ACTIVISTS gathered on the steps of St Martin in the Fields, in the corner of Trafalgar Square, on Tuesday 17th December for a solidarity vigil for Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) on her 26th birthday.
She is the former US soldier sentenced to 35 years in jail for leaking thousands of documents to Wikileaks exposing US and other governments’ war crimes and corruption.
Ever since she was detained and tortured in 2010, international protests, including from LGBT people, have demanded her release.
The sentence imposed on Chelsea Manning is harsher than that of most soldiers convicted of murder and definitely more than those found guilty of rape and other torture.
The US Government wants to make an example of Chelsea Manning to discourage whistleblowing on any of their crimes including surveillance on all of us.
Defending whistleblowers is vital to defending ourselves against these state crimes. And defending Chelsea is vital to encouraging more whistleblowers to come forward.
Thanks to Chelsea we know about:
* The “collateral murder” video of a US helicopter crew killing Iraqi civilians;
* The cover-up of rape in Iraq and Afghanistan;
* The extent of drone strikes;
* US dirty tricks in Haiti, Venezuela and elsewhere
* The corruption of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali that spurred the 2011 revolution
* Israel consulting Egypt and the Palestinian Authority before invading Gaza.