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The London Expat American Meetup Group Message Board › Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and Afghanistan - US Citizen in Guantanamo

Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,350


Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at torture
Obama's professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.bradleyman...­
http://www.guardian.c...­

Calls Grow for Government to Account for Mistreatment of Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning
Interview with Bruce Ackerman, Yale law professor, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
http://www.btlonline....­

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Prof Bruce Ackerman: Bradley Manning's cruel and inhuman treatment
The president's own legal training must tell him how the abuse of the alleged WikiLeaks source violates constitutional norms
http://www.nybooks.co...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.yalelawjou...­

Bruce Ackerman, Prof Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut
Yochai Benkler, Prof Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

• This open letter was originally published by the New York Review of Books. For the full list of signatories, including Professor Laurence Tribe, see Bruce Ackerman's post on Balkanisation

http://balkin.blogspo...­

Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.



He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that "is not only shameful but unconstitutional" as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.

The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.

Tribe said the treatment was objectionable "in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences".

The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations' rapporteur on torture.

Tribe is the second senior figure with links to the Obama administration to break ranks over Manning. Last month, PJ Crowley resigned as state department spokesman after deriding the Pentagon's handling of Manning as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid".

The intervention of Tribe and hundreds of other legal scholars is a huge embarrassment to Obama, who was a professor of constitutional law in Chicago. Obama made respect for the rule of law a cornerstone of his administration, promising when he first entered the White House in 2009 to end the excesses of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

As commander in chief, Obama is ultimately responsible for Manning's treatment at the hands of his military jailers. In his only comments on the matter so far, Obama has insisted that the way the soldier was being detained was "appropriate and meets our basic standards".

The protest letter, published in the New York Review of Books, was written by two distinguished law professors, Bruce Ackerman of Yale and Yochai Benkler of Harvard. They claim Manning's reported treatment is a violation of the US constitution, specifically the eighth amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and the fifth amendment that prevents punishment without trial.

In a stinging rebuke to Obama, they say "he was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency".

Benkler told the Guardian: "It is incumbent on us as citizens and professors of law to say that enough is enough. We cannot allow ourselves to behave in this way if we want America to remain a society dedicated to human dignity and process of law."

He said Manning's conditions were being used "as a warning to future whistleblowers" and added: "

I find it tragic that it is Obama's administration that is pursuing whistleblowers and imposing this kind of treatment."

Ackerman pointed out that under the Pentagon's own rule book, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Manning's jailers could be liable to prosecution for abusing him. Article 93 of the code says "any person who is guilty of cruelty toward any person subject to his orders shall be punished".

The list of professors who have signed the protest letter includes leading figures from all the top US law schools, as well as prominent names from other academic fields. Among them are Bill Clinton's former labour secretary Robert Reich, President Theodore Roosevelt's great-great-grandson Kermit Roosevelt, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Dorsen and the writer Kwame Anthony Appiah.



http://www.bradleyman...­
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Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,351


Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at torture
Obama's professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.bradleyman...­
http://www.guardian.c...­

Calls Grow for Government to Account for Mistreatment of Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning
Interview with Bruce Ackerman, Yale law professor, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
http://www.btlonline....­

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

As accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Army Specialist Pfc. Bradley Manning spends his tenth month in solitary confinement at Marine brig in Quantico, Va., his treatment has aroused opposition on many fronts. Bloggers at FireDogLake.com, have taken up his cause, and author Greg Mitchell just published a book about Manning, whose trial date has not yet been set. And in the April 28 issue of The New York Review of Books, Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman and Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler published a letter of concern that has already been signed by 300 academics, mostly law professors, calling on the Obama administration to end the military's abusive treatment of Manning -- or justify its conduct, which many experts say amounts to torture.

In addition to being held in solitary confinement, Manning has been regularly stripped naked and provided only with a special anti-suicide smock to wear in his cell, conditions that human rights groups, including Amnesty International, believe may violate his rights.

Juan Mendez, a Switzerland-based United Nation's rapporteur on torture, has requested, but thus far has not been allowed to visit Manning in prison to make an unmonitored assessment of his treatment. Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman about why he wrote the open letter and what effect he hopes it will have.

BRUCE ACKERMAN: Yochai Benkler and I have been following the case and it seemed that things were getting worse and worse and it was time to actually organize the scholarly community to make a statement on it, so that's what we did. I was very pleased that they saw a need to stand up for this. I should say this letter is by no means the only, or maybe even the most important thing that's being done. There's this fellow, Juan Mendez, from the United Nations, who's trying to have an interview with Private Manning, and so far, the U.S. government hasn't allowed him to have an interview with him. And yesterday he issued a statement complaining about that. So there are quite a few organizational efforts. It should be also emphasized that we really don't know the facts. Our letter of concern was based upon a presentation of the facts by Manning's lawyer...that it's going on for 10 months now he's in maximum security even though his reports say he's a model prisoner; and then he's been exposed to really very extreme measures as a suicide risk, so he's placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day in his cell and then he's allowed one hour to walk in a room by himself. Whenever he dozes off during the day, every five minutes he's asked, "Are you okay?" and at night he's stripped bare and given a smock and whenever he turns his back to the jailers or puts a cover over his head, they say, "Are you all right?" So this is very, very extreme stuff here, but we don't know what the facts are.
Prof Bruce Ackerman: Bradley Manning's cruel and inhuman treatment
The president's own legal training must tell him how the abuse of the alleged WikiLeaks source violates constitutional norms
http://www.nybooks.co...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.yalelawjou...­

Bruce Ackerman, Prof Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut
Yochai Benkler, Prof Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

• This open letter was originally published by the New York Review of Books. For the full list of signatories, including Professor Laurence Tribe, taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign. Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago. See Bruce Ackerman's post on Balkanisation

http://balkin.blogspo...­

BETWEEN THE LINES: You mean you're saying Manning's lawyer is saying this, but you have no other source of information...

BRUCE ACKERMAN: And the U.S. government has not tried, publicly, to refute it. And that's really what we're demanding...these allegations can't just go on indefinitely, for this treatment, for 10 months after all, and he hasn't been put to trial. He hasn't been convicted of anything. If it's true, it's an obvious violation of fundamental due process principles and the uniform code of military justice...if it's true, and if it isn't true, well then, the U.S. government should explain its conduct and justify it. We can't just go along without a trial and just expose this fellow to these conditions and then bar a U.N. investigator from a meeting with Manning.

BETWEEN THE LINES: So, Bruce Ackerman, what do you hope your letter accomplishes?

BRUCE ACKERMAN: That's the point, to express our concern and to insist that this cannot be allowed to continue. Either these conditions have to be radically revised or we have to have a clear statement of what the facts are and why the Marine Corps in Quantico, where he's being held, think this is justified. The secretary of the Navy should be, and I'm told he is, investigating. He should move quickly to really investigate this situation.

BETWEEN THE LINES: What do you think about how the Obama administration has handled this?

BRUCE ACKERMAN: There is no evidence that this very restrictive and extreme treatment is being done for the good of Private Manning. It's possible, of course, that Private Manning is suicidal and certain steps have to be taken. It's possible, but nothing of the kind has been shown and Private Manning alleges that his army psychiatrist has said he is not a suicide risk. So at the present time, from what we can tell, there is one obvious reason for this going on, which is to induce Private Manning to say something that would strengthen the case against (WikiLeaks founder Julian) Assange.


Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,357


US Intelligence Veteran Defends Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks
http://www.andyworthi...­
18.4.11

The story of Pfc Bradley Manning, the young US Army intelligence analyst allegedly responsible for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, continues to act as a magnet for supporters worldwide, who are appalled by the accounts of his solitary confinement, and the humiliation to which he has recently been subjected, which has involved him sleeping naked at night, and having to stand naked outside his call during cell inspections in the morning, even though the alleged basis for this humiliation — that he is at risk of committing suicide — has been disproved by the miltary’s own records, in which his alleged propensity to commit suicide has been repeatedly challenged.

While sympathizing fully with Pfc Manning’s plight, I do hope that those supporting him will also realize that the humiliation to which he is being subjected, and its probable intent — to make him produce false confessions about his relationship with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks — is not unique, as it echoes the conditions in which prisoners in the “War on Terror” — at Guantánamo and elsewhere, including, in three instances, on the US mainland — were held by the Bush administration, whose detention also involved torture and abuse, and the creation of circumstances in which confessions would be produced, whether they were true or not.

This was part of a disgraceful policy that has not come to an end under President Obama, as Guantánamo is still open, and 172 men are held there, with the administration, Congress and the courts having all conspired to prevent the release of any of them (even though 89 of them have been cleared for release). In addition, at Bagram in Afghanistan, there are still men held who were seized up to nine years ago in other countries, and were rendered to Bagram (after a tour of a variety of secret CIA prisons), where they remain in a legal black hole.

While I encourage readers to spare a thought for those still held in Guantánamo and Bagram, I reiterate that I understand the significance of Bradley Manning’s plight, as it is unaccepable that the ill-treatment of such a prominent prisoner is continuing, despite international outrage, just as it is unacceptable that he has not yet been put forward for trial, as he has now been held for nearly a year, since his initial arrest in Kuwait last May.

In an important update to Manning’s story, the website The Western Front recently interviewed Evan Knappenberger, an Iraq War veteran and former Army intelligence specialist, who graduated from the same intelligence school as Manning, and who has some important insights: firstly, about how dehumanizing it was working as an intel analyst in Iraq, and how, at the same time, when it came to having access to classified documents on the Defense Department’s online network, “Army security is [or was] like a Band-Aid on a sunken chest wound.”

Knappenberger also explains how the leaking of information by Manning (if indeed it was him) “has raised consciousness quite a bit of the true nature of what’s going on,” adding that he is appalled by the military’s obsession with classifying as secret everything that takes place in its wars, and how he is also appalled that Manning, as a whistleblower, should have rights and protections that are denied to him, and also regards his treatment as a disgrace.

This is a powerful interview, and I do hope that you have the time to read it, and also to circulate it to others.

Manning Peer Sheds Light on WikiLeaks: Former military intel analyst shares his thoughts on the motive of alleged leaks
Former military intel analyst shares his thoughts on the motive of alleged leaks.
By Will Graff, The Western Front, April 15, 2011

The alleged leaker, intelligence specialist Private First Class Bradley Manning, is now in Quantico military prison in Virginia, where he has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest in July 2010. On April 10, nearly 300 top legal scholars, authors and experts signed a letter condemning his treatment as torture.

Evan Knappenberger, an Iraq War veteran and former intelligence specialist in the Army, graduated from the same intelligence school as Bradley Manning in May 2004 and was given secret clearance.

Knappenberger is now a junior at Western majoring in mathematics. He was interviewed last week for a PBS Frontline documentary about WikiLeaks, Manning and military information security. The Western Front interviewed Knappenberger about his experience in the military and his connection to WikiLeaks.

The Western Front: What is your connection to Bradley Manning?

Evan Knappenberger: Well, I have a couple connections to Bradley. The first is that we both went to the same intelligence school. We went to the same basic training company, pretty much an identical track all the way through.

They have [Manning’s] chat logs with the guy who turned him in. He talks about why he [leaked the documents]. He says on those chat logs that it’s out of principle. He didn’t like what he saw in Iraq. He talks about the collateral murder video, watching civilians get killed by American soldiers pretty much unprovoked. He had a change of heart, I think, that’s why he says he decided to release all these documents — if in fact, it was him that did it.

I was involved in torture in Iraq. Part of an intel analyst’s job is “targeting.” You take a human being and put him on a piece of paper, distill his life into one piece of paper. You’ve got a grid coordinate of where he lives and a little box that says what to do with him: kill, capture, detain, exploit, source — you know, there’s different things you can do with him. When I worked in “targeting,” it was having people killed.

The thing that gets me about that is I don’t think anybody who’s aware of what’s going on can do that work for very long without having a major problem come up. Most of the guys I went through intel school with, who went to Iraq with me, are either dead, killed themselves, are in a long-term care institution or completely disabled. I’m actually 50 percent disabled via PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), mostly because of the stuff that happened.

The Western Front: What kind of access did you have here and in Iraq?

Evan Knappenberger: Army security is like a Band-Aid on a sunken chest wound. I remember when I was training, before I had my clearance even, they were talking about diplomatic cables. It was a big scandal at Fort Huachuca [in Arizona], with all these kids from analyst school. Somebody said [in the cables] Sadaam wanted to negotiate and was willing to agree to peace terms before we invaded, and Bush said no. And this wasn’t very widely known. Somehow it came across on a cable at Fort Huachuca, and everybody at the fort knew about it.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,358


US Intelligence Veteran Defends Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks
Con....
http://www.andyworthi...­
18.4.11

It’s interesting the access we had. I did the briefing for a two-star general every morning for a year. So I had secret and top-secret information readily available. The funny thing is, Western’s password system they have here on all these computers is better security than the Army had on their secret computers.

There are 2 million people, many of them not U.S. citizens, with access to SIPRNet [Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, the Department of Defense’s largest network for the exchange of classified information and messages]. There are 1,400 government agencies with SIPR websites. It’s not that secret.

The Western Front: Do you think private military contractors play a role in this?

Evan Knappenberger: Oh yeah. I worked in a place called a SCIF [Secret Compartmentalized Information Facility] and almost anybody, if they spoke English, could get in there. It wasn’t hard at all.

Every military base has [a SCIF]. There’s one in Bellingham, too. It’s by the airport. The only security they have at the SCIFs I worked at was one guy on duty at a desk. They had barbed wire you could literally step right over.

We basically gave [the Iraqi army] SIPRNet. It’s not official, but if you’ve got a secret Internet computer sitting there with a wire running across from the American side of the base, with no guard, you’re basically giving them access.

Then in every Iraqi division command post, you have a SIPRNet computer, with all the stuff Bradley Manning leaked and massive amounts more.

I could look up FBI files on the SIPRNet. In fact, I was reading Hunter Thompson’s Hell’s Angels book, and I was like “this sounds cool,” and I looked up all the Hell’s Angels.

We looked up the JFK assassination, I couldn’t find anything on that. It was kind of a game, but, yeah, that’s the SIPRNet. You’ve got access to every so-called sensitive piece of information.

You’ve basically got us sitting there in an Iraqi division command post, and to make it all better, the U.S. Army put one guard guy there to guard it. They would switch us off every 12 hours with another guy. If he gets up to go to the bathroom, the SIPRNet is just sitting there. All you need is knowledge of the English language and knowledge of how to use Internet Explorer.

The Western Front: Is all the information Bradley Manning leaked on those computers under the same security?

Evan Knappenberger: He has top-secret clearance, and it’s a little better. It’s like there’s one more door you have to go through to get to the top-secret computers, maybe. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn’t.

The Western Front: What do you think the release of these documents and WikiLeaks have accomplished?

Evan Knappenberger: I think it has raised consciousness quite a bit of the true nature of what’s going on. Anybody now can go see the daily incident log of what happened in Iraq. What WikiLeaks did, what all of this did, is give real credibility to people who want to tell the truth. You can corroborate stories.

The Western Front: What do you think the attacks on WikiLeaks and Manning’s imprisonment say about freedom in the United States?

Evan Knappenberger: The fact we think we can classify everything that goes on in a war is ridiculous. And the fact that the press really doesn’t have the freedom to report on the military is ridiculous.

The second part of it is Bradley Manning and his treatment. If he was in any other government agency or private agency, he’d be considered a whistleblower. He’d have protections, but he’s not. It shows the gap of human rights in our military.

If he was anybody else, he’d be covered under the whistleblower protections or the freedom of speech. If a reporter gets classified information and publishes it, it’s not a crime. WikiLeaks is a reporting agency, so they should be covered under that. And anybody that works for them, i.e. Bradley Manning, should be covered under that, too.

The Western Front: What should people know about Bradley Manning and why should they care about this issue?

Evan Knappenberger: This is an American citizen. He’s an all-American kid. Born and raised in Oklahoma. If the constitutional rights don’t apply to him, it should scare everybody. Even if you don’t agree with what he allegedly did, you still have the obligation to care about the fact that he hasn’t been afforded his trial and he’s been treated with cruel and unusual punishment. Even if you’re against freedom of the press in this case, you still have the obligation to care about the kid. He’s being tortured.

It has been almost a year. They wake him up every five minutes. He’s stripped naked every day. The lights have been on in his cell 24/7 for a year. He gets one visitor a week. He can’t exercise in his cell, gets an hour a day to walk around a larger cell with no bed in it for exercise. Every human rights organization in the world has condemned his treatment as torture. That should scare the shit out of us because he’s not some Islamic fundamentalist who talks about Jihad, he’s an American kid, modern guy, who listens to pop music and happens to be gay.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,363


'Wikileaks' soldier Bradley Manning moved to new prison
'Wikileaks' suspect to be moved
19 April 2011 Last updated at 23:30
59 minutes ago

The US soldier accused of leaking a trove of secret government documents later published by the Wikileaks website is to be moved to a military prison in Kansas, officials have said.

Pte First Class Bradley Manning has been held pending court martial at a Marine Corps base in Virginia.

His transfer comes amid international concern over his treatment.

His supporters say he has been confined to a cell for 23 hours a day and forced regularly to undress.

Last week, UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said US officials had blocked his requests for unmonitored visits to Pte Manning, in part aimed at determining whether he had been mistreated.

'Best interest'

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Defence department general counsel Jeh Johnson: "Fort Leavenworth is the most appropriate facility for Private Manning"

At a press conference at the Pentagon on Tuesday, defence department general counsel Jeh Johnson said Pte Manning would be moved imminently to a pre-trial jail at Fort Leavenworth, in the Mid-western US state of Kansas.

Mr Johnson and other military officials said the Fort Leavenworth jail - which was opened in January - was better equipped to handle long-term pre-trial stays then the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia.

Among other things, the Fort Leavenworth jail has better mental health support and, should officials permit it, better exercise facilities and more opportunities for interaction with other detainees, officials said.

"We have assessed this is in Pte Manning's best interest to move him at this juncture in the case," Mr Johnson said.

"All things considered, we concluded that going forward this is the best facility for him."

Mr Johnson said the transfer should not be interpreted as a criticism of Pte Manning's treatment at Quantico, though he acknowledged senior defence officials had been involved in the process.

Resignation

Pte Manning's civilian lawyer David Coombs has said the soldier has been under 24-hour surveillance and has been forced to relinquish his clothing before bedding down for the night, then forced to stand naked at roll call.

Officials have repeatedly denied Pte Manning has been mistreated, although last month a top US state department official, spokesman PJ Crowley, resigned after saying the military's treatment of the Wikileaks suspect was "ridiculous and counterproductive".

Pte Manning, an intelligence analyst who joined the US Army in 2007, is suspected of leaking 720,000 diplomatic and military documents, including a database of military records from the Iraq war, Afghan war records, classified diplomatic cables and other materials.

In the past year, Wikileaks has published troves of documents it titled the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary, and reams of secret US state department cables spanning five decades.

Pte Manning has been charged with using unauthorised software on government computers to download classified information and to make intelligence available to "the enemy", and other counts related to leaking intelligence and theft of public records.

He is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation aimed at determining his competence to stand trial, officials have said.
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,364


'Wikileaks' soldier Bradley Manning moved to new prison
'Wikileaks' suspect to be moved
19 April 2011 Last updated at 23:30
59 minutes ago

The US soldier accused of leaking a trove of secret government documents later published by the Wikileaks website is to be moved to a military prison in Kansas, officials have said.

Pte First Class Bradley Manning has been held pending court martial at a Marine Corps base in Virginia.

His transfer comes amid international concern over his treatment.

His supporters say he has been confined to a cell for 23 hours a day and forced regularly to undress.

Last week, UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said US officials had blocked his requests for unmonitored visits to Pte Manning, in part aimed at determining whether he had been mistreated.

Stripped naked every night, Bradley Manning tells of prison ordeal
US soldier held on suspicion of leaking state secrets speaks out for first time about experience
http://www.guardian.c...­

'Stripping me of all of my clothing is without justification'

Bradley Manning, the US soldier being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of having released state secrets to WikiLeaks, has spoken out for the first time about what he claims is his punitive and unlawful treatment in military prison.

In an 11-page legal letter released by his lawyer, David Coombs, Manning sets out in his own words how he has been "left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody" ever since he was brought from Kuwait to the military brig of Quantico marine base in Virginia in July last year. He describes how he was put on suicide watch in January, how he is currently being stripped naked every night, and how he is in general terms being subjected to what he calls "unlawful pre-trial punishment".

It is the first time Manning has spoken publicly about his treatment, having previously only been heard through the intermediaries of his lawyer and a friend. Details that have emerged up to now have inspired the UN to launch an inquiry into whether the conditions amount to torture, and have led to protests to the US government from Amnesty International.

The most graphic passage of the letter is Manning's description of how he was placed on suicide watch for three days from 18 January. "I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness."

Manning writes that he believes the suicide watch was imposed not because he was a danger to himself but as retribution for a protest about his treatment held outside Quantico the day before. Immediately before the suicide watch started, he said guards verbally harassed him, taunting him with conflicting orders.

When he was told he was being put on suicide watch, he writes, "I became upset. Out of frustration, I clenched my hair with my fingers and yelled: 'Why are you doing this to me? Why am I being punished? I have done nothing wrong.'"

He also describes the experience of being stripped naked at night and made to stand for parade in the nude, a condition that continues to this day. "The guard told me to stand at parade rest, with my hands behind my back and my legs spaced shoulder-width apart. I stood at parade rest for about three minutes … The [brig supervisor] and the other guards walked past my cell. He looked at me, paused for a moment, then continued to the next cell. I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked."

Manning has been charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US government cables, videos and warlogs from Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks. The charges include "aiding the enemy", which can carry the death penalty.

The legal letter was addressed to the US military authorities and was drawn up in response to their recent decision to keep Manning on a restriction order called Prevention of Injury (PoI). It means he is kept in his cell alone for 23 hours a day and checked every five minutes by guards including, if necessary, through the night.

The letter contains excerpts from the observation records kept in the brig which consistently report that Manning is "respectful, courteous and well spoken" and "does not have any suicidal feelings at this time".

Sixteen separate entries made from 27 August until the records stop on 28 January show that Manning was evaluated by prison psychiatrists who found he was not a danger to himself and should be removed from the PoI order.

Bradley Manning: 'Stripping me of all of my clothing is without justification
'Alleged WikiLeaks source cites demeaning routines and says he was 'punitively' placed on suicide watch
http://www.guardian.c...­
Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,365


Bradley Manning’s lawyer speaks out
David Coombs reports that the soldier’s treatment has just got even worse.
http://www.armycourtm...­
http://www.armycourtm...­



Lieutenant Colonel David Coombs - (photo taken while on active duty in Iraq) Click on photo to be taken to my website

Law Offices of David E. Coombs
Representing Soldiers Worldwide

Mr. Coombs is a soldier just like you. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves, and has over twelve years of active duty service serving side by side with the men and women of the United States Army. When you come to the Law Office of David E. Coombs you will experience first-hand why Mr. Coombs is the right attorney to have at your side. By specializing in criminal law, he knows every facet of the Army justice system.

Army court-martial defense attorney David E. Coombs has been practicing and teaching criminal law for over 15 years, and has handled hundreds of administrative and criminal cases in the Army justice system. Mr. Coombs spent the first part of his career as a prosecutor. This prior experience has given him a unique advantage, as he is very familiar with how the government operates and the way they will attempt to prosecute their case.

The Truth Behind Quantico Brig's Decision to Strip PFC Manning
http://www.armycourtm...­

The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely. Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing. He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call. According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning's own protection. Villiard stated that it would be "inappropriate" to explain what prompted these actions "because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning's privacy."

The defense communicated with both PFC Manning and the Brig forensic psychiatrist and learned more about the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night. On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike. Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI. As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of "exemplary" as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning's question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were "absurd" and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC's Manning's sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk. PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch. This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider's recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have. In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as "low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for ... closer clinical observation." In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning's statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by "a psychiatric condition."

While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist's recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch. The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander.

Given these circumstances, the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature. There is no mental health justification for the decision. There is no basis in logic for this decision. PFC Manning is under 24 hour surveillance, with guards never being more than a few feet away from his cell. PFC Manning is permitted to have his underwear and clothing during the day, with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period. Moreover, if Brig officials were genuinely concerned about PFC Manning using either his underwear or flip-flops to harm himself (despite the recommendation of the Brig's psychiatrist) they could undoubtedly provide him with clothing that would not, in their view, present a risk of self-harm. Indeed, Brig officials have provided him other items such as tear-resistant blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow due to their purported concerns.

The Brig's treatment of PFC Manning is shameful. It is made even more so by the Brig hiding behind concerns for "[PFC] Manning's privacy." There is no justification, and there can be no justification, for treating a detainee in this degrading and humiliating manner.


Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,366


Bradley Manning’s lawyer speaks out
David Coombs reports that the soldier’s treatment has just got even worse.
http://www.armycourtm...­
http://www.armycourtm...­



Lieutenant Colonel David Coombs - (photo taken while on active duty in Iraq) Click on photo to be taken to my website

Bradley Manning’s lawyer speaks out
David Coombs reports that the soldier’s treatment has just got even worse
http://www.newstatesm...­
http://andrewsullivan...­

In her piece in this week's magazine on the case of Private Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old American soldier suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, Sophie Elmhirst describes the dreadful conditions in which the young man is being held at the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia:

Manning is under a Prevention of Injury (PoI) order, which limits his social contact, exercise, sleep and access to external stimuli such as newspapers or television . . . He spends 23 hours a day alone in his cell. The hour he is allowed out, he is taken to an empty room and walks in circles. If he is caught exercising in his cell, he is forced to stop. At night, Manning is stripped to his underwear and has to sleep under blankets that he says give him carpet burn. He is usually woken several times throughout the night by guards. PoI orders are usually issued when prisoners present a risk to themselves or others and are supposed to be temporary. Manning has been under the order since he arrived at the Brig in July.

On his blog, Manning's lawyer David Coombs reports that his client's request to have the Prevention of Injury order withdrawn was refused on Wednesday:

On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (PoI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J Choike. Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from maximum custody and PoI. As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of "exemplary" as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the PoI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning's question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the PoI restrictions were "absurd" and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.

In a development that one might describe as Kafkaesque, were it not quite so sinister, that remark of Manning's has been used as justification for, as Coombs puts it, "increas[ing] the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk". Manning is now being stripped naked at night and is not allowed to keep even his underwear on. But, as Coombs points out, Manning is allowed to wear clothes and underwear during the day, "with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period".

The decision to strip Manning completely at night is clearly punitive – indeed, it is, as Andrew Sullivan rightly notes, sadistic: "We all hoped that under Obama, brutal treatment of military prisoners and lies about it would end. In this case, they haven't."



MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM­MMMMMMMMMMM

Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at torture
Obama's professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.bradleyman...­
http://www.guardian.c...­

Calls Grow for Government to Account for Mistreatment of Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning
Interview with Bruce Ackerman, Yale law professor, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
http://www.btlonline....­

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Prof Bruce Ackerman: Bradley Manning's cruel and inhuman treatment
The president's own legal training must tell him how the abuse of the alleged WikiLeaks source violates constitutional norms
http://www.nybooks.co...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.yalelawjou...­

Bruce Ackerman, Prof Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut
Yochai Benkler, Prof Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

• This open letter was originally published by the New York Review of Books. For the full list of signatories, including Professor Laurence Tribe, see Bruce Ackerman's post on Balkanisation

http://balkin.blogspo...­

Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.


Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,367


Bradley Manning’s lawyer speaks out
David Coombs reports that the soldier’s treatment has just got even worse.
http://www.armycourtm...­
http://www.armycourtm...­



Lieutenant Colonel David Coombs - (photo taken while on active duty in Iraq)

Bradley Manning’s lawyer speaks out
David Coombs reports that the soldier’s treatment has just got even worse
http://www.newstatesm...­
http://andrewsullivan...­

Brig refuses official visit for Congressman Kucinich, Amnesty International, and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture: http://bit.ly/dHRcTF...­ 12 days ago

How to contact Bradley Manning's family to request to be placed on the approved visitor and correspondence list: http://bit.ly/ifkiEm...­ 35 days ago
http://bit.ly/ifkiEm...­

Visitor and Correspondence List for Bradley Manning
http://www.armycourtm...­

Our office has received many inquires regarding how someone may get on the approved mailing and visitors list for PFC Manning. The Quantico Brig requires PFC Manning to submit an official request form in order to add or remove a person from his approved visitor and correspondence list.

If PFC Manning submits a request to add a person to his approved visitor and correspondence list, the Brig will conduct a background check on the requested person. After completing its review, the Brig with either approve or disapprove PFC Manning's request. Under the Brig's rules, PFC Manning is not allowed to add a journalist on his visitor or correspondence list.

If you know PFC Manning and would like to be added to his visitor and correspondence list, the Manning family has created an email account for facilitating the process. Each week, a member of PFC Manning's family will review the submitted requests. The family member will then take these requests to PFC Manning for his decision.

You may write to the Manning family at bmanningvisits@gmail.com in order to request to be added to the visitor and correspondence list or just to pass on your words of support and encouragement.



MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM­MMMMMMMMMMM

Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at torture
Obama's professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.bradleyman...­
http://www.guardian.c...­

Calls Grow for Government to Account for Mistreatment of Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning
Interview with Bruce Ackerman, Yale law professor, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
http://www.btlonline....­

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.

The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Prof Bruce Ackerman: Bradley Manning's cruel and inhuman treatment
The president's own legal training must tell him how the abuse of the alleged WikiLeaks source violates constitutional norms
http://www.nybooks.co...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.guardian.c...­
http://www.yalelawjou...­

Bruce Ackerman, Prof Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut
Yochai Benkler, Prof Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

• This open letter was originally published by the New York Review of Books. For the full list of signatories, including Professor Laurence Tribe, see Bruce Ackerman's post on Balkanisation

http://balkin.blogspo...­

Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.


Wilber W.
WilberWebb
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 3,368


Bradley Manning being moved to Fort Leavenworth
WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning being moved to new prison‎ - Telegraph.co.uk
http://www.telegraph....­
http://www.theregiste...­

US soldier Bradley Manning, held in military custody facing charges of leaking large amounts of classified data, is to be moved to a different jail.

At present, Manning is being held in the US Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia. According to an announcement by top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson, he will now be moved to the main US Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, which has more extensive facilities.

"The fact that we have made a decision to transfer this particular pre-trial confine ... should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before," Johnson told reporters.

According to military spokespersons, Manning will suffer a less arduous and isolating confinement regime at Leavenworth, where he is expected to be able to take longer exercise and recreation periods and mix with other prisoners more – for instance at mealtimes.

Manning's current regime has seen him locked in his cell for 23 hours a day and his clothing taken away at night. His Marine jailers have stated that these measures were required under their procedures as Manning was assessed by them as being a suicide risk.

Lt Col Dawn Hilton, commanding the medium-security Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Leavenworth, told the Press Association that her jail had more comprehensive facilities than the Quantico brig – including a range of qualified mental, emotional and physical health professionals. Following Manning's "imminent" arrival there he will be comprehensively evaluated to discover whether he presents a threat to himself or others, according to the colonel. The 150 prisoners already under her care – including eight awaiting trial – normally get three hours recreation per day and eat their meals in a common dining area rather than in their cells.

Johnson said that Manning had been held in Virginia so that he could attend an interview in the Washington area in order to determine his competence to stand trial. That interview having been completed on 9 April, the move to Leavenworth can now go ahead.

The conditions of Manning's imprisonment at Quantico had been roundly criticised in many quarters. An Obama administration official, PJ Crowley, was forced to resign after adding his voice to that criticism, and the British government had formally expressed concern on the matter to the US State Department.

http://mirror.wikilea...­


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