Another Uncritical Take on a Left-Wing 'War Resisters' Group

A tiny knot of supporters of accused WikiLeaks leaker, Army analyst Bradley Manning, get some publicity in the paper's special San Francisco section.

Aaron Glantz writes for the paper's San Francisco insert Sunday on a local lefty group of "war resisters" supporting Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst currently imprisoned on suspicion of passing secret government cables to WikiLeaks: "Soldier in Wikileaks Case Has War Resisters' Support." (This is news?)

It's the latest publicity hit in the Times for an unlabeled left-wing protest movement. Reporter Kim Severson made the top of the paper's National Section November 22 with a wistful, photograph-heavy profile of a "dwindling" anti-Army protest in Columbus, Ga. While that previous article at least described the protest as a gathering of "old lefties," there were no "leftwing" labels in Glantz's similarly uncritical take:

The small office of Courage to Resist, a nonprofit group in Oakland, is full of items featuring the smiling face of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of passing secret government documents to WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers - even whistles - are for sale.

Jeff Paterson, the project director of the organization, which has supported dozens of service members who have refused deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan, said the group began to raise money for Private Manning's legal defense after he was arrested in May.


But Private Manning's arrest by the Army, which came after he told a computer hacker that he had leaked video of a helicopter attack that killed two Reuters photographers and Iraqi civilians, along with 260,000 diplomatic cables and intelligence reports on the war in Afghanistan, is proof enough for Mr. Paterson.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, is also a supporter. "What I read from his motives seems very familiar to me based on my own experience," Mr. Ellsberg said.

Glantz concluded with one more unlabeled and unchallenged left-wing activist:

Robert Meola, an activist who drafted the resolution as chairman of Berkeley's Peace and Justice Commission, said he would fight for Private Manning.

"If he didn't do it, then he's in pretrial confinement in isolation for several months, and he should be freed," Mr. Meola said.

"If he did do it, I definitely feel that he's a hero," Mr. Meola added, arguing that revelations contained in the leaked documents "could potentially stop the immoral and illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."