Scott Horton Interviews Mike Gogulski
This recording is excerpted from the KPFK Beneath The Surface with Suzi Weissman program of July 30th. The complete recording can be heard here.
Mike Gogulski, founder of the Help Bradley Manning website, discusses Manning’s brig transfer from Kuwait to Virginia and his status on suicide watch, the involvement of Courage to Resist in fundraising efforts for Manning’s legal defense and how sympathizers can donate or volunteer to help Bradley Manning.
MP3 here. (11:23) Transcript below.
Mike Gogulski is the founder and frequent contributor to the Help Bradley Manning website.
Transcript – Scott Horton interviews Mike Gogulski, July 30, 2010
Scott Horton: All right, everybody, it’s Scott Horton here from Antiwar.com, filling in for Suzi Weissman. And our next guest on the show is Mike Gogulski, from BradleyManning.org. Welcome to the show, Mike, how are you?
Michael Gogulski: Good afternoon, thanks, glad to be here.
Horton: Well I appreciate you joining us. Tell us about Bradley – well, actually, before you tell us about BradleyManning.org, tell us about Bradley Manning. There are a lot of people who may be driving around, flipping through the dial, who haven’t really heard this story in much detail.
Gogulski: Well, Bradley Manning is the 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist who has been accused of leaking, first, a damning video to WikiLeaks back earlier this year, and then has now been linked to the leak of the 90-some-thousand “Afghan War Logs” that has dominated so much of the news this past week. He was imprisoned in Kuwait at a field consignment facility, and yesterday he was moved to the military brig at Quantico, Virginia, where he is now reportedly on suicide watch.
Horton: Really. I guess that’s the latest development. I heard that he was in Virginia earlier today. And now, do you know whether it was strange or not that they held him in Kuwait for four weeks before they even charged him? I’m not as familiar with the Uniform Code of Military Justice as, you know, a typical American arrest.
Gogulski: Yeah, I’m not entirely certain, although from what I understand, the normal procedure is that a soldier arrested in the field would be held at a field consignment facility at or near their place of deployment. Perhaps because Baghdad is a combat zone, there was no such facility available there, and therefore he was moved to Kuwait, at least temporarily.
Horton: Okay, and now, another four weeks later, after they finally charged him, they brought him back to Virginia, and you say that he’s on suicide watch tonight?
Gogulski: That’s the latest thing that I’ve seen reported. The first place I saw it was on the Telegraph, and Google News says that 605 other news sources have the story as well.
Horton: Okay. Well, let’s hope they watch him.
Gogulski: It’s an opportunity for people to make their support for him known. On the most recent article on BradleyManning.org, there are two comments giving the mailing address, the fax number, and also the telephone number for the brig at Quantico, so there’s an opportunity there for anybody who wants to phone, fax, or mail in and express support to do so.
Horton: Well, that’s a really good point. Being held in isolation for a month, or more, two months, in Kuwait, without really being able to hear about the response to his story in the general society is probably part of what he’s so depressed about. If he knew how many people like yourself are standing behind him, I’d say he would feel a little bit better.
Gogulski: I’d like to hope so.
Horton: All right, and this kid again is facing 54 years in prison – I should say young man, 54 years in prison, Private Bradley Manning. So, I guess, let’s talk a little bit about BradleyManning.org. How quickly after you heard this kid’s story did you set up this website, Mike?
Gogulski: I believe the story broke on June 10, or maybe on June 8. I registered the domain name a couple of days after that, and a couple days subsequently I put up the website and kind of launched this, and at this point I’m kind of overwhelmed because I didn’t really expect that there was going to be this much support and this much to do, so it’s rapidly consuming my life.
The most important thing that we’re doing right now is we just launched earlier this week a defense fund where we’ve partnered with Courage to Resist, which is a project of a 501(c)(3) organization, so people who would like to donate to Bradley’s legal defense can do so tax deductible. There’s a big red button up at BradleyManning.org website that’ll take you directly there. It’s also very pleasing to announce that in the first 48 hours, or slightly less, of launching that effort, we’ve raised $9,100, so we’re well on the way to being able to fund a vigorous defense.
Horton: Right on. I am Scott Horton. I’m talking with Mike Gogulski, and we’re talking about young Bradley Manning, who has been charged with leaking the “Collateral Murder” video, and the DoD is telling the papers they think that he’s also the leaker of the Afghan War Logs as well, and Mike has set up this website, BradleyManning.org. Now I need you to please tell us a little bit more about Courage to Resist, and if – you know, anybody could set up a website that says Bradley Manning on it, Mike. If people did want to contribute, they would have to be assured that there are lawyers and that this is legitimate, that the money is going to go where you say it’s going to go.
Gogulski: Yes. For the moment, Courage to Resist is holding a fund earmarked for Bradley and subject to, you know, the reporting requirements that go along with being a legally constituted nonprofit corporation. Courage to Resist is an organization which supports military resisters of different types. They organized and supported the defense, for example, of Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq, and now they’re supporting this effort as well. The founder, Jeff Patterson, who’s made a number of media appearances, also refused to deploy back in the first Gulf War and was tried before a court martial. So none of the money that is donated via the website actually goes through my hands. It all goes directly into the accounts of the International Humanity Center, which is Courage to Resist’s parent organization.
Horton: Okay, now, we have the phone numbers here if people want to call the brig in Virginia and let the military know that they would like for Bradley Manning to be notified that he has support out here. Here’s two phone numbers for you: The brig supervisor is 703-784-6873. The company gunny is 703-432-6154. And, well, you want to go ahead and give out the fax and everything, here?
Alan Minsky: This is Alan Minsky, I have important – people want to listen to what I have to say, in one minute, let me give the rest of the information out. And by the way, Mike, over there, I’m Sancho Panza to Scott’s Don Quixote this hour here. So the brig’s fax –
Horton: [laughs] Chewie to my Han Solo.
Minsky: There we go. The brig fax is 703-784-4242. All of the area codes are 703. Okay? And then the mailing address is 3247 Elrod Avenue, Quantico, Virginia, and the zip is 22134.
Now I happened to be watching Larry King interview Michael Moore. I don’t know if Mike knows about this, but on Tuesday Larry King asked Michael Moore about Bradley Manning, and Michael Moore – the filmmaker, you know, Capitalism A Love Story, Roger and Me, etc. – said he feels that people should be hailing him as a hero and that people should support his legal defense fund.
That’s from the filmmaker Michael Moore, and I do believe, Mike, you can probably locate that interview on the – I’m just going to look for it, Larry King Live, CNN, and maybe you want to throw that up on your website there. But Michael Moore very clearly said he views Bradley Manning as a hero and he feels that people should support him and should support his legal defense fund.
Horton: And, by the way, everybody, all those phone numbers, all that information, if you want to call the brig or fax them or mail them to support Bradley Manning, all of that information is available at BradleyManning.org in the comments section on the front page there. Mike, you were going to say?
Gogulski: Yeah, well, I’ve seen the interview with Michael Moore, and – fantastic. He’s also been linking to BradleyManning.org from his website, which has brought a lot of visitors this way.
The other thing is that we have arranged for a very prominent attorney with substantial experience in defending cases in the military courts, very high profile, wants to meet on Monday by phone with Manning to discuss possibly representing him. If Bradley doesn’t select this attorney, there are another two of similar prominence in the queue behind him, so we’re hopeful that we’re going to be able to put together an excellent defense.
Horton: All right now, are you already in contact with his family, and you’re working with them together? I kind of get the idea that there might be a few different groups trying a few different things here, and not necessarily coordinating.
Gogulski: The coordination has been somewhat haphazard to date. I have been in touch with a member of his family who has been nominated by Bradley to handle the funds for the legal defense, and I’ve also been in touch with the military lawyers who are on the case. They’re based in Baghdad, but I confirmed with them last night that they are still on the case despite it being transferred to Virginia.
Horton: Okay, now, again everybody, it’s Mike Gogulski from BradleyManning.org, and if people were interested in participating in helping Bradley Manning, by going to BradleyManning.org, what else should they know?
Gogulski: There’s also an opportunity for volunteers. We’re forming up a steering committee right now to kind of, you know, put together an agenda and a program and guide this organization forward. We’ve got an opportunity to build partnerships with other organizations and individuals who can bring more media attention, more activism off the internet as well as on, and really get behind this effort to support Manning whatever the outcome of his legal process is.
Horton: Well, you know, it seems like the War Party and all their myna birds like to try to focus on how, well, “despondent” Bradley Manning supposedly was. That was the Washington Post headline, and I think if you search for “Manning” and “despondent” you’ll get 700,000 results or something. That’s the best that they can do to attack him is say that he was sad. And yet, you know, if we believe the chat logs posted at Wired.com and at the Washington Post, he makes it pretty clear in there, doesn’t he, that he was horrified to find out some of the things that he was finding out about America’s war in Iraq, and that was really what motivated him to liberate these documents for us. This video.
Gogulski: Yes. That’s certainly what was in there, and I have to say that I think if folks look around at the world and what’s going on on the world stage with open eyes, I think despair is really the appropriate reaction.
Horton: Yeah. Fair enough. All right, everybody, that is Mike Gogulski from BradleyManning.org. They’re raising money for his legal defense, and they can prove it’s legit. Go and look at the site.
Minsky: Yes, thank you so much, and thank you so much for your courage in what you’re doing, Mike.
Gogulski: Thanks for having me on.