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Bradley Manning Won't Be SF Pride Grand Marshal

ManningYesterday, Andy reported that Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning had been appointed Grand Marshal of this year's San Francisco Pride. That's now changed. Late last night, SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams issued a statement claiming that Manning's confirmation for the honor was never supposed to happen in the first place and occurred due to a mistake by an internal staffer. That person has reportedly been disciplined.

Her statement went even further, explaining why the group will not include Manning in this year's event:

Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.

Before SF Pride released their statement last night, The American Military Partner Association had issued a strongly-worded response in which they said they were "outraged" and asked the group to reconsider Manning's appointment. Williams' announcement followed soon after.

The comments section of the SF Pride's Facebook page has exploded with criticism of the organization. Some are calling the leaders of the group "cowards" and their statement "wrong."

Read SF Pride's full statement, AFTER THE JUMP.

SF Pride Statement about Bradley Manning

26 April 2013: Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year's San Francisco Pride celebration. His nomination was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen. A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.

Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.

Specifically, what these events have revealed is a system whereby a less-than-handful of people may decide who represents the LGBT community's highest aspirations as grand marshals for SF Pride. This is a systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified. In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning. These 15 people are part of what is called the SF Pride Electoral College, comprised of former SF Pride Grand Marshals. However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote. The Board of Directors for SF Pride never voted to support this nomination. Bradley Manning will have his day in court, but will not serve as an official participant in the SF Pride Parade.

-- Lisa L. Williams, SF Pride Board President

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Comments

  1. Thank goodness!

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Apr 27, 2013 12:35:02 PM


  2. "...even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform ..."

    Manning is an inappropriate choice, even though he is innocent of wrongdoing. But even if he were guilty, there is no evidence that he put anyone in harm's way.

    Posted by: Rick and David Hearne Locked in Embrace | Apr 27, 2013 12:42:04 PM


  3. Thank God someone came to his/her senses! This was stupid for so many reasons.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 27, 2013 12:51:08 PM


  4. "Even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated..."

    That's some crazy hyperbole there. It's exactly the rhetoric defenders of DADT used to justify banning LGB soldiers.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | Apr 27, 2013 12:55:10 PM


  5. What a wonderful Saturday.

    Posted by: Rick and David Hearne Locked in Double-Headed Dong | Apr 27, 2013 1:11:21 PM


  6. The hypocrisy is so blatantly obvious even a child could see it. If Ms. Williams "awaits the decision of that system" (referring to his trial), then where does she get off concluding that Manning's actions put soldiers in harm's way? That is not something for her or her board to pass judgment on, especially considering that there is no evidence to support that claim. It's a claim that has been repeated incessantly by the government and the military, but saying it--no matter how nauseatingly often--doesn't make it true.

    The bottom line is this: if anyone put US soldiers in harm's way, it would be the ones who were directly and indirectly responsible for mistakenly firing on journalists and innocent civilians, and then subsequently engaged in a coverup. People have all but forgotten about the CONTENT of what was leaked. Gone is the outrage over the killing of innocent people by the US military, because the US propaganda machine has turned its attention on the supposed "morality" of Manning's disobedience.

    If you don't want to put soldiers at risk, then DON'T COMMIT WAR CRIMES. Don't put them in a situation that causes them to kill non-combatants when they have intelligence information that shows they are firing on innocent civilians. The reality is that the military screwed up, killed the wrong people, and instead of accepting responsibility for it, they are scapegoating someone they believe is responsible for exposing their coverup.

    So Ms. Williams, kindly STFU and stop being the lapdog of the US military industrial complex.

    Posted by: atomic | Apr 27, 2013 1:34:57 PM


  7. Good we don't want nor need traitors like him smearing the image of the gay community.

    Posted by: Lee | Apr 27, 2013 1:36:07 PM


  8. As a gay San Franciscan, I and everyone I know am embarrassed (and pissed) that are community is so often USED by those on the far far far far left. Kudos to Pride for nipping this in the bud.

    Fact is, too many of the former Pride grand marshalls have been nut jobs that only appeal to the fringe of the fringe, so I'm not surprised these entitled group of anarchists and freeloaders would try to honor such a polarizing figure. These folks and others have tried to shanghai the LGBT movement and LGBT Pride, specifically, to promote their own agendas, whether it be Occupy Whatever, promoting homelessness or "affordable" (i.e. FREE) housing or more. Congrats to the current SF Pride committee for quickly nipping this in the bud; however, it's another example of how insidious some of these special interest groups are and no doubt some of their like-minded friends are still plotting how they can commandeer SF Pride for their own petty (and often criminal) causes that have nothing to do with the rights of the LGBT "community" or the spirit of Pride.

    Posted by: Jesse | Apr 27, 2013 1:55:42 PM


  9. You should really post Glenn Greenwald's Guardian post on this.

    Here's a fun game, look up "Collateral Murder" video and see who the real criminal is.

    Posted by: Shawn | Apr 27, 2013 1:56:35 PM


  10. Convenient failure to acknowledge this headline from December (worth a read to find out how your government treats suspects - that means YOU).

    How the US Military Tortured Bradley Manning

    "So a little tutorial to spell it out the torture: solitary confinement/isolation; humiliation/forced nudity; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; and stress positions." http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/01/1166253/-The-Torture-Techniques-Used-on-Bradley-Manning

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Apr 27, 2013 2:03:43 PM


  11. Bradley Manning is a hero who not only did NOT put anyone in "harm's way," but quite possibly saved many of his fellow soldiers by revealing the perfidy of the US Government.

    Bradley Manning is a hero; Lisa Williams is a tool; SF Pride just lost a 40 year supporter.

    Posted by: TomTallis | Apr 27, 2013 2:11:26 PM


  12. It's never easy to speak truth to power, but Bradley Manning did it, and for that I admire him. Social relations should be based on truth. It's bad enough that my tax dollars are being used to prosecute him- I'd like to see him honored for his bravery.

    Posted by: Dirk Hoekstra | Apr 27, 2013 2:22:42 PM


  13. Whatever one's opinions on Manning (and I was one who felt his announcement grand marshalhood was appropriate and courageous), I don't see how anyone could think of this as an actual blunder rather than a quick p.r. retreat.

    The odd thing is that the controversy was surely anticipated, even courted ... so I'm not quite sure why they reversed course so quickly. More heat than they expected? If so, they really didn't think this out too well. But a mistaken announcement?? Sorry, not buying it.

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 27, 2013 2:24:29 PM


  14. I'm still waiting for the manning haters to specifically state what specific material manning leaked that put Americans in danger. Or in harms way.

    Or is this like how right wing idiots insist that Michael
    Moore "hates America" because he's critical of its faults as flaws and holds it accountable?

    You're not a traitor for exposing wrongdoing. Whistleblowers are vital.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 27, 2013 2:27:48 PM


  15. It would have been better of them to admit they changed their mind in the face of political pressure than to come out with this weaselly statement. BM was probably not the best choice for a GM, but they undid that choice in an all too obviously craven manner.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 27, 2013 2:37:08 PM


  16. Private Manning pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in connection with the huge amount of material he leaked. The USS Presumption Of Innocence sailed with Bradley Manning's permission.

    There is no need to discuss his guilt or innocence any further. He is guilty.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 27, 2013 2:40:15 PM


  17. Again, Kiwi, how is this any of your business?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 27, 2013 2:41:20 PM


  18. They seriously could have backed away from this with far more grace and skill. Instead, with that statement, SF Pride became a case study in how to kill a brand. Whether he's grand marshal or not, SF Pride will now be ALL about Bradley Manning.

    Lisa L. Williams really needs to take some PR classes.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Apr 27, 2013 2:44:03 PM


  19. Guilt of what, specifically? What specific harm and danger did his whistle blowing inflict on Americans?

    Specifics, please

    Hearne. You're such a cute coward with no balls. Oh the wimps who need anonymity to express their b.s. opinions. What's it like being a grown man with no orbs? :-)

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 27, 2013 2:46:11 PM


  20. It makes me sad for a couple of reasons. First, SF Pride bowed to pressure from the military, which civilians don't need to do. Civilian action is the main reason they can serve openly, and they should take their orders from us.
    Second, SF Pride spoke contemptuously of Manning, which is unforgivable. He risked everything to make the truth known, while his superiors actually concocted evidence to get us into an unjust war.
    Dirk and Zlick and Kiwi and the rest are right. But for me, the switch from honor to contempt is more than a PR blunder. It goes to the characters of the Pride committee.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Apr 27, 2013 3:10:59 PM


  21. Look, Manning is a polarizing figure to everyone.

    I have mixed opinions on Manning's actions; however, it is very clear from any small amount of reading of his case and actions that he has many mental issues and is troubled guy. Whatever the outcome, that he does receive the counseling and help that he so desperately needs.

    I agree with the poster who stated that this was an odd, bizarre choice for the Pride organizers- however it came about. There are many, many other people who have worked and are working hard for equality and justice for LGBT people, people who would be widely respected for their hard work and determination to make life better, no matter one's political opinions or beliefs. Pride isn't a collection of anarchists, or GOProuders, or progressives, or socialists, or libertarians, or any of that- it's celebrating the right to be gay, to be happy in our lives, and show the world that we do exist, and we can have a good time. We shouldn't always have to devolve into ridiculous squabbles around this divisive figure or that one. There will be a time and place to discuss, honor, or condemn Bradley Mannings actions- but this is NOT one of them. SF Pride should have no opinion on the matter- because it doesn't involve them.

    Posted by: scott | Apr 27, 2013 3:14:06 PM


  22. Personally, I think they should go with Edie Windsor- how can anyone NOT LOOOOVVE her? She's sooo adorable!!!!!

    Posted by: scott | Apr 27, 2013 3:15:43 PM


  23. I'm so disappointed. I thought that, as queer people, it would be wonderful to celebrate someone who is calling for more openness in the way the world does business.

    Too bad all we want is for our straight peers to like us.

    Posted by: jlavoy | Apr 27, 2013 3:16:33 PM


  24. What kind of an f-ing moron thinks that war decisions are to be made "in openness"? You people are suicidal idiots. Except for Kiwi, he's Canadian. Canadians aren't going to commit suicide, they are going to wait to be murdered.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 27, 2013 3:20:30 PM


  25. "There is no need to discuss his guilt or innocence any further. He is guilty."

    Yep, and The Central Park Five confessed! On video! Saw it with my own eyes! Heard it with my own ears!

    And they weren't guilty.

    Posted by: Central Park Jogger | Apr 27, 2013 3:24:54 PM


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