Earlier today, David House and Jane Hamsher of firedoglake arrived at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia to visit Bradley Manning – as David House has been doing since September – and to deliver a 42,000 signature petition protesting against the conditions of Bradley Manning’s pretrial detention. They were not able to do either.
House and Hamsher were detained on the grounds of the base, not only unable to enter the brig, but also unable to leave, for two full hours – the full time allotted to Bradley Manning for visits from the outside. Full details of this detention are given in this statement.
I think it’s worth remembering what David House himself said in his CBC interview a couple of days back:
Do you think you’ll get a chance to see Bradley Manning tomorrow, when you’re in Virginia?
I think I will. I have had some trouble in the past actually making it into the brig due to security precautions on the base. I do not think the brig would deny access to what has become one of his only visitors. To do so would be an egregious breach on the part of the brig. I cannot imagine them doing that.
This action, then, from the Quantico authorities marks a real step up in their intimidation of Manning and his supporters. House and Hamsher’s visit had been previously announced to the proper authorities and guards on the ground were candid about their orders to frustrate both the visit and the delivery of the petition having come from the top (see also this and this).
It’s appalling to even have to think about this, but this action from Quantico comes hard on the heels of public protests outside the complex, the letter from Amnesty and renewed legal protest from Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs. It is probably also significant that this was David House’s first attempt to see Manning after speaking out about what Bradley has been experiencing, most recently after his two-day spell under suicide watch last week. Cancelling visits is, of course, something that will harm Bradley Manning directly – as per usual Glenn Greenwald is on the money here – so, if we are to frustrate the Marine top brass’ aims, spreading the news about what has happened today is critically important.
I’ve just seen that chomp.fm have prepared an emergency broadcast on this subject.