Friday, April 22, 2011

Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning Is Being Transferred : Video

By Jerry Smith Apr 22 2011

U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, who is being held at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in a windowless 6-by-12-foot cell, shackled and forced to sleep either naked or in a suicide-proof smock due to supposed fears that he may commit suicide, is getting transferred to a Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

23 year old Manning has been imprisoned at Quantico since July 2010, and is accused of leaking the embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the 'Collateral Murder' video to WikiLeaks.

Manning is currently facing over 30 charges, the most serious being 'aiding the enemy'. If he is found guilty of 'aiding the enemy', Manning could spend the rest of his life behind bars or get the death penalty.

A statement from the Army said that the prosecution team "has notified the defense that the prosecution will not recommend the death penalty."

At a press conference, Jeh Johnson, the general counsel for the Department of Defense said about Manning, his transfer, and the new facility:
"The fact that we have made a decision to transfer this particular pre-trial confine... should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before."

"Many will be tempted to interpret today's action as a criticism of the pretrial facility at Quantico. That is not the case. We remain satisfied that Private Manning's pretrial confinement at Quantico was in compliance with legal and regulatory standards in all respects."

"At this juncture of the case we have decided that the new joint correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is the most appropriate facility for Private Manning for continued pretrial detention."

"I won't say that his conditions at Quantico had nothing to do with this. What we are saying is that given the length of time he's been in pre-trial confinement at Quantico, given the point at which we are with the (investigation) process, and given what the likely period of pre-trial confinement in the future will be, we decided to take a look at whether there is another facility suitable for him at this juncture."

"It (the facility in Kansas) has the expertise and capability to provide continued long-term pre-trial confinement for Private Manning."

"The facility, which opened in October and opened a pre-trial confinement capability in January, is a state-of-the-art complex with the best and widest range of support services available to pre-trial prisoners within the Department of Defense corrections system, to include resident medical and mental-health care staff."

"Mental-health support, mental-health infrastructure was a consideration in looking at Leavenworth."

"It's fair to say it's a complex case."
Various organizations, such as Amnesty International, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and people, like former U.S. state department’s chief spokesperson Philip “P.J.” Crowley, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg have been questioning, complaining and/or protesting Manning's treatment.

A committee of Germany's parliament has also raised their concerns about Manning's treatment to the White House.

In February, Amnesty International referred to Manning's detention as "harsh and punitive" and have urged Britain to intervene on his behalf.

Crowley was forced to resigned Sunday Mar 13 after he made comments to a small audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday Mar 11 condemning the conditions Manning is being kept in, and Ellsberg was arrested with about 34 other people in mid March protesting outside the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia.

Crowley said to the audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
"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."
Click here to read more about Crowley's forced resignation.

Click here to read more about Ellsberg getting arrested and to see video of the arrests.

Crowley wrote an article for The Guardian titled 'Why I called Bradley Manning's treatment stupid'. Here are some quotes from the article:
"To be clear, Private Manning is rightly facing prosecution and, if convicted, should spend a long, long time in prison."

"I know that the 251,000 diplomatic cables included properly classified information directly connected to our national interest. The release placed the lives of activists around the world at risk."

"Julian Assange and others have suggested that the release of the cables was to expose wrongdoing. Nonsense."

"Based on 30 years of government experience, if you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in the middle of a jail cell, you have a policy in need of urgent review. The Pentagon was quick to point out that no women were present when he did so, which is completely beside the point. The issue is a loss of dignity, not modesty."

"While everyone can point to an isolated cable, taken as a whole, the cables tell a compelling story of 'rightdoing', of US diplomats engaged in 189 countries around the world, working on behalf of the American people, and serving broader interests as well. As a nation, we are proud of the story the cables tell, even as we decry their release."

"When the United States leads by example, we are not trying to win a popularity contest. Rather, we are pursuing our long-term strategic interest. The United States cannot expect others to meet international standards if we are seen as falling short. Differences become strategic when magnified through the lens of today's relentless 24/7 global media environment."
Click here to read Crowley's full article.

Also angry with the treatment Manning has been receiving is the internet group Anonymous. They have said that they are planning new computer attacks targeting government officials involved in Manning's case and will “harass” the staff at Quantico “to the point of frustration,” including a “complete communications shutdown” of its Internet and phone links.

Anonymous was calling the attack “Operation Bradical,” and demanded the following for Manning:
“Manning must be given sheets, blankets, any religious texts he desires, adequate reading material, clothes, and a ball. One week. Otherwise, we continue to dox and ruin those responsible for keeping him naked, without bedding, without any of the basic amenities that were provided even to captured Nazis in WWII.”
Click here to read more about Anonymous' support of Manning.

Last week, United Nations torture investigator, Juan Mendez, criticised the U.S. government for refusing to allow him an unmonitored visit with Manning.

Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell said in January about Manning's treatment, "He's being provided well-balanced, nutritious meals three times a day. He receives visitors and mail, and can write letters. He routinely meets with doctors as well as his attorney." Morrell also said about Manning, "Assertions... that he is being mistreated, or somehow treated differently than others, in isolation, are just not accurate."

For security reasons the Pentagon won't say exactly when Manning will be transferred, but Johnson said that it will be imminent.

Military and defense officials claim that the facility at Leavenworth in Kansas is better designed for longer stays than the facility at Quantico, and Lieutenant Colonel Dawn Hilton, the commander of the Kansas prison said:
"I have the capacity to hold not only the pretrial prisoners, but post-trial prisoners sentenced up to five years. And with that comes all the support staff that Private First Class Manning may need."

"I have a state of the art facility and I have the experienced staff. It's more than just the facility, it's the staff."

“I encourage you to come out and see how wonderful our facility is,” Hilton told reporters. She and Johnson promised tours for the media.

Army undersecretary Joseph Westphal said about Manning and his transfer:
"This is the right decision, at the right time. We were looking at a situation where he would need an environment more conducive for a longer detention."

“We just wanted to get him to a place... where his well-being and his care and his pre-trial confinement could be the very best we could provide. He is a soldier. He is our soldier. And we felt we needed to take care of that.”
According to Westphal and Johnson, Manning should be able to interact with other prisoners in the new facility and he will have access to trained mental, emotional and physical health staff.

Manning could receive up to three hours of recreation time, and may even be able to receive some visitors.

Some details about the Leavenworth facility:
"The newest Department Of Defense (DoD) correctional facility."

"It is a state-of-the-art, 464 bed, medium/minimum custody facility with a 48-bed special housing unit..."

"The mission of the Joint Regional Correctional Facility is to provide pretrial confinement and posttrial incarceration for U.S. military prisoners sentenced to up to five years of confinement."

"Each cell is a least 80 square feet, of which 35 square feet is unencumbered, usable space not taken up by furnishings or fixtures."

"All cells have a sleeping surface and mattress, a writing surface and seat, storage for personal items, and adequate storage space for clothes and personal belongings."

"Lighting in all cells is a least 20 foot-candles at desk level and in personal grooming areas, and prisoners have access to natural light by means of an opening or a window of at least three square feet between the cell and an adjacent space."

"The pretrial living area and daily activities are separate from the general population."

"Pretrial prisoners are also segregated from general population prisoners for all meals and recreation."

"Pretrial prisoners, like PFC Manning, are able to interact with each other in a common area just outside their individual cells."

"Pretrial prisoners also receive 3 hours of recreation daily and are able to watch television, read or engage in other personal activities while in their housing unit."

"During pretrial confinement, pretrial prisoners have access to religious support, medical and mental health care, personal and legal visitation, phone calls, and are authorized to write and receive mail daily."
Click here to download the pdf file of the full details of the Leavenworth facility.

"Bradley's move to Kansas will limit access to attorney, family and friends. No guarantee of better treatment," was tweeted on the WikiLeaks twitter feed.

Pete Perry, an organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network said “Leavenworth is where he should have been to begin with. Quantico is where you send someone to 'break' them."

"We don't think (the transfer) will really impact the conditions of his confinement, which is illegal and extreme," said Jeff Paterson, a spokesperson for the Bradley Manning Support Network.

The Bradley Manning Support Network are trying to raise money to pay Manning's attorney, David Coombs.

"This is a good strategic move by the Army to make it harder for his supporters to rally around him," Paterson said. "There's no question that if President Obama or the State Department wanted his detention conditions changed at Quantico, all they would have had to do is pick up the phone."

Many of Manning supporters feel that transferring Manning does not satisfy their demand that the military treat him as they would any other prisoner.

When news of Manning's transfer reached Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, he released a statement promising to get written assurances from the DoD that Manning's rights will be protected.

"Any move of Pfc. Manning does not change the underlying fact, which has not been disputed by the Department of Defense, that he has been held under conditions which may in fact constitute 'cruel and unusual punishment' in violation of the 8th amendment of the U.S. constitution," Kucinich wrote.

The U.S. government has been trying to link Manning to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an attempt to prosecute Assange in the U.S. for publishing the war documents, the classified diplomatic cables and the Collateral Murder video, they accuse Manning of giving to WikiLeaks.

In their attempts to find a link between Manning and Assange, the United States government has subpoenaed Twitter for the account information it has on subscribers “associated with WikiLeaks,” including Assange, Manning, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, US computer researcher Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch volunteer for WikiLeaks Rop Gonggrijp.

Jonsdottir, Appelbaum, and Gonggrijp have been fighting the governments request, but Assange and Manning have not contested the order. WikiLeaks and Assange felt the U.S. lacked jurisdiction "over expressive activities beyond its borders," and said they would not be taking part in the hearing.

Click here to read more about the U.S. governments attempts to get the Twitter information.

Assange, who is still under house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, Britain, will continue to fight being extradited to Sweden at a two day hearing at the High Court in London on July 12 and 13.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden where he has not been charged with anything but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.

Assange and his lawyers fear that if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the United States, where he could face torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, both, or even the death penalty.

Video from the AP of Jeh Johnson, and LT. Col. Dawn Hilton talking about Manning's transfer:

Video from CNN featuring Jeh Johnson:


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2011

    Manning is in quite the predicament.

  2. Poor Manning, at least his will hopefully be in better conditions.