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Peace and Justice Groups Ask Military to End Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning


By davidswanson - Posted on 12 January 2011

January 12, 2011

Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20318-9999

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400

Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000

Colonel Daniel J. Choike, Base Commander
Marine Corps Base Quantico
3250 Catlin Avenue
Quantico, VA 22134-5000

Dear Adm. Mullen, Gen. Casey, Gen. Amos, Col. Choike,

The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned about the inhumane treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime, and yet has been subjected to six months of solitary confinement with no known end date. It has been reported by his attorney and a visitor that Manning's mental health is suffering from this cruelty, which serves no known judicial purpose and could result in Manning being found unfit to stand trial.

Your conduct, as judged by the information available to the public, appears to be in clear violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty to which the United States is a party and which is therefore, under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. The treaty is also enforced by US Code Title 18, Part I, CHAPTER 113C.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that "No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence." The same UCMJ bans cruel and unusual punishments following convictions.

We urge you to come into immediate compliance with the law. As a U.S. citizen and as a member of the U.S. military, Bradley Manning has legal rights that are being grossly violated. If you have reclassified Manning as an enemy in some sort of war, the same is true. The US Code bans war crimes, defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party. The following are a few examples of the rights you are bound by the Supreme Law of the Land to respect for prisoners of war:

-Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated.
-The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical attention required by their state of health.
-Prisoners shall have opportunities for taking physical exercise, including sports and games, and for being out of doors. Sufficient open spaces shall be provided for this purpose in all camps.

This is not to suggest that Bradley Manning could rightly be considered some kind of Prisoner of War, but under international treaties which the U.S. has signed, EVEN POWs are guaranteed certain rights now being ignored in the case of Manning, a citizen of the United States. Manning is, in fact, being subjected to treatment almost certain to cause permanent psychological damage. Please see the enclosed letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility to Robert Gates re. Bradley Manning on January 3, 2011. The following steps should, at a minimum, be taken immediately to mitigate the damage and increase the likelihood of Manning being capable of assisting in his own defense. He should be permitted:

-Lifting of the baseless POI (prevention of injury) status that allows guards to harass him with inquiries
-Extensive daily interaction with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-His meals in a common area with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-Nightly sleep undisturbed by light, noise, or interruption
-Sleep during daytime as desired
-Normal blankets
-Sight at all times of daylight or night's darkness
-Exercise in his cell anytime he wants
-At least three hours outside each day, and access to basic exercise and sports equipment
-Whatever reading material he wants

Please contact us to discuss this matter further at david at davidswanson dot org

Sincerely,

Backbone Campaign, Bill of Right Defense Committee, CodePink, Courage to Resist, DC Bill of Rights Coalition, DC National Lawyers Guild, Defending Dissent Foundation, Democrats.com, Friends of Human Rights, Jobs for Afghans, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Tackling Torture at the Top - subcommittee of Women Against Military Madness, United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace, WarIsALie.org, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait

Background.

The tens of thousands of innocent people incarcerated at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Base, scores of secret prisons throughout the world, and our outsourced torture chambers around the globe also deserve justice. They have the same human rights as Bradley Manning, even though they don't have the now famous rosy-cheeked, all-American-looking service picture.

As Stalin said, One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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