Welcome! If you’re new here, these are the three facts you need to be aware of.
a. Bradley Manning was held in solitary confinement at the marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for almost nine months, in conditions that may very well constitute torture. It is not clear that he will receive a fair trial.
Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq on 26 May 2010. To find out more about what happened to Bradley after he was moved to Quantico on 29 July, please see this statement from Bradley’s military lawyer, David Coombs, and this from Bradley himself. You may find the details distressing.
There are an increasing number of medical and psychological authorities who would be inclined to describe conditions like these as ‘torture’. The conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention have received official attention from Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez. Please note that, not only has Bradley not been convicted, his trial date has not even been set.
In addition to this, the US military has actually admitted wrongdoing in relation to Bradley’s case, wrongdoing that led to the dismissal of Quantico brig Commander James Averhart on 26 January for placing Bradley under suicide watch for two days for punitive rather than therapeutic reasons. It is very clear that Bradley Manning has not been accorded due process in the United States, as is his basic right.
On 20 April 2011, in what has been widely interpreted as a response to the campaign here and overseas, Bradley Manning was moved from the Quantico marine brig to a new pre-trial detention facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. As of 29 April, Bradley has been held in medium security conditions, which include regular association with other pre-trial detainees. But what happened to him at Quantico continues to be of grave concern.
Bradley Manning is facing a capital charge of “aiding the enemy” and there have been further violations of due process that mean that he may not receive a fair trial. Statements made by Barack Obama on 21 April appear to constitute what the military calls “unlawful command influence” and there are signs that the US military intends to try Bradley Manning in secret, hiding the evidence it presents against Bradley from proper public scrutiny. Given the vital role that public attention has played in ensuring Bradley’s welfare to date, this is unacceptable.
b. Bradley Manning is a dual UK/US citizen.
Bradley Manning was born in the United States on 17 December 1987, the son of Brian and Susan Manning. As the son of an American father, born on US soil, Bradley Manning has held US citizenship since birth.
Bradley’s mother Susan Manning was born Susan Fox in Haverfordwest in 1953. In law she is a UK citizen “otherwise than by descent”. Under the terms of the British Nationality Act 1981, “British citizens otherwise than by descent automatically transmit their nationality to children born abroad.” Bradley Manning is a British citizen “by descent” and has been since birth.
As a result of our campaign Bradley Manning’s British citizenship was reported on the front page of The Guardian on 2 February 2011. The story was picked up by media outlets across the world and Bradley Manning’s wikipedia page now includes details of his dual citizenship. On 4 April a Foreign Office minister, Henry Bellingham, confirmed Bradley’s status as a UK citizen in the House of Commons. Bradley Manning is a UK citizen and this is now an established fact, placed firmly on the public record.
Bradley Manning’s British citizenship is not just a legal technicality: his links to this country are very real. Bradley attended Tasker Milward school in Wales as a teenager and took his GCSEs there. There are still many people living in Haverfordwest who knew Bradley and remember him well. His mother and extended maternal family still live in the area.
c. The UK has not offered Bradley Manning all the support he is entitled to.
There is one reason, and one reason only, why it matters that Bradley Manning is a citizen of the United Kingdom: it matters because it means that the UK Government has an absolute obligation to offer Bradley Manning its consular assistance, to investigate the conditions in which he is held and, if necessary, to help him. On 2 February, The Guardian reported that the British Embassy in Washington “had not received any requests to visit Manning in jail” despite widespread concern about the conditions of his detention.
On 4 April, the UK Government belatedly admitted that it had an interest in Bradley’s welfare and revealed that an initial diplomatic approach had been made on 29 March and that further representations would be made in the near future. We are now concerned to ensure that the British Embassy in Washington secures consular access to Bradley, so that an official might report back on his pretrial conditions first-hand. Bradley’s mother, Susan, made an official request to William Hague on 13 April but has yet to receive a response.
As Henry Bellingham noted on 4 April, the UK Government “has a duty to listen” to the concerns of citizens and their MPs. The degree of diplomatic pressure the UK Government will exert on the US is directly related to how vocal we are about those concerns.
NOW WRITE TO YOUR MP.
You can find their contact details here.
Ask them to sign Ann Clwyd’s Early Day Motion 1624 on The Treatment of Bradley Manning. 45 MPs have signed so far, which is good progress, but we would like to see many more.
This is the help that Bradley Manning is entitled to.
If you wish to go into greater detail, this post may help you write your email.