manning

by Lindis Percy

It was GREAT people came in support and stood firm with Bradley Manning on the grass verge on the corner of the busy A59 Harrogate to Skipton Road/turning to the American base at NSA Menwith Hill. There was lots of passing traffic and a lot of friendly hoots (one or two aggressive but not many). We gave out some leaflets (thank you WISE Up – they did arrive!) to several people who stopped. There were one or two drivers and cyclists who wanted to know what we were doing.

Standing firm with Bradley Manning 27 July 2013 b

We were very surprised when a very important person arrived (with absolutely NO bodyguards CIA/FBI etc. in tow). What a chance to ask Barack Obama, no less, some questions. I was quite surprised how sharp he was and with his usual charm and weasel words tried to sound convincing. Needless to say I was not convinced. He stayed for the whole of the two hours.

Barack Obama 27 July 2013 b

At the end of the demonstration an upside down US flag with the words STANDING FIRM WITH BRADLEY MANNING was handed into NSA Menwith Hill via James Sheardown (Sergeant Ministry of Defence Police – paid for and under the operational control of the US authorities) with the express request that this be given to Christopher Gilmore (US Commander who occupies and controls all that goes on at NSA Menwith Hill) given to him by THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES – CAAB.

We left another upside US flag which said THANK YOU BRADLEY MANNING on the GIVE WAY traffic sign. I noticed that it had gone when I came down the road and saw a man jogging down the road and heading for the base holding the rolled up flag. I stopped to ask him to give me the flag back. He took no notice and kept on jogging still holding the rolled up flag. I turned the car round and waited for him to come up the road. I took a photo of him (this was potentially theft) and as he got near asked him to give me my flag back. He was an American from the base and said that he was taking it back to the base ‘as you usually have the flags there mam”. He gave me the flag which I thanked him for… and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Over the years several upside down US flags and banners have gone missing and we have several ideas as to who has taken them.

THINKING OF YOU, BRADLEY MANNING. Thank you so much to everyone who came.

(3) Peterborough, Cambridgeshire: Stand Out for Bradley Manning

by Gill Burkinshaw

Eleven of us gathered in Peterborough Cathedral Square at 12 noon to ‘Stand out for Bradley Manning’ at this crucial time in the trial to raise public awareness. The posters, banner and handwritten information about Bradley attracted a lot of attention. The predicted rain held off and there was a relaxed feeling to the day due to the good weather.

Lots of the public stopped to ask and find out about Bradley and take information, one or two seemed quite shocked by the facts of his case and we had a lot of good discussion. Many took photos, said they would talk to friends about him and post information on social media and go to the BMSN website to find out more.

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A passing stag party came over to have their photo taken with Brad and were joined by a white rabbit, the Peterborough Football (POSH) club mascot. A passing radio DJ from RB Play U.S. said she would post a link on the website for Brad. A lot of love was shown for Bradley over here, from the people on the standout but also from the general public. I just hope Bradley can feel it.

(4) London

(a) London: Reverend Billy joins the event at St. Martin-in-the Fields

by Ciaron O’Reilly

As Bradley Manning’s court martial entered its final weeks, 50+ folks gathered in solidarity on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London. They were graced with a surprise visit from NYC’s much celebrated Reverend Billy of the “Church of Stop Shopping”.

Rev. Billy was summoned to the scene by a passing sympathetic cyclist on her mobile. The cyclist had attended Rev Billy & the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir’s exorcism of a HSBC bank near Victoria as part of their ongoing Revolt of the Golden Toads Tour attacking the spirits of Climate Change.

See also photos by BradleyLibero.

NEXT LONDON BRADLEY MANNING SOLIDARITY EVENT: Free Bradley Manning with Speakers and Musicians

At the conclusion of Bradley Manning’s military show trial
still facing the death penalty or life without parole
following his torture & 3 years of pre-trial detention
we demand:

FREE BRADLEY MANNING!
EXPOSE THEIR LIES!
END THEIR WARS!

Sun August 4th, 2pm-5pm, Giuseppe Conlon Hall, Mattison Road, Harringay, London N4 1BG. Please RSVP as it helps us to organise the event: Email Ciaron or text 07 927 259 363

For more information, see this article.

(b) London: Report by Queer+ Friends of Bradley Manning from St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Follow this link for the Queer+ Friends of Bradley Manning report.

(c) London: Action at Amnesty International

By David Allen

Following the great show at St. Martin in the Fields, a group of supporters had gathered at the Amnesty International Secretariat in Clerkenwell. The aim was to pressure Amnesty to take a bolder position in supporting Bradley and in particular for them to publicly declare him a prisoner of conscience – something he undoubtedly is.

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As some folks were making their way across town from Trafalgar Square, it was a slow start, but around 20 people gathered, many having made their own placards. There were many new faces and some familiar, including Giorgio from Payday Men’s Network, Oliver from Queer+ Friends of Bradley Manning, Ecuadorian Embassy vigil stalwart Elsa, Guantanamo campaigner Val and Veterans for Peace. Impressively, one individual, Brenda, had made the trek from Yorkshire to be there.

July 28 2013 120

The office is positioned opposite a number of busy bus stops and adjacent to a set of traffic lights, giving a helpfully captive audience. Local teacher, Rae, whose mother was protesting at Haverfordwest, took advantage of the stationary traffic to quickly create a ‘Honk for Brad!’ sign, which was getting a decent response – including a car reversed back up the street to give us a second blast. Another supporter used his megaphone to update passers-by and berate Amnesty in equal measure.

July 28 2013 119

Finding the Amnesty building door open, a few folks entered to leave literature and hang some placards. A stone-faced security guard looked on from his desk and asked that we keep it outside.

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Local residents were very supportive and several asked for more information. As always, the orange Bradley stickers were snapped up and WISE Up postcards were handed out.

(d) London: Solidarity at Bookshop Theatre

By David Allen

Two hours later, many of the group had reassembled at the Calder Bookshop Theatre near Waterloo, where owner Sergio had decided to put on a performance in honour of Brad.

Around 30 people squeezed into the performance room at the rear to hear a great reading of  ‘Bradley Manning in his Own Words’ – kindly provided by Lindi – performed by Sergio, actor Simon and Luis, followed by a screening of Collateral Murder.

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This event had brought together a diverse group. Old and young, tourists from the street, actors, bloggers and a supportive ex-serviceman, who later spoke of his own brutalising, dehumanising military training.

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Some were watching Collateral Murder for the first time. There were familiar gasps of horror breaking an uneasy silence. We sat transfixed in the darkness as a heavy summer downpour hammered an alternative soundtrack on the roof above. And as the credits rolled a surreal final round of applause swelled. Yes, it was appreciative, thankful to Bradley, but uncomfortable to be applauding such things – I could not join in.

Host Sergio then opened up the stage for people to give comments. First up, a Manning! No relation, as she explained, but teenager Maelo Manning spoke knowledgeably and passionately about Brad. Great to see such interest and awareness from someone so young. Giorgio from Payday updated about the day’s events, Hamja Ahsan urged for a campaign to end solitary confinement – suffered by Bradley at Quantico and by Hamja’s brother, Talha, at the moment.

The bookshop guys seem great and after the show many were approaching them about possible future performances relating to other issues. They now have some WISE Up postcards, and I will be sending them some more.

July 28 2013 124

Thank you to Sergio, Luis, Simon et al for putting on this event and getting all there to chant in unison:

‘WE ARE ALL BRADLEY MANNING!’

(5) Edinburgh: At the US Consulate

by Scott Forster

brad manning demo

On Saturday the 27th of July, a group assembled outside the US Consulate (3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland) for a static demo in protest against the treatment and persecution of Bradley Manning, later moving to demonstrate in the more public areas outside the National archives of Scotland and the tourist filled Royal Mile.

People came together to share their sense of injustice in public and to show solidarity with people across the world who want a fair deal for Bradley Manning. The group was a broad based coalition composed of individuals from Stop the War Edinburgh Coalition, Edinburgh IWW, Occupy Edinburgh, Women in Black, Radical Independence and other non-affiliated individuals.

Those in attendance at the US consulate composed a satirical letter addressed to President Obama questioning the US’ commitment to freedom while prosecuting a whistleblower.

944595_10201620452582905_615460454_ns brad manning duke of wellington brad manning demo me

For more, see this facebook event.

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