Press Release: Chelsea Manning, NATO and the Long March on Newport

PRESS RELEASE

14 August 2014

MARCH AGAINST NATO STOPS IN HAVERFORDWEST TO SUPPORT WHISTLEBLOWER CHELSEA MANNING

Photos on flickr.

A day of action in solidarity with Welsh-American whistleblower Chelsea Manning was held on Tuesday 12 August as the Long March on Newport [1] stopped off in Haverfordwest, where Manning attended the local Tasker Milward school and has family connections. The march is one of many protests against the NATO Summit which will be held in Newport on 4 & 5 September. A week of action, workshops and a counter-summit are planned in Newport and Cardiff. [2]

Locals and holidaymakers passing through Castle Square, Haverfordwest on Tuesday were invited to write messages to NATO leaders on large postcards. These will be delivered during the summit in Newport on September 4 & 5. Many of the heartfelt messages urged NATO leaders to end their wars, with numerous references to the civilian victims of warfare.

Leaflets distributed during the day explained how some of the documents released by Chelsea Manning relate to NATO, for example:

“The Afghan War Diary, a collection of daily reports and logs from US soldiers and intelligence officers, reveals the unvarnished truth about the NATO-led Afghan war, exposing lies and cover up.”

“Secret cables from 2009 reveal NATO’s plan to try and extend its territory right up to the Russian border in Ukraine in full knowledge of the likely disastrous outcome of this for Ukraine.”

Another of Manning’s leaks reveals corruption in the appointment of the current Secretary General of NATO:

“The US put pressure on Denmark to help close down a Kurdish TV channel to appease Turkey who in return had agreed not to block Rasmussen’s appointment.”

After spending the day in Castle Square, the protesters put up banners for Chelsea Manning over the main A40 road to Fishguard during the evening rush hour.

On Wednesday 13 August, the march continued on its way, passing through Newgale and past Brawdy military base where Chelsea Manning’s father, then a US Navy intelligence analyst, was stationed in the 1970s.

Background notes

Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, was sentenced last August to 35 years imprisonment in a US military jail following over three years of pre-trial detention during which she endured illegal pre-trial punishment and a court martial process that produced the longest trial record in military history. Amnesty International has recently called for Manning’s immediate release. Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director Amnesty International said

“It is an absolute outrage that Chelsea Manning is currently languishing behind bars whilst those she helped to expose, who are potentially guilty of human rights violations, enjoy impunity.” [3]

Manning is also seeking to receive hormone therapy for gender dysphoria while in prison. Two days ago, Attorney David Coombs notified the Department of Defense and Fort Leavenworth where Manning is being held that a lawsuit will be filed if military officials do not confirm by Sept. 4 that the treatment will be provided for Manning. [4]

Quote & contact information

Genny Bove, a long time supporter of Chelsea Manning and founder member of the WISE Up network [5] and the Private Manning Family Fund [6] that raises money to support Chelsea’s family, said:

“The support we encountered for Chelsea Manning and people’s awareness of the terrible human cost of NATO’s wars were very encouraging. Chelsea Manning sacrificed her freedom to bring us the truth about wars being waged by the west. Documents shared by Manning shed light on the grim reality of those wars and other information that NATO leaders would rather have kept out of sight. Chelsea revealed these documents out of a ‘sense of duty’ and said “I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Thanks to WikiLeaks, the Afghan and Iraq war diaries and the whole of Cablegate are now available in searchable format [7] for anyone to read and I would urge everyone to make use of this hugely important bank of information.”

For interviews on Long March on Newport, contact: Marie Walsh – 07510 911460.

NOTES

1. http://notonatowalk.org.uk The march takes its inspiration from the Chartists, a nineteenth century working class movement who agitated for political reform and who also marched on Newport
2. http://www.nonatonewport.org/
3. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/usa-one-year-after-her-conviction-chelsea-manning-must-be-released-2014-07-30
4. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/attorney-manning-not-receiving-hormone-therapy
5. http://wiseupaction.info
6. http://manningfamilyfund.org
7. https://wardiaries.wikileaks.org/ https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org

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