February 3, 2011 was National Call-In Day to support Bradley Manning. Supporters of Manning were instructed to call the White House public line and voice their protest over allegations of torture and other human rights violations of this soldier by the Pentagon and DOJ. It was organized mainly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, much like the anti-Mubarak protests were organized in Egypt. To add any context to those not in "the loop,' Bradley Manning is the young soldier who allegedly dumped videos and other information of our military violating international law regarding combat, including multiple violations of the Geneva Accords.
The Pentagon and DOJ have made proving a link between Manning and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks a political and military CRUSADE. Supporters have accused DOJ of physical and emotional torture via the use of extreme isolation to make Manning "crack' and admit to physically "handing off' the mystery disc of intelligence information. The extreme secrecy used by DOJ, (including disallowing full legal representation), only adds the perception of credence to torture allegations.
Conversely, allegations of criminality by Manning, have never been proven and no trial has occurred, yet Manning has been kept prisoner by our military at the Quantico brig, stripped of all political, civil and human rights. In response to allegations of possible torture; both the Pentagon and DOJ have responded by closing ranks and refusing to grant "due process' rights to Manning, his visitors or his attorney. Furthermore, DOJ refuses to grant any information other than the most cursory of reports basically stating that Manning is a "person of interest,' and that the national security concerns of our secretive DOJ and Pentagon "trump' his civil rights.
Like the Egyptian protesters in Cairo, demanding their human rights to free speech, free press, and freedom of assembly--Manning's friends and allies have been attempting to gain information on his case, his safety and his basic human rights. On January 24th, Jane Hamsher--creator of FireDogLake, and Manning's best friend David House, were detained and interrogated by military police for some 2 hours while attempting to visit Manning. (Source: http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2011/0124411b.html) (Ed: link does not work)
Pentagon's Objective to Abuse Manning into False Confession
David House is Manning's sole remaining visitor, with activists like Hamsher serving as additional witnesses to the government's abuse of an American citizen. According to Hamsher on the day they were detained ; "The MP's told us they were ordered to do this, the brass showed up to make sure they did." (Source : http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2011/01/23/goal-of-quantico-incident-was-to-abuse-bradley-manning-and-int) Hamsher also attributed additional investigations of House and other Boston "hackers' to a political "witch hunt', with the Pentagon and DOJ desperately attempting to link House to an alleged connection regarding the WikiLeaks disk hand off. It is uncertain what evidence DOJ or the Pentagon have, but you would think that DOJ would understand certain constitutional mandates regarding the illegality and immorality of torture.
Concerns Regarding Possible Torture of Manning
They were concerned over reports and ADMISSIONS by the federal DOJ that Manning has been kept in solitary isolation some 23 of 24 hours daily for over 8 months, under a "Prevention of Injury" order. Under such an order, a soldier is confined to a dark cell, deprived of any sensory stimulation. That means no television or computers, no books, no light and no conversation with other people. Furthermore, the soldier is also stripped of his clothing with the exception of undergarments. In short, the military not only strips these psychiatric "patients' of their rights, but also their human dignity. No second opinions or medical peer review of these actions is permitted--so you have medical doctors taking their orders from military brass. If doctors conducted themselves like this in the civilian population; they would be arrested for abuse and torture facing multiple felonies and loss of their medical license. Unfortunately, soldiers do not have this same protection according to DOJ.
This Prevention of Injury order serves as the pseudo-legal excuse used to justify Manning's torturous isolation, including the obvious sensory deprivation an isolation cell brings. The activists from various civil rights groups on the political "left" are are fighting for humane treatment of our soldiers and are spearheaded by a group called Courage to Resist. The website lists their demands for the humane treatment of prisoner Manning and includes demands for social interaction with other prisoners and meaningful physical exercise. Another demand is the right to see visitors without undue interrogation, threats or other forms of harassment of those same visitors. The group also encouraged readers to phone the officer in charge of Public Affairs for the Quantico military jail at 1+703-432-0289, voicing their objections to this miscarriage of justice.
Given the state of justice in the US--I wondered, how many of us could eventually face the same fate as Manning for daring to dissent. At what point does revealing the truth to the public become a casualty of war--even a bogus "war on terror?" Do constitutional rights stand firm, or do they collapse like a flimsy house of cards in the face of "terrorism" accusations?
Ray McGovern Interview with DOJ : "Excusing Torture at "Justice'"
The same day Jane Hamsher was illegally detained attempting to visit Bradley Manning--Ray McGovern questioned DOJ Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Thomas Perez, after a parish hall meeting. Ironically, Perez' discussion topic was "the way his work for justice is defined by faith." McGovern decided to push the issue.
The Issue of Torture vs. DOJ Hypocrisy
McGovern noted that Perez himself raised the issue of torture and inferred that most Catholics like himself consider it to be morally wrong--yet a wealth of evidence exists which proves the federal government not only condones torture, but enthusiastically authorizes it. McGovern pointed out the following:
"I refer here not only to those tortured at Guantanamo, at the huge prison complex at Bagram, Afghanistan, and at "black sites" around the world where my former colleagues at CIA were given carte blanche to ply their trade."
"Former President George W. Bush" has written a book in which he brags about authorizing waterboarding and says he would do it again. Former Vice President Dick Cheney earlier endorsed waterboarding." (Source: http://www.consortiumnews.com/Print/2011/012411b.html)