Julian Assange has called Bradley Manning “the world’s pre-eminent prisoner of conscience.”
Manning is the Army private accused of leaking the documents that WikiLeaks has been publishing with other media outlets. He is now being held in the Marine Brig in Quantico in very abusive conditions. I am writing you to urge you to take action in his defense.
Manning has not been convicted of anything. He has not even gone to trial, yet he is being held in solitary confinement. He has not even been allowed a real pillow or blanket. He is allowed to exercise for one hour a day, but he is in shackles and goes to another small room where he does figure 8’s. He is not allowed to exercise in his 6 by 12 foot cell. He is awakened at 5 every morning and not allowed to sleep during the day.
Last week, the Brig Commander abused his discretion further and put Manning on suicide watch even though the brigs psychiatrist said he did not need it. This meant for two days Manning only had his boxer shorts – not even permitted his glasses – and remained in his cell for 24 hours. It has been reported that a superior in the Marines said the Brig Commander did not have the authority to require suicide watch, that could only be done by a psychiatrist.
A former commander of Quantico has written a letter to the current commander criticizing Manning’s conditions. Indeed, he asks why a member of the Army is even being held in a Marine brig?
Manning is not being treated like a normal prisoner. He is being treated to cruel and unusual punishment. Rather than pre-trial detention, this is pre-trial punishment.
Last week Robert Gibbs was asked about Manning at a White House briefing. He said he had not heard any talk of him but would check. Now, we want you to help us bring this issue to the attention of President Obama, Attorney General Holder and Secretary of Defense Gates. Please send a letter today. Click here to send a letter now.
While many see Manning as a traitor, even if that were true it does not justify pre-trial torture. Others see Manning as a patriot. He is not accused of giving documents to Iran, China or Russia. He is accused of giving them to the media so Americans can see what U.S. foreign policy is doing. He is not accused of trying to become rich by selling the documents. He gave them for free, allegedly, because he wanted to see a debate on U.S. foreign policy so the United States could live up to its highest expectations. He wanted to make the United States better. That is not treason, it is patriotism.
Thank you for taking action. Manning allegedly leaked these documents for us. We need to stand with Bradley.