Sunday, December 19, 2010

Berkeley Considers Declaring Bradley Manning a Hero | Threat Level |

Berkeley Considers Declaring Bradley Manning a Hero

The city of Berkeley, also known as “Berzerkeley,” is considering a resolution to declare alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning a hero.

Or, as a FoxNews site puts it, “Berkeley Gives America the Middle Finger.”

According to a resolution being considered for vote, the imprisoned Army private suspected of providing WikiLeaks with its most significant U.S. releases should be released from prison and praised for his “courage in bringing truth to the American people and the people of the world.”

“If he did what he’s accused of doing, he’s a patriot and should get a medal,” Bob Meola, author of the resolution told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I think the war criminals should be the ones prosecuted, not the whistle-blowers.”

Meola is a member of the city’s Peace and Justice Commission, which advises the city council and school board on peace and social justice issues. The commission passed the resolution by a vote of 7-3. It will be up for a City Council vote on Dec. 14.

Berkeley is home to the University of California at Berkeley, famous as the launch pad for the 1960s free speech movement when students occupied Sproul Hall to protest the university’s restrictions against them organizing and fundraising for political causes at the campus entrance.

Meola, a member of the national committee for the War Resisters League, is a long-time anti-war activist. A profile of him at the WRL website describes him as a “Gandhian pacifist” with a law degree who “realized he was an anarchist when he realized his communist comrades had forgotten about Marx’s withering away of the state.”

Peace and Justice commissioner Jane Litman, abstained from voting on Meola’s resolution. “I don’t think we should call him a hero for something he hasn’t even said he’s done,” she told the Chronicle.

The Peace and Justice commissioners aren’t strangers to controversy. A 2008 resolution from the commission called for the City Council to write a letter to the Marine Corps saying their recruiters were “unwanted intruders” in the city. A mass protest broke out after the Council approved it. After six Republican U.S. senators threatened to kill federal funding for Berkeley programs in retaliation, the City Council quickly retracted the letter.

“To err is human but to really screw up it takes the Berkeley City Council,” council member Gordon Wozniak told the Chronicle at the time.

Posted via email from ElyssaD's Posterous

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