The Marine Brig at Quantico, Virginia is using “injury prevention” as a vehicle to inflict extreme pre-trial punishment on accused Wikileaks whistleblower Army PFC Bradley Manning (photo right). These “maximum conditions” are not unheard-of during an inmate’s first week at a military confinement facility, but when applied continuously for months and with no end in sight they amount to a form of torture. Bradley, who just turned 23-years-old last week, has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest in late May. We’re now turning to Bradley’s supporters worldwide to directly protest, and help bring a halt to, the extremely punitive conditions of Bradley’s pre-trial detention.
In the wake of an investigative report last week by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com giving evidence that Bradley Manning was subject to “detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries”, Bradley’s attorney, David Coombs, published an article at his website on Saturday entitled “A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning”. Mr. Coombs details the maximum custody conditions that Bradley is subject to at the Quantico Confinement Facility and highlights an additional set of restrictions imposed upon him under a Prevention of Injury (POI) watch order.
Usually enforced only through a detainee’s first week at a confinement facility, or in cases of violent and/or suicidal inmates, the standing POI order has severely limited Manning’s access to exercise, daylight and human contact for the past five months. The military’s own psychologists assigned to Quantico have recommended that the POI order and the extra restrictions imposed on Bradley be lifted.
Despite not having been convicted of any crime or even yet formally indicted, the confinement regime Bradley lives under includes pronounced social isolation and a complete lack of opportunities for meaningful exercise. Additionally, Bradley’s sleep is regularly interrupted. Coombs writes: “The guards are required to check on Manning every five minutes […] At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.”
Denver Nicks writes in The Daily Beast that “[Bradley Manning’s] attorney […] says the extended isolation — now more than seven months of solitary confinement — is weighing on his client’s psyche. […] Both Coombs and Manning’s psychologist, Coombs says, are sure Manning is mentally healthy, that there is no evidence he’s a threat to himself, and shouldn’t be held in such severe conditions under the artifice of his own protection.”
In an article to be published at Firedoglake.com later today, David House, a friend of Bradley’s who visits him regularly at Quantico, says that Bradley “has not been outside or into the brig yard for either recreation or exercise in four full weeks. He related that visits to the outdoors have been infrequent and sporadic for the past several months.”
In an average military court martial situation, a defense attorney would be able to bring these issues of pre-trial punishment to the military judge assigned to the case (known as an Article 13 hearing). However, the military is unlikely to assign a judge to Bradley’s case until the pre-trial Article 32 hearing is held (similar to an arraignment in civilian court), and that is not expected until February, March, or later—followed by the actual court martial trial months after that. In short, you are Bradley’s best and most immediate hope.
We need your help in pressing the following demands: End the inhumane, degrading conditions of pre-trial confinement and respect Bradley’s human rights. Specifically, lift the “Prevention of Injury (POI) watch order”. This would allow Bradley meaningful physical exercise, uninterrupted sleep during the night, and a release from isolation. We are not asking for “special treatment”. In fact, we are demanding an immediate end to the special treatment.
What can you do?
- Contact the Marine Corps officers below and respectfully, but firmly, ask that they lift the extreme pre-trial confinement conditions against Army PFC Bradley Manning.
Quantico Base Commander
Colonel Daniel Choike 3250 Catlin Ave
Quantico VA 22134
Quantico Brig Commanding Officer
3247 Elrod Ave, Quantico VA 22134
- Forward this urgent appeal for action widely.
- Sign the “Stand with Brad” public petition and letter campaign at www.standwithbrad.org – Sign online, and we’ll mail out two letters on your behalf to Army officials.
- Donate to Bradley’s defense fund at www.couragetoresist.org/bradley
“The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention”, by Glenn Greenwald for Salon.com, 15 December 2010
“A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning”, by attorney David E. Coombs, 18 December 2010
“Bradley Manning’s Life Behind Bars”, by Denver Nicks for the Daily Beast, 17 December 2010