• I am (Rejected by) Bradley Manning

    May 26, 2011 // 2 Comments »

    peter van buren One year ago today, Bradley Manning was arrested. So you’ll be seeing a lot of him on the Internet over the next few days. Luckily some new photos have surfaced to replace that one of him smiling in his uniform.

    The folks at The Bradley Manning Support Network have a good idea. To raise awareness of Manning’s situation, they invite people to submit photos of themselves holding up a sign reading “I am Bradley Manning.” They are collecting the photos on their web site, and have quite a few, many from regular folks and several from semi-celebs like Daniel Ellsberg and some CodePink people. You can add yours, too.

    (True CodePink story: I was working alone in the State Department liaison office on Capitol Hill when CodePink people rushed in to protest something. One had a giant paper mache head of Condi Rice, with garish buck teeth the size of pieces of Wonderbread. I asked politely if I could finish a phone call before they protested and they very politely agreed. I finished talking, hung up, they shouted a bit and all was well. Politics is one thing, but I think politeness is still very important. Kudos to the giant headed CodePinker!)

    Back to Manning. I sent my photo of support in, above, but it was rejected because I did not have a sign. I guess my “sign” is there, electronically, but apparently you have to have a paper sign to be included. They wrote:

    Thanks for your submission. We are currently processing a back-log of images, but we noticed that yours didn’t quite fit the criteria. Would you mind resubmitting a photo of yourself holding a sign? It is hard for us to map support for Bradley Manning without the photos to prove it! Your sign could say “I am Bradley Manning,” or a message of your choice if you would prefer. Have a look at the ones that are posted, for ideas. 

    I could claim I went green and saved a piece of paper by not having a paper sign, or admit it was faster and easier for me to just add the words to an existing photo. I’m not sure it matters, but it seems to matter to the people at The Bradley Manning Support Network. Oh well, I’m sure they too meant well.

    Manning is held now in Leavenworth, not quite Rapture-level paradise but nowhere near as meaningfully nasty as Quantico was for him. You can read what a typical day for him is like, or see some photos of where he is locked up.

    If you really want to feel creepy, PBS’ frontline has published Manning’s old Facebook page posts as a weird way of marking his first year in captivity.

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    Posted in Democracy, Iraq, Other Ideas