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July 2011, Week 1

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Thu, 7 Jul 2011 21:29:52 -0400
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How is Bradley Manning's Situation Reminiscent of the
Rosenberg Case?

Support Bradley Manning

by Robert Meeropol
Director's Blog - The Rosenberg Fund for Children
June 30, 2011
http://www.rfc.org/blog/article/986

Last week I joined the Advisory Board of the Bradley
Manning Support Network. http://www.bradleymanning.org/
I sought them out not only because it is a honor to join
a Board that includes Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, as
well as Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, and
filmmaker Michael Moore, among others, but also because
I believe it is imperative for as many people as
possible to raise their voices in support of Manning.

Private First Class Manning is accused of being the
source of the huge number of secret diplomatic cables,
field intelligence reports, and at least one military
video published by Wikileaks. He was held without charge
for nine months in the brig at Quantico Marine Corps
Base in Virginia, isolated for 23 hours a day in
"Maximum Custody and under Prevention of Injury Watch."
I believe that the conditions of his imprisonment,
including the Abu Ghraib style humiliation of being
forced to strip and surrender his clothing nightly,
amounted to torture. Manning's rights were violated
further when President Obama, the military's commander
in chief, declared Manning guilty. Since Manning faces a
possible court martial by military officers, all of whom
are under Obama's command, this makes it impossible for
him to receive a fair trial.

I have several reasons to aid Private Manning.

The first is my commitment to the concept of Freedom of
Information. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned and
threatened with death for providing the truth to the
American people. In the words of Daniel Ellsberg: "If
Bradley Manning did what he's accused of, then he's a
hero of mine." The free flow of information is
absolutely essential to a functioning democracy. Since
2001, the burgeoning "National Security State" has made
it almost impossible for voters to make informed
choices.

The people's right to know what their government is
doing has been at the core of my activism for almost
four decades. It was no accident that my brother and I
chose to sue under the newly toughened Freedom of
Information Act (FIOA) when we commenced our campaign to
reopen our parents' case in 1974. Reporters asked if we
were worried that the material in the government's files
we sought would point to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's
guilt rather than their innocence. We answered without
hesitation that while we hoped the material would
exonerate our parents, the public's right to know was
more important than the vindication of our beliefs. My
brother and I spent 10 years of our lives fighting that
case in the name of the public's right to know. The
attack on Bradley Manning is an assault upon this right
and must be resisted.

Also, I am virtually certain that the cruel and inhumane
conditions Manning was subjected to in the Marine Base
brig were designed to coerce him into testifying against
Julian Assange and the Wikileaks community. In other
words, the government wanted Manning to become the David
Greenglass of the Wikileaks case. In my parent's case
the government offered David Greenglass a deal in return
for falsely testifying that my parents engineered
Greenglass's theft of what the government called "the
secret of the Atomic bomb," even though my parents did
not participate in that theft and there was no such
secret. Similarly, the government sought to use Manning
as a pawn to spark a conspiracy trail against Julian
Assange and his associates in order to expand the
security state and inflame public fear that hackers
threaten our national security.

Finally, it is reported that Bradley Manning may be
charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, and
face the death penalty if he is convicted. That's the
same penalty my parents received for violating that act.

Under such circumstances, how could I stay away! For
more informative about the Bradley Manning support
network go to: http://www.bradleymanning.org/

___________________________________________

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