Ah the good ol’ days, when all you had to do was show up at one Scooter Libby trial and you were  good.

Now when it comes to Bradley Manning, the military holds pre-trial hearings once every few weeks, obstructing the defense’s access to critical documents and filing obstreperous motions to keep Bradley in endless pre-trial confinement.

There’s only one journalist who is covering Bradley’s case day in, day out:  Kevin Gosztola.  He’s been tireless in his willingness to fly in from Chicago and schlepp out to Ft. Meade and meet the military’s demand that he show up at the crack of dawn and sit there idly for hours in order to cover the trial.  They make it as difficult as possible for journalists to do their job, denying them transcripts and other important documents.  Kevin has had to file FOIAs and lawsuits in order to demand access to information that is available to reporters as a matter of course in most trials.

The truth is, almost no media outlets are even acknowledging that this incredibly important trial is proceeding.  The rules of the game are being set now, and the judge is ruling about what kind of defense Manning can and cannot present at trial.  The conduct of the military has been outrageous in this case, and if there was nobody consistently reporting on what was happening, it would no doubt be much worse.

In short:  as this trial proceeds, FDL is once again the only one watching the watchers.

FDL pioneered online trial coverage in 2007 with the Scooter Libby trial, and was widely credited with being the first online media outlet to receive accreditation and liveblog a trial.  We were followed all over the world and wound up on the front page of the New York Times for our efforts, and we’ve been covering trials and hearings ever since.

Providing this kind of coverage is not cheap, and with Google’s government-protected monopoly corralling all the political advertising this election cycle, we needed to find a new way to fund it.  So we asked award-winning graphic designer Dave Cran to design a “Free Bradley Manning” tshirt for us.  I told him we wanted something iconic, and the image of the cap and glasses just bowled us over.  It’s perfect.  The minute you look at it, it instantly telegraphs “Bradley Manning.”

The tshirts are light-weight 100% cotton, made in the USA by American Apparel and union printed.  They’re absolutely gorgeous.  And when you wear one, in addition to supporting our coverage of Bradley Manning’s trial, you’ll be spreading the word.

I believe FDL made a big difference in the Scooter Libby case by constantly battling back the flood of propaganda that the government was leaking.  We helped to guard a level playing field for the trial to take place on.  We are committed to doing the same thing for Bradley Manningl.

We’ve done a tremendous amount of activism on Bradley’s behalf and will continue to do so.  But we believe that fairly and consistently covering his trial is critically important in his fight for justice.

Help underwrite our coverage of Bradley Manning’s trial by buying a tshirt today.