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Sometimes It’s What’s On The Outside That Counts

As the second week of Bradley Manning’s court martial is set to begin, it might be wise to remember that, just as justice is not always just, so it is that truisms aren’t always true. And the one referenced in the title of this article is, of course, the old adage “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. While this may be a good rule of thumb when assessing a person’s character, spirit and intentions over their appearance or reputation, I believe we’re going to find out this summer that quite the opposite is going to be true for the Bradley Manning trial as a whole.

It’s going to be what’s visible, talked about and thought about outside of the courtroom that is going to be most important. With a list of 24 witnesses for the prosecution set to give secret testimony, an unprecedented set of limitations imposed upon the defense (who are not allowed to reference either Pvt. Manning’s intent, nor any beneficial outcomes that may have resulted from the actions he is accused of, as points of defense), the outrageous mistreatment the defendant underwent far from the public eye during his pre-trial confinement, and a media pool that has shrunk in three days from seventy to less than twenty, this show trial is doing everything in its power to ensure that this case will not be decided in the court of public opinion; except, that is, for the tightly controlled narrative that it wishes to be public.

Thus it falls upon everyone outside of the proceedings, with the help of determined journalists such as Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola and others, to think and talk about, inform, demonstrate and publicize these proceedings and the large set of questions they pose for our democracy. Awareness is tantamount, but spreading awareness is imperative. Step up and be seen, speak out and be heard. It’s what’s on the outside that counts. That’s you.


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 Week #1 in Pictures and Video

One thing that’s been made clear this week by both Daniel Ellsberg and Kevin Gosztola is the large amount of coverage this trial is receiving from the international media. The court proceedings are being presented abroad with much more regularity and much more interest than we’ve seen from our domestic American media. That’s an encouraging reminder that at least some of the 95% of the rest of the world are being given some exposure to, or are taking an active interest in, the trial unfolding here at Fort Meade.

So in the spirit of recognizing what’s going on outside of the courtroom and the media regarding this trial, I thought it might be nice to review just a few of the “outside” activities that have taken place during this first week of hearings. And I’m hopeful that people will continue to show such spunk and dedication in raising awareness of, and showing their support for, Pvt. Manning throughout the summer and beyond.

June 1st, of course, was the international day of support for Pvt. Manning, with demonstrations taking place in Rome, London, Berlin, Seoul City, Toronto, Sydney and elsewhere. (See page bottom for the link to the video put together by the activists in Melbourne, Australia.) In addition to the many affinity actions taking place across the U.S. that day, there was also one held outside of Fort Meade itself. Below, Daniel Ellsberg speaks to the Manning supporters gathered at the Fort Meade event:

On Sunday June 2nd, a “Manning and the Media” event was held in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Bradley Manning Support Network. A sizable crowd showed up to hear the panel discussion and Q&A session afterwards, including several folks from Firedoglake:

clockwise from top: the crowd at the “Manning and the Media event in Washington, D.C.; Michael Ratner(center) chatting with FDL’s Kevin Gosztola(l) and Jane Hamsher(r); the event’s panelists Daniel Ellsberg, Peter Van Buren and Michael Ratner. photos by firedoglake.


And on Saturday June 8, the D.C. Capital Pride Parade featured a contingent of Manning supporters among its many participants, as documented by FDL’s Manning archivist at several spots along the parade route:

Other links from this past week that you might enjoy are the video of the support demonstration in Melbourne  and the archived LIVESTREAM from The “Manning and the Media” event in DC. While I won’t be posting many pics or videos of the summer’s Manning-related activities in this space (the exception being media appearances by Kevin), I encourage you to be visible and audible in your neck of the woods throughout the trial proceedings. Remember, it’s what’s outside that counts.

You can drop by and say hello to FDL’s new Manning coverage assistant and archivist Jeff here where Zach has posted a nice welcome page for him. 

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Jeff Creamer

Jeff Creamer