Quantico: We Still Need the Full Facts

Bradley Manning was moved from the Quantico marine brig at the end of April after many months spent in a particularly severe form of solitary confinement. That his conditions have now improved does not in any way reduce the need for the breaches of his rights that occurred at Quantico to be investigated and for appropriate redress to be made.

Last month the US Navy provided its formal response to the charge that Bradley was put under suicide watch for inappropriate reasons back in January. Despite the fact that the then Commander of the Quantico brig, James Averhart was removed from his post as soon as information about what had happened came to light, Juan M. Garcia, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, decided that Averhart had not “exceeded his authority” in the way he dealt with the case. As both the fact of Averhart’s departure and the confused, panicked way in which it was effected are highly suggestive of wrongdoing being discovered and hurriedly acted upon, this decision was a little surprising.

Today, Politico have revealed details of an internal Quantico review from February. It is worth noting that Politico have met with considerable obstruction on the part of the Marine corps in their attempts to access this report; indeed, their first two Freedom of Information Act requests were rejected, and the subject of two successful appeals to Navy officials to have those requests reinstated.

The information that Quantico have been keen to keep hidden is that, in his report dated 23 February, Chief Warrant Officer Abel Galaviz found that Averhart and his colleagues had broken Navy rules by not removing Bradley from suicide watch status “immediately” when a medical officer recommended this course of action:

“Once the medical officer’s evaluation was provided to brig staff, steps should have been taken to immediately remove him [Bradley Manning] from suicide risk, to a status below that”

Galaviz’s report mentions two separate periods in which Bradley was not removed from suicide watch quickly enough: in January 2011, it took three days for Quantico to implement a medical recommendation and in August 2010 Bradley spent a full five days under unnecessary suicide watch. This means that, in both cases, medical personnel advised almost immediately that putting Bradley Manning under suicide watch was not appropriate.

Colonel Daniel Choike rejected these findings in his response of 1 March 2011, only to advise that, as soon as it was announced that Bradley was leaving Quantico, on reflection the brig should in fact update its procedures so that such incidents do not happen in future:

“If a medical officer determines that a detainee is no longer considered a suicide risk, that finding is binding on the PCF staff and the detainee shall be removed from suicide risk.”

This week, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendéz issued a second rebuke to the US Government for not allowing him to have an unmonitored meeting with Bradley Manning, as customary rules would warrant:

“… I need to ascertain whether the conditions he [Bradley Manning] was subjected to for several months in Quantico amounted to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. For that, it is imperative that I talk to Mr. Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid.”

It is now abundantly clear that the US Navy is not capable of reviewing the actions of its own personnel and submitting to public oversight, even where those actions have generated wide concern at home, abroad and within the US administration itself.  In light of this domestic failure, Juan Mendéz must now be allowed the access he needs to carry out his investigation into Bradley’s treatment, which includes full and confidential access to Bradley himself, without delay.


The Bradley Manning Support Network have issued a press release, which includes the following statements:

“The memos revealed today by Politico confirm that military officials repeatedly violated their own standards of detainee treatment while PFC Manning was held in abusive pre-trial confinement conditions at the Quantico brig.  Commander Averhart should never have been put in a position to reject the military’s investigation into his own unprofessional conduct,” said Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network.  “Justice demands that the charges against PFC Manning be dropped, because the government has acknowledged that they have abused the rights of a soldier in their custody.”
“President Obama can no longer hide behind his subordinates in claiming that the treatment of PFC Manning has met ‘basic standards’ of conduct,” added Jeff Paterson, a co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network.  “Clearly, by the government’s own admission, the treatment of PFC Manning has fallen far short of the standards demanded by the Constitution.”

RevolutionTruth: an Open Letter to Bradley Manning

RevolutionTruth Bradley Manning campaign

We are thrilled that citizen-driven media project RevolutionTruth have decided to launch a campaign in solidarity with Bradley Manning. This is their second major campaign, following a hugely successful appeal for Wikileaks, which has now resulted in the production of a short film that includes contributions from around the world (as well as from a US film director of note). A further film on Bradley Manning will be forthcoming and has the full support of this campaign and the Bradley Manning Support Network: we encourage you to sign the open letter and submit your video message.


We hope that this letter finds you healthy and strong. You have already seen adversity that most people do not bear in a lifetime, and we are sadly aware of the hardships you face. We are sending this letter to you in the hopes that our feelings of support may help you to bear these days. We want you to know that we, people all over the world, are fighting for you. We can gladly say that we are many.

Your case has become a great symbol to all of us. It has bound us together in an awareness of our shared interests, shared responsibilities, and shared fate. There is much that we do not know, but irrespective of the truths of your particular case, your flag has become the standard of an indefatigable civil movement, straddling generations and borders, striving inexorably against the great injustices of our time, for which the injustices you suffer are the tragic emblem. Your tenure in that small prison cell has reached across the world, moving many people, ushering a generation to awareness and action. Your name is on all our lips, and your face, for us, is an icon of moral courage.

You stand accused of upholding justice when her bearers let her banner fall. You are accused of actions that no law should rightly prohibit while remaining law. When the law is turned against conscience and courage, it is turned against itself. Our society has lost its way.

Your prosecution under this ruse of justice is already written into history as a persecution, not of one man, but of us all. It is not a single injustice, but an injustice to end the pretense of justice. It is unique and urgent. It is wrong that you suffer, while those who committed the crimes that were exposed, who started a horrific and unjustifiable war based on lies, are excused. Whether you did what you are accused of or not, what you have gone through since your arrest would be unimaginable for most of us. You are a hero among us. We cannot, and will not, turn away from supporting you.

We are keenly aware of your sacrifice. Be strong for us, Bradley, because we know that you suffer as one of us, for us. We will be relentless in our efforts to see justice done by you. Accept our fellowship, and know this: you are forever ours now and we salute you, and forever thank you.

We hold you in our hearts. We stand with you.

We are all Bradley Manning.
Your brothers, sisters, friends,

The undersigned.

Noam Chomsky – US treatment of Bradley Manning “obviously improper”

In a recent interview on the current situation in Venezuela, and in particular the imprisonment of judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni for political reasons, Noam Chomsky suggests that the US Government’s treatment of Bradley Manning compromises that country’s ability to comment about what happens elsewhere.

It’s obviously improper for the executive to intervene and impose a jail sentence without a trial. And I should say that the United States is in no position to complain about this. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without charge, under torture, which is what solitary confinement is. The president in fact intervened. Obama was asked about his conditions and said that he was assured by the Pentagon that they were fine. That’s executive intervention in a case of severe violation of civil liberties and it’s hardly the only one. That doesn’t change the judgment about Venezuela, it just says that what one hears in the United States one can dismiss.

It’s probably worth noting that The Guardian did not initially include these comments in their interview transcript, only doing so after the protests of bloggers and Chomsky himself. Considering how much The Guardian has done to bring Bradley Manning’s case to wide attention in the United Kingdom, their failure to highlight a relevant statement from one of the world’s leading radical theorists is a little disappointing.

Next London Meeting This Thursday

We’ll be meeting again in London this Thursday (please note change of venue this time around) – hope to see you there!

*UK Friends of Bradley Manning*
*RSVP:* Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com
Or subscribe at: http://www.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/

THIS Thursday 7th July From 7:00pm (til 10:00pm)

The Plow
(Outside if the weather’s nice enough, upstairs if not)
27 Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LH

*Tube:* Holborn


UK Friends of Bradley Manning meet for an informal plenary this Thursday,
7th July from 19:00.

If you have thought about getting involved in the campaign or just want to find out more about Bradley Manning then please join us!

See you there!

*RSVP:* Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com
Or subscribe at: http://www.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/

London meetup flyer

Join us at the Plow, Holborn this Thursday

UK Friends of Bradley Manning @ J30

JOIN US This Thursday! From 11:30 am

THIS Thursday June 30TH 2011, From 11:30 am

Caffe Nero
1-2 Bridge Street, Westminster London, SW1A 2JR
Tube: Westminster

Right outside the main entrance to Westminster Tube

UK Friends of Bradley Manning WILL BE MEETING to join the General Strike on Thursday. We meet from 11:30 at Westminster Tube Cafe Nero for a 12:00 departure.

Please join us! See you there!


Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue

Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue @ Derby Fire Show

Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue @ Derby Fire Show

This fire engine is on tour and – like certain other vehicular-based advocacy projects which are also dear to the heart of this campaign – it has a case to make. This weekend (25th and 26th June) The Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue goes to Sheffield at the Steam and Vintage Rally, Rackford Road, North Anston, (Junction 31 M1, A57 Workshop to Sheffield). Here’s the report of its driver from the Derby Fire & Rescue Show last weekend:

Interesting day here at Derby, talking to all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds from ex-army guys to mothers with children. Everybody I have spoken to thinks that the detention of Bradley is wrong although variety in their reasoning was large.

Here’s the lowdown on the publics’ reasoning so far:

1. The army failed in their duty of care. (Most of these people thought that he did leak the documents, but his state of mind was such that he didn’t know what he was doing and the army should have picked up on this a long time before the documents were leaked).

2. There is no way that he could have done it. (He wouldn’t have had the time, the clearance and availability of a suitable commercial internet link).

3. He did do it but it is not a crime because he exposed wrongdoing (self explanatory).

Interestingly more people including some ex-army thought that he didn’t do it than those that went for the idea that it is not a crime because he exposed wrongdoing.

I was surprised how well educated the public were about this and was pleasantly shocked how many had carried out enough research to come up with the Duty of Care argument.

There was a number of people that were anti war however I noticed that there was no need to argue a point with these guys; all that they wanted to know was where to sign the petition.

One thing that I have learned is that you need to keep your wits about you when doing public events to support Bradley. Being prepared to jump to one of the three arguments above is not always easy.

There is little point in just talking up an anti war stance because all that you are doing is preaching to the converted. Bradley needs mainstream support.

Another interesting day on Sunday, quite a few more people who did not know who Bradley Manning is. Even got stopped at the petrol station on the way back by some guy who wanted to know who Brad is.

I am now concentrating on working on my pitch which is definitely lacking something at the moment. I need to keep the passion, make it bite-sized and try and steer away from the elephant in the room (why are you doing this?).

Hopefully if I have the time in the next couple of weeks I am going to make some info boards up. Also going to get a table for handouts and a petition, get a collection tin and print some stickers to hand out like they do for other fund raisers.

Plans are afoot for big things at the end of August and all offers of help with the project would be gratefully received – Tim at Bridge Accrington‘s the man to be in touch with.

Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue

Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue - in Sheffield this weekend

All the above was originally posted on our facebook page, should you not have visited us over there yet…


Bradley Manning Emergency Rescue will be appearing at the following events over the course of the summmer… with more to be confirmed! Full details have also been added to our events calendar.

2nd-3rd July – Eden Camp Modern History Museum in North Yorkshire.

16th-18th July – Weeting Steam Rally in Norfolk

6th-7th August – Odiham Fire Show in Hampshire

13th-14th August – Sandtoft Trollybus Museum, near Doncaster

3rd-4th September – Boston, Lincolnshire

… I want to put something together for this one in support of David House as well as Brad. Not sure what yet, but I am thinking some sort of Bostons unite kind of thing. As far as I am concerned David has had the decency to stand by Bradley 100% so he deserves my support.

Meeting In London This Thursday

*UK Friends of Bradley Manning*
*RSVP:* Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com
Or subscribe at: http://www.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/

THIS Thursday June 23rd From 7:00 (til 10:00pm)

Princess Louise
Upstairs, near Front Windows area
(Ask: staff will know where we are!)
208 High Holborn, WC1V 7BW

*Tube:* Holborn


UK Friends of Bradley Manning meet for an informal plenary this Thursday,
June 23rd from 19:00.

If you have thought about getting involved in the campaign or just want to find out more about Bradley Manning then please join us!

See you there!

*RSVP:* Please reply to ukfriendsofbradleymanning@gmail.com

London meetup flyer

Join us at the Princess Louise, Holborn this Thursday