The Bradley Manning Project

A prisoner accused of a crime was held from May 2010 until April 2011 in a Virginia military prison but was never brought to trial. He was being punished before trial by being held in solitary, with no prisoners in the adjacent cells to talk to. He slept under bright lights and cameras, and for some time he was forced to sleep naked. He was asked every 5 minutes if he was ok. He was required to respond, even if asleep. Done for 11 months, 23 hours a day, this is torture, and violates international law, United States law, the Constitution, and standards of human decency. Pretrial punishment is illegal.

A growing wave of outcry developed. There were arrests at Quantico's gate, a letter to the President from his mentor in Constitutional Law and 300 other lawyers. Then there was a stumble by the President. He accidentally spoke of the prisoner as if he were already convicted. A hasty press conference was called, announcing that the prisoner awaiting trial would soon be moved to a medium security cell at Fort Leavenworth. The torture was over.

How soon will this prisoner be brought to trial? How much of a case does the Army have against him? Possibly a very weak one, for it to be so long in the making. Perhaps there will be a "show trial".

Unfortunately, bringing him to a proper trial would make a public record of US violence against civilians. Machine gunners in a helicopter shot newsmen and kids who were witnessing a firefight. The prisoner is accused of exposing this crime. So he sits, waiting forever.

Or until we get him out.

His name is Bradley Manning.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bradley Manning At Leavenworth

May 3rd, 2011 - David Coombs, Bradley Manning's lawyer, writes about a typical day at Fort Leavenworth prison for Manning, who awaits trial, accused of releasing documents to WikiLeaks:
"PFC Manning is now being held in Medium Custody. He is no longer under Prevention of Injury watch and is no longer subjected to harsh pretrial confinement conditions."
"Unlike at Quantico, PFC Manning cell has a large window that provides adequate natural light. His cell also has a desk, a bed, and a toilet. The cell is approximately 80 square feet. He is provided with a normal mattress, sheets and a pillow. None of his clothing is taken away from him at night. PFC Manning is able to have all of his personal items in his cell, which include his clothing, his legal materials, books and letters from family and friends. He is also able to have a pen and paper at all times in his cell, and is able to write whenever he chooses."
Manning's cell opens onto a common area that he shares with several other inmates awaiting trial. Meals are in a cafeteria. Outdoor exercise and a library are available. His situation now seems to be a model of what is appropriate for pre-trial detention.

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