PFC Bradley Manning has been in prison for over two years, for allegedly releasing a massive cache of classified U.S. documents to the nonprofit organization WikiLeaks. These documents shed light on unethical and even criminal behavior on the part of the US and other governments. They reveal a profound and systemic lack of accountability and, in some cases, a chilling departure from the fundamental tenets of democracy. If Bradley is convicted of the charges against him, he faces life in prison.
People around the world are appalled by the US government’s handling of this case. Bradley Manning was held in solitary confinement for months on end, humiliated and treated in ways that most, including psychiatrists, legal scholars and human rights advocates consider to be torture. It is common knowledge that the Bush administration lied to start an atrocious and devastating war – a war that has possibly killed over a million Iraqi people, killed or maimed thousands of U.S. soldiers and caused irreparable harm. A profound lack of integrity reaches to the highest levels of government: those who started this war remain free while others who attempt to expose these kinds of lies face penalties. We are committed to democracy – and we do not accept this.
Bradley Manning is a hero. We maintain that if he released these documents, then he is a whistle-blower whose actions under these circumstances must be defended. This young man’s case is a clarion call in dark times. At a time when the most powerful people on Earth are above accountability, and when citizens are systematically denied access to truthful information about what is happening in our names, Bradley’s case stands at the crossroads of legitimate democracies and their demise.
We stand with Bradley.
Please join us.
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We hope that this letter finds you healthy and strong. You have already seen adversity that most people do not bear in a lifetime, and we are sadly aware of the hardships you face. We are sending this letter to you in the hopes that our feelings of support may help you to bear these days. We want you to know that we, people all over the world, are fighting for you. We can gladly say that we are many.
Your case has become a great symbol to all of us. It has bound us together in an awareness of our shared interests, shared responsibilities, and shared fate. There is much that we do not know, but irrespective of the truths of your particular case, your flag has become the standard of an indefatigable civil movement, straddling generations and borders, striving inexorably against the great injustices of our time, for which the injustices you suffer are the tragic emblem. Your tenure in that small prison cell has reached across the world, moving many people, ushering a generation to awareness and action. Your name is on all our lips, and your face, for us, is an icon of moral courage.
You stand accused of upholding justice when her bearers let her banner fall. You are accused of actions that no law should rightly prohibit while remaining law. When the law is turned against conscience and courage, it is turned against itself. Our society has lost its way.
Your prosecution under this ruse of justice is already written into history as a persecution, not of one man, but of us all. It is not a single injustice, but an injustice to end the pretense of justice. It is unique and urgent. It is wrong that you suffer, while those who committed the crimes that were exposed, who started a horrific and unjustifiable war based on lies, are excused. Whether you did what you are accused of or not, what you have gone through since your arrest would be unimaginable for most of us. You are a hero among us. We cannot, and will not, turn away from supporting you.
We are keenly aware of your sacrifice. Be strong for us, Bradley, because we know that you suffer as one of us, for us. We will be relentless in our efforts to see justice done by you. Accept our fellowship, and know this: you are forever ours now and we salute you, and forever thank you.
We hold you in our hearts. We stand with you.
We are all Bradley Manning,
Your brothers, sisters, friends,