Sat Feb 23 Bradley Manning rally Portland noon "1,000 days without trial"
CONTACT: Patricia Taub, Local Coordinator, CODEPINK Portland
Portland – Saturday, February 23 activists from CODEPINK and allied groups will rally for Private First Class Bradley Manning who on that day will have been in jail awaiting trial for 1,000 days for exposing war crimes, corruption, and widespread abuse.
Speakers at the noon rally in Congress Square Park include Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union; John Branson, the local civil rights attorney who represented Occupy Maine's encampment in Lincoln Park; and Lisa Savage, a CODEPINK associate who has demonstrated for Manning's release at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia where he was held in solitary confinement for eleven months, and outside Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas where Manning is presently held.
Manning's defense lawyer David Coombs stated in a motion to dismiss the government's charges, “PFC Manning's statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights have been trampled upon with impunity.” In court, he laid out the ways in which the government has made a “mockery” of Manning's right to a speedy trial by violating the 5th and 6th Constitutional Amendments, Rule for Court Martial 707, and Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 10.
Prosecutors were supposed to arraign Manning within 120 days but took well over 600. Manning's trial is currently scheduled to start June 3, 2013 — over three years after his arrest in May 2010.
Manning has indicated he will accept responsibility for exposing documents to public scrutiny via Wikileaks and other journalistic outlets. The massive information he allegedly shared with the public included documentation of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of U.S. State Department collusion with repressive governments around the globe and on behalf of U.S. corporate interests.
Some credit Manning's leaks with sparking the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings which toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and which continue to this day in Jordan, Bahrain, and many other places. The Occupy Wall St. movement has also supported Manning and his actions on behalf of freedom of information.
The government plans to charge Manning using the Espionage Act and UCMJ Article 104, alleging Manning indirectly “aided the enemy” simply because he knew Al Qaeda could access WikiLeaks.
In response to whistleblower Manning's historic abuse by the U.S. government, supporters around the country and around the world are planning events for February 23. In Augusta, local chapters of Veterans for Peace will hold a vigil for Manning from 11:30am to noon. Other events are listed online at bradleymanning.org.
“The Portland rally was called to bring public attention to Bradley Manning's punishment for bringing U.S. citizens the truth about how their government operates,” said organizer Lisa Savage, a local coordinator for CODEPINK in Maine. “President Obama has stated publicly of Manning 'He broke the law,' which statement by the Commander in Chief is a miscarriage of justice in itself. Whistleblowers who harm no one are punished while war criminals exposed by their leaks walk free. It is wrong, and furthermore it is unconstitutional.”