4 March 2011

Support Fight to Free Private Bradley Manning

The release by WikiLeaks of some 250,000 State Department cables has provoked a vicious campaign of retaliation by the rulers of U.S. imperialism against both WikiLeaks and Army Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking secret material. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been held under house arrest in Britain since mid December, faces patently trumped-up accusations of “rape” and “sexual molestation” in Sweden. On February 24, a British court ordered his extradition, a decision Assange is fighting. Manning is being held under torturous conditions of solitary confinement at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia.

Manning incurred Washington’s wrath when a video of a U.S. war crime in Baghdad was posted last April by WikiLeaks. It showed an Apache helicopter gunning down and killing at least 12 people, including two Reuters journalists, as the pilots gloated over the carnage. Manning is a courageous individual who—if he was, indeed, the source of the leaks—performed a laudable service by lifting, however slightly, the veil of secrecy and lies that shrouds the imperialists’ machinations.

Manning was put on “suicide watch,” meaning that he was stripped of all his clothes except his underwear, and his glasses were taken away, leaving him in “essential blindness,” as he put it. He is now under “prevention of injury watch.” He is given no sheet or pillow and is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. Even his one hour of exercise is done in solitary. Guards check on him every five minutes and his cell is constantly lit, including when he tries to sleep. A 24 January Amnesty International report stated: “Manning is classed as a ‘maximum custody’ detainee, despite having no history of violence or disciplinary offences in custody. This means he is shackled at the hands and legs during all visits and denied opportunities to work, which would allow him to leave his cell.”

Workers and the oppressed throughout the world must champion the cause of Private Manning and demand his immediate freedom. The Partisan Defense Committee has contributed to Bradley Manning’s defense and encourages others to do the same. Send checks earmarked “Manning defense” to: The Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Avenue #41, Oakland, CA 94610.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 975, 4 March 2011)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.