Invoking the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, peace and justice activists to descend on Quantico prison to protest torture of Bradley Manning

DIFFENDING DISSENT FOUNDATION – Founded in 1960 as the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

CONTACT: Sue Udry, 301-325-1201 sue.udry@defendingdissent.org

Martin Luther King Day is Monday, January 17, 2011

Invoking the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, peace and justice activists to descend on Quantico prison to protest torture of Bradley Manning

MLK Day plans call for noon demonstration at FBI headquarters in Washington followed by caravan to Quantico Marine Base

“Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We’ll celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a way that would make the great man proud. We embrace his legacy. Martin will be with us in the streets.

Noon: Protest at FBI Headquarters  – 935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC, to demonstrate our outrage and indignation against police state surveillance, infiltration, and attempts to entrap peace, environmental, animal rights, civil rights, and solidarity activists.
Renowned “whistleblower” Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, who testified to the Senate Judiciary on FBI’s pre 9-11 failures, will address the crowd at the FBI headquarters.  Ms. Rowley describes FBI abuses, “Instead of safeguarding our freedom and security, the FBI has become a growing danger to those trying to exercise our Constitutional rights. It is alarming to see the FBI revert to the abuses of the Vietnam era.”

1 pm: Convoy to Quantico – We’ll take off from the center of the American police state in a caravan to Marine Corps Base Quantico where military authorities are holding our brother Bradley Manning in an inhumane condition of solitary confinement. (Quantico is 45 minutes south of DC.)

2 pm: Rally at the Iwo Jima statue, Quantico Marine Base –
The statue is at the southwest corner of Rt. 1 (Jefferson Davis Hwy) and Rt. 619 (Fuller Rd.)  From I-95: Take exit 150, Quantico/Triangle. Take route 619 east to the entrance of the base.

Activists will descend on Quantico to protest the isolation and torture of Bradley Manning at Marine Corps Brig Quantico.  This treatment is designed to break Manning’s mind and reduce his ability to defend himself.  Manning has been kept in 23 out of 24 hour solitary confinement for 7 months in a 6 foot by 12 foot cell.  He is not allowed any meaningful exercise, has his sleep and day-night cycles disrupted by constant light, and is harassed by what the military calls “prevention of injury” measures.  These require a guard to ask him every 5 minutes “are you ok?” which requires an affirmative response.

We call on Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Colonel Daniel J. Choike, Base Commander, Marine Corps Base Quantico, to end the inhumane, degrading conditions of pre-trial confinement and respect Bradley’s human rights.  Specifically, we are calling on Pentagon officials to lift the “prevention of injury” watch.  This would allow Bradley meaningful physical exercise, uninterrupted sleep during the night, and a release from isolation.

See the Letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility to Defense Secretary Gates

Dan Ellsberg captures our sentiments regarding Bradley, “I spent years [during Vietnam] keeping my mouth shut as presidents lied to us and kept these secrets.  I shouldn’t have done that.  And that’s why I admire someone like Bradley Manning, or whoever the source was, for actually risking their own personal freedom in order to tell us the truth.  I think they’re being better citizens and showing their patriotism in a better way than when they keep their mouths shut.”

(See our letter attached hereto.)

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Endorsed by: Backbone Campaign,  Bill of Right Defense Committee, Bradley Manning Support Network,  CodePink,  Courage to Resist,  DC Bill of Rights Coalition,  DC National Lawyers Guild,  Defending Dissent Foundation,  Democrats.com,  Friends of Human Rights,  Jobs for Afghans,  Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition,  National Accountability Action Network,  National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance,  Peace Action, Peace of the Action,  Progressive Democrats of America,  United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace,  WarIsACrime.org,  Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility,  Witness Against Torture,  World Can’t Wait

*****

January 12, 2011

Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20318-9999

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400

Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000

Colonel Daniel J. Choike, Base Commander
Marine Corps Base Quantico
3250 Catlin Avenue
Quantico, VA 22134-5000

Dear Adm. Mullen, Gen. Casey, Gen. Amos, Col. Choike,

The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned about the inhumane treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime, and yet has been subjected to six months of solitary confinement with no known end date. It has been reported by his attorney and a visitor that Manning’s mental health is suffering from this cruelty, which serves no known judicial purpose and could result in Manning being found unfit to stand trial.

Your conduct, as judged by the information available to the public, appears to be in clear violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty to which the United States is a party and which is therefore, under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. The treaty is also enforced by US Code Title 18, Part I, CHAPTER 113C.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that “No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence.” The same UCMJ bans cruel and unusual punishments following convictions.

We urge you to come into immediate compliance with the law. As a U.S. citizen and as a member of the U.S. military, Bradley Manning has legal rights that are being grossly violated. If you have reclassified Manning as an enemy in some sort of war, the same is true. The US Code bans war crimes, defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party. The following are a few examples of the rights you are bound by the Supreme Law of the Land to respect for prisoners of war:

-Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated.
-The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical attention required by their state of health.
-Prisoners shall have opportunities for taking physical exercise, including sports and games, and for being out of doors. Sufficient open spaces shall be provided for this purpose in all camps.

This is not to suggest that Bradley Manning could rightly be considered some kind of Prisoner of War, but under international treaties which the U.S. has signed, EVEN POWs are guaranteed certain rights now being ignored in the case of Manning, a citizen of the United States.  Manning is, in fact, being subjected to treatment almost certain to cause permanent psychological damage.  Please see the enclosed letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility to Robert Gates re. Bradley Manning on January 3, 2011.  The following steps should, at a minimum, be taken immediately to mitigate the damage and increase the likelihood of Manning being capable of assisting in his own defense.  He should be permitted:

-Lifting of the baseless POI (prevention of injury) status that allows guards to harass him with inquiries
-Extensive daily interaction with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-His meals in a common area with other accused but not convicted prisoners
-Nightly sleep undisturbed by light, noise, or interruption
-Sleep during daytime as desired
-Normal blankets
-Sight at all times of daylight or night’s darkness
-Exercise in his cell anytime he wants
-At least three hours outside each day, and access to basic exercise and sports equipment
-Whatever reading material he wants

Please contact us to discuss this matter further at david at davidswanson dot org

Sincerely,

Backbone Campaign, Bill of Right Defense Committee, CodePink, Courage to Resist, DC Bill of Rights Coalition, DC National Lawyers Guild, Defending Dissent Foundation, Democrats.com, Friends of Human Rights, Jobs for Afghans, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, National Accountability Action Network, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Tackling Torture at the Top – subcommittee of Women Against Military Madness, United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace, WarIsALie.org, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Witness Against Torture, World Can’t Wait

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