For Immediate Release: August 4th, 2010
Contact:  Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK 415-235-6517

Veterans & Peace Activists Rally to Support Wikileaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning in Quantico

Update: Pro-war groups call for counter-protest. The town of Quantico tried to stop the rally, but the Mayor intervened and granted activists a permit for the rally. The ACLU has intervened on behalf of veterans and activists. Rally to go ahead as planned.

What: Rally in Support of Whistleblower Bradley Manning
When: Sunday, August 8, noon
Where: Quantico Municipal Park at Potomac and River Rd.
Who: Former soldiers, intelligence agents, peace activists

Private First Class Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, stands accused of disclosing classified video depicting American troops in Iraq shooting civilians from an Apache helicopter in 2007. Eleven people were killed, including two Reuters employees, and two children were critically injured. No charges have been filed against the soldiers who did the killing.

News sources have also speculated about Manning's involvement in the leak of over 90,000 secret documents (collectively known as the Afghanistan "war logs") made public by WikiLeaks on July 25.

“Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime,” says former Marine Corporal Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist, a group raising funds for Manning's legal fees. Paterson is flying out from California for the rally.

Also attending is Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years. “As an American soldier Bradley Manning took a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” says McGovern. “When he experienced callous disregard for the Constitution and the laws of war, he was able to see that his conscience and his solemn oath warranted precedence over the obligatory promise to protect classified information. By following his conscience in exposing the abuses of war, Manning joins an all-too-rare breed of soldier.”

“No top-level officials in the Bush and Obama administrations have been held accountable for their roles in dragging us into the Iraq war on the basis of lies or for potential war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. But whistleblower Bradley Manning sits in jail in Quantico, facing up to 52 years in prison,” says rally organizer and CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “It's totally unjust and that's why we're going to Quantico to call for Manning's release.”

The group will be bringing care packages and letters of support from around the country that they will try to deliver to Manning. They will also have compelling visuals.

Available for interviews are: Marine Corporal Jeff Paterson, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Iraq Veterans Against the War veterans Josh Stieber and Matt Southworth, Veterans for Peace representative Mike Marceau. Contact Medea Benjamin for inquiries, 415-235-6517.