STOP PRESS: News has reached me that Ann Clwyd has directly challenged the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in Parliament about the case of Bradley Manning. More on this soon.
We are extremely pleased to have received the following statements of support in the past 24 hours.
Bill Wilson, who represents the West of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament raised the “degrading treatment” of Bradley Manning in the Scottish Parliament earlier this week. This is the first time Bradley’s case has been addressed directly in one of this country’s representative bodies – although it is surely not the last. We would like to extend our gratitude to Dr Wilson for being willing to stand up and be counted on this issue.
“You can tell WikiLeaks is useful by the desperate efforts made to close it down and to persecute those who post information on it. Freedom of information is fundamental to democracy; illegal and immoral acts are easier within societies which heavily censor information. Whistleblowers are amongst the most courageous members of our society, risking career and reputation for the truth. They are one group of people of whom society can never have enough. Bradley Manning is one of two things – a man of singular courage who has blown the whistle on horrific and illegal acts, or an innocent victim incorrectly identified as a whistleblower. Either way his treatment, which amounts to torture, is unacceptable. If the UK and the USA are indeed the good guys, and the “terrorists” and “dictators” the bad guys, why do their methods appear so similar?”
– Dr Bill Wilson MSP (SNP, West of Scotland)
Rhys Sinnet is Plaid Cymru’s candidate for the Welsh Assembly in Preseli Pembrokeshire – the constituency where Bradley attended school as a teenager and where his mother still lives. We are thrilled to have received such strong support for Bradley locally.
“Regardless of whether he is guilty of the offences with which he is charged, and whatever view one takes of the seriousness of those offences, the treatment of this young man is wholly unacceptable. He has been in solitary confinement for eight months, subjected to many other deprivations and humiliations, including being forced to spend the night naked and be woken from sleep after every hour. Prison psychiatrists have clearly stated that there are absolutely no medical grounds for the ‘suicide watch’ being used to justify this treatment, which has been condemned by human rights and mental health organisations and is currently being investigated by the United Nations as possibly constituting torture. Bradley Manning is a UK and a Welsh citizen through his mother. We call on the UK Government to challenge the legality of what is in effect pre-trial punishment, and on the Welsh Government to support the campaign for fair treatment for Bradley Manning.”
– Rhys Sinnett, Prospective National Assembly Candidate (Plaid Cymru, Preseli Pembrokeshire)
Finally, this weekend, the Pirate Parties International held their conference in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The following resolution was signed by 14 national Pirate Parties, including those from the UK, Germany and almost every western European country. It is incredibly inspiring to hear about the breadth of support for Bradley across the continent and we are hugely grateful to all the national Pirate Party delegations concerned.
Conference notes the appalling treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of passing material to Wikileaks. It is important to note that he is not convicted of any crime. Currently he is under military arrest, where he has been for nearly 300 days. He has been held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day in a tiny windowless cell. He has been under intolerable psychological pressure. He has been forced to strip naked.
Now he faces a new set of charges, including “aiding the enemy”. This charge is a capital offence – it opens up the possibility of the death penalty. It is a sad day when someone just accused of trying to expose war crimes is treated worse than those who actually commit them.
Therefore Pirate Party International urge:
* The immediate end of the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
* Pirate Parties and members to take part in the international protests at the charges and the conditions [of] Bradley Manning. March 20th will be a day of protest in the US and Europe, a further demonstration is planned in Berlin for March 26th.
*The British government to intervene and request consular access, as Bradley Manning is entitled to British citizenship due to his Welsh mother.
Sponsor: Loz Kaye: Leader Pirate Party UK
Loz Kaye has kindly agreed to speak at London’s #March20 event this Sunday outside the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square. The full list of speakers will be confirmed very shortly.