from Courage to Resist, www.couragetoresist.org
Act to end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning
Your help is needed in pressing the following demands: End the inhumane, degrading conditions of pre-trial confinement and respect Bradley’s human rights. Specifically, lift the “Prevention of Injury (POI) watch order”. This would allow Bradley meaningful physical exercise, uninterrupted sleep during the night, and a release from isolation. We are not asking for “special treatment”. In fact, we are demanding an immediate end to the special treatment.
Quantico Base Commander; Colonel Daniel Choike; 3250 Catlin Avenue, Quantico VA 22134; +1-703-432-0289 (Media Officer phone)
Quantico Brig Commanding Officer; CWO4 James Averhart; 3247 Elrod Avenue, Quantico VA 22134
THIS JUST IN: Two hundred supporters protested outside of the Quantico, Virginia brig on January 17, 2011, in order to rally in support of Bradley Manning and oppose the inhumane conditions of his pre-trial confinement.
On January 5, both Manning and his defense attorney filed formal complaints, requesting that Manning be removed from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch and that his classification level be reduced from “Maximum” to “Medium Detention In.” There has been no response to either complaint. Due to this lack of response, Manning’s attorney, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request January 13 with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement. This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable.
Concern for Bradley Manning in Spartan Solitary Confinement
Accused whistleblower Private First Class Bradley Manning remains in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. His attorney David Coombs expects a preliminary hearing early in 2011 on the eight criminal and four non-criminal charges related to allegations he anonymously passed thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents on to the transparency advocates at Wikileaks.org. Manning’s court martial could begin as early as April.
Based on published emails attributed to Manning, his supporters have pointed out that Manning’s motives were significantly, in part, to report the war crime recorded in the Collateral Murder video released by Wikileaks last spring.
Manning has made no public statement since his arrest in late May, but Coombs reports that Manning is aware of his public support, and that “he has asked me to express how very thankful that he is for the support that he has received so far. Brad also told me that he looks forward to the day that he can express his gratitude in person to those that have rallied to his defense.”
Coombs recently detailed the conditions of Manning’s confinement at his blog www.armycourtmartialdefense.info. His small cell is austere, and he must acknowledge the guards who check on him every five minutes. Guards are reported to be professional, and do not engage in harassment or bullying of Manning. Although a television with limited channels is available to view for at least an hour a day, Manning has no personal property in his cell, and is allowed only one book or magazine at a time, limited time for writing to a restricted list of approved correspondents, and no conversation with guards or other prisoners. He may not exercise or sleep in his cell during the day, and must surrender his clothes to guards at night before retiring with two blankets on a mattress with built-in pillow. He is placed in an empty cell for one hour of exercise each day. Approved visitors are permitted to visit on weekends for a few hours.
A recent Guardian (U.K.) interview with a friend who visits Manning revealed concern about his deteriorating mental state under such harsh pretrial confinement. Also, it is reported that the Justice Department is considering a plea agreement to offer Manning if he will implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as an active partner in the events that led to the unprecedented breach of secrecy.
While Assange was recently jailed in Britain for nine days on a Swedish warrant for questioning about allegations he engaged in nonconsensual sex, it became clear the United States was pursing his possible extradition on even more serious charges. The international attention to lurid details of the high-profile allegations was predictable, and also brought attention to Bradley Manning’s plight.
Editors’ note: We support – and encourage others to support – the important work of Wikileaks, and condemn efforts to extradite Julian Assange and prosecute him related to this work. Because Assange has stated in the past that people involved with Wikileaks do not have anti-war motives but are rather “transparency activists who understand that transparent government tends to produce just government”, we are not including him in the Nuclear Resister as an anti-war prisoner. If you would like to contribute money to the Julian Assange Legal Defence Fund, go to fsilaw.com, the website of his attorneys.
If Bradley Manning receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.
For this reason, cards and letters of support should be sent to Bradley Manning, c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610.
Letters will be opened, “contraband” discarded and then mailed weekly to Manning via someone on his approved correspondence list.
Courage to Resist has coordinated Manning’s international support, and to date helped raise over $100,000 in both general support donations and specific legal support via a Massachusetts IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) Program managed by his attorney.