Monday, 17 December 2012
Singing Bradley's Song
Today is the 17th. of December, which means that it is Bradley Manning's 25th birthday. As in previous years, the Streetlamp would like to draw everyone's attention to the fact that Manning, the alleged source of the largest intelligence leak in US history, including the infamous "Collateral Murder" video, remains in prison facing 22 counts in a court martial that could see him remain there for the rest of his life.
Manning's trial is expected to begin in February 2013, but he won’t be sentenced by a military judge until March, and at that point he’ll likely have spent over 1,000 days, 10% of his life, in solitary confinement. Earlier this month we were able to hear something of the details of Manning's imprisionment over the last couple of years, at the motion hearing addressing his unlawful pretrial punishment. The information that was made available, such as that immediately upon his arrest on May 26, 2010, Manning was transferred to an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ wire mesh cage in Kuwait which contained just a toilet and a shelf where he remained in solitary for nearly two months are pretty harrowing. Or that at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico , Virginia, he was held for nine months in maximum custody in a cell smaller than the one he saw overseas - just 6' x 8'. For only 20 minutes a day, Manning was allowed to see daylight while shackled in chains. For the remaining 23-and-a-half hours, Manning was deprived of just about everything, including contact with other inmates and often his clothes. He was forced to sleep from 1 PM to 11 PM, naked, and was allowed to do so only when facing his lamp.The list of indignities goes on and full details of this experience can be found elsewhere online.
Today, those of us on the outside must never allow ourselves to forget exactly what has been happening to Bradley Manning, man of conscience, whistleblower and human rights defender. The attempt to completely crush and dishonour him is continuing to play out here in one of the so-called Western democracies. Meanwhile we point our fingers and bleat about human rights violations in other countries who do not support our enthusiasm for the neoliberal project. Manning's case is the clearest example of the relentless suppression of any voice who draws attention to the hypocrisy at the heart of Western democracy. As Manning himself is alleged to have said of the video footage released along with the haul of US diplomatic cables to Wikileaks:
"This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare,”
We have nothing to add to that. If you want to find out how you can support Bradley Manning, visit this site here.
The video embedded below is a fine piece of political hip hop called 'Bradley's Song' by Symphony, a producer and rapper from Southern California.
If you enjoyed that then check out the same artist's album 'The War Letters' released earlier this year on bandcamp as a free download.