Bradley Manning gets to mingle with Fort Leavenworth prisoners

Let's put things in perspective: Bradley Manning, if he is indeed the person behind the documents released by Wikileaks, is a hero. The revelations have led to hundreds of news and feature stories in major media outlets across the planet, and given us new information and insights into what our "leaders" were doing behind closed doors. He is a hero just as Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers, was a hero to earlier generations.

Questions about his treatment in detention, which some have branded as torture, continue to be raised. Now he is to be moved from Quantico to Ft. Leavenworth. Government officials deny that this is because his conditions of detention at Quantico were criticized, saying that his needs as a prisoner can be better handled in this high-security federal lockup.

But I think there is great reason for concern. This chilling passage in the Washington Post story linked to above is just one example of what I mean:

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.

I don't know about you, but the opportunity to mingle with the other prisoners at Ft. Leavenworth doesn't sound like an improvement in conditions for someone accused of a strictly political crime and who is still innocent in the eyes of the law.

A number of organizations have been active in defending Bradley Manning, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich has been particularly vocal about his case. Here is the latest statement from Kucinich on the move to Ft. Leavenworth. At the very least, the Obama administration knows that we are paying very close attention to how Bradley Manning is treated.

Kucinich Responds to Defense Department Moving Pfc. Bradley Manning to a Maximum Security Prison at Fort Leavenworth

Demands Written Assurances of Protection of Rights and of Person

Washington D.C. (April 19, 2011) - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement in response to a report by the Associated Press that the Department of Defense will move Private First Class Bradley Manning from Marine Corp Base Quantico to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, a maximum security prison.

"Absolutely nothing the Department of Defense has done so far with respect to Pfc. Manning provides any assurance that his basic human and constitutional rights are being protected. The Department of Defense has refused to provide timely answers to even the most basic questions and have thus far refused to allow me to meet with him.

"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.

"I will demand assurances in writing from the highest levels of the Department of Defense that moving Pfc. Manning will ensure his rights are better protected than they were when he was at Marine Corp Base Quantico and he will be kept safe under all circumstances.

"I will continue my demands that the Department of Defense grant my legitimate request to meet with Pfc. Bradley Manning to fulfill my oversight responsibilities as a member of Congress and a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The American people demand accountability," said Kucinich.

More on why we owe thanks to Bradley Manning. Earlier this week Foreign Policy published a piece by Colum Lynch exposing what it calls the "heavy-handed" attempts by the U.S. to help Israel at the United Nations, mostly behind the scenes of course--including attempts to prevent the Goldstone report from being forwarded to the Hague. The source for the story: Wikileaks cables.

Wave of vandalism hits non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel. So reports Haaretz. Ultra-Orthodox youth apparently responsible. Welcome to the Jewish state, where little Nazis decide who is Jewish.

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Michael Balter said…
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