Occupy Northern Berkshires

Occupy Northern Berkshires:  Join Us in Solidarity!

Occupy North Adams is now Occupy Northern Berkshires.  We are a diverse group of citizens from all over the North Berkshire hills uniting in solidarity with the Occupy Movement.  Our group works in collaboration with the goals and vision of Occupy Berkshires and the over two thousand city and town groups that have sprung up in support of a new American vision for economic justic and social change.  Occupy protests are held every Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in front of North Adams City Hall on Main St.  General Assembly meetings are currently held directly after each protest, we are currently transtioning to Thursday evenings pending approval of new meeting space.

Current Events:

Portrait of the Occupation (Now through 12/31/11) ~~ Images Lobby, Spring St., Williamstown MA

“As I approached the OWS sites, I witnessed hundreds of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Contrary to the view spread through mainstream media, OWS is not populated by weirdoes, freaks, or the clinically insane. Through these images I hope to convey the true normalcy and diversity of the people at Occupation Boston & NYC. The individuals I photographed were just ordinary people determined to regain what was stolen from them, and looking to regain some hope for a better future.”~Lodiza Lepore

Web link and further information:  http://www.imagescinema.org/events/portrait-of-the-occupation

Occupy Berkshire Rally to Support Bradley Manning Rally, Dec 17th: Park Square, Pittsfield, MA 1 – 3 pm

Saturday, December 17th, is Bradley Manning’s 24th birthday.  People around the world are asked to take to the streets in their support of Bradley.In Berkshire County, we will be holding a rally in support of Bradley. We will be standing at Park Square, Pittsfield, from 1-3 pm, with signs and informational handouts. We hope that you will join us as well.  Please bring signs, cameras, and video cameras.  We are planning to record your message to President Obama about the treatment of Bradley Manning, and the issue of violations of American civil liberties through the treatment of this heroic citizen.

The Story of Bradley Manning:

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

“God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

-Quotes from an online chat attributed to Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking a video showing the killing of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also charged with sharing the documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and embarrassing US diplomatic cables, with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.  The video and documents have illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy.

Not a single person has been harmed by the release of this information.  Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has called their affect on U.S. foreign relations “fairly modest.” Yet, Bradley faces 22 charges*, including “Aiding the enemy by indirect means,” for which a conviction could result in the death penalty or life in prison.

Although Bradley has not yet been tried, he was held in solitary confinement for the first 10 months of his incarceration. During this time he was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and has occasionally been kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Bradley and are illegal even under US military law as they amount to extreme pre-trial punishment.

In March 2011, chief US State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley called Bradley’s treatment at the Quantico, Virginia Marine Corps brig “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He was forced to resign within hours. Bradley’s treatment has sparked a probe by the United Nations chief torture investigator Juan Mendez. According to Mr. Mendez, he has been, “frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr. Manning.” After also being rejected an official visit, Congressman Dennis Kucinich noted, “What is going on…with respect to Pfc. Manning’s treatment is more consistent with Kafka then the US Constitution.”

In one week in April 2011, over a half million people signed a petition calling on President Obama to end the isolation and torture of Bradley Manning, as those condition serve as “a chilling deterrent to other potential whistleblowers committed to public integrity.”

Over 300 top legal scholars declared Bradley’s conditions of detention a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial.  Among the signatories is Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who taught Barack Obama. Prof. Tribe was until recently a senior advisor to the US Justice Department.

Partially in response to public outcry, on April 21, 2011, Bradley was moved from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, KS, where his conditions greatly improved.  The very day he was moved, President Obama was surprised at a breakfast fundraiser by a group of protesters.  At the end of the fundraiser, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, Logan Price, began questioning him about Bradley’s situation.  The President stated that “He [Bradley Manning] broke the law,” a pretrial declaration of guilt that has caused concern among many legal experts.

Now, at the start of the second decade in the second millennium, Bradley Manning has a growing list of supporters. Included among them is another famous whistle blower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. We hope that you will join us as well. See what you can do to support justice in this historic time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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