SF Pride Grand Marshal: Bradley Manning
San Francisco Pride.
Pride's electoral college, which is made up of former grand marshals, has selected Army Private First Class Bradley Manning as its choice for grand marshal. Manning has admitted to leaking 700,000 classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks and is facing court-martial. He is currently in custody and will not be attending the parade, although he will have supporters appearing on his behalf.The Bradley Manning Support Network issued a press release this morning.
PFC Manning, awaiting trial for three years behind bars, cannot attend the Pride celebration in-person. However, Pentagon Papers' whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg will attend in his stead, and hundreds are expected to march in support of PFC Manning in the parade. In past years, Manning pride contingents have marched in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Even wider national support is expected this year, in anticipation of his summer court martial.A spokesperson for the support group added: "The LGBT community is unique in that being a member requires a willingness to disclose the truth about ourselves to the benefit of those around us and society as a whole. As a longstanding Manning supporter, I’m thrilled to see our community publicly embrace his courage in disclosing classified truths about the war in Iraq and other facts which empower the American public to promote smarter future policy."
In late February, PFC Manning plead guilty to 10 charges concerning unauthorized use and disclosure of classified information, explaining his desire to promote “debates, discussion and reforms” concerning U.S. foreign policy. Those 10 charges alone would carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years; nonetheless the U.S. military continues to pursue a life sentence in prison for “aiding the enemy through indirect means.” Supporters argue that without evidence of any damage done to U.S. national security, this is primarily an attempt to frighten other would-be military whistleblowers.