OKLAHOMA CITY – News that Oklahoma native Bradley Manning is being moved to Ft. Leavenworth KS has galvanized supporters in Kansas and surrounding states. Reports of the unexpected transfer prompted hurried planning of protests and other support actions by activists in the region for the alleged Wikileaks leaker who has been imprisoned for almost a year at Quantico Marine Base in Virgina.
The Bradley Manning Support Network distributed a press release (see below) on Tuesday afternoon and listservs and Facebook pages lit up with concern and pledges that the move away from the greater DC area would not lessen public displays of concern for Manning’s wellbeing and demands for his freedom.
Members of The Oklahoma Center for Conscience, which has sponsored a number of Oklahoma City events in support of Manning since last August, were connecting with their members as well as activists throughout the country to build a network that would travel to Ft. Leavenworth for demonstrations.
At Joy Mennonite Church, a sponsoring organization of OCC, Minister of Social Justice James M. Branum took note of the large Mennonite population in Kansas, and the Mennonite standing as a peace church, for the prospects of strong support for Manning after the move.
“Bradley Manning allegedly leaked these documents to try to bring an end to the wars. We are reaching out to mobilize the thousands of Mennonites and other Anabaptists in Kansas and neighboring states to act on their peace beliefs in his defense,” Branum said.
OCC Executive Director Rena Guay also thought Manning’s transfer would not lessen the international backlash to his incarceration and condition. “Since last summer, we have been getting a steady stream of global media attention regarding Bradley’s Oklahoma roots and our support for him. Now that he will be quite close, we expect this to increase, and our level of attention to the case and support activity will also increase.” She said she expected many Oklahoma supporters to travel regularly to Ft. Leavenworth for demonstrations.
“Remedying the uncivilized conditions of his imprisonment is but the least of our demands — we want to see his unconditional release and prosecution of the war crimes which have been exposed though Wikileaks,” Guay stated.
BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK
Jeff Paterson, Kevin Zeese
April 19, 2011
MILITARY MOVES TO FURTHER ISOLATE BRADLEY MANNING WITH TRANSFER TO KANSAS
Alleged WikiLeaks source to be moved away from attorney and DC-area backers; however, Kansas residents already preparing to spearhead support
“The military and Administration has been shocked by the support Bradley Manning has garnered globally–specifically at the gates of Quantico, Virginia. Last month, 500 supporters rallied near the Marine brig where PFC Manning has been held since August 2010. It wasn’t a secret that we were preparing to rally one to two thousand for an upcoming DC-area pre-trial hearing,” explains Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.
“PFC Manning’s transfer from Virginia to Kansas limits his access to his civilian attorney David Coombs of Rhode Island. It also severely limits visitation opportunities by his East Coast family and friends,” explains attorney Kevin Zeese, an organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich declared today, “Any move of PFC Manning does not change the underlying fact, which has not been disputed by the Department of Defense, that he has been held under conditions which may in fact constitute ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ in violation of the 8th amendment.”
Ethan McCord, Kansas resident and a former Soldier who appears in the “Collateral Murder” video that PFC Manning is accused of leaking, declares, “Bradley Manning is accused of doing nothing more than heroically telling the truth. I and many others here in Kansas are already planning support actions at Leavenworth.”
“I’m concerned that the military is simply moving to further isolate PFC Manning. The idea that Quantico brig commander CWO2 Denise Barnes, without direction from above, imposed and maintained the current torturous conditions of PFC Manning’s detention is ridiculous. However, we will demand that Army officials at Leavenworth finally take responsibility for correcting this ongoing injustice. I know many hold out hope for them to do so,” adds Paterson.
US Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E Manning, 23-years-old, has been held in maximum and solitary-like confinement conditions since his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin in June. Over 300 of America’s top legal scholars have decried PFC Manning’s confinement conditions as in clear violation of the US Constitution. Over 3,500 individuals have contributed over $280,000 towards PFC Manning’s legal fees and related public education efforts. Over 500,000 people recently signed a statement to President Obama calling for an end to PFC Manning’s torturous conditions of confinement. The Bradley Manning Support Network is dedicated to winning the freedom of PFC Manning.
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