Friday, November 30, 2012

Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning Support Network []
Courage to Resist [] [510-488-3559]

We Stand With Bradley Manning!
Blowing the Whistle on War Crimes IS NOT A CRIME!
In late May 2010, Private First Class Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst with the US Army in Baghdad, was arrested, suspected of providing the “Collateral Murder” video to WikiLeaks, showing USA soldiers killing journalists and civilians. On June 6, 2010, he was charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including eight criminal offenses and four noncriminal violations of Army regulations.  
Bradley Manning, a 24-year-old Army Intelligence analyst, faces life in prison for allegedly sharing a video of a US helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded two children in Baghdad, Iraq with the Wikileaks website. Bradley Manning has also been charged with blowing the whistle on the "Iraq War Logs", the "Gitmo Files", and the embarrassing US State Department cables. In short, he's being charged with telling us the truth.
The documents that Bradley Manning has been charged with releasing have added signifigantly to public knowledge of war crimes, civilian casualties, and government corruption. Some of the released cables have contributed to recent pro-democratic protests globally.
If the US government demands to use our tax dollars and our children to fight these wars, then we demand full disclosure of the facts of these wars being fought in our names. We demand that the government stop the misinformation, and we honor heroes who fight for transparency.
Until his transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Bradley Manning was held in isolation and endured illegal pre-trial punishment at the Quantico Marine brig. Sadistically, he was kept naked in a cold cell at night. Due to protests, his conditions improved. He now faces life in prison at a ilitary court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland. the real enemy of our government's policies abroad is public opinion at home.

Say "Yes! I will stand with Bradley Manning!"
Take Action!
* Sign the petition "We Stand With Brad"
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Make a tax-deductible donation to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund []
Bradley Manning Defense Fundis hosted by Courage to Resist in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network. the fund is responsible for paying the expense of Bradley Manning's selected civilian legal team, along with public education efforts. Courage to Resist is a program of the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ), a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.
Make checks payable to "Courage to Resist / AFGJ"
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2013-06-04 "Leaving Truth Outside at Bradley Manning's Trial"
by Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright from "Common Dreams" []:
"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair." –H.L. Mencken
It was an early morning, getting out to Ft. Meade, Maryland by 7am to join the group of hearty activists standing out in the rain, greeting the journalists coming into the Bradley Manning hearing with chants of “Whistleblowing is not a crime, Free Bradley Manning.” The activists, many with groups like The Bradley Manning Support Committee, Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK and Iraq Vets Against the War, had come from all over the country to show support for Manning during the upcoming weeks of the trial.
After a stint at the bullhorn, we got into the car to drive onto the base and get on line to try to get into the courtroom or the overflow room. With Ann Wright’s retired military ID, we got to bypass the long line of cars snaking around the checkpoint and breeze right in. About a dozen people were already on line, in the rain. Some were well-known characters, like professor Cornel West, author Chris Hedges, lawyer Michael Ratner and ACLU lawyer Ben Wisner; others were individuals who had come from as far away as Ireland and Mexico to support Manning.
It’s great that court martial trials are open to the public. But it’s absurd that this epic trial is being held in a tiny courtroom that only fits a total of 50 people. “It’s a trial of the century being conducted in a shoebox,” complained attorney Michael Ratner. Only 16 spaces were allocated to the public; the rest had to go to an overflow theatre that seated about 100, or a trailer next to the courtroom with room for 35. The press had a separate room where they could bring their computers and phones, although they were not allowed to transmit anything during the trial—just during the breaks.
Going through security for the courtroom, we were not allowed to bring any electronics. And there was a bit of a dust-up around t-shirts: some people with slogans on their shirts were made to turn them inside out, while others escaped the censors. It seems that “LOVE”, “Peace” and “Stay Human” could sneak by, but “TRUTH” and “Free Bradley” didn’t make it.
Once inside, we immediately saw the back of Bradley Manning’s shaved head, and his wire-rimmed glasses jutting out from the side. “He looks just like my grandson,” said CODEPINK Barbara Briggs from Sebastapol, California. “How tragic that this 25-year-old is facing life in prison.”
It was also sad to see that almost none of Manning’s family was there—only an aunt and cousin.
Manning had requested a court-martial by judge rather than by a jury of his peers.The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said last month she would close parts of the trial to the public to protect classified material.
The Prosecution presented its opening statement using an extensive power point that detailed the charges and specifications, and a brief synopsis that the testimony each witness will give. The Prosecution said that FPC Manning had purposefully aided and abetted the enemy through the Wikileaks documents that Manning downloaded. He concluded by saying that Osama bin Laden requested and received a copy of internal U.S. military logs of the war in Afghanistan from another member of al-Qaeda.
The Defense’s opening statement responded that Manning is young and na├»ve but with good intentions. Manning’s attorney David Coombs said Manning thought that the public should know what goes on in war and how one’s government operates. He was troubled by the response of the government to requests for information from the Reuters news agency concerning the deaths of their journalists from an Apache helicopter attack (the video now known as Collateral Murder), as well as the 2009 Gharani air strike that killed 150 civilians. Coombs insisted that Manning made the documents available for the public, not for the enemy, and that the documents leaked were largely publicly available information with no critical intelligence sources.
At a pretrial hearing in February, Manning admitted to 10 offenses that could land him 20 years in prison. But the government insisted on upping the ante by accusing him of “aiding the enemy”—a charge that could result in life in prison. The court-martial may take 2 or 3 months to complete the presentation of evidence for the 12 counts to which Manning has not plead guilty. Numerous secret witnesses will be testifying for the prosecution.
While the "aiding the enemy" charge is going to be very difficult to prove, Michael Ratner, the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the fact that the government is pursuing this charge "sends a message to every soldier and every journalist that they are literally taking their lives in their hands if they dare speak out against wrongdoing."
Manning's trial, which is slated to last three months, is the most stark example of the Obama administration’s relentless stance against whistleblowers. “This president has tried to prosecute six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, twice as many as all previous presidencies combined,” said Cornell West. “President Obama is determined to stop the public from knowing about government wrongdoing.”
In pretrial proceedings, Manning said his motivation was to “spark a domestic debate over the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” Certainly that debate is long overdue. So is the debate about right of the public to be informed about what our governments are doing in our name.

2013-06-04 "Bradley Manning doesn't merit accolades"
editorial from the "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
American soldier Bradley Manning's trial has finally begun, at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Manning has already spent 1,100 days in military captivity after being accused of the largest leak of classified documents in American history.
 He faces 22 charges, for which the most serious ("aiding the enemy") carries a life sentence. He has already pleaded guilty to many of the lesser charges.
Manning is no hero. While he was working as an intelligence analyst outside of Baghdad, he used classified access to gather hundreds of thousands of documents and send them, willy-nilly, to the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks.
Was the public well-served by the release of that information? With some of the material, yes. But many of those releases were classified for a very good reason, and Manning and WikiLeaks endangered peoples' lives by publishing it without thinking, editing or otherwise showing restraint.
So there is no question that Manning deserves punishment. That said, the treatment that the 25-year-old has already received has been inhumane and excessive. During his imprisonment these last few years, he was held in solitary confinement for crushingly long amounts of time, and subject to many different kinds of brutalities and humiliations.
The military has no good excuse for subjecting Manning to this kind of treatment. Nor is there any good excuse for its decision to close judicial rulings to the public - a decision that has, quite rightly, led to lawsuits.
Manning doesn't deserve accolades for his behavior - a lesson that the organizers of San Francisco's Gay Pride organizers have been learning in an uncomfortable way, through the controversy over whether Manning should be honored in this year's parade.
But neither does the military deserve any accolades for the shameful way it's treated Manning and the public with regard to this case.

2013-06-03 "Prosecutor: Manning let secrets into enemy hands"
by DAVID DISHNEAU and PAULINE JELINEK from "Associated Press" []:
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — Pfc. Bradley Manning put U.S. military secrets into the hands of Osama bin Laden himself, prosecutors said Monday as the Army intelligence analyst went on trial over leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Manning's lawyers countered by arguing that he was a "young, naive but good-intentioned" soldier whose struggle to fit in as a gay man in the military made him feel he "needed to do something to make a difference in this world."
Manning, 25, has admitted turning over the material to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, pleading guilty earlier this year to charges that could bring 20 years behind bars. But the military pressed ahead with a court-martial on more serious charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence.
Prosecutors said they will present evidence that bin Laden requested and obtained from another al-Qaida member Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department cables published by WikiLeaks.
"This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information onto the Internet into the hands of the enemy," prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow said.
He said the case is "about what happens when arrogance meets access to sensitive information."
Wearing his dress blue uniform, the slightly built Manning peered through his small eyeglasses at a slide show of the prosecutor's hour-long opening statement, watching on a laptop computer at the defense table. The slide show also was projected on three larger screens in the courtroom, which had seats for only about 50 people.
Later, almost motionless, the soldier from Crescent, Okla., sat forward in his chair, looking toward his defense attorney, David Coombs, throughout his 25-minute opening statement.
Coombs said Manning struggled to do the right thing as "a humanist," a word engraved on his custom-made dog tags. As an analyst in Baghdad, Manning had access to hundreds of millions of documents but selectively leaked material, Coombs said. He mentioned an unclassified video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack that mistakenly killed civilians, including a Reuters photographer.
"He believed this information showed how we value human life. He was troubled by that. He believed that if the American public saw it, they too would be troubled," Coombs said.
Coombs did not address whether bin Laden ever saw any of the material. The soldier has said he did not believe the information would harm the U.S.
Coombs said Manning struggled privately with gender identity early in his tour of duty, when gays couldn't openly serve in the military.
"His struggles led him to feel that he needed to do something to make a difference in this world," Coombs said. "He needed to do something to help improve what he was seeing."
Later in the day, the court also heard from two Army investigators and Manning's roommate in Iraq, who testified the soldier was online whenever he was in their quarters.
Manning chose to have his court-martial heard by a judge instead of a jury. It is expected to run all summer. Much of the evidence is classified, which means large portions of the trial are likely to be closed to reporters and the public.
Federal authorities are looking into whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can also be prosecuted. He has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-crimes allegations.
"This is not justice; never could this be justice," Assange said in a statement Monday. "The verdict was ordained long ago. Its function is not to determine questions such as guilt or innocence, or truth or falsehood. It is a public relations exercise, designed to provide the government with an alibi for posterity. It is a show of wasteful vengeance; a theatrical warning to people of conscience."
In February, Manning took the stand and read from a 35-page statement in which he said he leaked the material to expose the American military's "bloodlust" and disregard for human life in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The case is the most high-profile prosecution for the Obama administration, which has been criticized for its crackdown on leakers. The six cases brought since Obama took office are more than in all other presidencies combined.
The WikiLeaks case is by far the most voluminous release of classified material in U.S. history, and certainly the most sensational since the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers, a secret Defense Department history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
The 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers showed that the U.S. government repeatedly misled the public about the Vietnam War. Their leak to The New York Times set off an epic clash between the Nixon administration and the press and led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the First Amendment.
The material WikiLeaks began publishing in 2010 documented complaints of abuses against Iraqi detainees, a U.S. tally of civilian deaths in Iraq, and America's weak support for the government of Tunisia — a disclosure that Manning supporters said helped trigger the Middle Eastern pro-democracy uprisings known as the Arab Spring.
The Obama administration has said the release of the material threatened to expose valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments.
Manning's supporters — including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg — have hailed him as a whistleblowing hero and political prisoner. Others say he is a traitor who endangered lives and national security.
Some 20 Manning supporters were in the courtroom, including Princeton University professor and civil rights activist Cornel West and Medea Benjamin, a member of protest group Code Pink.
"I think it's a show trial," Benjamin said. She and others complained about the small courtroom, saying the government was trying to make it look as if Manning had less support than he really has.
"It's important to support him," said Anne Wright, a retired Army colonel. "I spent 29 years in the military, and what Bradley Manning has done is exposed government corruption and brutality.
Supporters were told by the military to turn their TRUTH T-shirts inside out before entering the courtroom.

"Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize" petition
Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he should receive it. 
Let's help make that happen.
No individual has done more to push back against what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism" than Bradley Manning. And right now, remaining in prison and facing relentless prosecution by the U.S. government, no one is more in need of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alfred Nobel's will left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
The intent of the prize was to fund this work. As a result of enormous legal expenses, Bradley Manning is in need of that funding.
Click here to help him get it.
The people of the United States and the rest of the world have learned more about the intentions of the U.S. government from Bradley Manning than from anyone else.
"Thanks to Manning's alleged disclosures, we have a sense of what transpired in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have an image of how Washington operates in the world," author Chase Madar wrote in his book about Manning's whistleblowing.
Just a few of the results: "Thanks to those revelations we now know just how our government leaned on the Vatican to quell opposition to the Iraq War. We now know how Washington pressured the German government to block the prosecution of CIA agents who kidnapped an innocent man, Khaled El-Masri, while he was on vacation. We know how our State Department lobbied hard to prevent a minimum wage increase in Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest nation."
Manning revealed a secret U.S. war in Yemen, U.S. records of massive civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, video of a U.S. helicopter attack on civilians and their rescuers in Baghdad, and facts about the corruption of numerous governments including those of the United States, Tunisia, and Egypt.  In those last two nations Manning's revelations contributed to nonviolent pro-democracy movements.
While Manning sits in prison under dire conditions, we can let the Nobel committee know that we support his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Among the revelations made by Manning through WikiLeaks is the extent of time and energy the U.S. State Department puts into marketing U.S. weapons to the world's governments.  We all have a better understanding of the work that is needed for peace as a result of this exposure of "diplomacy" as consisting so greatly of weapons selling.
The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailed last week how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads.  Maggie O'Kane, executive producer of the documentary, said: "I hope this film will be a legacy that actually says, 'If you want to go to war, this is what war means. It means 14-year-old boys being hung up and tortured. It means men being turned on spits. And that's called counter-insurgency. . . .'  This would not be coming to light if it hadn't been for Bradley Manning."
Let's help someone who's earned it to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

2012-11-30 "Bradley Manning Testimony Reveals Brig Counselor Deception Regarding Abusive Treatment" from "Bradley Manning Support Network"
Ft. Meade, MD - November 30 - Yesterday at Ft. Meade, MD, WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning testified for the first time. After occupying the stand over 5 hours for defense questioning, it was announced that the government's cross-examination would begin today at 9:30am EST. Bradley Manning told a detailed story about his pretrial conditions from the time he was arrested and brought to Kuwait through his nine months of harsh Prevention-of-Injury (POI) watch in the military brig in Quantico, VA, and finally to his experience being transferred to Ft. Leavenworth, KS, in April of 2011.
Both the defense and prosecution have acknowledged that PFC Manning was having suicidal thoughts around the date of his transfer from Kuwait to Quantico. In his testimony, PFC Manning explained how isolation, restricted sleep, and lack of access to current news in Kuwait for his first two months of arrest skewed his sense of time and exacerbated his anxiety and depression. However, PFC Manning's testimony mirrored that of the three brig psychiatrists who had already testified in that he said his mood and state of mind improved beyond thoughts of self-harm shortly after transfer to Quantico. He said that he resolved to carry on, but that he grew frustrated, as he felt nothing he could do would result in being removed from the highly restrictive POI status.
One of the most revelatory moments of PFC Manning's testimony occurred when he informed the court that Gunnery Sergeant (GYSGT) Blenis, the brig counselor, told PFC Manning that his behavior was exemplary, and that it must be brig psychiatrists who recommended the POI status.
Defense attorney David Coombs showed the court a video in which GYSGT Blenis says, "I wish I had 100 Mannings," a phrase PFC Manning said Blenis used around him often.
Blenis's explanation for PFC Manning's POI status, as related by PFC Manning, directly contradicted all three psychiatrists’ own testimony about their recommendations that his conditions be relaxed through downgrading his status.
President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, attended yesterday's hearing and emphasized how impressed he was upon witnessing Bradley's testimony: "Bradley was dignified, articulate, smart and self-aware. After two and a half years it was miraculous to finally hear him describe the horrible cages he was in and the egregious conduct of his jailers. What was done to Bradley was inexcusable. I was deeply moved by his words in a day of testimony that was like an emotional roller coaster.
I cannot imagine what he must be feeling, but his incredible sincerity and strength was visible to all. We are lucky to have people with the courage of Bradley Manning." More than 20 other supporters also attended the 10-hour hearing, including an Australian diplomat and Government Accountability Project Director and prominent Bush Administration whistle-blower Jesselyn Radack.
While the government has argued this week that PFC Manning's harsh holding conditions met brig regulations, the defense continued arguing the unnecessarily severe nature of PFC Manning's Quantico treatment with testimony from the garrison commander at PFC Manning's current prison in Ft. Leavenworth, KS, Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton. At Ft. Leavenworth, Lt. Col. Hilton testified, PFC Manning was found through psychological interviews and observation to be a medium security prisoner, meaning he was allowed much greater freedom of movement, interaction with other prisoners, and an array of personal items. She continued that at Ft. Leavenworth, Suicide Risk watch was the status most comparable to POI, and her goal was always to downgrade prisoners from this status as soon as possible, by working with psychological staff. She testified that if a detainee's condition was so severe that prison staff was unable to successfully downgrade their status within a few days, she would next work to have them transferred to a psychiatric ward, rather than remain in prison. Additionally, she testified that all prisoners were allowed at least 1 hour of outside recreation per day, in accordance with American Corrections Association (ACA) standards; for the first 6 months of PFC Manning's imprisonment at Quantico, he was allowed a mere 20 minutes of sunlight per day. Unlike the Quantico military brig, the Ft. Leavenworth garrison is accredited as meeting 100 percent of ACA standards.

2012-09-28 "Military Makes a Mockery of Bradley Manning’s Right to a Speedy Trial" from "Bradley Manning Support Network"
WASHINGTON - September 28 - “PFC Manning’s statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights have been trampled upon with impunity,” writes David Coombs, defense lawyer for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning, in a new motion posted to his blog yesterday. The 117-page comprehensive motion takes a long and thorough look at the ways in which the Convening Authority and prosecution have utterly failed to act according to their obligations to provide Manning a speedy trial. Coombs concludes that the only remedy for these extremely long delays is a dismissal of charges with prejudice.
At the time of Coombs’ filing, Manning had been imprisoned for 845 days. Coombs emphasizes just how long this is:
“With trial scheduled to commence on 4 February 2013, PFC Manning will have spent a grand total of 983 days in pretrial confinement before even a single piece of evidence is offered against him. To put this amount of time into perspective, the Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring PFC Manning to trial.”
In the motion, Coombs describes in detail the prosecution’s delays in providing basic evidentiary documents, the Convening Authority’s improper exclusion of those delays from the speedy trial clock, the Government’s inexplicable inaction, and the effect this extensive pretrial incarceration has had on Bradley Manning.
Coombs then explains that the Article 10 of the U.C.M.J and R.C.M. 707, the legal precepts for a speedy trial, have been repeatedly violated. He also notes that the military has dismissed charges for much shorter periods of pretrial confinement:
“The 845 days PFC Manning has already spent in pretrial confinement dwarfs other periods of pretrial confinement that the Court of Appeals found to be facially unreasonable…”
Coombs will argue the motion in court at the October 29-November 2 hearing at Ft. Meade, MD. On October 17-18, the defense and prosecution will discuss which witnesses may be brought for this speedy trial motion.
Read the whole motion here: []

2012-02-23 "Bradley Manning, Solitary Confinement and the Occupy 4 Prisoners" by BILL QUIGLEY
Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer who teaches at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights.  A version of this article with full sources is available. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. You can reach Bill at
Today US Army Private Bradley Manning is to be formally charged with numerous crimes at Fort Meade, Maryland.   Manning, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament, is charged with releasing hundreds of thousands of documents exposing secrets of the US government to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. These documents exposed lies, corruption and crimes by the US and other countries.  The Bradley Manning defense team points out accurately that much of what was published by Wikileaks was either not actually secret or should not have been secret.
The Manning prosecution is a tragic miscarriage of justice.  US officials are highly embarrassed by what Manning exposed and are shooting the messenger.  As Glen Greenwald, the terrific Salon writer, has observed, President Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers for espionage than all other presidents combined.
One of the most outrageous parts of the treatment of Bradley Manning is that the US kept him in illegal and torturous solitary confinement conditions for months at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia.  Keeping Manning in solitary confinement sparked challenges from many groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU and the New York Times.
Human rights’ advocates rightly point out that solitary confinement is designed to break down people mentally.  Because of that, prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture.  The conditions and practices of isolation are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention against Torture, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination.
Medical experts say that after 60 days in solitary peoples’ mental state begins to break down.  That means a person will start to experience panic, anxiety, confusion, headaches, heart palpitations,
sleep problems, withdrawal, anger, depression, despair, and over-sensitivity. Over time this can lead to severe psychiatric trauma and harms like psychosis, distortion of reality, hallucinations, mass anxiety and acute confusion. Essentially, the mind disintegrates.
That is why the United Nations special rapporteur on torture sought to investigate Manning’s solitary confinement and reprimanded the US when the Army would not let him have an unmonitored visit.
History will likely judge Manning as heroic as it has Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers.
It is important to realize that tens of thousands of other people besides Manning are held in solitary confinement in the US today and every day.  Experts estimate a minimum of 20,000 people are held in solitary in supermax prisons alone, not counting thousands of others in state and local prisons who are also held in solitary confinement.  And solitary confinement is often forced on Muslim prisoners, even pre-trial people who are assumed innocent, under federal Special Administrative Measures.
In 1995, the U.N. Human Rights Committee stated that isolation conditions in certain U.S. maximum security prisons were incompatible with international standards. In 1996, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture reported on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in U.S. supermax prisons. In 2000, the U.N. Committee on Torture roundly condemned the United States for its treatment of prisoners, citing supermax prisons. In May 2006, the same committee concluded that the United States should “review the regimen imposed on detainees in supermax prisons, in particular, the practice of prolonged isolation.”
John McCain said his two years in solitary confinement were torture. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” The reaction of McCain and many other victims of isolation torture were described in an excellent 2009 New Yorker article on isolation by Atul Gawande.  Gawande concluded that prolonged isolation is objectively horrifying, intrinsically cruel, and more widespread in the U.S. than any country in the world.
This week hundreds of members of the Occupy movement merged forces with people advocating for human rights for prisoners in demonstrations in California, New York, Ohio, and Washington DC.  They call themselves Occupy 4 Prisoners.  Activists are working to create a social movement for serious and fundamental changes in the US criminal system.
One of the major complaints of prisoner human rights activists is the abuse of solitary confinement in prisons across the US.  Prison activist Mumia Abu-Jamal said justice demands the end of solitary, “It means the abolition of solitary confinement, for it is no more than modern-day torture chambers for the poor.”  Pelican Bay State Prison in California, the site of a hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners last year, holds over 1000 inmates in solitary confinement, some as long as 20 years.
At the Occupy Prisoners rally outside San Quentin prison, the three American hikers who were held for a year in Iran told of the psychological impact of 14 months of solitary confinement.  Sarah Shourd said the time without human contact drove her to beat the walls of her cell until her knuckles bled.
When Manning was held in solitary he was kept in his cell 23 hours a day for months at a time.  The US government tortured him to send a message to others who might consider blowing the whistle on US secrets.  At the same time, tens of thousands of others in the US are being held in their cells 23 hours a day for months, even years at a time.  That torture is also sending a message.
Thousands stood up with Bradley Manning and got him released from solitary.  People must likewise stand up with the thousands of others in solitary as well.
So, stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning and fight against his prosecution.  And stand also against solitary confinement of the tens of thousands in US jails and prisons.  Check out the Bradley Manning Support Network, Solitary Watch, and Occupy 4 Prisoners for ways to participate.

2012-02-06 "Charges Upheld Against Pfc. Bradley Manning" by ADAM KLASFELD
WASHINGTON (CN) - Pfc. Bradley Manning will face court-martial on all 18 charges of giving more than 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks.
The Army says Manning aided the enemy; his supporters hail the 24-year-old as a war-crime whistleblower.
Wikileaks divided its trove of confidential documents into several categories: "Cablegate" for diplomatic cables; Iraq and Afghanistan incident reports in "War Diaries;" and "Collateral Murder" for a July 12, 2007 video of a Baghdad airstrike that killed eight people, including two Reuters photographers.
The general court martial convening authority, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, referred the charges on Friday.
The "aiding the enemy" charge carries a potential life sentence; the remaining charges add up to 150 years in prison.
A military judge, to be appointed, will set dates for Manning's arraignment, motion hearings and trial.
In a statement, Manning's supporters criticized the Obama administration for saying the leaks harmed U.S. security, without backing up the claim in sworn depositions.
"This administration owes all Americans an honest explanation for their extraordinary retaliation against Bradley Manning," said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
"President Obama and Secretary Clinton need to produce sworn depositions under conditions where they are required to tell the truth about Bradley Manning."
Obama said that Manning "broke the law," months before the soldier faced a hearing to defend himself against the allegations.
The military rejected multiple attempts by Manning's lead attorney, David Coombs, to get Obama, Clinton and seven other witnesses to testify about the impact of the leaks.
Manning's supporters said they expect Coombs to renew the deposition request with the General Court-Martial Convening Authority.

news from “The Celtic League” []:
Outspoken human rights advocate and Labour MP Ann Clwyd has once again criticised the treatment of detained US soldier Bradley Manning who has family connections to Wales.
Ann Clwyd says (in an interview with the Guardian newspaper commenting on a film made by that news publication on the Bradley case) that: "The film asks the questions to which we must get answers. Why are Bradley's military bosses not on trial? Why instead is a vulnerable young man being made an example of?
I believe his treatment in Quantico military prison amounted to torture. This should be investigated and US military officials held to account. So I hope the filmmakers will make another film, detailing the cruel and inhuman treatment Bradley endured in solitary confinement for eight months in US military custody."
The Member of Parliament for Cynon Valley adds: "With Bradley's Welsh family, I am calling for his trial to be held in public. This is the only way he can get a fair hearing. The UK government has a duty to the family and to Bradley." The full interview can be found here: []

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