From: Emma, Ricken, Pascal, Janet and the rest of the Avaaz team
Right now, Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US military prison. Manning is subjected to utter isolation that can drive many people insane, with short periods each day where he is stripped naked and abused by jeering inmates.
Manning is awaiting trial for releasing secret military documents to Wikileaks – including a video of US soldiers massacring Iraqi civilians. The US government is split on this issue, with diplomats publicly criticizing the military for Manning’s treatment, but President Obama has stood aside so far.
On paper, the United States opposes torture. The US Constitution forbids “cruel and unusual punishment”. And, along with almost a hundred other countries, the US has signed an international convention promising to treat all prisoners “with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. But today, Bradley Manning is utterly isolated in a cell without sheets, not allowed to exercise and is being subjected to brutal humiliation that is causing serious mental harm. This violates US and international law.
Bradley is being held under ‘prevention of injury’ status despite 16 reports from military mental health professionals that he should be removed from these severe conditions. His lawyers are trying to enforce his basic constitutional and international human rights in court, but so far the military tribunal responsible for Bradley’s fate has ignored his suffering.
There has been a crack down on Wikileaks since the explosive revelations of US military crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many speculate that this brutal pressure on Bradley is intended to force him to implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But Obama promised Americans and the world that he would protect, not persecute, whistleblowers:
“Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”
Bradley’s cruel treatment does the opposite and sends a chilling message to others who may want to expose important information. Let’s act quickly to put massive international pressure on the United States government to honour its commitment to human rights, the protection of whistleblowers and end the shockingly cruel treatment of their own citizen.
Bradley Manning claims he is a patriot and has admitted to releasing information that he felt the world had a right to know. While reasonable people can disagree about the approach of Wikileaks and the the rights or wrongs of those who delivered information to them, the illegal torture of Bradley Manning, who has yet to receive a fair trial or be convicted of any crime, is a shameful violation of human rights and human dignity.
Check out Obama’s statement on the importance of whistleblowing released on his official website http://change.gov/agenda/ethics_agenda/
PJ Crowley resigns over Bradley Manning remarks, The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/13/pj-crowley-resigns-bradley-manning-remarks
Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment, LA Times http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/10/opinion/la-ed-manning-20110110
US: Explain Conditions of Bradley Manning’s Confinement, Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/16/us-explain-conditions-bradley-manning-s-confinement
Stripped naked every night, Bradley Manning tells of prison ordeal, The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/11/stripped-naked-bradley-manning-prison
WikiLeakers and Whistle-Blowers: Obama’s Hard Line, Time http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2058340,00.html
The Implications of the Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning, Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-kane/bradley-manning-obama_b_832933.html
U.S. Pledges Rights Improvements, New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/world/19briefs-ART-Nations.html
Bradley Manning: charge sheet http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/interactive/2011/mar/04/bradley-manning-charge-sheet