Defense Attorney for Bradley Manning Makes First Public Presentation
For the first time since Bradley Manning’s incarceration over two years ago, his defense lawyer David Coombs spoke publicly today at an event hosted by the Bradley Manning Support Network in Washington, DC.
Bradley Manning made his first court appearance this past week, which wrapped up it’s sixth day on Sunday, with testimony throughout the week from Former Security Battalion Commander at the Quantico Brig, Col. Robert Oltman, Navy Captain Dr. William Hocter, Col. Rick Malone (both psychiatrists), and Pfc. Bradley Manning himself.
With livestream available from independent journalist @OccupyCarlisle, as well as a feed from C-SPAN, viewers at home were able to watch live as David Coombs stepped up to the podium to deliver a presentation that very obviously came from his heart, and was full of insight and expertise.
Coombs begins his presentation with a thank you to the press for attending, and by saying he maintains the belief that “Bradley Manning deserves a lawyer who is focused what is happening in the courtroom, and only what is happening in the courtroom.”, which is why he has chosen not to do interviews with the media at this point. (Later on during the press Q&A, Coombs also states “Brad didn’t want his case to be tried in the press, I respected his wishes, and this is why I have not, and will not, do interviews with the press”).
The most heartfelt part of David Coomb’s presentation came when he expressed his, and Bradley’s thanks to all of the people who have been, and continue to support him in this lengthy struggle.
“Those who could effect change, did not. They were more concerned about how the attention might be put on them, if something happened to Brad, as opposed to what was their conduct doing to Brad. But it turns out, those same people cared about something more. What they turned out to care about more, was the media impact. For that, I must thank each and every one of you here today. I must thank each and every one who is listening or watching, because without you, change would not have happened. Your actions resulted in Brad being moved from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, make no mistake about that. With your actions, the Draconian conditions he lived under for 9 months, came to an end. The magical waters of Ft. Leavenworth apparently healed him, and he was no longer required to live in the conditions he was in. Now, we all know that Brad cannot be here tonight, but he knows tonight is happening, and he wanted me to personally thank each and every one of you. Thank you for taking the time to write to him, for signing petitions, for attending marches, rallies, and other public events. Thank you for writing to the military, and our government, complaining about his conditions. Thank you for donating to his legal defense. For volunteering at Courage to Resist, and the Bradley Manning Support network. Most of all, he wanted me to thank you for caring. Caring about him. The battle that we have waged for the last two years, could not have been fought without your help.”
There was a brief Q&A from the press when Coombs was finished speaking, that included questions such as “In your opinion what sort of person is Brad, and what is his state of mind?” (Brad does a lot of things from the heart. He cares about people…”) and “What can ordinary citizens do to help Bradley?” (“I think the biggest thing you can do is stay involved, informed…”).
Other speakers included: Bradley Manning Support Network member Emma Cape, Michael Ratner, US Attorney for Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Whistle-blower Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, and David House, with an appeal in support of Bradley Manning’s defense fund.
We are all Bradley Manning.