Greenpoint’s “HERO BRADLEY MANNING” mural has returned to Nassau Avenue after a brief hiatus. The street art work, which was painted by artist BAMN (aka By Any Means Necessary) in 2011, was recently covered up with a Mona Lisa-looking image painted by an artist who simply goes by the name of Oscar.
I ran into Oscar last week as he was standing in front of his mural and asked him what happened to the Manning mural. He promised me that it would return for today’s trial of the 25-year-old former intelligence analyst from Oklahoma. And true to his word, it is back.
Manning was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the website WikiLeaks. He was later charged with 22 offenses, and he eventually admitted to sending the material to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and pleaded guilty to charges that would send him to prison for up to decades. The US military and the Obama administration decided to pursue more charges against the US soldier, including the charge of aiding the enemy. In February, Manning told military judge Army Col. Denise Lind he leaked the material to expose the American military’s “bloodlust” and disregard for human life in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Back in 2011, when I asked BAMN about his mural and what he thought of those who called Manning a traitor, the artist told Hyperallergic: “He’s a traitor to US imperialism, I can agree with that … I wonder whose interests those critics are protecting? Those profiting from US imperialism are the real traitors. They have betrayed humanity.”
The mural has been vandalized by anti-Manning taggers on a number of occasions since it appeared but each time the artist has restored the mural to its original state.
If you’re interested in following the Manning case online, @Asher_Wolf has a very useful Twitter list of people covering the Manning trial.
UPDATE: Democracy Now has a report on the start of today’s Bradley Manning trail. There have also been many people who have criticized the lack of mainstream media coverage of the issue. Even the New York Times ombudsperson has criticized her newspaper’s minimal coverage.