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Military Intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been shackled, drugged and kept in solitary confinement at Quantico for the last year for supplying damning video footage of US war crimes to Wikileaks.
Eamonn McCann, 01 Jun 2011
Order up a war crime and there’ll be a welcome on the mat.
Blow the whistle on a war crime and you’ll be chained to a wall.
May 29 will see the first anniversary of the imprisonment of Bradley Manning. He was held until last month at Quantico base in Virginia, in solitary confinement in a windowless room 12’ x 6’, fed a daily diet of disorientating antidepressants, forbidden to exercise, shackled hand and foot. Following worldwide protests, a complaint from the UN special rapporteur on torture and an angry letter from 250 American legal scholars, Obama allowed a transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The scholars signing the letter included Laurence Tribe, Obama’s law professor at Harvard. The letter declared: “The administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates... There is only one reasonable inference: this degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.”
Bradley, a military intelligence analyst, was arrested after the publication by WikiLeaks of a 2007 video showing US soldiers jeering and chuckling as they fired from an Apache helicopter, killing 11 civilians – eight Iraqis, two Reuters journalists and another Iraqi, who had gone to the aid of wounded children.
It was only when Bradley supplied the footage to WikiLeaks that the world learned what had happened – and about scores of similar atrocities perpetrated by Western forces in Iraq.
Bradley’s commitment to human rights didn’t begin in Iraq. Openly gay since his mid-teens – he’s 23 now – he had been a vocal campaigner against the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ restrictions on gay members of the US military. He had helped organise a rally in New York in 2008 in protest against attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.
He is now allowed letters. Write to: PFC Bradley Manning 89289, Fort Leavenworth Military Detention Centre, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, KS 66027, USA.