A teach-in for Bradley Manning, Wikileaks and Julian Assange was held on Friday, October 22nd, in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan. Independent journalist Alexa O’Brien, writer Chase Madar and others spoke to a crowd assembled in Bryant Park.
O’Brien is covering the trial “transcribing by hand,’ and has said, “There is no public docket for the trial. It is being conducted in de facto secrecy.”
Army Private First Class Bradley Manning has been in jail for over 900 days, allegedly for leaking the largest collection of documents ever leaked from the United States military, 92,000 of which were shared with the New York Times, The Guardian of the UK, and Der Speigel in Germany, all of whom wrote extensively about the leaked documents.
Manning’s defense is currently arguing a motion to have his charges dismissed with prejudice, due to a lack of a speedy trial. The law requires that no more than 120 days pass from arrest to trial, while Manning has spent almost two and a half years between his arrest in May 2010 and trial, which is scheduled to begin in February 2013.
Manning is being charged with aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet, theft of public records and transmitting defense information. Manning could be sentenced to life in prison, if convicted.
Rock and roll legend Graham Nash recently played a fundraiser with the proceeds to benefit the Bradley Manning’s Support Network. Over 14,000 people have donated money to Manning’s legal defense fund.
One member of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, avoiding questioning in Sweden on sexual misconduct charges and, critics warn, eventual extradition to the United States for prosecution, like Manning’s.
An official protest against secrecy in Manning’s trial was lodged recently with the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forced by dozens of media outlets and organizations, including the New York Times, the Associated Press, Dow Jones, CNN, Reuters, the Washing Post and the New York Daily News.
Nevertheless, no major media outlet has a journalist at the ongoing proceedings at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Alexa O’Brien said in interview recently: “At the pre-trial hearing there was a smattering of mainstream media there. They left during this period. They’re not there now. All of the American networks were there for the first couple of days, but to be quite honest with you, they were looking at pictures of George Clooney and dropping for wedding shoes in the press pool while this trial was being conducted. That is a fact. I was there, and I saw them doing it.
“The AFP is there. I haven’t seen the AP…”
(originally aired in tv form at Occupy Public Access TV)