15 March 2011

Visitor and Correspondence List for Bradley Manning

Our office has received many inquires regarding how someone may get on the approved mailing and visitors list for PFC Manning.  The Quantico Brig requires PFC Manning to submit an official request form in order to add or remove a person from his approved visitor and correspondence list.

If PFC Manning submits a request to add a person to his approved visitor and correspondence list, the Brig will conduct a background check on the requested person.  After completing its review, the Brig with either approve or disapprove PFC Manning's request.  Under the Brig's rules, PFC Manning is not allowed to add a journalist on his visitor or correspondence list.

If you know PFC Manning and would like to be added to his visitor and correspondence list, the Manning family has created an email account for facilitating the process.  Each week, a member of PFC Manning's family will review the submitted requests.  The family member will then take these requests to PFC Manning for his decision.

You may write to the Manning family at bmanningvisits@gmail.com in order to request to be added to the visitor and correspondence list or just to pass on your words of support and encouragement.

How to Contribute to Bradley Manning's Legal Defense

There are several organizations that are collecting donations for the defense of PFC Bradley Manning.  The only organization that is contributing funding to PFC Manning's legal defense is "Courage to Resist."  Other organizations have been established independently to promote advocacy and awareness related to PFC Manning's case.  These organizations do not contribute in any way to the legal expenses involved.

If you would like to ensure that a 100% of your donation goes directly to costs associated with the legal defense, the best way to do so is by making a contribution to legal trust account.  In order to do this, please mail a check or money order to "IOLTA/Manning" and mail to Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA  94610.

Alternatively, you can make a donation to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund through "Courage to Resist" here.  A portion of this donation will go toward the legal defense effort.  The remainder will go towards public education and support activities.

10 March 2011

Article 138 Complaint

On March 1, 2011, the Quantico Base Commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike, denied PFC Manning's request to be removed from Prevention of Injury Watch and to have his custody classification reduced from Maximum to Medium Detention-In.  The defense filed the following rebuttal to Colonel Choike's response.  Colonel Choike will now complete his action on the Article 138 complaint, and then forward the proceedings to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, for his final review.  If Secretary Mabus denies PFC Manning's requested relief, the defense will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

05 March 2011

The Truth Behind Quantico Brig's Decision to Strip PFC Manning

The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely.  Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing.  He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call.  According to Marine spokesperson, First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, the decision to strip him naked every night is for PFC Manning's own protection.  Villiard stated that it would be "inappropriate" to explain what prompted these actions "because to discuss the details would be a violation of PFC Manning's privacy."

The defense communicated with both PFC Manning and the Brig forensic psychiatrist and learned more about the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night.  On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike.  Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI.  As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of "exemplary" as a detainee.  Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning.  In response to PFC Manning's question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm.  PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were "absurd" and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops. 

Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC's Manning's sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk.  PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch.  This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider's recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have.  In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as "low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for ... closer clinical observation."  In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning's statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by "a psychiatric condition." 

While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist's recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch.  The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander. 

Given these circumstances, the decision to strip PFC Manning of his clothing every night for an indefinite period of time is clearly punitive in nature.  There is no mental health justification for the decision.  There is no basis in logic for this decision.  PFC Manning is under 24 hour surveillance, with guards never being more than a few feet away from his cell.  PFC Manning is permitted to have his underwear and clothing during the day, with no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period.  Moreover, if Brig officials were genuinely concerned about PFC Manning using either his underwear or flip-flops to harm himself (despite the recommendation of the Brig's psychiatrist) they could undoubtedly provide him with clothing that would not, in their view, present a risk of self-harm.  Indeed, Brig officials have provided him other items such as tear-resistant blankets and a mattress with a built-in pillow due to their purported concerns. 

The Brig's treatment of PFC Manning is shameful.  It is made even more so by the Brig hiding behind concerns for "[PFC] Manning's privacy."  There is no justification, and there can be no justification, for treating a detainee in this degrading and humiliating manner.

04 March 2011

PFC Manning Stripped Naked Again

PFC Manning was forced to strip naked in his cell again last night.  As with the previous evening, Quantico Brig guards required him to surrender all of his clothing.  PFC Manning then walked back to his bed, and spent the next seven hours in humiliation. 

The decision to require him to be stripped of all clothing was made by the Brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Denise Barnes.  According to First Lieutenant Brian Villard, a Marine spokesman, the decision was "not punitive" and done in accordance with Brig rules.  There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning.  This treatment is even more degrading considering that PFC Manning is being monitored -- both by direct observation and by video -- at all times. The defense was informed by Brig officials that the decision to strip PFC Manning of all his clothing was made without consulting any of the Brig's mental health providers.

On Wednesday, the government filed its response to the defense's Article 138 complaint concerning PFC Manning's confinement conditions.  The preliminary decision made by the government was to deny PFC Manning's request to be removed from Maximum custody and from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.  The defense now has ten days to file a rebuttal to this determination.  After submitting the rebuttal, the matter will go back to the Quantico Base Commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike, for his review.  Once complete, he will forward the report to the Secretary of the Navy for final review. 

03 March 2011

PFC Manning Forced to Strip Naked

Last night, PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig.  He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours.  At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees.  At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell. 

The Duty Brig Supervisor (DBS) arrived shortly after 5:00 a.m.  When he arrived, PFC Manning was called to attention.  The DBS walked through the facility to conduct his detainee count.  Afterwards, PFC Manning was told to sit on his bed.  About ten minutes later, a guard came to his cell to return his clothing.

This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification.  It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated.  PFC Manning has been told that the same thing will happen to him again tonight.  No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.

Response to Pentagon Press Secretary's Inaccurate Statements

Earlier today, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell spoke to the media in an attempt to discredit the concerns over PFC Manning’s confinement conditions.  I would like to respond to the following inaccuracies in Mr. Morrell's statements:

Mr. Morrell implied that he visited PFC Manning.

In response to two separate questions by reporters, ("You yourself have visited him [PFC Manning]"; "You have seen him in person...") Mr. Morrell chronicled his visit to the Quantico Brig.  While it may be the case that Mr. Morrell has visited the Brig, he has not "visited" PFC Manning.  Specifically, he has never spoken with PFC Manning or had any interaction with PFC Manning.  It is also unclear whether he even saw PFC Manning at the Brig. 


Mr. Morrell indicated that PFC Manning is not in solitary confinement.

Mr. Morrell indicated that PFC Manning is not in solitiary confinement.  He talked about the Brig having 30 cells in a "U" shaped corridor.  He stated that there were seven others inmates in this corridor and that PFC Manning was "not in a hole" and "not away from others."  He also said that PFC Manning was "allowed to have conversations with others in the corridor."  

While it is true that PFC Manning is not technically held in solitary confinement, the cumulative effect of his confinement conditions are tantamount to solitary confinement.  There are no other detainees on either side of PFC Manning.  His cell does not have a window or any natural light.  If PFC Manning attempts to speak to others that are several cells away from him, the guards will likely view it as disruptive and require him to stop speaking.  Other than the one hour a day that he is taken to an empty room to walk around, PFC Manning is required to remain in his cell. 


Mr. Morrell stated that PFC Manning is not being treated any differently than other detainees at the Brig.

Mr. Morrell indicates that fundamentally, PFC Manning is not being treated differently than any other detainee at the Brig owing to his classification as a Maximum security detainee.  Mr. Morrell states that "really the only difference" between PFC Manning and any other detainee is "outside the cell": Manning cannot have meals outside his cell; he is not permitted to exercise with others; and he cannot watch television with others.  Mr. Morrell indicates that one other detainee at Quantico is being held in Maximum security custody.

Mr. Morrell fails to highlight some of the other important distinctions between a Maximum security and a Medium security detainee.  As a Maximum detainee, PFC Manning is required to remain in his cell for 23 hours a day.  Whenever he is moved outside of his cell, the entire facility is locked down.  PFC Manning must wear hand and leg restraints when he is outside of his cell and is escorted by at least two guards whenever he is moved.  Medium security detainees are not subject to these additional restrictions.

Mr. Morrell also omits another very important fact -- that PFC Manning is the only detainee at Quantico that is being held both in Maximum custody and under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.  The POI watch is being continued over the recommendation of mental health professionals who indicate that PFC Manning is not a risk to himself or to others.  The conditions imposed on PFC Manning under the POI watch (which have been ongoing for 8 months) are unduly harsh and punitive in nature.
The conditions of the POI watch have been documented in detail in an earlier statement.  Briefly, under POI watch, the guards check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay; PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner.  At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or he is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure that he is okay.  He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets.  He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.  He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.  When he goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to the guards. 

As I indicated, no other detainee at Quantico is being held under both Maximum custody and POI watch.  Thus, Mr. Morrell's statement that there is really no difference between PFC Manning and other detainees at Quantico is inaccurate.


Mr. Morrell stated PFC Manning is being held in Maximum for his own good.

 
Mr. Morrell stated that PFC Manning is being held under his current confinement conditions due to "the seriousness of the charges he's facing, the potential length of sentence, the national security implications, and also the potential harm to him that he could do to himself or from others ..."  Mr. Morrell elaborated that the confinement conditions were "for his [PFC Manning's] own good."

Although the seriousness of the offense is a factor to be considered, it cannot be the sole basis for confinement conditions.  PFC Manning is presumed innocent of these offenses.  Additionally, although risk of self-harm or harm from others can be considered in determining appropriate confinement conditions, the Brig's own mental health professionals dispute the validity of this concern.  Since August of 2010, they have consistently determined that PFC Manning is not at risk of self-harm and have recommended that the POI watch be lifted.

Over the course of eight months, PFC Manning has done everything asked of him.  His model behavior has not factored into the custody classification by the Brig.  Even Mr. Morrell acknowledged that PFC Manning "has been exemplary in terms of his behavior on the cell block."  Other detainees typically are removed from Maximum custody and from POI watch once they demonstrate, through their behavior, that the conditions are no longer warranted.  Under Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 1649.9C, Maximum custody and POI are intended to be used sparingly and for a limited duration of time.  Despite the Navy Instruction, PFC Manning remains subject to unduly harsh confinement conditions.  Given his "exemplary" behavior and the fact he is not considered at risk for self-harm, the confinement conditions appear to be based solely on the nature of the charges.

02 March 2011

Article 104 Offense

This is the Military Judges' Benchbook instruction on the elements of the offense of Article 104. 

AIDING THE ENEMY—GIVING INTELLIGENCE TO THE ENEMY (ARTICLE 104)

ELEMENTS:

(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused, without proper authority, knowingly gave intelligence information to (a) certain person(s), namely: (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information);

(2) That the accused did so by (state the manner alleged);

(3) That (state the name or description of the enemy alleged to have received the intelligence information) was an enemy; and

(4) That this intelligence information was true, at least in part.

d. DEFINITIONS AND OTHER INSTRUCTIONS:

“Intelligence” means any helpful information, given to and received by the enemy, which is true, at least in part.

“Enemy” includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (“Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)

Additional Charges

Over the past few weeks, the defense has been preparing for the possiblity of additional charges in this case.  The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning's commander.  The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate's office, of the possible offenses in this case.  Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.  

01 March 2011

Manning Case Update

The Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 706 board is continuing its work.  The board is anticipated to take another two to six weeks.  After the board has concluded, the convening authority will direct the Article 32 investigating officer to set a date to begin his inquiry.  The Article 32 will likely begin some time in either late May or early June 2011. 

Confinement Conditions Persist

Despite a change in command at the Quantico Brig, PFC Manning remains in maximum custody and under prevention of injury watch.  On January 19, 2011, the defense filed an Article 138 complaint with the Quantico base commander, Colonel Daniel Choike.  The complaint alleges the brig commander, CWO4 James Averhart, abused his discretion by maintaining PFC Manning under the current confinement conditions.  The government has yet to respond to the Article 138 complaint or give a justification for the ongoing nature of PFC Manning's conditions of confinement.  Under Navy regulations, the command has 90 days to issue its response to the complaint.  Once the government responds, the defense is given 7 days to file a rebuttal, if necessary, before the matter is ultimately forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy for final action.