A contingent of people supportive of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, marched in Chicago’s Pride Parade to celebrate being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The group, organized by the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), was one of 200 registered contingents in the parade.
Around fifty marched in Manning’s support, carrying “Free Bradley Manning” signs. The back of the group was followed by a truck with a huge banner that read “Free Bradley” and on a line below it “Gay Alleged WikiLeaker.”
The group organized a contingent because, according to their website, it is the “duty of gay rights activists – indeed human rights activists of any description – to demand the release of Pfc. Bradley Manning.” His alleged leaks “exposed the rampant cynicism of American foreign policy, regardless of administration, and the United States’ intimate relationships with brutal dictators and human rights abusers around the world.” He also released the “Collateral Murder” video that showed the July 12, 2007 slaughter in Iraq of two Reuters journalists and several other civilians. “Despite clear evidence of a war crime comparable in its brazenness to the infamous My Lai massacre of the Vietnam War, no U.S. military personnel were disciplined, let alone put on trial for the Reuters incident … aside from Manning.”
The group acknowledged that Manning faces a “potentially very long prison sentence and perhaps the death penalty.” He was subjected to inhumane treatment at Quantico. When State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley spoke out and called the treatment “unproductive,” he ended up being forced out of the administration.
Here are photos from the march:
There were other Free Bradley Manning contingents that marched in Pride Parades today as well,including groups in San Francisco and New York City.
I recorded a two-part interview on Bradley Manning for a show produced by John Riley and Bob Lederer that airs on WBAI. The first part ran as part of Out-FM’s 6-hour LGBT pride coverage on WBAI (99.5 FM). We discussed the openly gay former Army intelligence analyst, his more than two years in military detention and his court martial, where he faces the charge of “aiding the enemy.” The segment aired at 3 PM EST and should be up in the archives at some point. (I will post here when it goes up.)
The second segment will run on Tuesday, June 26, during Out-FM’s show, which runs from 7 – 8 PM EST. You can listen then here.