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Haiti Grassroots Watch Spearheads Bradley Manning Solidarity

Port-au-Prince, HAITI, 25 July 2013 – Journalists, professors and others participated in a video and signed a petition supporting Bradley Manning, the US Army private currently facing multiple charges, including “aiding the enemy,” for leaking thousands of documents to the Wikileaks media organization.

“We support Bradley Manning” is the title of a petition signed by over 50 people and sent to the solidarity organization “Support Bradley Manning” – ­http://www.bradleymanning.org/ – on Thursday. In addition to the petition, the Haitian Grassroots Watch investigative journalism partnership also made a three-minute video in two languages: one in the original Creole and second, with English subtitles.

The video has interviews with professors, human rights advocates and others about the Manning trial, Wikileaks and about the importance of transparency and access to information in a democratic society.

“We believe in the truth. We ask the US government for transparency,” the petition notes, adding: “We oppose all form of US occupation.” Sunday, July 28, is the 98th anniversary of the beginning of the US occupation of Haiti in 1915. Lasting until 1934, it was longest US occupation in the hemisphere.

In the video, Professor Ary Régis, director of the Social Communications department at the State University of Haiti’s Faculty of Human Sciences, asks himself: “If they had such a reaction to Wikileaks, and especially towards Bradley Manning… I wonder, can we really say that US society is based on a democracy, as they claim and as they impose on others?”

Both versions of the video are on the Haiti Grassroots Watch (Ayiti Kale Je, in Creole) Youtube page at: http://www.youtube.com/user/AyitiKaleJe. The video has also been distributed to some Port-au-Prince television stations.

In the US, journalists, artists and academics have strongly supported Manning and denounced the trail by signing petitions, speaking out in the media and participating in various events. A petition signed by Alice Walker, Daniel Ellsberg, Russell Brand, Noam Chomsky, Joan Baez, Graham Nash and hundreds of others is scheduled to run in the New York Times this week.

Amnesty International recently issued a statement on the trial, saying: “The charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ is ludicrous,” in a July 18 press release. http://www.amnesty.org/fr/node/41203

 Manning sent over 700,000 secret documents to the anti-secret website Wikileaks. He was an intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time. He has pleaded “guilty” to ten of 22 charges.

The US magazine The Nation and the weekly Haïti Liberté used some of the documents to expose US meddling in Haitian political affairs.

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