UPDATE MAY 7: It has just been confirmed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will now be taking part in this event, via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy, from 7.30 to 8.15pm.
It’s almost three years since Pfc. Bradley Manning, who had been working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was arrested by the US military and imprisoned in Kuwait for allegedly making available — to the campaigning organization WikiLeaks — the largest collection of classified documents ever leaked to the public, including the “Collateral Murder” video, featuring US personnel indiscriminately killing civilians in Iraq, 500,000 army reports (the Afghan War logs and the Iraq War logs), 250,000 US diplomatic cables, and the classified military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, which were released in April 2011, and on which I worked as a media partner (see here for the first 34 parts of my 70-part, million-word series analyzing the Guantánamo files).
In July 2010, Manning was transferred to the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, where the conditions of his confinement began to cause international concern. I first wrote about his case in December 2010, when he was being held in solitary confinement, in an article entitled, “Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?” and I followed his story into 2011, and his transfer to less contentious conditions of confinement in Fort Leavenworth on April 20, just five days before WikiLeaks released the Guantánamo files.
In the last two years, I have largely deferred to other writers, researchers and activists, dedicated to Bradley Manning’s story, to cover developments in his case, particularly relating to a series of pre-trial hearings. His trial begins on June 3 (preceded by an international day of action on June 1), and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to revisit his story this Wednesday, May 8, at an event in London organized by Naomi Colvin and Katia Michaels, at which I am honoured to be sharing a stage with Chase Madar, the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning, and Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier and conscientious objector.
The details of the event, which is free and open to anyone, are below. Please note that organizer Naomi Colvin has explained that you need to reserve a place on the Facebook page, stating, “Marking yourself as attending on this Facebook event is enough to secure a place — it’s all free but RSVP.”
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 7pm: WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story
Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6LG
Panel discussion With Chase Madar, Ben Griffin and Andy Worthington.
Chase Madar is a US attorney, and the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning, Ben Griffin is a former SAS soldier, and is now a spokesperson for Veterans for Peace UK, and Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, the author of The Guantánamo Files, and the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign. In April 2011, he was a media partner of WikiLeaks for the release of the classified military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Jolyon Rubinstein (of (BBC’s “The Revolution Will be Televised”).
Other guests are Vivienne Westwood and Peter Tatchell.
See the Facebook page here.
This is the organizers’ description of the event on the Facebook page:
After more than three years in military confinement, WikiLeaks whistleblower, Private Bradley Manning is finally due to go on trial in June. A criminal to the US military but hero to many, the 25 year old has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row. He now faces court-martial for the largest security breach in US history.
We will discuss the issues raised by this case. Two years on, what have the WikiLeaks disclosures really told us about journalism, diplomacy and warfare? And what are the ramifications of the legal case itself?
I hope to see some of you at the Century Club on Wednesday to answer these questions.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo campaign”, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Pauline Kiernan wrote:
Great! Sharing. Px
Toia Tutta Jung wrote:
Good to see Bradley Manning getting the attention he deserves; he shouldn´t be in prison when he didn´t commit any crime.
Pauline Kiernan wrote:
Andy – I can’t see where people can get tickets. If it’s on your website it needs to be flagged up. Px
Ted Cartselos wrote:
Will you be making a recording of your talk?
Thanks, Pauline, Toia and Ted – and everyone liking and sharing this. Hope to see some of you in London on Wednesday. You have to go to the Facebook page and confirm attendance, Pauline – and Ted, I understand that it will be recorded, so I’ll make that available as soon as I can after the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/126326674230202
Mark Erickson wrote:
Chase is my boy! In that he is the only at-least-somewhat-known person to follow me on twitter. Say hi and take care Andy!
Thanks, Mark. Good to hear from you. Also, it has just been confirmed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will now be taking part in this event, via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy, from 7.30 to 8.15pm.
I hope there is a decent turn out. The man is a prisoner of conscience and the craven cowards who have scapegoated him should not be above accounting for their crimes, including his wrongful detention under arduous conditions.
Thanks for the comments, Paul. Very good to hear from you.
Best of luck with this.
Thanks, Tom. I’ll report back.
Rita Pal wrote:
Andy, I wrote this http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/rita-pal/bradley-manning-whistleblower-reprisal_b_2865731.html … you know I kinda specialise in issues of whistleblowing.
Thanks for the link, Rita. I think you would have liked the event!
Mark Erickson wrote:
Have you read this yet?
The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi
I bookmarked it to read when I have the time to look at it properly, Mark. Just read the intro now at your prompting. Very powerful, as I expected.
Oona Chaplin wrote:
You are such an inspiration. Reading up on you and by you and you’re an example to us all. Thank you. Xx
Thank you, Oona. That’s very kind.
What a great evening! Delighted to share a panel with Chase Madar (lawyer and author) and Ben Griffin (ex-SAS, now Veterans for Peace UK), and also to have Julian Assange speak to the crowd via video link from the Ecuadorian embassy. Peter Tatchell also spoke, as did Vivienne Westwood. Video to follow soon, I hope.
Willy Bach wrote:
Chase Madar, Ben Griffin, Julian Assange via video link and Peter Tatchell – that sounds like a really good event. Say hello to Ben for me.
Thanks for the good wishes. It was a very powerful event, actually. I hadn’t met Chase or Ben before, so that was a real pleasure for me. Peter was only around for a quick speech, and then had to go somewhere else, and Vivienne Westwood was also there, and also addressed the audience — twice!
I’m hoping that video of the event will be available soon, and I’ll also be posting a call for support soon for the international day of action in support of Bradley Manning on June 1.
On Facebook I posted a photo I took on the night, “Vivienne Westwood at ‘WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story,’ London, May 8, 2013,” and wrote:
Here’s Vivienne Westwood speaking at “WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story,” an excellent, packed-out event in London on Wednesday at which I was panelist (speaking about the importance of WikiLeaks’ Guantanamo files), along with Chase Madar, Ben Griffin and, via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange. Bradley Manning’s trial begins on June 3, almost 3 years after he was first arrested.
On Facebook, Pauline Kiernan wrote:
I wish I’d been able to go to this. Thanks Andy Worthington for all your Herculean efforts. I salute you. Px
Thank you, Pauline. That’s very kind.
Katia Michael (one of the organisers) wrote:
Thank you so much Andy for your fantastic contribution, as one of our panellists. Here’s to more events over the coming months to raise awareness xx
Thank you, Katia. It really was a very powerful event. It was great to hear from Julian, Vivienne and Peter, and it was wonderful to meet, and speak alongside Chase and Ben. I thought we made a powerful team. I’m looking forward to more events – and more opportunities to try and channel the genuinely revolutionary fervour that was there on the night.
Katia Michael wrote:
Working on it Andy…lets keep up the pressure at this pivotal time for Bradley Manning. Xx
Absolutely, Katia. For the US protests on June 1, see: http://www.bradleymanning.org/featured/rally-for-bradley-manning-at-fort-meade-june-1-2013
Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/500009146729079/
For the London protest (US embassy, 2pm), see: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2013/05/509128.html
I also posted another photo I took on the night, “Julian Assange at ‘WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story,’ London, May 8, 2013,” and wrote:
Here’s Julian Assange speaking by video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy, as part of “WikiLeaks: The Bradley Manning Story,” a powerful, packed-out event in London, on Wednesday, at which I was a speaker along with Chase Madar and Ben Griffin, and Peter Tatchell and Vivienne Westwood also spoke. The man smirking at a humorous comment made by Julian is Jolyon Rubinstein, the moderator.
Here’s the video of Vivienne interviewed at the Met Ball in New York, where some of her work was featured in a punk retrospective, and where she spoke about Bradley, calling him “the bravest of the brave”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0cu41UHA_xI
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