|Posted by Jacob George on June 4, 2013 at 1:40 AM||comments (0)|
Two members of A Ride Till The End, Jacob George and Stevie Lee, made it into the courtroom for the beginning of Bradley Manning’s court-martial. Only 16 people were allowed, so this was a very unique situation for us. This morning we heard the opening statements from the prosecution and defense. I (Jacob) had all day to chew on what I heard and here are some of my observations and thoughts:
I listened to the opening statements of the prosecution and defense and it seems the prosecution’s strategy is to define Manning’s intentions in releasing information and to frame Wikileaks—and Julian Assange more specifically—as a possible component in encouraging Manning to do so. It seemed like the prosecution was making a case against Wikileaks and Manning, which was odd because Wikileaks isn't on trial. The prosecution presented information via Powerpoint and made the startling claim that Manning edited the a video to make the civilians killed by U.S. forces look unarmed, implying that they were armed before editing, which is complete chicken shit. They tied this allegation up with the claim that the Afghan war logs Manning released were found on Osama bin Laden’s computers at the compound where he was executed, thereby implying that Manning was aiding the enemy. All of these claims will be tested as the trial unfolds and as witnesses come forward to share their opinions and roles in gathering the evidence.
In their opening statement, the defense, led by David Coombs, did a fine job of countering some of the ambitious claims of the prosecution. Coombs framed Manning as a humanist whose intention was to be on the right side of morality. Coombs reminded the court room of Manning’s original intentions, which were clearly stated in his chat logs before he got busted—a position that he has maintained throughout the entire legal battle.
In short, the prosecution seemed to be a little confused. It is reaching for things but nothing sounds too convincing. However, I thought the prosecution did an excellent job of laying out why the average person might be compelled to share "the state’s secrets" believing this information to be crucial for a healthy democratic process, but repeatedly stating how important it is to keep this information from the public eye. They also gave us insight into how smart and technically skilled this young man really is. He didn't just haphazardly push a couple of buttons; he repeatedly covered his tracks while harvesting this information: he used specialized programs to extract it from intelligence databases without detection and was able to completely wipe all forensic evidence off of his personal computer, a fact that obviously frustrated the prosecution. The act of leaking this information took months of painstaking, meticulous work, which I feel the average person lacks the discipline or skill to accomplish. Bradley Manning truly accomplished something marvelous and did it with the moral lance of a saint.
In what was a pleasant surprise, I got really good vibes from the judge, US Army Colonel Judge Denise Lind. She was hard faced and demanding of the prosecution, asking multiple times for clarification on where the U.S. government stands on multiple positions. Yet as she addressed Bradley Manning she was warm and motherly, smiling and reminding him to take his time and laughing at David Coomb’s humor. I also heard this is her last case. If you didn't know, the ruling in this case will come from the judge, there is no jury, which I have to say, after seeing this today, is a very good thing for Manning.
|Posted by Jacob George on May 31, 2013 at 8:45 PM||comments (0)|
Jacob George, a 3-tour Afghan vet, has just released Soldier's Heart, part of his recovery from the Moral Injury of war. Self-described as "a peace seekin, bicyclin, ramblin hobo from the hills of Arkansas", Jacob has biked across much of the South in the past 3 years, spreading peace and healing.
*** Radio Interview ***
|Posted by Jacob George on April 27, 2013 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
Jacob George of A Ride Till the End (ARTTE) is the Afghanistan war veteran and Arkansas native who burst onto the scene when he and his supporters rode out of Fayetteville on May 1, 2010, vowing to ride bicycles across the byways of America until the Afghan War ended. So far, the ride has encompassed more than 8,000 miles in the United States, as well as a journey to Afghanistan with the anti-war group, Voices For Creative Nonviolence.
|Posted by Jacob George on May 18, 2012 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Afghan war veteran Jacob George is a self-proclaimed hillbilly farmer from the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas. After three tours as a combat engineer, he now spends his days bicycling around the country protesting U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. He recently passed through Missouri on his way to protest the NATO summit taking place in Chicago next week.
George served three tours in Afghanistan between 2000 and 2004. But it was years later that he started speaking out (and bicycling) against the war.
|Posted by Jacob George on September 23, 2011 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
Philly has been a whirlwind of presentations and meeting up with folks. We have playing songs in churches, in bookstores, community spaces, etc, having great discussions, and raising bicycles! We met up with Emma who is the lead organizer for the Bradley Manning Solidarity Network and she came to speak at one of our presentations yesterday. Our event last night at Lava went well and was a lot of fun. In attendance were some Civsol and IVAW friends who came out to support our ride. Lots of love coming around from every place. Thanks to all who have had us; UFPJ, Jane Dugdale and friends, Brandywine, the town of Radnor, Lava, Quakers and friends!
|Posted by Jacob George on September 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
The end has to start somewhere. That’s what brought A Ride Till the End’s Jacob George, Jerrad Hardin, and Russ Ritter to Bluestockings bookstore on New York’s Lower East Side yesterday, with their luggage-laden bikes in the back. For the next few weeks, they’ll be making their way down to Washington, D.C. on a Bikes Not Bombs Bicycle Tour, arriving in time for the planned occupation of Freedom Plaza that will mark the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, they’ll be a mobile speakers bureau and art collective, telling their stories in public and playing music, and raising money (in conjunction with Bikes Not Bombs up in Boston) to provide bikes for returning war vets who want to ride. At the heart of what they’re doing is a call for peace and, through it, a means of healing.
|Posted by Jacob George on September 15, 2011 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
Our event last night was great space to say goodbye to New York City. We shared some music and Jacob gave his presentation in an intimate setting with some really great folks at a radical feminist bookstore in the lower east side called Blue Stockings. We are very thankful to have been there.
|Posted by Jacob George on September 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
9/11 in Manhattan was a spectacle. We spent the day with some good folks who put together a great demonstration to tell the truth about the wars after September 11th. There was much to discuss, to take in, and we were able to meet many people and interact with them.