International Peace Activists in Dublin to Demand that Obama Frees Bradley Manning

Correction and apology

The article below makes reference to Chelsea Manning passing through Ireland’s Shannon airport en route to Iraq.

We now know from direct communication with Chelsea that this was not the case and that she did not pass through Shannon airport at any time, although nearly 2.5 million other US soldiers have done so. The use of Shannon by the US military is an ongoing and contentious issue in Ireland.

The information apparently came from a member of Manning’s Unit and was passed onto us in good faith by a trusted source. We apologise for this error and any confusion it has caused.

WISE Up, May 2015

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ALL EVENTS FREE ENTRY, donation appreciated!

  • FRIDAY 8 APRIL GPO 4pm-6pm: “Yo Obama, Demilitarise Shannon Free Bradley Manning!” Vigil
  • FRIDAY 8pm Wynn’s Hotel, Middle Abbey St. PUBLIC MEETING: MUSIC with Joe Black & Steve Jacobs, SPEAKERS: Harry Browne, Frank Cordaro, Ciaron O’Reilly
  • SATURDAY 9 APRIL “Le Chéile”-Donnycarney Community Centre, beside Donnycarney Church,10am-4pm Seminar with Frank Cordaro “What has the radical legacy of Dorothy Day, the Berrigan Brothers, the U.S. Catholic Worker got to offer Ireland in its present state?
  • SATURDAY 7.30 p.m. Music Sessiion and Bar in the Brian Baru, 5 Prospect Road, Glasnevin D9

International Peace Activists in Dublin to Demand that Obama Frees Bradley Manning

Three international peace activists are in Dublin this week for a series of events they hope will encourage Irish people to demand of President Obama to stop the torture of Bradley Manning and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frank Cordaro, Steve Jacobs and Ciaron O’Reilly have all been activists in the radical pacifist Catholic Worker movement for over 30 years. The Catholic Worker was founded in New York City in 1933 during the Great Depression by anarchist suffragette and Catholic convert Dorothy Day.

Day lived among the poor in the original New York Catholic Worker house of hospitality on The Bowery, working for social justice for 60 years. Since her death in 1980, the movement has grown, now numbering over 180 autonomous communities and Day has been put forward for canonisation by the Cardinal of New York.

Like their founder, Cordaro, Jacobs and O’Reilly have lived their lives among the homeless and spent time in various prisons for nonviolent anti-war resistance. Jacobs and Cordaro have travelled to Ireland from their Catholic Worker communities in the United States. O’Reilly is now resident at the recently opened Giuseppe Conlon House, offering hospitality serving destitute refugees in London.

O’Reilly stated,

“The three of us would agree that our time in prison for nonviolent anti-war resistance has been the most intimate experience of solidarity with the poor. Instead of us playing host at our houses of hospitality, in prison we are the guests of the poor. Prisons are the warehouses of the poor! We hope non-Catholics and non-workers will also come to these events here in Ireland that have been organised by local peace and justice groups. The Catholic Worker has always been an inclusive movement. At Giuseppe Conlon House we have Catholics, Quakers, Methodists,’Muslims, Buddhists, Irish & Belgian nuns, artists, marxist academics, anarchist squatters, Labour and Green Party members volunteering with us to feed the hungry. We accept no funding from the state and rely on dumpster diving and the kindness of others.

We are not here in Ireland to convert or recruit for the Catholic church or the Catholic Worker movement. There are 1.2 billion Catholics – that’s enough of a constituency! We would like the church to return to the radical message of the Gospels and be a beacon in these times of economic and military chaos. But as we all well know the church in southern Ireland has been in bed with the state in recent history. It is a different context for the three of us having grown up in the U.S., Britain and Australia where Catholicism is multicultural and we have recent histories of Catholics being persecuted minorities.

We are here on the eve of the Obama visit to Ireland to demand that he immediately ends the torture of Bradley Manning. Obama has often referenced Dorothy Day along with Martin Luther King in a litany of inspiring American figures. We three believe that, Dorothy and Martin would not be pleased with Obama’s present wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and the torture of Bradley. President Obama arrives in Ireland a year after Bradley Manning was taken into custody in Iraq. Bradley was then transferred to Kuwait and is now being tortured in Quantico U.S. Marine Base, Virginia, U.S.A. Bradley is in a military brig accused of speaking truth to power. We see this visit to Ireland by Obama, on the aniversary of Bradley’s loss of freedom, as an opportunity for the Irish people to speak some truth to power!

Bradley Manning’s last point of departure before entering the war zone and subsequently military prison was Shannon Airport, Ireland. We ask the Irish government to return to its constitutional commitments of neutrality and close the de facto U.S. military base at Shannon. Like most of the U.S. troops that participated in the illegal, immoral and self defeating invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq, Bradley’s point of departure to a destroyed life was the small departure lounge at Shannon.”

O’Reilly, along with four other Catholic Workers known as the “Pit Stop Ploughshares”, was arrested at Shannon Airport in 2003 after disarming a U.S. war plane en route to the invasion of Iraq. The five were charged with $U.S.2 1/2 million criminal damage and put through three trials at Dublin’s Four Courts. They were acquitted unanimously by a jury in 2006. The acquittal was the subject of secret cables from the U.S. embassy in Dublin exposed by WikiLeaks in December 2010.

Support for the Catholic Workers on trial in Dublin came from people of a wide range of backgrounds, various faith and non-faith traditions. At the first trial, many members of the Catholic Worker movement travelled from the U.S. and Europe to support the defendants. Bishop Gumbleton of Detroit, actor Martin Sheen, former U.N. assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, Japanese Budhist monks, Irish artists and activists, American and British combat veterans joined in the events around the trials, some offering testimony to the court.

O’Reilly states, “Frank, Steve and I know what it is like to be an anti-war prisoner. We know from experience the significance of the smallest act of human solidarity to the prisoner. These are the reasons why we are here in Ireland. We are here for Bradley Manning, as an act of solidarity. As they say in the U.S., what comes around goes around! We are here for the 1 million Iraqis who have lost their lives in the invasion of their country. We are here for the 4,000 young Americans who passed through Shannon Airport to their deaths in Iraq, for the 20,000 who will never walk or talk again. The U.S. and Irish governments had the cunning not to ship the American dead and wounded back through Shannon. Those lifeless and destroyed bodies were returned home through Saudi Arabia and Germany.

Bradley has spent over 300 days in isolation and sensory deprivation; if you read his conditions of confinement you can only conclude that he is being tortured. Ireland has recently been complicit in torture with its refuelling of C.I.A. rendition flights at Shannon Airport. If we call ourselves a peace movement, we owe proactive solidarity to Bradley Manning, Michael Lyons and other nonviolent resisters in the British and U.S. military standing up against this war.

Bradley Manning is 5′ 2″ and weighs just 105 lbs. He is a giant of a man. He is a hero for our desperate times. Bradley Manning is in prison; he may never get out alive, for allegedley exposing the truth about the nature of these wars. He is being punished reporting a crime, namely the slaying of Reuters journalists Nimir Nor-Eldeen, his driver Saeed Chmagh and eight other unarmed journalists from a helicopter gunship attack from a from a distance of a mile. Also the murder of Matasher Tomal and the wounding of his two children, as he paused from the daily school run to see if he could help the wounded from the first attack. View this footage, decide what crime has been committed and how you are going to respond.

Please join us in Dublin to send a message to Obama when he visits Ireland.

Collateral murder footage that Bradley Manning is accused of releasing.

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