Update 9/7/12: Report from NYC action
Report from New York City’s Bradley Manning Support Rally – 9/6
By William J. Gilson, USN veteran. September 7, 2012.
Obama Campaign Office staff of a mid-Manhattan building may have heard the cries of “Free Bradley Manning” that came from the curb 20 floors below. Almost 75 people gathered to protest loudly the persecution, torture and detainment of Manning for allegedly leaking information to Wikileaks.
Some signs were hand-lettered and defended the right to blow the whistle on war crimes. A large banner read “Free Bradley Manning, Stop the Wars, Expose the Lies” with VfP logos. Chants were punctuated by a tambourine and whistles.
Bill Gilson and George McAnanama, Veterans for Peace, attempted to deliver a letter to the campaign staff addressed to President Obama. They were blocked at the lobby security desk and told that the staff had left instructions that no one was to be allowed up. Gilson and McAnanama then asked if the staff would be willing to come downstairs to accept the letter in the lobby. A phone call was unanswered and no one came down. Therefore, the letter was left with security to hand deliver.
Gilson spoke to the crowd on leaving the lobby, assuring them that the letter had already been posted to the White House because “I have more faith in the post office than in Obama Hq.”
A TV crew from Ecuador interviewed a number of participants, including Fran Korotzer who told of a warm reception at the Ecuadorian Consulate in NY when she and others arrived there to express their gratitude to Ecuador for its granting asylum to Julian Assange.
Gilson spoke of his anger at the inhumane treatment of Manning and his disappointment in the US President.
The crowd remained until 6:30 pm. All in all, it was a good day for Bradley.
The contents of the letter are below:
The original was mailed to the White House as well.
From: Veterans for Peace Chapter 34 NYC
JAF Sta. PO Box 8150
NY, NY 10116
To: The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC, USA 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you are in the midst of your reelection campaign, I would like to
remind you of words you stated In May 2011: “In the 21st Century,
information is power; the truth cannot be hidden; and the legitimacy
of governments will ultimately depend on active and informed citizens.”
Army PFC Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly
sharing the “Collateral Murder” video and other evidence of war crimes
and government corruption with the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
He should be supported for his alleged actions rather than prosecuted.
We are active and informed citizens asking “Why hasn’t President
Obama supported Bradley?”
We call on you to free Bradley Manning, since he has already endured
more than 800 days of pretrial confinement including 9 months of
treatment called “inhuman and degrading” by the United Nations
Rapporteur on Torture.
William J. Gilson, USN veteran
1954-58, Veterans for Peace Chapter
34 NYC on behalf of the supporters
of PFC Bradley Manning in New York