Court martial expected in early May

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. February 13, 2012

The US Army last week scheduled a formal arraignment hearing for PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower. The arraignment is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST, February 23, 2012 at Fort Meade, Maryland, just northeast of Washington DC. While the hearing itself is expected to be brief, PFC Manning is expected to be present, and the proceedings are open to the media and public. Washington DC area supporters of the Support Network are encouraged to attend the arraignment.

Bradley’s show trial will begin in earnest with this arraignment. This proceeding will set the dates for a series of hearings on pre-trial motions likely to occur in March and April. Finally, the arraignment will set the date for the full court-martial—which we currently expect to begin in early May.

If the Obama administration is the least bit concerned with providing even the appearance of a fair trial, they will allow Bradley’s legal defense team to explore the critical issues at the heart of this case, including: President Obama’s recorded unlawful command influence over the proceedings, the illegal and torturous conditions that Bradley was subjected to for nine months at the Quantico Marine Brig, the over-classification of all of the documents in question, and the lack of any harm to national security from the release of the documents.

So far military officials have blocked nearly every request by Bradley’s defense team, led by Iraq War veteran David Coombs, for access to evidence and witnesses that could explore these core issues. During the Article 32 pre-trial hearing held in December, the defense was denied access to over three dozen critical witnesses (while the prosecution was allowed access to every one of two dozen witnesses requested). This allowed military officials to limit the hearing to little more than a discussion of mitigating factors related to Bradley’s emotional health.

If Bradley had been a member of the US Marine squad that admitted to systematically murdering two dozen innocent Iraqi men, women, and children in Haditha, Iraq, he’d be walking free today. Instead, he faces the real prospect of life in prison for telling the truth.

Next week’s arraignment comes just after Bradley was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament. A blog post by MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir explained their rationale for the nomination:

“According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S. troops from the occupation in Iraq.”

Join us at a mass rally for Bradley at Fort Meade to coincide with the beginning of his court martial! The date(s) of the rally will be announced after the trial date is set—we’re currently anticipating early May. If you can’t make the trip to the Washington DC area, organize or take part in one of over a hundred solidarity events worldwide.

Individuals who can help organize events in your town/city: Sign our Trial Action Pledge to help organize support for Bradley!

Organizations that wish to endorse these events and potentially help publicize and organize them: Check out our new Organizational Endorsement Pledge!

We have about 100 days to save Bradley from over 100 years in prison.

Donate to Bradley’s defense fund.