United Nations Officials Denounces Obama Administration For Denying Access to Bradley Manning

A senior United Nations official is condemning a country’s refusal to allow the UN to speak to an alleged whistleblower being abused by the government. The same government recently fired a high-ranking official who denounced the treatment of the whistleblower and has openly defied international treaties requiring the prosecution of officials responsible for a torture program. Syria? Iran? China? Of course not. It is the United States of America and the administration of Barack Obama.

UN envoy, Juan Mendez, unleashed the criticism this week over the continuing refusal of the Obama Administration to give him access to private Bradley Manning, the American soldier who is accused of being the WikiLeaks source. Mendez stated “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.”

The United States of course routinely demands other countries give access to UN investigators and Red Cross officials. The Bush Administration first blocked the Red Cross at Gitmo and then ignored its findings after it was given access. Now the Obama Administration is blocking the UN investigators.

Source: Guardian

59 thoughts on “United Nations Officials Denounces Obama Administration For Denying Access to Bradley Manning

  1. Isn’t it true that the UN has requested a private conversation with Manning? And isn’t it also true that private conversations are limited, per rules, to counsel and command? Has the UN not requested a meeting other than a private conference? Please advise.

  2. Where in the U. S. Constitution is the United Nations authorized to criticize the United States of America?

  3. Back in the day … in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, one of the factors that played into the colonists’ dissatisfaction with the King was the expansion of what was called the “Vice-Admiralty courts”. There trials were held without juries and the King’s Ministers managed to expand these courts jurisdiction through acts of Parliament during the Sugar and Stamp Act periods that allowed charges, heretofore tried in Jury Trials (Common-Law ) to be moved to the Vice-Admiralty courts.

    Unlike Common-Law courts, defendants in Vice-Admiralty courts were assumed guilty until proven innocent. Failure to appear as commanded resulted in an automatic guilty verdict. The Currency Act of 1764 established a “super” Vice-Admiralty court in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This court had jurisdiction from the Floridas to Newfoundland and the judge was appointed and sent directly from England. It was to be used on occasions when officials felt that the local courts might rule against them. This court could be used not only to prosecute, but to persecute those thought to be enemies of Great Britain. Imagine that you lived in one of the Carolinas or Virginia and found yourself commanded to appear at this “super” court. You had to get yourself there at your own expense and if your didn’t make it, well the automatic guilty verdict was declared.

    The colonists saw this move, the denial of their right to jury trials by their peers, as one more way in which England was denying them their rights as subjects of the King and why they needed to dump the King.

    I mention this only because … well, I’m certain you all get the point

  4. Blouise,
    Well said. The Gitmo trials are kangaroo courts designed to convict. This latest attempt for a UN official to visit Manning is one more example that Pvt. Manning is being punished for his “crimes” even before he has a trial. Swarthmore Mom, Great link. One of the recent additions to that list was Lawrence Tribe who was Obama’s con law professor at Harvard and until recently was an advisor to Obama.
    Mr. Peatmoss,
    Congressman Kucinich was also denied a visit. If independent parties are unable to visit him without restraint, the truth will never come out. Kucinich’s committee has oversight on this matter and he was not allowed to confidential visit. What is DOD afraid of?

  5. Monday, Apr 11, 2011

    Manning, Obama and U.S. moral leadership
    by Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/04/11/manning/index.html

    For that reason, as The Guardian reports this morning, a letter signed by “more than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars” that “includes leading figures from all the top US law schools, as well as prominent names from other academic fields” — featuring “Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law”; who “taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign”; and “joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago” — not only denounces Manning’s detention but also the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner’s personal responsibility for it:

    [Tribe] told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia. . . . Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences”.

    The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations’ rapporteur on torture. . . .

    The intervention of Tribe and hundreds of other legal scholars is a huge embarrassment to Obama, who was a professor of constitutional law in Chicago. Obama made respect for the rule of law a cornerstone of his administration, promising when he first entered the White House in 2009 to end the excesses of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. . . .

    The protest letter, published in the New York Review of Books, was written by two distinguished law professors, Bruce Ackerman of Yale and Yochai Benkler of Harvard. They claim Manning’s reported treatment is a violation of the US constitution, specifically the eighth amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and the fifth amendment that prevents punishment without trial.

    In a stinging rebuke to Obama, they say “he was once a professor of constitutional law, and entered the national stage as an eloquent moral leader. The question now, however, is whether his conduct as commander in chief meets fundamental standards of decency.”

    end excerpt

  6. “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are,” Obama said. “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

    Combine with . . .

    “[T]he Arab League asked the ‘United Nations to shoulder its responsibility … to impose a no-fly zone over the movement of Libyan military planes and to create safe zones in the places vulnerable to airstrikes.’

    The Obama administration welcomed the decision, which White House spokesman Jay Carney said ‘strengthens the international pressure on Gadhafi and support for the Libyan people.’ He said the United States will prepare for all contingencies and coordinate with allies.”

    Contrast with . . .

    The blatant disregard the U.S. has shown under both the leaderships of Bush and Obama concerning U.N. Treaties governing both human rights and the treatment of prisoners in the case of Bradley Manning and the handling of the Gitmo debacle.

    Is it any wonder that whatever moral high ground the U.S. used to occupy in the international community has been rendered down to a bad joke and the rightful comparison of Obama to Bush for both their Janus-like positions and their obvious capitulations to the commands of the wealthy over the their duties to not just the citizens of the U.S., but to all the citizens of the world?

    Double-speaking law breaker is as double-speaking law breaker does, Barry.

    I’m so proud to be an American under the leadership of the past two administrations.

    That last bit was sarcasm, just in case you hard of understanding pols didn’t catch that.

  7. I think if you were blindfold and had someone read headlines and highlights of news stories from around the world and what the citizens of different countries were going through and not mention the names of the different countries or the people involved you’d be hard pressed IMHO tell what country you may be hearing about.

  8. anon nurse, rafflaw,

    The DOD is afraid of the security breach(s) being exposed…. I understand that a person with a rudimentary computer eduction can hack into it…. The info leaked by manning was not that secure to being with and was available and obtained by just putting his password in….

  9. Dear Rafflaw:

    I wish the truth would come out, but that would show that Manning is being treated in accordance with regulations that befit his status, and many other accused military personnel are being held under the exact same conditions per the regulations. If you wish to change the regulations, be my guest, but please include Manning in a class action of sorts along with all other prisoners who, like Manning, are being held per the regulations.

    If I were either the UN or Kucinich I would apply, per the regulations for a visit that would be in accordance with the regulations.

    I don’t think the DOD is hiding anything. Manning has a good lawyer, and his many complaints have been widely publicized.

  10. Mr. Mendez is absolutely correct.

    We should be rightly laughed at any time the U.S. gets on its soap box and condemns other countries for doing exactly what we are doing.

  11. Mr. Peatmoss,
    Manning has a good lawyer, but he has yet been unable to get his status corrected to not include the suicide prevention that DOD claims is necessary. Of course, the prison psychologists and shrinks have stated on numerous occasions, in writing, that he is not a suicide risk, but the status remains. When the Brig can ignore their own experts, something is wrong. If the regulations need to be followed to the letter for the visits, why aren’t the regulations being followed as to the shrinks recommendations?

  12. anon nurse,

    What could be worse than getting caught with your breaches down?

    Other than being caught red-handed breaking the law?

    Oh. Wait.

    Nevermind.

  13. Well Dredd,

    If it does not happen to you does it really happen? What is an illusion…What is real……..Ride My Seesaw….

  14. Rafflaw:

    From what I understand, Manning was only on Suicide Watch for about seven days, which was partially caused by Manning himself making a comment about committing suicide. He is currently on POI (Prevention of Injury) status which is siginificantly different. The Brig Commander may be overly cautious, I admit, but he is charged with bringing a live person to court someday. If you were the Commander would you act any differently, considering there was a suicide of a prisoner in the not too distant past? Consider the fact that if Manning were with other prisoners that his life might be in danger from other inmates who might pre-judge him based on allegations, and take matters into their own hands. POI considerations would also protect Manning from others, not just himself.

  15. Mr. Peatmoss,
    He is not listening to his experts and yes, I would take him off the prevention of injury status. It is a no brainer, unless you are getting orders from above. There is no way the Brig commander would be deciding these issues, with this prisoner, without orders from the Pentagon. Your fear mongering is obvious and unnecessary. The commander may be following his orders, but they are not following the law. This Private has not been tried and convicted. I will agree with Prof. Lawrence Tribe and the other law professors on the list that signed the letter decrying the unconstitutional treatment he is being forced to suffer through.

  16. I keep following the complete breakdown of the rule of law in our nation. It should be noted that Omar Kadhr, a child soldier is being kept at Gitmo in conditions that also amount to torture. Further, only a few days ago the US govt. admitted to the existence of secret prisons in Afghanistan. People that have been released from these prisons claim they were tortured in them. “A new investigation by journalist Anand Gopal reveals harrowing details about US secret prisons in Afghanistan, under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Gopal interviewed Afghans who were detained and abused at several disclosed and undisclosed sites at US and Afghan military bases across the country. He also reveals the existence of another secret prison on Bagram Air Base that even the Red Cross does not have access to. It is dubbed the Black Jail and is reportedly run by US Special Forces”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/2/americas_secret_afghan_prisons_investigation_unearths

    We must do something. There is no functioning govt. in the US. The govt. is committing war crimes, crimes against the environment, financial crimes against everyone in the middle, working and poor classes and we the people are too often turning away, unwilling to criticize, let alone take direct peaceful action to stop all this harm. This is our nation at stake. This is the lives of others. It doesn’t matter that a Democrat is the current tyrant, it matters that we have a tyrant at all. It mattered under Bush and it matters under Obama. It matters in the House and the Senate. Other people’s lives have to matter to us.

    We need massive peaceful resistance right now, not in 2012, right now. I cannot warn of the danger everyone is facing enough. This govt. isn’t functioning in a lawful manner. As citizens we should not allow the govt. to engage in these unlawful actions. Please stand up, no matter if you are a partisan, because there is something much greater than loyalty to a party. That is loyalty to the best of what one’s nation is and most importantly, it is loyalty to the lives of others–that they be not destroyed because of our inaction and unwillingness to take a stand.

  17. Q: “Where in the U. S. Constitution is the United Nations authorized to criticize the United States of America?”

    A: The 1st Amendment

  18. Rafflaw:

    I have been accused of many things in my day, but “Fear Mongering? Never. Exactly how do I monger fear? Further, my experience is that when an opponent resorts to ad hominem, it is a concession that they lost the argument.

    As for a “no brainer” on changing Manning’s status, your speculation on orders from above is just that. Any evidence you care to offer? Due process will get you a hearing and Mannings complaints about his conditions have been heard and denied. Due process does not mean you get an automatic ruling in your favor.

  19. seamus, they do not even need the First Amendment. Anyone abroad can criticize any country. Even the ones with repressive regimes. Same way we can criticize anyone from China to some island nation no one ever heard of.

    Sometimes we not only criticize but invade them as well.

  20. Rafflaw:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about Tribe and 250 legal scholars. Their letter was based on “reports”. I’d be happy to debate them all with the arguments I have submitted above. If you can prove me wrong on substance or reasoning, please do.

  21. Wilbur J. Peatmoss

    Your suggestion: “If I were either the UN or Kucinich I would apply, per the regulations for a visit that would be in accordance with the regulations.” is easy enough to check.

    Here is a quote from Kucinich on March 3rd with a link to the actual interview:

    “That’s right. I put in a request to the Secretary of Defense who referred me to the Secretary of the Army who referred me to the Secretary of Navy who referred me to the Secretary of Defense and still not an answer on whether or not I can visit. (http://dissentradio.com/radio/11_03_11_kpfk_kucinich.mp3)

    And here is a posting from Manning’s atty. which details the reasons given for denying visits by DOD:

    “07 april 2011

    Brig Fails to Follow Its Own Rules
    Over the past few weeks, the defense has been working to facilitate an official visit for Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Mr. Juan Mendez (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture), and a representative from Amnesty International. Despite multiple inquires from the defense and the interested parties, the Quantico Brig and the Government have denied the requests for an “official visit.”

    The Quantico Brig Order P1640.1C, paragraph 3.17 allows two types of visitors for a detainee, “authorized” and “official.” The difference between them is described here in the Brig rule. The defense maintains that the critical distinction between the two is that official visits are privileged and not subject to Brig monitoring.

    Government’s position is that the above individuals are not entitled to an official visit because none of these individuals are conducting “official government business.” Because the Government refuses to allow these visits to take place as an official visit, it indicates that it will generously interpret the provisions with respect to “authorized visits.” In particular, it will permit an authorized visit with PFC Manning despite the fact that none of these individuals had “established a proper relationship with the prisoner prior to confinement” as required under the Brig rule. Such an authorized visit, of course, will be subject to Brig monitoring and can be used as evidence against PFC Manning in a court-martial proceeding.
    posted by army court-martial defense specialist at 11:24 am”
    (http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info/2011/04/brig-fails-to-follow-its-own-rules.html)

    Sounds to me as if regulations are being followed by everybody except the DOD.

  22. Not sure what is more absurd:

    1) U.S. denying U.N. access to Manning; or

    2) The deafening silence in response to the U.N. being denied access to Manning.

  23. Mr. Peatmoss,
    with all due respect, my money is on Tribe due to his knowledge and the facts are on his side. The reports that you denigrate come from his attorney. You stated earlier that his attorney was good, but now you are suggesting that the reports, many from that same attorney, are false or bogus.
    Blouise,
    Great link. The DOD does not want any official visits because the truth will come out. I will apply the birther standard here. If there is nothing to hide, why won’t they allow an official visit with a Congressman who is on a committee that has oversight in this matter or the UN envoy?

  24. rafflaw,

    The DOD needs to reassess … the foxholes they’re digging are too deep.

    Also … they need to assign better disinformation specialists … (chuckle)

  25. “Since my initial request to visit Private First Class (Pfc.) Bradley Manning on February 4, 2011, the Department of Defense (DoD) has consistently sought to frustrate any attempts to communicate with Pfc. Manning regarding his well-being.

    I or my staff have been shuffled between the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Office of Secretary Gates. I was initially told that I would need Pfc. Manning’s approval in order to meet with him. When Pfc. Manning indicated his desire to meet with me, I was belatedly informed that the meeting could only take place if it was recorded because of a Monitoring Order imposed by the military’s Special Courts-Martial Convening Authority on September 16, 2010, which was convened for the case. Confidentiality is required, however, to achieve the candor that is necessary to perform the oversight functions with which I am tasked as a Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. I was also told that I could be subpoenaed to testify about the contents of my conversation with Pfc. Manning.

    This is a clear subversion of the constitutionally protected oversight process and it severely undermines the rights of any Member of Congress seeking to gather information on the conditions of a detainee in U.S. custody.

    Though he has been held in custody since July 29, 2010, Pfc. Manning has not been convicted of any crime. His lawyer reports that he continues to be held in isolation 23 hours a day. He was also forced to strip naked at night and to stand at attention during roll call in front of other prisoners. The conditions of his treatment may violate his right to be protected from ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and punishment without trial as enshrined in the 8th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution.

    We now hear that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, was denied a private meeting with Pfc. Manning in order to determine whether the conditions of Manning’s confinement amount to torture. The very existence of a U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture investigation speaks volumes about the conditions of his treatment.

    The continued delays I have experienced amount to a subversion of Pfc. Manning’s legal rights as well as my own rights and obligations as a Member of Congress to conduct oversight. The whole world is now watching.

    What is going on with Secretary Gates and the Department of Defense with respect to Pfc. Manning’s treatment is more consistent with Kafka than the U.S. Constitution. I will not cease in my efforts to determine whether or not the conditions under which he has been held constitute torture.”

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich (find this letter at fluffington post)

  26. “ONER: I’m not aware. I don’t know. I’d have to look into that. But in terms of the UN special rapporteur, we’ve had conversations with him. We have ongoing conversations with him. But in terms of access to Manning, that’s something for the Department of Defense.

    MOHAMMED: If you welcome scrutiny, where’s the harm?

    TONER: I said we’re having conversations with him. We’re trying to work with him to meet his needs. But I don’t understand the question.

    MOHAMMED: Well, you said you welcome scrutiny from outsiders of the United States human rights record –

    TONER: Right. We do.

    MOHAMMED: — that you feel that it speaks to the strength of the U.S. system. So why does it take very lengthy conversations to agree to let a UN special rapporteur have access to an inmate?

    TONER: Well, again, for the specific visitation requests, that’s something that Department of Defense would best answer. But look, we’ve been very clear that there’s a legal process underway. We’ve been forthright, I think, in talking about Private – PFC Manning’s situation. We are in conversations, ongoing conversations with the special rapporteur. We have nothing to hide. But in terms of an actual visit to Manning, that’s something that DOD would handle.

    LEE: Well, but you have conveyed messages from DOD back to the UN on this?

    TONER: Well, no. We’re just – look, we’re aware of his requests. We’re working with him.

    LEE: Can – you said you’ve been forthright in your discussions of his treatment. It seems to me that the only person who was forthright in discussions of his treatment resigned several days after making those comments. What – can you explain what you mean by you’ve been forthright in terms of his treatment?

    TONER: He is being held in legal detention. There’s a legal process underway, so I’m not going to discuss in any more detail than what I – beyond what I’ve just said because there’s a legal process underway.

    LEE: So that’s what you mean by forthright?

    TONER: I can’t discuss – I can’t discuss his treatment.

    LEE: Being forthright is saying nothing because there’s a legal process underway; is that correct?

    TONER: That’s not correct at all. And we’ve – we continue to talk to the special rapporteur about his case.

    LEE: Well, okay. So if you’ve been – what do you talk to him about?

    TONER: I’m not going to talk about —

    LEE: He says, “I’d like to visit him and I need to do it privately,” and you say, “No,” and that’s —

    TONER: I’m not going to talk about the substance of those conversations. I’d just say we feel we’ve been —

    LEE: Well, then I don’t understand how you can say that you’re being forthright about it if you refuse to talk about it. And if you don’t talk about it, at least – forget about what the actual conditions of his treatment are, but if you’re not prepared to talk about your conversations with the special rapporteur, that’s being even less than not being forthright because you’re not telling us what you told him.” (find this exchange with a govt. official at Glenn Greenwald on twitter)

  27. rafflaw,

    It is. I hope he will keep at this. I hope everyone will keep at it because this torture is heinous.

  28. Jill,

    Fluffington Post . . . *snicker*

    I like it.

    Almost as much as I like Kucinich.

    Get ’em, Dennis!

  29. BIL,

    I can’t take credit for it, only for enjoying it and passing it along! Now here’s another kid we better get to torturing: “Incident In New Baghdad” Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival & Several Speaking Engagements

    New York, NY — Ethan McCord is a former member of U.S. Army 2-16, Bravo Company, the ground troops involved in the “Collateral Murder” video released by Wikileaks one year ago. Since then, he has become a whistleblower himself by declaring that the killing of civilians was “standard operating procedure” in Iraq, and is authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. military in all theatres of war. Ethan has been traveling with the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” (www.wearenotyoursoldiers.org) tour visiting high school classrooms educating students about the horrors of war and the lies presented by military recruiters.”

    from WarisaCrime.org

  30. Bradley Manning needs consular visit, mother tells William Hague
    Susan Manning calls on British foreign secretary to check her son’s physical and mental health in maximum security custody
    Esther Addley
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 April 2011
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/13/bradley-manning-mother-william-hague

    Excerpt:
    The mother of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking data to WikiLeaks, has written to William Hague asking for British consular officials to visit him in military prison to check on his physical and mental health, which she said was deteriorating.

    Manning, 23, has been in custody since last May in conditions that have provoked widespread criticism of the US military and government. He is held alone in a maximum security cell for 23 hours a day and stripped naked each night apart from a smock.

    Manning does not have a British passport or consider himself British, his lawyer has said, but because his mother, Susan, is Welsh, the soldier is “British by descent”, the Foreign Office confirmed this month.

    In her letter, Susan Manning wrote that she visited her son in Quantico marine base in Virginia in February, travelling with her sister, Bradley’s aunt and his uncle, “but they were not allowed to see Bradley.

    “I was very distressed by seeing Bradley. Being in prison, and being held in the conditions which he is, is having a damaging effect on him physically and mentally. I am worried that his condition is getting worse. I would like someone to visit him who can check on his conditions. If Bradley’s being a British national means that someone from the British embassy can visit him, then I would like to ask if you can make that happen. I do not believe that Bradley is in a position to be able to request this himself, so I am asking as his mother on his behalf.”

    Susan Manning, who divorced Bradley’s American father, Brian, when her son was a teenager, also asked Hague for consular support on her own behalf. “If I try [to] visit Bradley again, can someone from the British embassy help me and other members of Bradley’s family to deal with the US marine authorities and help with any other arrangements we have to make?”

  31. Buddha wrote:

    anon nurse,

    What could be worse than getting caught with your breaches down?

    Other than being caught red-handed breaking the law?

    Oh. Wait.

    Nevermind.

    ———————

    What was that you said, Buddha? Listening to a little Hannah Arendt this morning… Some lite listening…

  32. GREAT REVIEW! I agree with pretty much all you said in your post, especially at the middle of your article. Thank you, this info is very useful as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your blog:) Isabella S.

  33. Ex-NSA worker charged in leaks case honored

    SARAH BRUMFIELD, Associated Press
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Ex-NSA-worker-charged-in-leaks-case-honored-1334666.php

    Thomas Drake was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling on Wednesday by the Fertel Foundation and the Nation Institute. The organizations said he risked his career and freedom when he “exposed the ethical, budgetary and acquisition shortcomings at the NSA,” including a multibillion-dollar program that was designed to analyze communications data.

    “I have already paid a frightfully high price for being a whistleblower, but worse still lies ahead of me,” he said in a speech at the award ceremony, the first time he has spoken publicly about his circumstances since being charged. “I now stand before you as a criminal defendant with my own life and liberty very much at stake.”

    Drake said the government is making whistleblowing a crime, but he won’t “live in silence to cover for the government’s sins.”

    He is charged with violating espionage laws without being accused of spying. Instead, he’s accused of shredding documents, deleting files from his computer and lying to investigators. His trial is set to begin in June in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

    Drake was charged after an investigation into leaks of classified information to a newspaper. His supporters claim he’s being punished for blowing the whistle on inefficiencies and mismanagement at the NSA.

    “My case is centered on a government prosecution bent not on serving justice, but on meting out retaliation, reprisal and retribution for the purpose of relentlessly punishing a whistleblower,” he said. “Furthermore, my case is one that sends a chilling message to would-be whistleblowers: Not only can you lose your job, but also your very freedom.”

    Federal prosecutors declined through a spokeswoman to comment on Drake’s remarks.

    Drake’s “real crime” was complaining, said Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group. He reported his concerns to bosses, Congress and the Department of Defense Inspector General, which vindicated his concerns, she said.

    “Tom Drake went through all the proper channels, but it made no difference,” Radack said. “He is still facing 35 years in jail.”

    At Wednesday’s luncheon ceremony at the National Press Club, the organizations also awarded the Ridenhour Courage Prize to former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold for a career “valuing principle over political expediency.”

    end excerpt

  34. More international condemnation. Keep it coming everyone!

    “German Parliament Writes to Obama About Abuse of Bradley Manning
    Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 2011-04-14 12:12

    On April 12th, the Human Rights Commission of the German Parliament (Bundestag) wrote to President Obama criticizing the treatment of Bradley Manning. On April 14th, they issued a press statement and published the letter to Obama on the Website of the German Parliament.

    Press Release:
    http://www.bundestag.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/2011/pm_1104132.html

    Letter:
    http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ausschuesse17/a17/brief_obama.pdf
    (at WarisaCrime.org)

  35. It was just announced that Manning is being transferred to Ft. Leavenworth and will be in the general population! It looks like someone in the Pentagon or the White House, is reading Prof. Turley’s blog!! :)

  36. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/04/19/us/politics/AP-US-US-WikiLeaks-Army-Private.html?_r=2&hp

    WikiLeaks Suspect Being Moved Out of Quantico

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: April 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army private suspected of giving classified data to WikiLeaks is being moved to a state-of-the-art facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where Pentagon officials said more extensive mental, emotional and physical health care will be available.

    Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, said the move does not suggest that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., was inappropriate.

    But the transfer, which Johnson described as “imminent”, comes in the wake of international criticism about Manning’s treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico. And the conditions of Manning’s detention have been the focus of repeated protests from human rights groups and lawmakers.

    Johnson, however, said that “The fact that we have made a decision to transfer this particular pretrial confine … should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before.”

    Speaking to reporters Tuesday during a hastily arranged briefing, Johnson and Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal acknowledged that the brig at Quantico was not designed to hold pretrial detainees for more than a few months.

    “This is the right decision, at the right time,” said Westphal. “We were looking at a situation where he would need an environment more conducive for a longer detention.”

    The new facility, they said, will be more open, have more space, and Manning will have a greater opportunity to eat and interact with other prisoners there. They added that the move was in Manning’s best interest because Leavenworth’s Joint Regional Correctional Facility has a broader array of facilities, including trained mental, emotional and physical health staff.

    Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, who is in charge of the medium-security detention facility at Leavenworth, said Manning will undergo a comprehensive evaluation upon his arrival to assess whether he is a risk to his own or others’ safety. The 150 inmates there — including eight who are awaiting trial — are allowed three hours of recreation per day, she said, and three meals a day in a dining area.

    She said the facility, which opened in January, is designed for long-term detention of pretrial inmates. Officials agreed that Manning’s case, which involves hundreds of thousands of highly sensitive and classified documents, is very complex and could drag on for months, if not years.

    Johnson said that Manning, who has been at Quantico for more than eight months, can be moved now because his interview in the Washington region to determine his competency to stand trial has been completed. That interview lasted one day and was done April 9.

    Johnson also said he believes that Manning’s lawyer was told about the move Tuesday. The lawyer, David Coombs, did not respond to a request for comment.

    Manning faces nearly two dozen charges, including aiding the enemy, a crime that can bring the death penalty or life in prison.

    His transfer to Leavenworth comes a bit more than a week after a U.N. torture investigator complained that he was denied a request to make an unmonitored visit to Manning. Pentagon officials said he could meet with Manning, but it is customary to give only the detainee’s lawyer confidential visits.

    The U.N. official, Juan Mendez, said a monitored conversation would be counter to the practice of his U.N. mandate.

    A few days later, a committee of Germany’s parliament protested about Manning’s treatment to the White House. And Amnesty International has said Manning’s treatment may violate his human rights.

    Human rights activists have also staged protests near the Quantico facility.

    Tom Parker, a policy director at Amnesty International, said Tuesday that it would be good if the military was responding to concerns about Manning’s detention.

    “The conditions that he was reported to be held in at Quantico were extremely harsh and could have damaged his mental health,” said Parker.

    Manning has been held in maximum security in a single-occupancy cell at Quantico, and he is allowed to wear only a suicide-proof smock to bed each night.

    At least part of that will not change, Hilton said, noting that all of the pretrial detainees at the Leavenworth facility are held alone in their cells.

    President Barack Obama and senior military officials have repeatedly contended that Manning is being held under appropriate conditions given the seriousness of the charges against him.

    A former intelligence analyst, Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, confidential State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

    Army prosecutors, however, have told Manning’s lawyers that they will not recommend the death penalty.

    There are several detention facilities at Fort Leavenworth, including the military’s maximum security prison. The new 464-bed Joint Regional Correctional Facility, which opened last fall, combined the operations of several military prisons around the country.

    ___

    Associated Press National Security Correspondent Robert Burns contributed to this report.

    ___

    Online:

    Joint Regional Correctional Facility: http://www.army.mil/jrcf

  37. rafflaw,

    Just posted the above article to the today’s “Signing Statements” article. Didn’t realize until after I posted it, that you had posted the news here (and maybe elsewhere as well?). Scooped by a few hours… I’m always right on top of things… :-)

    —————————–

    From an “Out Magazine” interview with Greenwald”

    http://www.out.com/detail.asp?page=1&id=30073

    Greenwald is a fan of Julian Assange, the embattled founder of WikiLeaks, and Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old army intelligence analyst who last year sent thousands of classified Iraq war documents to WikiLeaks. Ratted out to military authorities by Adrian Lamo, a publicity-seeking blogger, Manning is now in a military prison, awaiting trial. Manning is gay, which may have led him to Lamo, who is active in the LGBT community, and possibly caused him to let his guard down during online chats with Lamo. And it has also enabled critics to depict him as unstable — a typical antiwhistleblower technique. In fact, Greenwald says of Manning, “When he talks about his motivations, he’s extremely politically insightful, astute, and thoughtful.”

    Greenwald believes Manning might have been less likely to reveal government secrets if he were straight: Gay people, because they’re already “outside the sphere of comfort,” have a “huge advantage in being willing to challenge authority,” he says, speaking from experience.

    (end excerpt)

  38. Obama on Bradly Manning:

    “He broke the law.”

    Source:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53601.html

    Additional source:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/04/obama-on-bradley-manning-he-broke-the-law/

    ****************************************

    Holy smoke. He is a Harvard trained lawyer, so how come he is pronouncing a pre-trial detainee guilty? There has been something of a firestorm in parts of the legal community about this breach of Presidential protocol as well as ignoring that little Constitutional thing about ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    Oh wait……that Constitution thing has been being used as toilet paper by Washington insiders for so long it appears it may not be worth the paper it is written on.

  39. Mar 7, 2012

    UN top torture official denounces Bradley Manning’s detention

    By Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/un_top_torture_official_denounces_bradley_mannings_detention/singleton/

    “It is remarkable that the administration of President Obama, who repeatedly railed against and vowed to end detainee abuse, first obstructed the investigation of the U.N.’s top torture investigator, only to be now harshly condemned by that investigator for “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”: treatment that endured for eight full months until the controversy became too intense to permit it to continue any longer. Last month, it was announced that Manning was one of 231 individuals officially nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by at least one person with formal nominating rights vested by the Nobel Committee. In a Guardian Op-Ed in December, I argued that the abuse of Manning was part of the larger war on whistleblowers being waged by the Obama administration, and that “for what he is alleged to have given the world, Manning deserves gratitude and a medal, not a life in prison.””

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