IN SUPPORT OF BRADLEY MANNING - letter to LGBTQ orgs & individuals
IN SUPPORT OF
Bisexual/Trans/Queer organizations and individuals
Dear fellow LGBTQ,
We urgently invite you to take action – organize demos however small or big, write letters to the press, and in whatever way is feasible – to publicly show your support for Bradley Manning. As you may well know, Bradley is an openly gay 23-year-old US Army intelligence analyst facing the death penalty or life in prison for allegedly blowing the whistle on US war crimes. 1
We are writing this open letter to cut through the notable silence of high profile LGBTQ organizations and media, even though we know a lot of LGBTQ individuals and smaller grassroots organizations have been taking action in support of Bradley Manning.
That LGBTQ organizations and press have ignored his case is particularly outrageous in the US, where many such “representatives” of the LGBTQ community campaigned ardently for repeal of the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy against Gay men and Lesbian women serving openly in the US military, in effect championing our ‘equal right to kill’. Why are they not going all out to defend a gay brother’s right to refuse to kill? Why is Bradley not being championed publicly as our gay hero, splashed all over the LGBTQ press to mobilize urgent support to get him released! 2
We say "There’s no pride in the slaughter of others!"
We take pride in our LGBTQ sisters and brothers who refuse to be killers, such as gay Filipino/Native-American Stephen Funk, the first US soldier to be convicted and jailed for refusing to fight in Iraq; Mehmet Tarhan, gay Kurdish military refuser in Turkey, whose torture and imprisonment were ended by an international campaign in which grassroots LGBTQ organizations were prominent; and now Bradley Manning.
The campaign against the punitive conditions of Bradley’s confinement at Quantico has likewise shone a light on the solitary confinement and other torture endured by many tens of thousands of prisoners, not only but especially in the US. 3 The blueprint for Bradley’s treatment at Quantico , for Guantanamo , Abu Ghraib and Baghram, is the US gulag of civilian prisons, where most prisoners are people of color, and where especially those perceived as LGBTQ may endure endless sexual violence.
If Bradley Manning has done as alleged, his brave act is a huge service to humanity and has saved many lives. 4 His chance of a fair trial was undermined when Barack Obama stated publicly that “He broke the law.” 5 We invite everyone, all who stand for justice, but first of all his LGBTQ sisters and brothers and their organizations, to join the growing worldwide campaign for freedom for Bradley Manning.
What you can do:
1. Write to Bradley Manning:
Bradley Manning 89289
JRCF 830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth , KS 66027 -2315 USA
2. Sign the Petition demanding that the charges are dropped
3. Take public action
Scores of actions internationally are already being planned for Bradley’s first court hearing, the date of which hasn’t yet been announced, but an announcement is expected soon.
Stay in touch with the dedicated support networks and with us for news of actions:
In the US : http://www.bradleymanning.org/stay-in-touch
In the UK : http://blog.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/
In Wales : http://bradleymanningcymru.wordpress.com/
Or organize your own action!
4. Circulate this information to your friends and networks, and to the press.
Lesbian Bi Trans Queer in the
Global Women’s Strike
London , England
Payday men’s network
Philadelphia , US
1 Bradley Manning is charged with “Aiding the enemy” by giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, among them the “Collateral Murder” video of a US Army helicopter crew cold-bloodedly killing 11 or more civilians, including two Reuters reporters, and severely wounding two young children in Iraq in 2007.
2 Shaun Bartone of Queers In Solidarity for Bradley Manning, of New Brunswick , Canada , has written (in calling out the shameful silence of North American LGBTQ rights organizations):
”Bradley Manning… is a champion of justice for exposing the truth about US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, a queer hero of the first order, a prisoner of conscience, and a victim of torture. It's about time we in the gay community claimed Bradley as our own and did what we could as a community to protect our queer brother.”
3 Held for over nine months in military prison in Quantico , Virginia , and subjected to solitary confinement and other ‘hands off’ torture, on April 20 Bradley was transferred to Ft Leavenworth military prison in Kansas and released from solitary – a major victory of an international campaign by a large and growing movement of supporters.
4 He now awaits an Article 32 pre-trial hearing – the next step toward court martial. It is a total perversion of justice that Bradley Manning faces trial and punishment for telling the truth, rather than the war criminals, first of all those at the top whose lies and manipulations have caused untold deaths, displacement and destitution for millions.
5 Kevin Zeese, an attorney member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, points out that:
"President Obama’s recent pronouncement […] amounts to Unlawful Command Influence, something clearly prohibited. […] Manning will eventually be judged by a jury of career military officers and noncommissioned officers. Will they be able to set aside the declaration of their commander in chief? Along with the illegal pre-trial punishment already inflicted upon Bradley, the government has more than enough legal basis to drop the prosecution.”
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