By Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist. Updated August 31, 2011
Answers to questions regarding the Bradley Manning defense fund, including: “Who is his civilian defense lawyer?”, “Where should I donate?”, “How much is needed?”, “Does Bradley know about these efforts?”, “How can I donate without using the Internet?”, “How can I donate only to Bradley’s legal fees?”, “What is Courage to Resist, why does it support Bradley, and what experience does it have doing something like this?”, and “What’s your deal?”
Who is his civilian defense lawyer?
Quick answer: Manning is represented by civilian defense attorney David Coombs.
After receiving a wide range of opinions from our Support Network, his military defense JAGs, and a family member, Manning selected attorney David Coombs of Providence, Rhode Island, in August 2010 to lead his legal defense. Mr. Coombs has over a decade of experience as a military trial lawyer and is a former law professor at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia.
From our first communications with Bradley, back when he was still jailed in Kuwait, we pledged to support and fund his choice of civilian legal representation. Our December 7, 2010, statement “The Bradley Manning Support Network accepts responsibility for all expenses to defend accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning,” outlines our ongoing commitment to Bradley. Related is our January 13, 2011, statement, “WikiLeaks fulfills pledge to support accused whistle-blower Bradley Manning.”
We often hear from folks that believe alternative legal strategies should be employed by the current legal team. Our reply is always that Bradley is in agreement with, and confident in, his current legal representation.
Should I donate to Bradley’s defense at bradleymanning.org, or at Wikileaks’ website?
Donations to Bradley’s defense fund hosted by Courage to Resist / AfGJ, in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network, are tax-deductible. Contributions are urgently needed to both cover future legal defense expenses and to support the growing movement to defend Bradley. Other organizations have raised funds using Bradley’s name and situation, but this is the only defense fund.
Back in July 2010, WikiLeaks briefly announced that donations towards Manning’s defense could be made via the WikiLeaks website. Since then WikiLeaks has expressed appreciation to the Bradley Manning Support Network for the formation of this grassroots effort dedicated to Manning’s defense, as WikiLeaks has been busy carrying out its primary mission.
Mr. Assange of WikiLeaks pledged a “significant amount” towards Manning’s legal expenses. On January 10, 2011, WikiLeaks fulfilled their pledge to this end with a contribution of $15,100 to Bradley Manning’s legal trust account.
How much will be needed for legal expenses?
Quick answer: About $200,000.
Bradley’s attorney David Coombs has taken the case for a flat-rate fee. Taking into account the prolonged pre-trial time period, travel expenses, additional expenses, and expert witnesses, we believe that the total will be about $200,000. Based on our efforts so far, about $120,000 has been transfer to Mr. Coombs, including direct contributions to the legal trust account.
Besides legal expenses, what else have funds been spent on?
The Support Network has distributed funds on: Printing and international distribution of leaflets, posters, and information cards; Staging of public forums, events, and demonstrations; Production of banners, t-shirts, stickers, and whistles for organizers; Travel expenses, including Bradley’s visitors at the Quantico and Leavenworth brigs; Communication expenses, including phone and Internet hosting; Public relations consultants; Processing the “Stand with Brad” public declaration and petition (www.standwithbrad.org); Accounting; Fiscal and credit card company fees. A current financial statement, including expenses is available here.
Can I donate only to legal expenses?
Quick answer: Yes.
The Bradley Manning IOLTA legal trust account is managed by attorney David Coombs under regulation of the Massachusetts IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) Program, and the American Bar Association. All proceeds will offset Bradley’s legal expenses. Any funds remaining in the trust account at resolution of the legal case will become Bradley’s with interest. Note that contributions to Bradley’s legal trust account are not tax-deductible and must be made by check or money order.
To make a non-deductible contribution directly to the legal trust account, please make checks payable to “IOLTA / Manning” and mail to: Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610.
For more information, see “How to donate to Bradley Manning’s defense”
Does Manning know the Bradley Manning Support Network is raising money on his behalf?
Quick answer: Yes.
The Support Network subsidizes regular visits by friends, family, and Bradley’s legal team. The efforts of the Support Network are shared with Bradley, and his deep appreciation for the support and concern of so many are consistently expressed. As these visits are openly recorded by the brig, discussion of Bradley’s legal situation with friends and family is avoided. Note that Bradley has made no statements to prosecutors regarding the charges against him.
How will my tax-deductible donation to the Bradley’s defense fund be spent?
Assuming you donated $100 via credit card:
$70 will go to public awareness, and to the remainder of the legal expenses as needed. Those funds will be allocated by the Bradley Manning Support Network in order to educate the American people regarding the issues involved. Actual expenses have included: communications, travel, campaign materials, leaflets, etc.
$15 will go towards subsidizing Courage to Resist staff hours in support of the Bradley Manning defense effort, including processing of the “Stand with Brad” public statement and petition effort.
$10 will be spent on administration of the defense fund. The majority of that represents our fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Alliance for Global Justice, and not added expenses by Courage to Resist.
$5 will go into the pockets of credit card companies, with a small fraction to Click and Pledge, the service we use to handle online donations. Much of that expense can be avoided by donating by a check or money order.
After reaching our goals regarding Bradley’s legal expenses, this overview was revised by the Support Network’s Steering Committee in order to allocate a larger portion of funds towards public outreach and other support activities. While this eliminated the allocated legal defense portion of each donation, we remain fully committed to covering all legal defense expenses.
How can I donate without using the Internet?
Quick answer: Send a check.
To donate by check or money order, please make payable to “Courage to Resist” and mail to Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610. Make sure to note “Bradley Manning Defense” on the memo line.
We can also provide printed remittance envelopes pre-marked for use in fund raising on behalf of the Bradley Manning defense fund. For example, these would be appropriate for passing out at social events.
Also, to make a non-deductible contribution directly to the legal trust account, please make checks payable to “IOLTA / Manning” and mail to: Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610.
What is Courage to Resist?
Courage to Resist is an organizing collective comprised of about two dozen concerned community members and military veterans dedicated to supporting military war objectors. We’re a program of the Alliance for Global Justice, a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. As an organization, we’ve been doing this kind of work since 2004. Most of our collective members are located on the west coast, but we work on behalf of US military objectors across the US and around the world.
We are not affiliated with any political party or organization. However, we count Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, National Lawyers Guild’s Military Law Task Force, and War Resister League among our allies.
What experience does Courage to Resist have in doing something like this?
Courage to Resist is hosting the defense fund in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network. The primary purpose of this effort is to educate the American public regarding the issues involved in Bradley’s defense, and legal expenses are a critical aspect of doing so.
In addition to the hundreds of individuals Courage to Resist has assisted without fanfare, we have provided public political support and hosted similar defense funds for: Lt. Ehren Watada, Spc. Agustin Aguayo, Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, Sgt. Travis Bishop, Spc. Dustin Stevens, Spc. Marc Hall, Spc. Robin Long, Spc. Victor Agosto, Spc. Tony Anderson, Spc. Ryan Jackson, and Spc. Kyle Snyder, to name a few (each should turn up plenty of hits via Google, YouTube, etc.).
Like those campaigns, we’ll publicly list a running total of donations received, and an estimated total needed as soon as we have some idea what that need is. We will also provide an overview of how the money was spent.
Although Courage to Resist has worked with a number of returning or captured “deserters” who technically could have faced the death penalty at trial, Bradley’s situation is admittedly more serious than previous objectors. However, for the most part, I believe the same considerations and issues apply.
Why does Courage to Resist support Bradley Manning?
Courage to Resist’s primary mission is to “support the troops who refuse to fight.” However, we realize that troops who speak out and share the realities of war after witnessing or participating have an important role to play in educating the American people. If Bradley Manning is indeed “the WikiLeaks source”, he deserves our support in this regard. If he is not the individual who courageously exposed these possible war crimes, then he needs our help regardless.
How did you get involved?
As a Marine Corporal, I refused to deploy with my artillery battery in August 1990 in support of the coming attack on Iraq. Like Bradley, I was also held in pre-trial confinement for months prior to a politically charged court martial where I faced years of possible imprisonment. Unlike Bradley, I had access to, and communication with, a support community which acted as my lifeline in many different ways from the moment that I realized that I would resist deployment. Bradley deserves the same political and legal support that I had, and I intend to do what I can to this end.