Laurence Tribe, the Harvard professor of Constitutional Law who was Obama's mentor at Harvard, where Obama ran the Harvard Law Review, has joined with over 250 other lawyers, calling on Obama to obey the 5th and the 8th amendments to the Constitution and to stop the pre-trial punishment of Bradley Manning. Here is their letter.
Here are some choice parts of the letter:
"Private Manning’s Humiliationand
Bradley Manning is the soldier charged with leaking U.S. government documents to Wikileaks.
He is currently detained under degrading and inhumane conditions that are illegal and immoral.
For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again, “are you OK” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a "smock" under claims of risk to himself that he disputes."
"The sum of the treatment that has been widely reported is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial. If continued, it may well amount to a violation of the criminal statute against torture, defined as, among other things, “the administration or application… of… procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.” "
"If Manning is guilty of a crime, let him be tried, convicted, and punished according to law. But his treatment must be consistent with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There is no excuse for his degrading and inhumane pre-trial punishment. As the State Department’s PJ Crowly put it recently, they are “counterproductive and stupid.” And yet Crowley has now been forced to resign for speaking the plain truth.
The Wikileaks disclosures have touched every corner of the world. Now the whole world watches America and observes what it does; not what it says."
The letter also points out that Manning has been declared not to be a suicide threat or a social problem by the prison psychiatrist several times, yet he is being held in isolation in maximum security:
"Private Manning has been designated as an appropriate subject for both Maximum Security and Prevention of Injury (POI) detention. But he asserts that his administrative reports consistently describe him as a well-behaved prisoner who does not fit the requirements for Maximum Security detention. The Brig psychiatrist began recommending his removal from Prevention of Injury months ago. These claims have not been publicly contested. In an Orwellian twist, the spokesman for the brig commander refused to explain the forced nudity “because to discuss the details would be a violation of Manning’s privacy.”"Would you like to sign the Tribe letter?
"If you'd like to add your signature, please send your name and institutional affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Signatories added below in periodic updates."
The more who sign the Tribe letter, the freer we will be.
Obama can release him on bail.
You can tell Obama that you would like him to do this. For the survival of the system we believe in. Yes, you can!