An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bradley Manning

I sent the following message to my Congressional Representative:

I am writing to you about the case of Pvt. Bradley Manning and the conditions of his detention. I have read that the conditions of his detention at Quantico, Virginia where until recently he was held in 23-hour a day solitary confinement, forbidden to exercise, unable to interact with any other people, constitutes inhumane treatment according to international and U.S. laws. Although the conditions of his confinement may improve given his recent transfer to Leavenworth Prison, I find many of the facts of his case highly disturbing.

Second, even a tyrannical dictatorship such as Tunisia does not hold anyone in solitary confinement for more than 10 days. Manning was in solitary for 6 months.

Third, in his recent public comments, the President declared Manning guilty, stating on camera: "We don't let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law." But Pvt. Manning has yet to go to trail, much less stand convicted. Given that military officers will try Pvt. Manning report to the President as Commander and Chief I find his statement prejudicial and contrary to the core concept of the presumption of innocence that, until recently, distinguished the U.S. from other countries.

I request that you do the following:

Please make a public statement of your position regarding the conditions of Pvt. Manning's detention at Quantico.

Please initiate or do all in your power to initiate congressional hearings on the conditions of Pvt. Manning's detention.

I would like to see the United States uphold the standards of due process which once made our legal system the standard for others to follow. A king has the power to throw a person in a dungeon for months or years without trial. A President in a democracy should not have such power. Congress can hold a President accountable for such actions, should the Representatives and Senators choose to do so. Please do so.

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