Monday, April 11, 2011

Why so secret?


I just signed a petition telling Quantico and the Pentagon to allow official visits for accused Wikileaks whistleblower Pfc Bradley Manning.

Please join me in signing this important petition, and pass it on to your friends and family when you're done:



Hey Firedoglake Activist,

The isolation of Bradley Manning just took a turn for the worse. Now Quantico Marine Base and the government are breaking their own rules to deny visits to Bradley Manning.

Government officials and Quantico Marine Base have just declared that Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture - who have tried to visit Manning for months - would not be considered to be on "official government business." That means brig authorities could monitor their conversations and possibly use them against Manning in court.

We need to appeal this decision to the leadership at Quantico and the Pentagon, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Quantico Base Commander Colonel Daniel J. Choike, and Brig Commander CWO Denise Barnes. If enough of us call out this wrongheaded decision, we can generate pressure in the media to allow official visits with Bradley Manning.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

What do Quantico and the Pentagon have to hide? Are they afraid of what Bradley Manning might say about his treatment when the brig cameras are turned off?

For 9 months and counting, Bradley Manning has faced almost complete solitary confinement. He is still forced to strip nude nightly. He is still in maximum custody with an unnecessary "Prevention of Injury" order - far beyond that of any other detainee. He is still cut off from appropriate exercise and other rights afforded prisoners at the brig.

When confronted about Manning's harsh treatment, President Obama said the Pentagon had reassured him that Manning's confinement met "basic standards." If Manning's conditions meets our "basic standards," then why is the government going to such great lengths to keep him from meeting with official visitors?

Call out the hypocrisy of denying Bradley Manning official visitors. Sign our letter protesting the decision to block unmonitored visits to Bradley Manning.

The decision to block official visits to Bradley Manning isn't just ludicrous. It's against the rules. Marine rules clearly state that people "conducting official government business, either on behalf of the prisoner or in the interest of justice," can be allowed "official visits" not subject to monitoring by the brig. That explicitly includes Members of Congress like Rep. Kucinich.

Rep. Kucinich, a member of the House Oversight Committee, has been trying to visit Manning in prison for more than two months. The Congressman repeatedly wrote to Secretary Gates and other military officials requesting a visit to investigate the allegations of torture-like conditions to which Manning has been subjected. And the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has opened an official investigation into PFC. Manning's conditions.

If it seems like a stretch to say that a member of the US Congressional Oversight Committee and the United Nations visiting a military prisoner alleging abuse does not constitute 'official government business,' that's because it is. This is one big game of semantics, with the ultimate goal being to keep the public from hearing the truth about Manning's confinement.

The secrecy has to stop. Sign our petition to Secretary Gates and Commanders Choike and Barnes to stop obstructing and allow official visits to Manning.

With your help, we will make sure there is nothing secret about the way the US Government is treating Bradley Manning.

Thanks for all you do.

Michael Whitney,