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Will Obama's Statement That Manning "Broke the Law" Make a Fair Trial or Court Martial Impossible?

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Congressman Kucinich denied access to Manning

Congressman Dennis Kucinich was repeatedly denied access at Quantico to Manning for a private, unmonitored conversation.

On April 28, Kucinich challenged the "Media Day" at the Joint Regional Correctional Facility, Ft. Leavenworth, where Manning is currently being held...

"Instead of answers and accountability for the potential mistreatment of Pfc. Manning, the Department of Defense only offers fake transparency in the form of a guided tour of his new prison. Instead of responding to criticism from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Army will offer the media a scripted fantasy of Manning's brand new facility. With this stunt, it is clear that the Department of Defense and the Army are more concerned with public relations than the rights and security of Pfc. Manning.

"This fake transparency ignores the central question: How was Pfc. Manning treated during his long, solitary pretrial confinement at Quantico? What is his mental state after suffering the indignity of being left naked for an undetermined period of time, and after being continually disrupted in the manner of a continuous interrogation?

"If it is determined that there has been a deliberate effort to break Pfc. Manning physically and/or mentally prior to his trial or subvert his rights in any way, then the news media, which is participating in the public relations exercise today at Ft Leavenworth could become complicit in a cover up.

"The Department of Defense must grant my legitimate request to meet with Pfc. Bradley Manning and fully answer serious questions about his treatment.

"I urge the news media not to be taken in by this contrived pretension of transparency. The American people rely on the news media to investigate the cover up of abuses, not tell us about the nice new prison the Army has built."

After the DOD announcement on April 19 that Manning was being moved to Fort Leavenworth, Congressman Kucinich issued a press release about his continued concern for the treatment of Manning...

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"Absolutely nothing the Department of Defense has done so far with respect to Pfc. Manning provides any assurance that his basic human and constitutional rights are being protected. The Department of Defense has refused to provide timely answers to even the most basic questions and have thus far refused to allow me to meet with him.

"Any move of Pfc. Manning does not change the underlying fact, which has not been disputed by the Department of Defense, that he has been held under conditions which may in fact constitute 'cruel and unusual punishment' in violation of the 8th amendment.

"I will demand assurances in writing from the highest levels of the Department of Defense that moving Pfc. Manning will ensure his rights are better protected than they were when he was at Marine Corp Base Quantico and he will be kept safe under all circumstances.

"I will continue my demands that the Department of Defense grant my legitimate request to meet with Pfc. Bradley Manning to fulfill my oversight responsibilities as a member of Congress and a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The American people demand accountability."

Citizen activists bring national attention to Quantico

In the past ten months, citizen activists have brought national attention to the conditions of Bradley's confinement. More than 400 persons held a rally for Manning outside the front gate of Quantico on May 20, 2011 and 34 were arrested. Another rally was held at the gates of Quantico in January, 2011.

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Hundreds of fundraisers for Manning's support fund have been held by activists across the world and placards reminding the public of Manning's plight have been in rallies and marches.

UN Special Rapporteur denied access to Manning

Besides citizen activism, human rights organizations have questioned the conditions of Manning's detention, usually eliciting terse responses from the Obama administration. Remarkably, the Obama administration blocked international inquiries into Manning's condition including those made by the UN Special Rapporteur and Amnesty International.

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Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 (more...)

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