The Army private charged with supplying government secrets to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organization will be transported away from the Quantico, Virginia Marine Corps base, where he’s been held for about a year, after repeated insistence from clear-thinking people with the law on their side that he was being tortured or, at the very least, unfairly detained. Manning, who is charged with “aiding the enemy” and 21 other counts, has been made to strip naked every night in addition to other “clearly punitive” holding tactics with “no mental health justification” and “no basis in logic,” according to his attorney. After personal pleas and public protests, the U.N. torture investigator attempted about a week ago to visit Manning, but was denied his request. Now it’s announced that Manning will be moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kanses. Hm, is that so?
Manning’s own attorney says he found out about the relocation from the news, and it’s only happening because the defense was in the process of filing a writ of habeas corpus:
The defense recently received reliable reports of a private meeting held on 13 January 2011, involving high-level Quantico officials where it was ordered that PFC Manning would remain in maximum custody and under prevention of injury watch indefinitely. The order to keep PFC Manning under these unduly harsh conditions was issued by a senior Quantico official who stated he would not risk anything happening “on his watch.” When challenged by a Brig psychiatrist present at the meeting that there was no mental health justification for the decision, the senior Quantico official issuing the order responded, “We will do whatever we want to do.” Based upon these statements and others, the defense was in the process of filing a writ of habeas corpus seeking a court ruling that the Quantico Brig violated PFC Manning’s constitutional right to due process. … The facts surrounding PFC Manning’s pretrial confinement at Quantico make it clear that his detention was not “in compliance with legal and regulatory standards in all respects” as maintained at the Pentagon press briefing.
The timing for the move — U.N. torture investigator and habeas corpus considered — could not make more sense.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 20, 2011