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L. Neil Smith's
Number 623, June 12, 2011

"The State is Crumbling"

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Being Bradley Manning
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

[Below is my speech as presented at the rally and vigil to free Bradley Manning which I helped to organise in Leavenworth. About six weeks ago, I was informed by Brad Spangler about a rumour that Manning was to be moved to Leavenworth. He immediately launched a Facebook group, the MO KAN Bradley Manning Support Team. I immediately launched a Facebook event, the rally and vigil of 6 June. Several hundred people showed up. We're doing it again on Saturday 29 October.]

Good morning and welcome to Leavenworth.

Welcome to Kansas.

At this location, even if you wear ruby slippers, clicking your heels together won't help.

Thank you for coming. Some of you have come a very long way. Some of you came less far, but at considerable cost, and difficulty. Thank you all.

This event is brought to you in part by the people of the Missouri-Kansas Bradley Manning Support Team,
by the people of Individual Sovereign University,
by the people of the Centre for a Stateless Society,
by the people of Courage to Resist, [crowd goes wild]
by the people of We Are Change,
by the people of Veterans for Peace, [crowd goes wilder]
by the people of Iraq Veterans Against the War,

*interruption* [train goes by whistling loudly]—by the Union Pacific railroad, thanks guys!

by the people of Code Pink, [crowd goes wild]
by the people of Kansas who have given their time and energy,
by the people of Missouri,
by those people of America who share our zeal for freedom and peace and justice.

My name is Jim Davidson. I am the founder of Individual Sovereign University. I grew up not far from here in Lawrence, Kansas.

I've travelled to Europe, Asia, and Africa. I've seen a great deal of injustice. I've suffered from some injustice. And I am here today for a man who sits in prison not far from here. By the streets and highways, about six miles—up on Coffin Road at 159th Street.

Bradley Manning sits in the Midwest joint regional correctional facility, a guest of a lieutenant colonel named, ironically, "Hilton" though his room doesn't come with a jacuzzi tub, I gather. Bradley Manning is in prison, right now, today, charged with sharing secret information that the military never wanted you to know.

President Obama says, and I quote, "he broke the law." I believe Bradley Manning may have OBEYED the law that requires him to expose the crimes perpetrated in the name of the American people, against our constitution, against our laws, against the laws of war, against the treaties regarding the treatment of prisoners, and against many other treaties about war crimes to which this nation is party.

Why would he do that? Frontline's hit piece says that Manning was unhappy because of the horrible policies of Clinton, Bush, Obama, and the military toward persons who share his sexual preferences. But it turns out that there may be another reason. It turns out that Manning was very concerned about the policies of the military in prosecuting the Iraq War when he was asked to help investigate, arrest, and presumably rendition for torture, professors who had written a study of how the money for reconstruction in Iraq was actually being spent.

Yes, to protect itself from the truth, the military was apparently asking Bradley Manning to help with the investigation and arrest of other truth tellers. How interesting. And so, we are asked to believe by the military that Bradley Manning released tens of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, including we are asked to believe, the Collateral Murder video.

But we have rules in this country. Rules for due process. We have a rule for a speedy and public trial. Has Bradley Manning received a trial? No.

We are asked to believe that his own words to snitch Adrian Lamo indicted him, but at no time shall any person be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Yet without due process, Bradley Manning sits in prison today, has sat for over a year in prisons on different continents, awaiting his "speedy" trial.

Can he face an impartial jury, as the accused is supposed to, under our Bill of Rights? No. He cannot. The commander in chief has used command influence to deny Manning this right.

Is his jury going to be in the district wherein the crime shall have been committed? No.

Is he going to have opportunity to confront the witnesses against him? No. They are going to invoke national security to attempt to hide the evidence from his defence team.

Will he have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, to show that he was, perhaps, exposing criminal activities and therefore not guilty of any crime? His defence counsel has already suggested that his treatment at Quantico may be grounds for a habeas corpus writ, releasing him.

Why? Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. And at Quantico, they were torturing him. Punishment before conviction, just like the Red Queen said in "Through the Looking Glass."

These are not the actions of a government suited to a free people. These are acts of tyranny. And if we are to have freedom, we must stand up for it, not only for ourselves individually, but for one another. Today, and every day until he is free, I AM Bradley Manning.

"No doubt the responsibility in such a case is shared by those who ask for a thing. But if the thing is criminal, if, for instance, it is a licence to commit murder, the person who authorises the act shares the guilt of the person who commits it.

"Here again what I say is not in any way mysterious or esoteric. It appeals to no hidden code.

"I cannot accept the canon that we are to judge" President and Queen "unlike other people, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.

"Here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes; some would spare those criminals, for some mysterious reason." I would demand that they pay compensation with every molecule of their wealth and the labour of the rest of their lives.

"My dogma is not the special wickedness of my own spiritual superiors, but the general wickedness of men in authority"—of Clinton, of Bush, of Obama.

"The greatest crime is Homicide. The accomplice is no better than the assassin.

"Crimes by constituted authorities are worse than crimes by private malefactors.

"Murder may be done by legal means, by plausible and profitable war, as well as by dose or dagger." —John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton

And now, having heard from Acton, and me, here is Veterans for Peace national board member Leah Bolger.

Here is Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee member Jeff Paterson.

[I wish to note two vitally important points from Jeff's speech, that I think not everyone knows or understands. First, Bradley Manning has been accused and pilloried in the lamestream media, but he has *not* been charged with any crime. He has not had a hearing to charge him. He has not been arraigned. For a year, he has been in custody, in harsh and brutal conditions, and there are no charges. He is detained without formal charges. That is tyranny. Second, Manning's vocal accusers have said that his releases of information, not established as fact, have gotten people killed. The truth is, those releases of information have not gotten any soldiers nor any informants killed. Where are the bodies? Those releases of information he's accused of which Wikileaks published *were* responsible for the Arab Spring, the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria—ousting dictators.]

About six weeks ago, a man here today sent a Facebook message to me and to several others pointing out that there was now information that Bradley Manning was to be moved to Leavenworth. I immediately reacted by creating a Facebook event, the event you are now attending. Brad Spangler, who sent that message, created the MO-KAN Bradley Manning Support Team on Facebook. Here now is the director of the Centre for a Stateless Society, Brad Spangler.

Jacob George is here from "Ride 'til the End." The end of war! Come on up Jacob.

That was a great song. Thanks guys. Earlier today Adam Kokesh and others gathered at the Jefferson Memorial to dance in defiance of authority. Here now is Andy Thayer for Gay Liberation Network.

Here to say a few words is Susan Wolfe from Wichita We Are Change.

Over on the table with the gold tablecloth are some whistles sent to us by Code Pink. Here is Code Pink organiser and member Nancy Mancias.

Thank you for that wonderful song, ladies. Matt, from Courage to Resist, would like you to know that Logan of Courage to Resist is live tweeting pictures and video from this event. So if you wish to have your pictures live tweeted, send them to—thank you!

Ira Harritt is here from the American Friends Service Committee of Kansas City. He's put some fliers from his group on our table.

There's a lady over here with a petition against nuclear weapons. So if you are against nuclear weapons, you may wish to sign her petition. If you are for nuclear weapons, then you might not.

Thad Holcombe is here from Ecumenical Christian Ministries of Lawrence. Come on up, Thad. Thad? Okay, Thad isn't here.

Next up from the staff of Courage to Resist is Emma Cape, with some great ideas for staying involved.

*interruption* "There is a B-52 directly overhead," says James Missouri. [high-g dive run with shrieking engines can be heard, plane clearly visible at about 7,000 feet elevation] "Please continue, Emma," I said.

Now here is William Stewart-Starks, Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Activist Palina Prasasouk has been here seven times. I would like her to come up and say a few words, and also have the other people who are local to Leavenworth to stand with her, so we can all get to know each other. (About seven people took station with Palina.)

James Gregg is a Wichita veteran. He is also an organiser for Oathkeepers in Kansas and has been a Sons of Liberty rider. He wants to say a few words about military "justice."

Here now a few words from "Anonymous."

Now to draw the rally portion of our event to a close, and to guide you on the path to our vigil, here once again from the Bradley Manning Support Network is Jeff Paterson.

[The above listing reviews to the best of my ability the persons who asked to speak, as well as the speaker list as we ran through it.]

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk. His second book, Being Sovereign is now availble from Lulu and Amazon. He is currently working on a book about travel to Mars with John Wayne Smith, a book with international fugitive Chad Z. Hower on his story, a book on sovereign self-defence, and a book compiling his letters and essays in The Libertarian Enterprise from 1995 to 2010. Contact him at or Come visit IndSovU teams at gatherings in June 2011 in New Hampshire, September 2011 in Montana, December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas.

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