Support Bradley Manning, Courageous Army Whistle-blower

By Debra Sweet

The US Army has Bradley Manning in custody, in a prison in Kuwait, reportedly without access to legal counsel.  The Army says he's responsible for leaking the video footage which was named "Collateral Murder" and sent around the world by wikileaks.org.  They will likely court martial him.

Needless to say, the soldiers in the video -- not to mention the commanders who trained the troops for and ordered the massacre -- are under no arrest, no scrutiny, not even investigation? 

World Can't Wait has projected "Collateral Murder" onto buildings and before large groups of people and high school classrooms.  Every instance, even among those who "know" how bad the US occupation is, brought renewed outrage and dedication to end the wars.  It's impossible to overestimate the role of courageous people in the military who blow the whistle, and of principled media like wikileaks.org that get the truth out to the public.

 
"From what I've heard so far of (Wikileaks co-founder Julian) Assange and (Army Pfc Bradley) Manning,… they are two new heroes of mine,"  - Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, spreading opposition to the Vietnam War based on their contents.
World Can't Wait urges everyone who wants an end to the wars to support Bradley Manning. See www.bradleymanning.org
(Thanks to couragetoresist.org for graphics & citations)
Crimes Are Crimes statement Spreads
The "Crimes are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them" statement is in the July/August issue of The Humanist, and we are hearing from readers of that publication who are donating to publish it elsewhere.  At any moment, there may be a new "Wikileaks" video on Afghanistan - reportedly showing the US/NATO killing of 140 civilians in May 2009 -- so the need for getting this message further grows.  Please suggest what publications your know or involved with which could run the statement.

Since May, World Can't Wait has published in The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The Humanist, and Rolling Stone online, for a combined cost of about $20,000, reaching almost a million readers. 
I'm glad to report that the entire amount was raised through this newsletter, from our Facebook fans, and from readers of those publications.  We've met hundreds of new supporters.  You can count on World Can't Wait to make you proud of your support.  People of conscience thank you!
 
March 20 White House Arrest Trial Ends with 3 Convictions, 3 Acquittals
Monday, I spent a day in DC Superior Court supporting six anti-war activists on charges that arose from March 20 arrests at the White House while protesting the 7th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.  Elaine Brower and Matthis Chiroux were found guilty in a bench trial of "failure to obey a police order."  LeFlora Cunningham-Walsh was found guilty of "crossing a police line."  John Gold, Cindy Sheehan, and Jim Veeder were found not guilty of crossing the police line.

Read the reports, see the photos and watch the videos from the protest March 20, 2010 in DC

There are legal questions involved in the convictions which will likely be appealed.  In the course of a permitted, peaceful march, at which symbolic cardboard coffins were left in front of buildings of the Veterans Affairs Offices and Halliburton, marchers dropped about a dozen of the coffins in front of the White House, in the designated "picture postcard" zone where tourists are always allowed, but political protest is not.

The prosecution produced a US Park Police video of the S.W.A.T. team leader Lieutenant Beck announcing, on a barely-audible bullhorn that the protest permit was revoked, and that everyone inside of an arbitrary police line of yellow tape and bike racks had to move.  Police already had a continuous line of these bike racks and cops directly in front of the White House fence with plenty of safe space for them to "protect persons and property", that no one was attempting to challenge.

Where was the emergency or dangerous situation that the prosecution referred to which allegedly gave the park police the right to declare the "permit revoked?" Where was the threat to the area?  Elaine Brower, who testified in her own defense, talked of years of opposition to the wars in which her son was deployed.  She explained that she lay down on the sidewalk next to the symbolic coffins demanding an end to these illegitimate wars that have so adversely affected those military family members who stood beside her that day crying over the death of their sons. She argued that if tourists can be there at one moment taking photos unimpeded, why can't a permitted political protest be there at another?

Cindy Sheehan choked up on the stand, recounting her efforts after her son Casey was killed to stop the wars -- many miles of marching, thousands of speeches and interviews, her radio show, and even a run for Congress -- only to have a new, Democratic Congress and president expand the war in Afghanistan.

These activists all did the right thing in making visible non-violent protest, stepping beyond the bounds of what the government arbitrarily permits, and also refusing to accept any offer of a "plea bargain" in the process leading up to and on the day of the trial.  All six defendants stood together in solidarity to demand their right to be heard and that all bogus charges are dismissed.  Unfortunately, the end result was that three were ultimately convicted, and three were able to walk away with an acquittal.

That Saturday afternoon in March, Elaine and Matthis were calling on many more of the protesters standing there to join their impromptu action of lying on the sidewalk in front of the White House.  If hundreds would have joined in, there likely would have been no arrests and no situation where the six arrested for basically a "traffic violation" were roughed up and held on cement floors in torturous conditions for 50+ hours.  Given the max penalty for the infractions were fines, and no jail time, the government clearly was delivering a message that such protest will be riskier and more dangerous.  None of them should have been convicted!

Dissent, truth-telling, and daring to speak about why these wars continue, through the Bush regime, escalating into the "change" we should be resisting, has to be our mission.  While the Peace of the Action events attracted very few people last week, I applaud Cindy and those who came to protest.  I also applaud those that were convicted who could have accepted the plea bargain from the government which ultimately allowed three others to have their charges dismissed.

We need more of this!

Anti-War Conferences this Summer
National Conference To Bring the Troops Home Now Albany NY July 23-25 Register now.
It's ironic that the anti-war movement, otherwise, is spending the summer doing conferences.  Last month at the US Social Forum, last weekend Iraq Veterans Against the War; next weekend at the National Peace Conference of the National Assembly to End the Occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan; and  August 25-29 by Veterans for Peace in Portland, Maine.  (Full disclosure -- I will be presenting at both of the upcoming gatherings.) 
 
We need a large, vibrant, radical movement aimed at stopping these occupations, and part of getting that is meeting, if the agendas and leadership are provided with the aim of visible actions!  So I invite you to participate, and join me in these important discussions... the aim of which, on my part, will be to get people into the schools and onto the streets, modeling the kind of actions it will take to stop -- as Matthis Chiroux said in his closing statement yesterday -- a situation where all this is being done in our names, "and I can't live with that."
 
The National Peace Conference ends with a
 
Rally and March In Support of Muslims Targeted by Preemptive Prosecution 
 
Sunday, July 25, 2010 in Albany NY Details
The Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project SALAM (Support And Legal Advocacy for Muslims) invite you to join us for this rally and march remembering the sixth anniversary of the arrests of two Muslim men from the Albany community and all Muslims preemptively prosecuted by the US government.  Speakers at the Mosque will discuss these cases and how they are used to generate fear of Islam in order to justify war and oppression.  Information about these cases can be found at www.projectsalam.org.

 

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.