Bradley Manning Rally in Fort Meade

“Free Bradley Manning! Arrest Barack Obama!” chanted hundreds of supporters of Bradley Manning, as they marched around Fort Meade, Maryland to protest his court-martial for leaking over 700,000 pages of classified documents.

ReasonTV's Matthew Feeney got on the “Bradley Manning Bus” to meet protesters and find out why they believe it’s important to support a man who faces a possible life sentence for violating the Espionage Act, “aiding the enemy,” and 20 other alleged offenses against the United States government.

Members of activist groups The Bradley Manning Support NetworkIraq Veterans Against the War, The World Can’t Wait, and Code Pink: Women for Peace all saw the rally as an opportunity to change public opinion, while providing moral support for Manning. Given the vast amount of information leaked, protesters also took the opportunity to speak out against related issues, like military drone strikes, government secrecy, and the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Most protesters said that, as a whistleblower, Manning is a hero who deserves no punishment at all. Activists like Debra Sweet of The World Can't Wait said that unnecessary government secrecy had become so pervasive since the attacks of 9/11, that Manning’s actions were justified to preserve democracy and keep the public informed. Most insisted that the leaked documents harmed no one.

With few exceptions, the protesters were doubtful about Manning’s prospects for a fair trial. Even though he has already plead guilty to some of the charges, his supporters cited the steep burden of proof for defendants in courts-martial, as well as a general distrust of military proceedings, as reasons for their pessimism. Some called for the arrest of President Obama, while many hoped for an executive pardon from the administration.

The organizers promised more demonstrations as the trial continues.

Runs about four minutes.

Shot and edited by Todd Krainin.

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  • ||

    Comments disappeared.

    What crimes were uncovered do to his data dump? I keep hearing he's a whistleblower, but can anyone point me to a specific crime?

  • thexjib||

    for starters the collateral murder video. Even if you grant that the gunship honestly mistook reporters and citizens as "insurgents" (the people fighting the illegal occupation) you would still have a hard time explaining the attack on the people who came to give aid to the victims after the attack appeared to end.

  • Acosmist||

    Yep, this brings 'em out.

  • ||

    I question the "camera equipment" story. Sure the reporters may have had cameras. The two guys in the back at the 1 min point? Looks like an AK and a rocket launcher to me. And the way that guy was peaking around the corner?

    My only issue with the video is hitting the van.

    Their assumption was it was their insurgent buddies coming to their aid (i.e. aiding insurgents). I'd like to think I'd have thought it was just a good samaritan trying to help, but I don't know as I wasn't there. Bad judgment, sure. A crime?

    This isn't the police arresting US citizens. It's a war. The burden of proof is significantly less and sometimes you're wrong. That doesn't make it a crime. And there was clearly no intent to harm civilians.

    Regardless, he could have leaked this video rather than a data dump. He's not a whistleblower. He's a disgruntled little weasel leaked classified because he was about to be drummed out.

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    First responders, even if they are "insurgent buddies", should not be targeted. Yes a crime.

  • ||

    You ever been in a war Ray?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    First responders, even if they are "insurgent buddies", should not be targeted. Yes a crime.

    In a war? Against a hostile populace? Strategic reasons of why you're there and why they hate you aside, you have to tactically survive. And ten, twenty, two hundred of 'them' is worth one of 'you.'

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

  • Raston Bot||

    Would the war in Yemen violate the War Powers Act?

  • ||

    1. Are we killing people there?
    2. The War Powers Act is unconstitutional. If you are killing people, Congress must declare war.

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    this maybe

  • Sigivald||

    So, yeah. No crimes.

    Plainly, as the still covering the video above says, the dude deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

    (Also, on the story, itself, "his supporters cited the steep burden of proof for defendants in courts-martial" ...

    Do any of them know how a court-martial works?

    The burden of proof is on the prosecution and the standard of evidence is "beyond a reasonable doubt", exactly as in a non-military court.)

  • Bruce Majors||

  • Anders||

    Isn't he claiming he did this because he was gay and was not getting enough gay love from the racist homophobic bigoted in the closet Army oppressors?

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I might have any sympathy for this guy if he consciously exposed something worth exposing. Comparisons have been made to the Pentagon Papers, but Ellsburg KNEW what was in the Pentagon Papers.

    Sgt. Fool on the other hand took a huge data pile, gigs of data, and dumped it to Wikileaks with no idea what was in it. That is ignorant, naive, and stupid - and unfortunately for him, criminal.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    This. He dumped a bunch of documents, some with the names of confidential informants, onto the internet. Good way to get your informants killed and prevent potential future ones from helping.

  • jili5||

    The Bradley Manning stuff can be argued both ways, but there's no doubt that Obama should be thrown in prison.

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