Friday, March 18, 2011

US State Department Official Philip Crowley Forced To Resign After Criticizing Treatment Of Manning

By Jerry Smith Mar 18 2011

Philip J. Crowley (PJ), the US state department’s chief spokesperson and assistant secretary of state for public affairs, was forced to resigned Sunday after he made comments to a small audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday condemning the conditions US soldier Bradley Manning is being kept in.

Manning is accused of leaking the embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the 'Collateral Murder' video to WikiLeaks and is being is held at the Quantico marine corps base in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in a windowless 6-by-12-foot cell, shackled and forced to sleep naked due to supposed fears that he may commit suicide.

The Department of Defense (DoD) insists that they are adhering to U.S. laws and Pentagon policy in their treatment of Manning, which they say includes keeping him in solitary confinement and the requirement that he have no clothing during sleeping hours because he is on suicide watch.

According to the DoD, Manning has now been given a garment to sleep in at night.

Amnesty International has said that the conditions of Manning's detention at Quantico are "harsh and punitive", and may violate his human rights.

Manning is currently facing 24 charges, but one of the more serious charges against him is 'aiding the enemy'. If found guilty Manning could spend the rest of his life behind bars or get the death penalty.

Crowley admits that the unauthorised disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under US law, but did not apologize for his comments and said:
"My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership."

"Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as assistant secretary for public affairs and spokesman for the department of state."

"The exercise of power in today's challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws."
Crowley was asked about torturing Manning in a military brig and said:
"What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don't know why the (Department of Defence) is doing it. Nevertheless, Manning is in the right place."
Manning's father has called his son's treatment "inexcusable" and "degrading".

When asked about Crowley's views U.S. President Barack Obama said:
“I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:
"It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J Crowley as assistant secretary of state for public affairs."

"PJ has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best."
Jane Hamsher from the blog FireDogLake wrote:
“With his firing of Crowley, Obama makes a mockery of his own claim to be a constitutional scholar who supports transparency in government.”
Glenn Greenwald from Salon wrote:
“Other than Obama's tolerance for the same detainee abuse against which he campaigned and his ongoing subservience to the military that he supposedly ‘commands’.”

“It is the way in which this Manning/Crowley behavior bolsters the regime of secrecy and the President's obsessive attempts to destroy whistle blowing that makes this episode so important and so telling.”
Blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote:
“By firing PJ Crowley for the offense of protesting against the sadistic military treatment of Bradley Manning, the president has now put his personal weight behind prisoner abuse. The man who once said that forced nudity was a form of torture, now takes the word of those enforcing it over a distinguished public servant.”

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