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 Judged Fit To Stand Trial

Military psychiatrists have determined that Bradley is fit to stand trial. He was observed to be pausing a bit before answering questions last January when he was back in the Quantico brig, but reportedly this was overcome by antidepressants.

According to New World Liberty, reporting on a story by CBS, the army is claiming that the 11 months in solitary at Quantico were necessary so that the psychiatrists who declared Manning fit for trial could be given security clearances. Apparently the clearances for some were being held up. Some but not others. Another Army psychiatrist several times declared Manning "not a suicide risk".

So whoever it was who was holding up the security clearances for Manning's psychiatrists - this person is a player in the game. In ten more years, after computers have become 32 times more powerful, his name will be a crossword puzzle hint.

David Martin, author of the CBS story, also notes that Manning is unlikely to come to trial while the Department of Justice is still constructing its case against Julian Assange, the Wikileaks manager who has been publishing the leaked documents one by one.

That is to say, Bradley Manning is at serious risk of further long-term pre-trial detention. A quick trial, guaranteed by the Constitution, doesn't seem to be in the works.

Maybe the President should know about it...

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