Sunday, 7 July 2013

3 Bradley Manning

3. Is the rejection of support by Gay Inc. for gay whistleblower Bradley Manning who leaked thousands of documents to Wikileaks revealing war crimes and other dirty dealings relevant to discussion about Gay Shame and mainstream gay culture?

Bradley Manning -gay soldier and anti-war activist- faces multiple charges in relation to obtaining and distributing classified documents, including 'aiding the enemy' for which the penalty potentially is death.

When Manning stated that he believed he was exposing abuses and breaches of other nations' sovereignty, Presiding Judge Colonel Denise Lind stated that Manning’s motives for disclosure were irrelevant  and ruled that Manning cannot argue that he was acting in the public interest.

In response, Amnesty International's Anne FitzGerald stated: “It disturbing that he was not permitted to offer the ‘public interest’ defence as he has said he reasonably believed he was exposing human rights and humanitarian law violations. Allowing Manning to explain his motives only at the sentencing stage could have a chilling effect on others who believe that they are whistleblowing or acting in the public interest in disclosing information. Manning should have been allowed to explain how in his opinion, the public interest in being made aware of the information he disclosed outweighed the government’s interest in keeping it confidential.”

San Francisco Pride Board President Lisa L Williams described the announcement that Bradley Manning had been chosen a Grand Marshal for San Francisco Pride as as "an error" for which the person who made it has been "disciplined." She went on to say that "even a hint of support...(for Bradley Manning) will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride."

Glenn Greenwald, writing in the Guardian newspaper, described this as "a cowardly, imperious statement" postulating that the primary reason for making it is that SF Pride fears losing the support of its corporate sponsors, including AT+T and Venizon, who enabled the Bush administration's illegal eavesdropping on US citizens.

And Brian Mccaig from Glasgow, responding to the same statement on the San Francisco Pride facebook page said: "...we broke the law back in the Stonewall era. Pride is running scared of their big sponsors and Government Agencies, and I... and my friends won't be supporting Pride from now on."

In the Transadvocate, Katrina Williams blogs: "Williams’ response was so obnoxious... I really think that Williams’ arrogance is the bigger concern here, several people have e-mailed me privately arguing convincingly that SF Pride’s rejection of the Manning is indeed trans-related and would not have occurred but for the revelations that Manning might identify as trans. And that brand of disgusting Gay, Inc., obnoxiousness is worthy of protest, irrespective of what one’s opinion is of Manning."

Incidentally, Lisa L Williams is also the Chair of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition. Scott Long in his “Paper Bird” blog highlights the irony that a person who chairs a coalition that is supposed to celebrate Rustin is fueling the vilification of Manning. Rustin was a pacifist, a war resister, an icon of civil disobedience and the key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. During the Second World War, Rustin spent three years in Lewisburg Penitentiary as a conscientious objector. He was also a gay man.

In 2002, a citizen of West Chester who objected to naming a school after Bayard Rustin,.is quoted as saying:  “I am against naming it after Bayard Rustin, as he was a traitor to the... United States of America.”

Manning was an advocate for gay rights. While serving in the military, he says that he experienced harassment and physical assaults on account of his perceived sexuality.  He marched against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the Washington DC Pride Parade, where he spoke to reporters about his position and attended a fundraiser with Gavin Newsom and the Stonewall Democrats to discuss the issue of homophobia in the military.

If ever our LGBTQ communities required evidence that corporate Pride, and the commercial gay scene which funds and supports it, does not and cannot represent our communities, our interests or our queer sensibilities, surely this is a prima facie case.

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