Daniel Ellsberg, the former military adviser who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, will speak at a rally in San Francisco today in support of Bradley Manning, the LGBT former army intelligence specialist who leaked defense documents relating to "don't ask, don't tell," and foreign policy to WikiLeaks in 2010.
San Francisco blogger Michael Petrelis first reported Ellsberg's confirmed participation, including the photo at left, with Ellsberg's silent statement in solidarity with Manning.
The rally, which begins at 5 p.m. today outside the San Francisco Pride office at 1841 Market St., was called after a staffer at SF Pride told press on Friday that Manning would be named grand marshal of the city's 2013 Pride celebration, but then backtracked on the statement Saturday.
Gay and lesbian peace and social justice activists Petrelis, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, and Lisa Geduldig are behind the call to action. The group says that SF Pride is turning its back on activism and dissent, after the board president, Lisa Williams, released a statement on Saturday saying that Manning being named a grand marshal was a mistake by a lone employee that underscored a systemic problem in how grand marshals are chosen.
Manning, a U.S. Army soldier, was arrested in 2010 after passing classified documents about DADT and the Iraq war to Wikileaks. Since his trial is set to begin in June, he would have served as grand marshal in absentia. The initial grand marshal announcement about Manning, who identifies as either gay or transgender, caused a flurry of debate in LGBT community nationwide, especially in military and veteran circles.