Earlier in the week Bradley Manning, the openly gay US soldier and source of the wikileaks documents which shone some light on the antics of the US government around the world and has led to him facing prison for the rest of his productive life, was awarded the honour of being named a Grand Marshall in the San Francisco Pride Parade: a ceremonial role largely used for publicising the person in question. A few days later the SF Pride committee withdrew the nomination under apparent pressure from commercial sponsors. Here we publish the statement from the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Days after awarding Bradley Manning the honor of being a Grand Marshal in the SF Pride parade, officials with the organizations issued a statement rescinding the honor, citing that it had been a mistake. The sharply worded statement has upset many, who question the organization’s reasons for backing down on the nomination of a heroic gay soldier who exposed war crimes. It has been well established that no harm has come from the release of documents to WikiLeaks, yet in the Pride statement Lisa L Williams, President of the board, writes that “even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride.” This statement of intolerance by the SF Pride board is a factual fallacy: it has been well established that no one has been harmed by the release of the documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
Glenn Greenwald has called the Pride statement “cowardly”, and he corrects a number of the factual errors made by the Pride leadership. He challenges the assertion that people were put in harm’s way, stating that this argument is “a substance-free falsehood originally spread by top US military officials which has since been decisively and extensively debunked, even by some government officials“. Greenwald is also critical of the support Pride has given towards its corporate sponsors, and he takes them to task pointing out criminal acts many Pride sponsors have been involved in over the past years.
“Because pride in San Francisco means neither being bold nor taking a risk, the San Francisco Gay Pridecommittee has backtracked on their appointment of Bradley Manning as the Gay Pride Marshal of the 2013 Pride Parade. Board president Lisa L. Williams sent out a bizarre press release Friday night attempting to clarify the controversy.”
The SFist article concludes with much the same critcism that Greenwald brings up, that Pride has been swayed by its responsibilities to its corporate sponsors.
Lt. Dan Choi, champion of gay rights in the military, stood up for Bradley Manning yesterday. He stressed that Bradley Manning was a good soldier who acted on his conscience to reveal the truth:
As we move forward as a country, we need truth in order to gain justice, you can’t have justice without the whole truth . . . So what [Manning did as a gay American, as a gay soldier, he stood for integrity, I am proud of him.