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Fundraiser for Whistleblower Bradley ManningSeptember 16, 2010
Bay Area CODEPINK
A large crowd, including many CODEPINKers from the Bay Area (we also tabled), packed the Humanist Hall in Oakland to support US Army soldier and whistleblower Bradley Manning at an event organized by Courage to Resist.
To start the event, the "Collateral Murder" video sent by Manning to Wikileaks of US soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians, including two Reuters photojournalists, in Baghdad in 2007, was shown in its horrifying entirety. The unprovoked attack from a helicopter on a group of men was followed by the blasting of a van, whose driver had stopped to pick up the sole survivor of the first attack. His two children are clearly moving in the front seat of the van, and were the only survivors of the atrocity. See http://www.wikileaks.com/wiki/Collateral_Murder,_5_Apr_2010 for more info.
KPFA radio host and author of "Army of None" Aimee Allison followed the video, saying to loud applause: "Blowing the whistle on war crimes is NOT a crime... it should be celebrated."
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, CODEPINK's own retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright, and famous whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg spoke powerfully about Manning's acts of courage and the need to resist illegal and immoral wars.
Ray McGovern: "Bradley Manning has earned a place of honor in American history." He quoted from Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" -- "Injustice must be exposed... to the natural medicine of light and air."
Ann Wright: "This video is NOT the abnormal... this is a common occurrence." She talked about drone attacks and the heavy toll of 100,000s of civilian casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan. "It is a war crime what our government is doing to our troops," who return with nightmares and despair over what they have done. She pointed out the profit motive for corporations that are "making a killing out of killing" and the war criminals such as Blair and Bush who are now making millions off their books.
Daniel Ellsberg: "The question is, WHO are you loyal to? Bradley Manning was loyal to the Constitution!"
Money was raised to fund Manning's legal defense fund, which Courage to Resist has organized (so his family would not have to sell their home!), and Ellsberg took photos and videos of the supportive crowd to send to Manning and his family. The courageous soldier, who worked in Army intelligence, faces 65 years of prison for leaking military reports from the US war in Afghanistan: http://www.wikileaks.com/wiki/Afghan_War_Diary,_2004-2010
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