End Illegal War: Support Bradley Manning

By Ann Wright 

 
Bradley Manning is accused of telling the truth.
 
He now faces decades in prison for letting Americans see the truth about our wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, by allegedly leaking the "Collateral Murder" videos of a Reuters cameraman being shot and killed by a US helicopter to WikiLeaks. He is also being investigated for the leak of the "Afghan War Diary" documents that were also released by WikiLeaks - in conjunction with The New York Times, The Guardian UK and the German magazine Der Spiegel - exposing the war in Afghanistan as a costly quagmire that has cost countless civilian Afghan lives, as well as the lives of over 1,000 US soldiers.
 
Over the last seven years Iraq has become the deadliest theater of war for journalists since World War II. On April 5, 2010, the WikiLeaks website posted a video showing a US helicopter crew killing 12 Iraqi civilians including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Said Chmagh, 40. WikiLeaks wrote that it had come from unspecified "military sources." Reuters had filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 2007 to access documents that might explain the death of its media workers. FOIA requires federal government agencies to release documents to all persons requesting them unless specifically exempted by the law. Reuters received no documents. Reporters Without Borders, the international journalists' association, writes of Bradley Manning, "If this young soldier had not leaked the video, we would have had no evidence of what was clearly a serious abuse on the part of the US military."
 
Much of my military background concerns the law of warfare. Most Americans do not realize that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have violated domestic and international law, violations that have been fully exposed in the WikiLeaks documents that Manning is accused of releasing. When I joined the US military I, like Bradley Manning, took an oath to protect the constitution and the American people. This led me to resign my position when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Protecting the constitution outweighs following orders and Manning should be lauded for choosing to do the right thing. Bradley Manning is a patriot of our democracy who stayed loyal to what is right, risking his own security. His loyalty to the Constitution and the American people transcends partisan politics.
 
Just as Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle on the lies of the US leaders of the Vietnam War, Manning is accused of blowing the whistle on the illegality of today's wars. What will our response to the information Manning is charged with releasing be? Can we make today's Pentagon Papers lead to an end to illegal and wasteful wars abroad and the return of our troops home?
 
A nationwide series of support events for Bradley Manning in 18 US cities was kicked off yesterday by me, Daniel Ellsberg, former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and Army veteran Aimee Allison at an open public speaking event in Oakland, California. Please join me for a March and Rally to Free Bradley Manning at 2pm in front of the SF War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California, on Saturday September 18: 3pm march, 4pm end at Union Square.
 
For more information go to www.CourageToResist.org.
 
Ann Wright is a Colonel, US Army Reserves (Retired), and US diplomat who resigned in March 2003 in opposition to the War on Iraq.
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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.