Bradley Manning could get 136 (now 90) years. It’s a good time for The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning to play in Edinburgh (and everywhere)

Watch LIVESTREAM of all 22 performances here

NTW TAKES ‘THE RADICALISATION OF BRADLEY MANNING’ TO EDINBURGH

As part of the British Council Showcase The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning will find a new home (or school!) in Edinburgh this evening when it opens at Pleasance in  St Thomas of Aquins High School for an almost-three-week run at the Fringe.

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LIVESTREAM

And this time EVERY performance will be livestreamed here (remember NOT archived; you can only watch it live). If you’re not registered with livestream, you’ll need to do that to participate in the live chat.  And, as last year, there will be links appearing on the screen to relevant documents as they arise in the play.

BRAD RAD LIVESTREAM download

Each screening will be hosted by someone with an interest in the production – people from NTW,  people from the campaign etc.

Last year, you may remember, some of us followed the play around Wales, providing campaign support and putting on a series of events around the production.

One successful event was an impromptu screening of the livestream at the Black and Red Umbrella squatted Social Centre.

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This was later mentioned in a review of the play which addressed the possibilities of the digital (hyper-connected) aspect:

Very significantly indeed, a screening of the stream took place in the Red and Black Umbrella squatted social centre in Cardiff, doors opening at 7pm with post-show discussion. This is a vital example of digital technologies magmatic qualities, and how they might create ad hoc public space in the flesh.

ORGANISE A SCREENING

If you can organise a screening, let us know and we’ll advertise it – it’s a very simple anyone-can-do way of putting on a Bradley Manning event (provided you have reasonable internet connectivity).

Altogether there are 22 possible performances to choose from, 5 of them (the first Weds, then each Sat and Sun) matinees at 2.30 – so there’s lots of flexibility.

TIM JUST BEEN AWARDED INAUGURAL JAMES TAIT BLACK DRAMA AWARD

In January the play won three Theatre Critics of Wales awards – best director, best ensemble and best use of digital content – and it’s just been announced from Edinburgh that Tim Price has won the first ever James Tait Black Drama award (out of University of Edinburgh) with the play – and note that they consider the subject matter ‘important’:

The James Tait Black judging panel said that the contemporary nature of the play, its important subject matter, its unique theatrical voice and inventive use of structure made Price’s work a clear winner.

Neil Murray, executive producer at The National Theatre of Scotland, who had a role in judging the awards, said: “His play is emotionally resonant on many levels, challenges thinking and teaches us things we did not know with a truly unique voice – exactly what this prize sets out to recognise.”

Price said: “The play is being performed by National Theatre Wales as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this month, so we hope that this fantastic accolade will encourage more people to see the play.”

WATCH THE TRAILER

COURT MARTIAL

There couldn’t be a better time for ‘The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning’ to be taken out and aired again. Anything that can draw attention to Bradley’s situation at the moment is A GOOD THING.

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If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that, although Brad was NOT convicted of ‘Aiding the Enemy’, he has been convicted of almost everything else he could have been. That his maximum sentence goes down from Life with no Parole PLUS 154 years (you couldn’t make it up), to 136 years straight is really not that much cause for celebration. UPDATE: Nor is the ruling which has just reduced this to 90 years, though every little bit helps perhaps..

And the way those years mounts up is in part through monstrous manipulation of the charges in the sense that each act or leak registers as more than one charge by qualifying on multiple levels. Fracturing, say, ‘theft’ into ‘acquiring’ and then ‘disposing of’, but most notably perhaps in the way in which each offence is charged as it would be if there were no computers involved and then gratuitously charged again under the infamous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) because there are.

SENTENCING ARGUMENTS

As the Judge can hand down any sentence from time served to 136 (now 90 – see below) years, there is  a lot to argue about in this phase of the court martial.

So far we’ve heard argument from the defence to conflate those duplicated (and more) charges back together for the purposes of sentencing – David Coombs, Bradley’s lead lawyer, tried to bring motions along these lines in the pretrial hearings but they were denied – and the Judge has yet to rule on this. UPDATE: So – she has; see ruling here. And diagram here. It is the Judge’s ruling on this that has reduced the maximum sentence to 90 years. 

We’ve also heard the government try to avoid the inescapable conclusion that the leaks have caused no quantifiable ‘harm’ with speculative and open ended arguments about the ‘ongoing’ possible and knock-on harm. Coombs has tried to get the Judge to rein this in, saying that the standard at this stage is supposed to be ‘actual’ harm. The Judge has, however, said that she will hear this ‘evidence’ and then exclude that which she considers inappropriate, and there can be some oral argument to discuss this as well.

NO ‘BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS’ AFTER ALL

Importantly, though, it has been established through government witnesses who dealt with mitigating the ‘harm’ from those WikiLeaks releases, that, despite lengthy investigations, and contrary to wild often repeated statements, not one single death can be attributed to the release of Afghan War Diary or the Iraq War Logs.

Whereas at a press conference in July 2010,  (then) Joint Chief of Staff Chair – Adm. Mike Mullen pronounced:

“Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,”

IRAQ BODY COUNT

Following this witness testimony in court, Iraq Body Count, who directly benefited from the information in the Iraq War Logs, issued a very strong statement on Friday. Iraq Body Count documents each civilian death that resulted from the Iraq War, and the logs have given them around 14,000 hitherto unknown deaths which they are still in the process of recording.

BRAD IRAQ COUNTERmultigraph

The US Military had maintained that they did not record civilian deaths at all, so when Bradley sent the Iraq War Log to WikiLeaks, he was responsible for revealing that the Military were lying about this.

No soldier or official involved in the Iraq war has faced the level of vindictive punishment that US prosecutors have sought to impose on Bradley Manning. Indeed, it appears that, as far as the US government is concerned, torture, murder, crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are much lesser transgressions than is exposing them to the public without the government’s permission.

Bradley Manning has by any rational standard been subject to extreme and disproportionate persecution by the US government. But he is far from the only victim who is directly relevant to this unfolding story. One must also consider the thousands of Iraqi victims known to us now only because of the actions taken by Bradley Manning to reveal them.

IBC has produced a list of thousands of incidents in the Iraq war between 2004-09, killing several thousand Iraqi civilians that have now been sourced exclusively from the documents released by Bradley Manning, and who would otherwise have remained hidden to the world at large:

These and thousands of others like them are known to the world today only because Bradley Manning could no longer in good conscience collude with an official policy of the Bush and Obama administrations to abuse secrecy and “national security” to erase them from history.

While the US government are doing all in their power to continue that extreme and disproportionate persecution, let’s keep reminding people what Bradley Manning is REALLY responsible for.

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