WCW Home News Recent News 1-28-11 Military statements regarding Bradley Manning "patently false"
1-28-11 Military statements regarding Bradley Manning "patently false" PDF Print E-mail

Replacement of Quantico brig commander provides military opportunity to end
mistreatment of alleged WikiLeaks whistle-blower

By the Bradley Manning Support Network

QUANTICO, Virginia, 28 January 2011 -- Supporters of accused WikiLeaks whistleblower
US Army PFC Bradley Manning are calling for Manning's detention status to be changed
from maximum to medium security, that the "prevention of injury" (POI) order be
lifted, and for the military to cease using "suicide watch" for punitive purposes.
Without cause, Manning is the only inmate at Quantico subjected to either "max"
confinement or POI. The lifting of these classifications would allow Manning to move
outside his cell without restraints, perform jobs within the brig and have social
interaction with other inmates.

This week the Marine Corps replaced brig commander Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4)
James Averhart with Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) Denise Barnes, stating that the
change was a pre-planned rotation that was not "situationally driven."

"Pre-trial confinement is supposed to be about ensuring a servicemember's presence
at court martial, yet for eight months now Bradley Manning has been subjected to
extreme pre-trial punishment through the arbitrary use of the maximum classification
and the 'prevention of injury' order. We certainly hope that the new Quantico brig
commander will finally treat Manning as other inmates," stated Jeff Paterson,
Oakland, California-based project director of Courage to Resist and a member of the
Bradley Manning Support Network.

"There have been consistent abuses of discretion in the case of Bradley Manning,"
said Kevin Zeese, a Washington DC attorney and steering committee member of the
Bradley Manning Support Network. "The previous commander abused his discretion so
that Manning was punished rather than being treated like a typical pre-trial
detainee. We have seen consistent cruel and unusual punishment of Manning."

Bradley Manning's attorney, David Coombs of Rhode Island, filed a complaint last
week asserting that CWO4 James Averhart abused his discretion by placing Manning on
an unjustified, punitive suicide watch regime for two days immediately after 150
supporters of Manning's rallied at Quantico's main entrance on Martin Luther King,
Jr. day.

Coombs yesterday catalogued in detail the fact that Manning's conditions of
pre-trial confinement have been radically different than what has been described by
military spokespersons.

"Despite the assertion of Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, PFC Bradley
Manning is not being treated like every other detainee at the Quantico brig. Morrell
stated during today's Pentagon briefing that PFC Manning's 'confinement is not in
the least different from the manner in which anyone else at the brig is being held.'
This statement is patently false," notes Coombs on his blog. Coombs also explained
that his client was the only detainee at Quantico held under the maximum custody
regime or the highly-restrictive "prevention of injury watch" order.

Concerns for Manning's human rights have been rising this week. Amnesty
International wrote Defense Secretary Gates urging a review of Manning's pre-trial
confinement conditions, a former commander at Quantico raised questions about the
unusual conditions, and Manning's confinement was addressed in a White House press
briefing. Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture continues to
investigate the situation.

Over 50,000 people from around the world have already helped pay $110,000 toward
Manning's legal defense, signed the public "We Stand with Bradley Manning" statement
that will become a full-page New York Times newspaper ad, and/or have signed an
online petition in support of Manning's human rights.

"If we're to believe the charges against Bradley Manning, it's clear that this is a
textbook example of a whistle-blower acting in the interests of an informed
democracy. He certainly deserves support," added supporter Jeff Paterson.

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