The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
PFC Bradley Manning moving from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Today it was announced that PFC Bradley Manning will be moving from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The first document below was posted by Manning's attorney. The second report is from the BBC, and the third document is from the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Why Was PFC Manning Moved to Fort Leavenworth?
Like many others, the defense first learned of PFC Manning's move to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by reading that a government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, leaked the information to the Associated Press. The defense was not officially notified of PFC Manning's pending move until twenty minutes before the Pentagon's press briefing. This is despite the fact that the Pentagon has "been thinking about this for a while." Although the news of the move came as a surprise to the defense, the timing did not.
The defense recently received reliable reports of a private meeting held on 13 January 2011, involving high-level Quantico officials where it was ordered that PFC Manning would remain in maximum custody and under prevention of injury watch indefinitely. The order to keep PFC Manning under these unduly harsh conditions was issued by a senior Quantico official who stated he would not risk anything happening "on his watch." When challenged by a Brig psychiatrist present at the meeting that there was no mental health justification for the decision, the senior Quantico official issuing the order responded, "We will do whatever we want to do." Based upon these statements and others, the defense was in the process of filing a writ of habeas corpus seeking a court ruling that the Quantico Brig violated PFC Manning's constitutional right to due process. See United States ex. rel. Accardi v. Shaughnessy, 74 S.Ct. 499 (1954) (violation of due process where result of board proceeding was predetermined); United States v. Anderson, 49 M.J. 575 (N.M. Ct. Crim. App. 1998) (illegal punishment where Marine Corps had an unwritten policy automatically placing certain detainees in MAX custody). The facts surrounding PFC Manning's pretrial confinement at Quantico make it clear that his detention was not "in compliance with legal and regulatory standards in all respects" as maintained at the Pentagon press briefing.
While the defense hopes that the move to Fort Leavenworth will result in the improvement of PFC Manning's conditions of confinement, it nonetheless intends to pursue redress at the appropriate time for the flagrant violations of his constitutional rights by the Quantico confinement facility.
Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning moved to new prison
Pte Manning The US soldier accused of leaking a trove of secret government documents later published by the Wikileaks website is to be moved to a military prison in Kansas, officials have said.
Private First Class Bradley Manning has been held pending court martial at a Marine Corps base in Virginia.
His transfer comes amid international concern over his treatment.
His supporters say he has been confined to a cell for 23 hours a day and forced regularly to undress.
Last week, UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said US officials had blocked his requests for unmonitored visits to Pte Manning, in part aimed at determining whether he had been mistreated.
Defence department general counsel Jeh Johnson: "Fort Leavenworth is the most appropriate facility for Private Manning"
At a press conference at the Pentagon on Tuesday, defence department general counsel Jeh Johnson said Pte Manning would be moved imminently to a pre-trial jail at Fort Leavenworth, in the Mid-western US state of Kansas.
Mr Johnson and other military officials said the Fort Leavenworth jail - which was opened in January - was better equipped to handle long-term pre-trial stays than the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia.
Among other things, the Fort Leavenworth jail has better mental health support and, should officials permit it, better exercise facilities and more opportunities for interaction with other detainees, officials said.
"We have assessed this is in Pte Manning's best interest to move him at this juncture in the case," Mr Johnson said.
"All things considered, we concluded that going forward this is the best facility for him."
Mr Johnson said the transfer should not be interpreted as a criticism of Pte Manning's treatment at Quantico, though he acknowledged senior defence officials had been involved in the process.
Pte Manning's civilian lawyer David Coombs has said the soldier has been under 24-hour surveillance and has been forced to relinquish his clothing before bedding down for the night, then forced to stand naked at roll call.
Officials have repeatedly denied Pte Manning has been mistreated, although last month a top US state department official, spokesman PJ Crowley, resigned after saying the military's treatment of the Wikileaks suspect was "ridiculous and counterproductive".
Pte Manning, an intelligence analyst who joined the US Army in 2007, is suspected of leaking 720,000 diplomatic and military documents, including a database of military records from the Iraq war, Afghan war records, classified diplomatic cables and other materials.
In the past year, Wikileaks has published troves of documents it titled the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary, and reams of secret US state department cables spanning five decades.
Pte Manning has been charged with using unauthorised software on government computers to download classified information and to make intelligence available to "the enemy", and other counts related to leaking intelligence and theft of public records.
He is currently undergoing a mental health evaluation aimed at determining his competence to stand trial, officials have said.
Bradley Manning Support Network
Alleged WikiLeaks source to be moved away from attorney and DC-area backers; however, Kansas residents already preparing to spearhead support
The military and Administration has been shocked by the support Bradley Manning has garnered globally - specifically at the gates of Quantico, Virginia. Last month, 500 supporters rallied near the Marine brig where PFC Manning has been held since August 2010. "It wasn't a secret that we were preparing to rally one to two thousand for an upcoming DC-area pre-trial hearing," explains Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.
PFC Manning's transfer from Virginia to Kansas limits his access to his civilian attorney David Coombs of Rhode Island. It also severely limits visitation opportunities by his East Coast family and friends," explains attorney Kevin Zeese, an organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich declared today, "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."
Ethan McCord, Kansas resident and a former Soldier who appears in the "Collateral Murder" video that PFC Manning is accused of leaking, declares, "Bradley Manning is accused of doing nothing more than heroically telling the truth. I and many others here in Kansas are already planning support actions at Leavenworth."
"I'm concerned that the military is simply moving to further isolate PFC Manning. The idea that Quantico brig commander CWO2 Denise Barnes, without direction from above, imposed and maintained the current torturous conditions of PFC Manning's detention is ridiculous. However, we will demand that Army officials at Leavenworth finally take responsibility for correcting this ongoing injustice. I know many hold out hope for them to do so," adds Paterson.
US Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E Manning, 23-years-old, has been held in maximum and solitary-like confinement conditions since his arrest in Iraq in May 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin in June. Over 300 of America's top legal scholars have decried PFC Manning's confinement conditions as in clear violation of the US Constitution. Over 3,500 individuals have contributed over $280,000 towards PFC Manning's legal fees and related public education efforts. Over 500,000 people recently signed a statement to President Obama calling for an end to PFC Manning's torturous conditions of confinement. The Bradley Manning Support Network is dedicated to winning the freedom of PFC Manning.
During a fundraiser event for President Obama a table of supporters held up signs and chanted "Free Bradley Manning!"
-- Gary Wright II
I've written several blog entries on this topic. To read more, visit our page devoted to PFC Bradley Manning .