Posts Tagged ‘Bradley Manning’

We created an exciting street performance to Free Bradley Manning to show our #BradleyPride in NYC, read this article by fellow organizer Elias Holtz in the huffington post and watch the video, we got a lot of support and reached thousands of people!

Freelance television producer; queer organizer with #BradleyPride NYC Coalition and the Freedom Socialist Party

Taking Pride in Bradley Manning (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Posted: 07/03/2013 1:04 pm

I have to admit I have a crush on Bradley Manning, and not just because he’s cute and gay and from Oklahoma. He gets mega-crush status because he’s not just a crush but my personal hero.

Bradley Manning is a 25-year-old, openly gay United States Army intelligence analyst who, while serving in Iraq, found evidence of crimes ranging from petty corruption to full-blown war crimes, like the killing of journalists in the infamous “Collateral Murder” video.

He saw this evidence and didn’t turn away from it. Instead, at great risk to himself, he released the files to the American public through Wikileaks, after being blown off by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Bradley felt that the truth was more important than his own safety or career, and for that he sits on trial. Imprisoned in Fort Meade, Md., he faces over 20 charges, including “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense.

That’s why I think he is a hero. He was the first major whistleblower in our new era of whistleblowers, having been cited by Edward Snowden (of NSA leak fame) as a source of personal inspiration.

Me too, Eddie. Bradley is my number-one whistleblower crush.

But it wasn’t my crush that motivated me to spend over two months organizing a big group of queers (and allies) to march for Bradley in the New York Pride Parade.

I was motivated more by the fact that Pride would come while Bradley was on trial and would be a huge opportunity to show that the LGBT community stands with Bradley and his actions. I knew that we could rally tens of thousands behind his case in New York City alone. LGBT people know how brave one has to be to speak the truth. We back up people who speak out.

The effort became national, and we coordinated with #BradleyPride contingents in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and San Francisco.

In New York, our plans were for a big, bold message of freedom for Bradley. We designed a moving performance piece in which a battalion of soldiers guarded a mobile jail cell imprisoning an actor playing Bradley. Behind the cage was a 12-foot-tall golden puppet of Lady Justice, with scores of Bradley supporters wielding a sea of pink flags that read “#BradleyPride.”

We were joined by over a dozen veterans’, queer, and anti-war groups that had enthusiastically signed on. Transgender activists came to emphasize the important point that Bradley has questioned his gender but is unable to express it while incarcerated. All of us were backed by the infamous radical marching band The Rude Mechanical Orchestra.

As we marched down a crowd-lined Fifth Avenue, our director Claire signaled with a whistle for Lady Justice to bring down her giant puppet-sword on Bradley’s cage. The flag-wielding Bradley supporters then mobbed the jail cell, pulling it apart to free our Bradley actor, revealing a huge “Free Bradley Manning” banner that spanned three traffic lanes.

The reaction from the crowd was incredible. They cheered and whistled when faux-Bradley was freed to salute them and dance to his liberation. Then, when the soldiers rearrested Bradley and put him back in his cell, they booed. They were pissed. They wanted Bradley to be free.
Cops on parade duty stood surprised as we performed our big gay street skit and busted Bradley out of jail again and again. It had just enough Stonewall rebellion attitude thrown in, I think. The crowds of LGBT New Yorkers were feelin’ it.

Donations to Bradley’s defense fund came pouring in from the crowd, and even the head drag queen emcee (hard to impress, no doubt) was delighted and called our performance “genius.”

Enthusiasm came from many places. At the end of the march, we were breaking Bradley out of jail to an audience of mostly young LGBT people of color, who tend to have legitimate beef with incarceration of any kind.

Mainly, however, I would guess that the crowd reacted so strongly because, as a community, we so desperately need victories against the powers that be.

Don’t we all love to think that we can have an impact like that? That we can free someone unjustly imprisoned? That if we speak out about an injustice, we can force even the most deaf and callous of governments to right their wrongs?

Never the cynic (especially at Pride), I think we can have a big impact. We had so much of New York cheering for Bradley and his freedom that it felt pretty damn powerful.

That day at Pride, my crush for Bradley Manning turned into a crush on my local queer community, who proved to me that they are ready to back Bradley, ready to defend one of our own, a gay soldier who sits on trial for taking a stand for the truth.

GIF from #BradleyPrideNYC



especially at this time during Bradley Manning’s trial we were very excited to be performing a section from Bradass87 at this important event, to stand with and support our heroic whistleblowers and act from our conscience. We joined Mike Daisey, Ray McGovern and Heidi Boghosian president of the National Lawyers Guild in the program.

performed by: Ben Baur, Matthew Hillyer, Jeff Nash

video: Kevin Brouder

sound: Michael Feld

script: Bradley Manning (composed and directed by Claire Lebowitz)

Emergency Forum Wednesday June 19:
We Will Not Be Complicit… We DO NOT Consent!

No Government Spying on Whole Populations.
Hands Off Snowden & Manning.
Close Guantanamo NOW.
7pm The Great Hall, Cooper Union 7 E. 7th Street New York City: details here.

We will not be Complicit… We DO NOT Consent!

Emergency Forum Wednesday June 19

Through an act of tremendous courage and self-sacrifice, Edward Snowden has revealed the most massive government spying in history into the communications and activities of billions of people on the planet.

If you are outraged by these revelations, by the trampling on fundamental rights, and by the war crimes being carried out in our name–you need to be at Cooper Union this Wednesday night.

Evening of Conscience at Cooper Union for Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and the prisoners at Guantanamo
This will be an evening of conscience, with speakers and performers. An evening to deepen understanding of what is going and why… and to declare that WE MUST RESIST.

We are at a potentially pivotal moment. People are raising their heads and looking to express their opposition. But the powers that be are now engaging in high-stakes damage control: to frighten people into submission and to tell people not to worry, just go along with “the new normal.” No, we will not be complicit, we do not consent, we take responsibility to act.

On May 23, World Can’t Wait published the Close Guantanamo NOW message in The New York Times as a full page ad.  It says, in part:

“In the name of safety, fear, or revenge, American presidents cannot be allowed to arrogate to themselves the power of judge, jury and executioner. Actions that utilize de facto torture, that run roughshod over the rule of law and due process, and that rain down terror and murder on peoples and nations, amount to war crimes. Such actions cannot in any way be morally justified in the name of “protecting Americans.” The lives of people living here are not more precious than any other people’s lives.”

History demands that we follow through on this stand. Join us!

The Great Hall 7 E. 7th Street

Sponsored by World Can’t Wait (866) 973-4463
Co-sponsored by Continuing Education Department, Cooper Union
Free Bradley Manning NYC Pride Coalition
Granny Peace Brigade
Metro Raging Grannies
Revolution Books
I Stand With Edward Snowden
Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, Greenville, SC

An action on April 6th 2013 on top of the Empire State Bldg. and the Staten Island Ferry in support of Bradley #Manning w/ Fatima Jafari, Claire Lebowitz, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Jodie Evans, Andy Bichlbaum, #CODEPINK, #YESMEN, Cari Machet.

Bradley Manning has been held by U S authorities far longer than any other prisoner without due process. His trial, set to begin on June 3rd, is an injustice to all, as the system overprosecutes him and many others to protect itself against the truth, while insider war criminals walk free in this tiered and broken legal system. If we utilize the frames of the state Bradley Manning is a Prisoner of War: a war being raged on the ethical consciousness of mankind. A war being raged on the very consciousness of life itself.