WILTON, Conn. "He's one of the most heroic figures of our times," activist and singer/songwriter David Rovics said of 24-year-old Pvt. Bradley Manning, who's charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website.
"Getting these documents out into the public was an absolutely heroic thing to do and he's paying the price for it," Rovics told the blog TheFightBack.org after he performed at the occupation at D.C.'s Freedom Plaza.
Rovics, who grew up in a family of classical musicians in Wilton, has developed a significant following for his progressive songs, which have been downloaded more than a million times from his site, DavidRovics.com. Since Occupy Wall Street began Sept. 17, Rovics' tours have included stops at occupations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
"Savor the moment," Rovics said of this period of global uprisings. "There's something happening, and now is the time to get involved."
Rovics was in D.C. to support Manning, whose pretrial military hearing was taking place at Fort Meade, more than a year-and-a-half after the US military first detained him. Manning's pre-trial detention included 10 months of solitary confinement.
"Eighteen months of detention with no charges, nothing," said Rovics. "It's impossible for him to get a fair trial. He's already been found guilty by nobody less prominent than the president of the United Statesv... [who] referred to [Manning] as a criminal."
In "Song for Bradley Manning," which he performed outside Fort Meade, Rovics sings:
"Sometimes you need desperate measures when you live in desperate timesAnd Private Manning saw he was looking at war crimesHe wondered what to do to allow the dead to speakHe finally decided to contact WikiLeaksNow it's all out on the table and everybody knowsThe emperor is naked, he's not wearing any clothes"
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