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Monday, 13 August 2012 11:35

Evidence Shows Three-Star General Ordered Unlawful, Brutal Treatment of PFC Bradley Manning

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THE BRADLEY MANNING SUPPORT NETWORK FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

David Coombs, civilian legal counsel for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning, has published the "Article 13" motion that in July he said would "shock the conscience of the court." This document not only reveals new details about PFC Manning's brutal conditions at the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia, but the shocking revelation that a three-star General, far removed from the brig, ordered this illegal treatment. Coombs writes that new emails show two different brig commanders then carried out these unlawful orders in clear violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which prohibits pre-trial confinement conditions "any more rigorous" than the minimum needed to ensure the accused appears for court hearings. Mr. Coombs will argue this motion for dismissal of all charges, based on these military law violations at a critical October 1-5 pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Mr. Coombs has detailed how these newly uncovered emails "reveal that everyone at Quantico was complicit in the unlawful pretrial punishment, from senior officers to enlisted soldier." Continuing the pattern of abusing PFC Manning's right to due process, the prosecution withheld these emails for six full months. They were finally turned over to the defense only hours before Mr. Coombs planned to file the court motion regarding this issue. PFC Manning was forced to remain in solitary confinement for more than 23 hours per day, with 20 minutes of exercise during which time his hands and feet were shackled with metal restraints. Military officials uniformly declared that PFC Manning was placed on this special "prevention of injury" watch for his own good-despite nine straight months of Brig psychiatrists' evaluations that declared the treatment unjustified.

"These emails now make all previous assertions by Quantico and Pentagon officials that they were simply following procedures to keep Manning safe patently ridiculous," noted attorney Kevin Zeese, of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

29-year military veteran US Army Colonel Ann Wright (ret.) declares:

"The revelation that a Lieutenant General would order the mistreatment of a fellow soldier in violation of the UCMJ leaves me aghast. This general, and those who obeyed his orders to mistreat whistle-blower Bradley Manning while he was held in pre-trial confinement, must be held accountable. If not, the entire military justice system fails all members of the military."

Jeff Paterson, of the Bradley Manning Support Network, notes, "It would take a military judge of extraordinary character to do the right thing under military law and toss this case. For the first time, however, there is real hope that justice may be served, and the charges against Bradley dismissed."

With the financial support of nearly 13,000 supporters, the Bradley Manning Support Network continues to be responsible for 100% of PFC Manning's substantial legal defense expenses.

Mr. Coombs will argue this issue at Fort Meade October 1-5. Additionally, PFC Manning will appear in court before then on August 27-31. Members of the media should contact the Public Affairs Office at Fort Meade for information regarding accreditation.