PFC Bradley Manning is a 23-year-old US Army soldier accused of leaking classified information while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. Manning has been in custody since May of 2010, and is currently facing multiple charges, including one that potentially carries the death penalty, “aiding the enemy.”
Specifically, Manning is suspected of leaking the “Collateral Murder” video to the whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, which shows a US helicopter killing unarmed Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists. He has also been charged with leaking classified Department of State cables, and is considered a person of interest in WikiLeaks’ “Afghan War Diary”.
The case has garnered much public debate, both supporters and detractors. Daniel Ellsberg, who released the infamous Pentagon Papers in 1971, has been quoted as saying, “If [Manning] has done what he is alleged to have done, I congratulate him.” On the other side, a Republican US congressman has been calling for Manning to be executed if found guilty, and he has been smeared by anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council as proof that allowing gays to serve in the military undermines America’s safety.
As of March 2011, Manning remains in solitary confinement at a military brig in Quantico, Virginia. He has been cut off from his family and friends, unable to even receive letters from his supporters around the world. Any prison is a frightening, lonely place- and Manning likely has a long ordeal ahead of him.
Whether ultimately found innocent or convicted of his charges, Bradley Manning is a brave young man who needs our support, and deserves to be freed. If he’s innocent of all charges, he’s a casualty in the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers, and if convicted, he’s a hero for exposing war crimes and the true civilian costs of our wars in the Middle East.
This project was initiated by someone who has over a decade of experience with prisoner support and watching activist legal cases unfold, and the site has gained interest and input from other experienced organizers and activists. This site was set up specifically to provide people with real, tangible, individual ways in which they can personally get involved in helping Bradley Manning. This site is about getting active and creating a real, widespread movement of solidarity. No need to wait around for a protest to happen in your city- be the change you want to see!
If you would like to get in touch with this support site, email freebradley at freebradley dot org. If you would like to keep up on any important developments or be notified of new ways in which you can help, follow @FREEBRADLEYorg on Twitter.
If you would like to make a donation to the printing of “Free Bradley” stickers, you can send concealed cash or blank money orders to: FreeBradley.org, PO Box 20144, Seattle WA 98102. Every cent received will go directly to this outreach campaign, no “operational overhead” for a nonprofit foundation, no paid staff, no credit card processing fees. Plus, your donation to FreeBradley.org is anonymous, if that’s a concern for you. If more money is collected than gets spent on campaign materials, it will be donated directly to Bradley Manning’s prison commissary fund, directly to his attorney (if he ends up retaining paid counsel), or directly to Bradley himself if he is found innocent of his charges.