Tag Archives: david house

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…

Update

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.

Advertisements

One Year On: What We Have to Do and How We’re Going to Do It

The first anniversary of Bradley Manning’s arrest falls this week and events are being held worldwide to mark this.

The international campaign in support of Bradley Manning has scored some notable successes: we have brought the facts of Bradley’s detention to a wide audience, we have elicited the concern of many influential people and we have ensured that the British Government, which has a special responsibility towards Bradley as a dual citizen, made efforts to secure his welfare. As a result of these successes, we have secured Bradley’s transfer from the brutal and arbitrary regime of the Quantico marine brig to a different facility at Fort Leavenworth. But there is still much to do.

We must ensure that Bradley is treated in a humane and civilised fashion. Bradley’s regime at Fort Leavenworth is undoubtedly an improvement on what went before, but we will be monitoring to ensure that that continues to be the case.

Past violations of Bradley’s rights must be recognised. The conditions that prevailed at Quantico for nine long months are still under investigation by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez. The sacking of James Averhart this January proved that, not only had the brig authorities not met minimal standards of human rights, they also utterly failed to abide by the rules the US military sets for itself. At the time of Bradley’s transfer to Fort Leavenworth his lawyer David Coombs had been preparing a writ of habeas corpus based on reports of arbitrary and illegal administration in relation to Bradley’s case. All of this needs to be thoroughly investigated and, if appropriate, reparation should be made.

Bradley’s trial must be fair. The legal case against Bradley is now moving ahead and we have concerns about how it is likely to proceed. Barack Obama has already made a declaration of Bradley’s guilt (“He broke the law”) and, as the US Commander in Chief, he is the ultimate superior of all of Bradley’s jurors. This use of command influence raises questions as to whether Bradley’s trial can be carried out in a fair way in a military court.

Bradley’s trial must be open. Military guidelines demonstrate that there is a strong presumption in favour of courts martial being as public as possible. Our understanding is that the US military are seeking to try Bradley in conditions that are largely shielded from public view. Given the critical role public scrutiny has played to date in securing Bradley’s welfare, this is unacceptable.

Bradley’s voice must be heard. Bradley’s visitation arrangements are still subject to a monitoring order that means that all visits, other than legal ones, must be listened in to and anything that Bradley says may be used against him. This must end: Bradley deserves the chance to speak in confidence to an outside authority who can report back on his conditions at Fort Leavenworth and at Quantico. Whether that authority is Juan Méndez, an official from the British Embassy, a representative from Amnesty, Dennis Kucinich or Ann Clwyd is less important than that that visit can happen.

What you can do

After almost a year of being cut off from the outside world, Bradley can now receive correspondence. Write a letter to him at the following address:

Bradley Manning 89289
JRCF
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2315
USA

The UK Government has a special responsibility towards Bradley, who is of course a British citizen. Henry Bellingham has said that the Government has “a responsibility to listen” to concerns raised about Bradley’s treatment – and the actions the UK Government takes on Bradley’s behalf are directly related to how vocal we can be in making those concerns heard.

  • Write to your MP and let them know that we still have concerns about Bradley, in particular that he receive a fair trial.
  • Ask your MP to sign EDM 1624. This is a useful measure of the extent of support Bradley has in Parliament.
  • Approach your other representatives, be they Assembly Members, Members of the Scottish Parliament, or Members of the European Parliament and encourage them to set up a Statement of Support for Bradley.

Tell other people about Bradley. Whether you’re holding a full-scale demo, a benefit event or just discussing things with a friend, spreading the word about Bradley’s case is incredibly valuable. As will have become obvious this week, much of the media coverage of this issue coming from the US is likely to be negative and misleading.

It’s also worth remembering that Bradley’s case isn’t happening in isolation: it’s part of a much larger offensive by the current US adminstration against whistleblowers and those who would support them. The combined impact of these actions is to send out a very worrying message: that citizens should not be able to know what it is their governments are doing and should not be able to challenge them. By educating those around you about the important role whistleblowers play, you can do much to improve Bradley’s position.

The task ahead of us may seem immense, but we should be optimistic. Dedicated campaigns on behalf of UK citizens facing disproportionate sanction in the United States have scored some remarkable successes over the past 24 hours. We have already achieved a great deal – and with concerted effort, we should be able to do more. Onwards!

Why Sunday’s Visit Was Cancelled: Quantico Admit Improper Behaviour

The truth comes out – and, surprise surprise, it has nothing to do with vehicle licensing or tax discs.

According to MSNBC, military officials at Quantico have admitted that the suicide watch Bradley Manning was subjected to for two days last week was done without the appropriate authority and for an illegitimate reason. Here are the critical two paragraphs:

Military officials said Brig Commander James Averhart did not have the authority to place Manning on suicide watch for two days last week, and that only medical personnel are allowed to make that call.

The official said that after Manning had allegedly failed to follow orders from his Marine guards. Averhart declared Manning a “suicide risk.” Manning was then placed on suicide watch, which meant he was confined to his cell, stripped of most of his clothing and deprived of his reading glasses — anything that Manning could use to harm himself. At the urging of U.S. Army lawyers, Averhart lifted the suicide watch.

Firedoglake also carry the story here.

Just to reiterate, Bradley Manning was placed on suicide watch, as a punishment, by a military official (a senior one) without the requisite medical authority to do so. This fits in with the general pattern of Bradley Manning’s pre-trial detention at Quantico – medical provisions being used as a means of punishment. The Prevention of Injury Order Manning currently suffers under is another example of this.

The good news is that, on this occasion, David Coombs was able to take pretty swift action to have the thoroughly illegitimate suicide watch lifted. The bad news is, of course, that Marine determination to not have this confirmed by Bradley Manning directly before they were ready to admit it themselves led to him having to do without a much-needed visit after what must have been a very difficult week indeed.

Update

The Guardian have published what I think is a really good article on this today. It’s worth reading, not least because there is some information about the Washington press corps starting to ask questions about this situation, which is pretty incredible in some ways and shows that a proper debate on this may finally be beginning. I’ve also submitted a couple of long comments here and here. I’ll apologise for my verbosity in advance; it’s not always something I can help.

“An Egregious Breach” – Bradley Manning denied prison visit

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.

Update I
I’ve just seen that chomp.fm have prepared an emergency broadcast on this subject.

Update II
Here’s Jane Hamsher’s account of what happened at Quantico. David House will attempt to visit Bradley again next weekend.

Update III
Now covered in The Guardian too. I’m not holding my breath for the New York Times article.

“I think this may be punitive treatment…” David House interviewed on Canadian radio

This is a transcript of As It Happens, a CBC Radio show broadcast on 21 Jan 2011. David House is due to visit Bradley Manning today (Saturday) and deliver a 40,000 signature petition to the Quantico brig Commander. On the audio clip, his interview begins at the 9.50 mark.

Mr. House, what does this petition call for?

It calls for a stop to the inhumane conditions that Bradley Manning is currently confined under. Specifically it calls for a lifting of his solitary confinement and it calls for him to be able to exercise and go outside.

When you last saw Bradley Manning, your friend, what condition was he in?

Bradley Manning, when I first saw him in September, was very bright-eyed, a very engaging young man. He was able to talk quickly through conversational topics and relate things in the abstract and concrete, almost in professorial fashion – a very intelligent person.

Over time, I have noticed that his condition, psychologically, has been degrading. When I visited him last December, physically he had big bags under his eyes, very ashen in his face, he’d lost a lot of weight. He looked like someone who had not had exercise in several months, which in his case is true.

Psychologically that was the hardest for me to witness. Bradley has lost the ability to keep up with conversational topics, something he never had a problem with before. It’s very clear that there’s a sort of emotional suffering going on with him.

The Pentagon has come out and said, ‘oh Bradley is treated no differently from any other maximum custody detainee.’ What they are not telling you is two things. Firstly, not only is he a maximum custody detainee, he’s under an additional set of restrictions from a Prevention of Injury Order.

This Prevention of Injury Order is the order that requires him to be under solitary confinement. This is the order that requires him not to exercise, except for walking in an empty room once a day, in chains. That is the order that denies him access to newspapers, under such restrictions.

This order the army says is implemented due to concerns for his health, but in the time he’s been at Quantico three separate military psychiatrists at the Quantico brig have said there is no reason why Bradley should be under a POI order and that in fact the order is not necessary because he is not a risk for suicide.

In addition to that, what the Pentagon is also not telling you is that Bradley is the only maximum custody detainee currently at the Quantico brig, so when they say he is treated the same as any other maximum custody detainee, they are saying he is treated the same as himself.

In addition to the Prevention of Injury Order, he was placed under suicide watch this week. What do you know about that?

I actually just found out about the suicide watch when it broke in the Washington Post story and I find it very alarming. It seems he was put on this suicide watch for two days and that he was taken of the watch thereafter. From talking to people with knowledge of the case I have learned that as a provision of the suicide watch his glasses were removed, so he was effectively blind in his cell. He was kept in his cell for 24 hours a day rather than 23 hours a day and was kept in his boxer shorts in his cell at all times. There is also a guard watching him at all times.

I don’t know what to make of this, to be honest. Although Bradley’s mental state has been deteriorating as a result of the solitary confinement he is under, he has never seemed like an individual who would be at a risk of suicide, and the military psychiatrists agree with that. This seems punitive to me and the fact they would have him under this order immediately after the protests and immediately after all the media attention, and then take him off the order shortly thereafter… I think this may be punitive treatment from the brig Commander.

This is also something that his lawyer, David Coombs, is arguing strenuously, that it seems that anyone who has looked at Bradley Manning, all these psychology experts have said that he is not a risk to himself. When you say punitive, when the lawyer says that, what do you mean by that?

I think he is being held under such harsh conditions because the US Government is attempting to get him to crack under the pressure, possibly in an attempt to get him to roll over on Assange or something like that. So in that regard, Bradley has been singled out from the entire prison population for this very harsh treatment and as a result of that he is suffering psychological and social deterioration.

Do you think he is strong enough mentally to not break?

When I look in Bradley’s eyes, I see a man who is a very ethical individual, who is very humble and – above all else – very resolved. Despite the fact that Bradley has gone through all this utterly barbaric treatment from the US Government, he tells me he is able to meditate, at some points, and this centres him and gives him some sort of internal strength. He told me that he is able to maintain his resolve in the midst of this.

So I do believe that despite the psychological trauma he is undergoing, he is holding up much better than anyone I think could handle it in those circumstances.

He is a military man. He has been told by the people around him in the military that he has jeopardised the lives and security of his comrades in arms, who are in other countries. How does he respond to those criticisms?

I don’t know how Bradley Manning would respond to those criticisms, but I would bear in mind that the Pentagon has come out and said it cannot find evidence of a single individual that has been harmed as a result of the leaks from the Wikileaks organisation. And I can say that NATO in Kabul has come out and said it cannot find a single family in Afghanistan that has needed protecting.

So I think the narrative that there are sources being put at risk, that there are military men being put at risk by this alleged leak, this narrative is nothing more than damage control and spin by politicians in Washington trying to cover their own backs and trying to make a case for why whistleblowers that embarrass them should be locked up.

When do you think Bradley Manning will get his day in court?

It’s hard to say. It seems that the US Government is continually throwing stumbling blocks in the way of this investigation, maybe in an attempt to keep him locked up for longer and suffer more trauma as a result of his conditions. I really couldn’t say when his trial will be but I hope he has access to a speedy trial.

You are delivering this petition tomorrow. It has, what, 30,000 signatures on it?

The petition I am delivering tomorrow has 40,000 signatures on and it will be going directly to the brig Commander. This petition, again, calls for a stop to the inhumane conditions Bradley is being kept under. As a US citizen, I feel really ashamed that we are keeping an alleged whistleblower locked up under solitary confinement and I feel that these conditions especially must be changed.

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.

Update:

As you may have heard, David House was not able to visit Bradley or deliver that petition. Another attempt will be made this weekend, which means there is still time to sign, if you haven’t already done so. 42,000 signatures so far and counting!

Bradley Manning on Suicide Watch

This morning’s Washington Post reports that Bradley Manning was placed on suicide watch for two days this week (ending Wednesday evening), against the recommendation of the Quantico brig’s forensic psychiatrist and – seemingly – “for no medical reason” whatsoever. This is a highly disturbing development, but one that is consistent with the use of ostensibly medical measures (eg. the Prevention of Injury Order) for the purposes of punishing Bradley Manning and/or pressuring him to accept a plea bargain that has been a regular feature of his detention at Quantico.

Bradley Manning’s legal representative, David E. Coombs, has now made an official complaint to the Quantico Base Commander and his update is worth reading in full.

Incidentally, Bradley Manning’s other regular visitor, the activist David House, is due to visit over the weekend when he will deliver a 30,000-signature petition to the Quantico authorities, appealing for a lifting of Manning’s Prevention of Injury order. There is still time to sign this if you haven’t done so already.