Sunday, January 23, 2011

Outrageous Provocation Keeps Manning Supporters from Visiting Him in Prison

The owner of Firedoglake, well-known political blogger and commentator Jane Hamsher, and David House, were harassed and prevented today from visiting high-profile prisoner, Bradley Manning, held at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. House has been cleared to see Manning, and has visited before.

From a "statement of events" posted by FDL's Michael Whitney:
At roughly 1:00 pm, upon driving onto the base at Quantico, David House and blogger Jane Hamsher were detained by military guards. House, who is on the Quantico Brig’s visitation list, has been visiting Bradley Manning in confinement since last September.

In December 2010, House came forward with testimony that he witnessed a deterioration in Manning’s physical and mental state due to the conditions of Manning’s solitary confinement. House traveled to the Quantico brig to check up on Bradley’s well-being after a week in which Manning’s lawyer filed an Article 138 complaint over Manning’s mistreatment at Quantico. House and Hamsher also planned to deliver a 42,000-signature strong petition calling for an end to the inhumane conditions that Manning is being held. Upon arriving at the main entrance at Quantico, House and Hamsher were stopped and detained by military police who provided no explanation for detainment aside from a statement from one MP that his orders to detain had “come from the top.”

.... In past visits, Hamsher and House have had no problem driving onto the base to visit Manning. This is the first time House has been denied access to Manning. House and Hamsher’s detainment comes on the heels of Amnesty International calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has also announced that the UN will be starting an investigation and Manning’s attorney has filed an article 138 complaint citing inhumane and overly harsh conditions on part of the Brig. Now House, Manning’s primary visitor outside of his attorney, who has provided public testimony about Manning’s deteriorating conditions as a result to his solitary confinement, has effectively been denied access to Manning.
Almost Arrested for Going to McDonalds

Here's how it went down, from Hamsher's Twitter feed:
At Quantico w @DavidMHouse to deliver 42,000 sigs 4 Bradley Maning to brig. Holding us at gate, never happened before: 39 minute ago

Called Lt Brian Villiard of Quantico on Friday and again today as courtesy to say we were coming re: Bradley Manning, never called me back. 38 minutes ago

Demanding my social security number before they'll let me on Quantico base, but won't say why. Never happened before 37nminutes ago

Guess Lt Villiard better at reading FDL than returning phone calls. For first time, made us sign letter saying we won't deliver any pkgs. 25 minutes ago

Quantico guards say I'll be arrested if I go to McDonalds while @davidmhouse visits Manning. "That privilege has been withdrawn." 22 minutes ago

Now been here at Quantico gate for 30 min. Will not let us leave base, holding us. 22 minutes ago

Gunny Foster Military Police #1715 writing me ticket for not hving latest insurance card. Sorry to 42,000 people who signed Manning petition 20 minutes ago

Can't leave base, can't go 2 brig, can't get my driver's license, Gunt Foster threatening 2 arrest us. Haven't done a thing. 19 minutes ago

Now Quantico guards want @davidmhouse driver's license back for 2nd time. 19 minutes ago

I go 2 McDonalds every time we come 2 Quantico while @davidmhouse visits Manning @TheTonyLee bc guards told me 2. Now "tresspassing." 17 minutes ago

The guards absolutely knew we were coming @auerfeld & told to harass us. "This was what I was told to do" said Gunny Foster. 15 minutes ago

McDonalds wasn't trespassing any other time, but now it will get me arrested @UKFriendsofBM. Won't let us off OR on base. 14 minutes ago

We're literally being detained without any explanation at Quantico 40 min now. Won't let us leave 12 minutes ago

When Gunny Foster asked 4 my SS# I said "what if I refuse?" He said he's Military Police & he can arrest me. Is that true? 10 minutes ago

Now Military Police asking @DavidMHouse 4 his SS# AGAIN. 10 minutes ago

We've been coming 2 Quantico 4 months @chrisvcb, @DavidMHouse has official permission 2 visit Bradley Manning 9 minutes ago

We're at the guard gate @SundevilSal, but question is whether they can arrest us 4 refusing to provide SS# rather than let us leave. 7 minutes ago

Question not whether we can get on base @FirstTeamTommy, that is their discretion. They won't let us OFF & won't say why. 7 minutes ago

We gave SS# @JavaJoeX . They still won't let us leave OR allow @DavidMHouse 2 go 2 brig even though he is on visitor list 4 Bradley Manning 4 minutes ago

Gunny Foster towing my car bc they won't accept my electronic proof of insurance, demanding paper. 4 minutes ago

Escorting us off base, hooking my car up to tow truck now. 4 minutes ago

Me "you won't accept electronic proof of insurance." SGT: "has to be printed." Me: "it was printed off that." "Unless u have a printer."

Forcing @DavidMHouse 2 go 2 court. Wouldn't give ticket, gave him a summons 2 appear in court.

Quantico guards didn't give registration back 2 me, but demanding it again.

Now guards going 2 inventory vehicle.

Military police searching & impounding my car. Won't let @DavidMHouse on 2 see Bradley Manning, won't say why.

It's 28 degrees, forcing us 2 stand outside

Quantico Guard: "are u leaving anything in your car" Me: "I can't check when they're driving it on to tow truck."

I called Lt Villard on Friday 2 say we were coming 2 Quantico, give courtesy head's up we were coming. I guess I know he got the message.

Me: "Can I go 2 store I can see fm [from] here & print out insurance if u won't accept electronic?" Foster: "No." 15 min ago, could've had by now

In tow truck, waiting 2 b escorted off Quantico base. No idea how @DavidMHouse & I get back to DC.

Still holding us, my car on tow truck but Quantico guards still won't let us leave.

Even though @DavidMHouse on approved list 2 see Bradley Manning, Quantico guards refusing 2 let him do so w no explanation. Still detained.

Some offers have now entered guard house.

Some officers have now entered the guard house & are talking 2 military police. @DavidMHouse & I detained w no explanation for 1 hr 20 min.
Who's Behind Efforts to Harass Manning's Visitors?

The effect of all this is to isolate Bradley Manning even further, and punish both him and his supporters for daring to speak out against his onerous and abusive incarceration. While the government claims its imposition of solitary confinement and other highly restrictive conditions under a so-called Prevention of Injury (POI) order are for Manning's own protection, in fact, it is aimed at psychologically breaking him down.

In such a high-profile case such as Manning's, linked to the Wikileaks controversy, it seems highly unlikely that Brig Commander James Averhart has acted on his own in this manner. What directions did he get from higher up, and from whom? Was it Marine Commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member, General James Amos? Secretary of Defense Robert Gates? Or did this come from the Commander-in-chief, President Obama himself?

Word is that Manning's stymied and harassed visitors will try again next week. As Twitter commenter MMFlint noted: "Time 2 join the 42K who've signed petition calling 4 humane treatment of Manning:".


Anonymous said...

This is outrageous, is there a way to send money to cover the towing fees? Can you post a PayPal address for Jane or David to receive some help for this?

Valtin said...

I don't know how you'd donate money for the towing fees. I'm sure Jane or David would want you to sign the petition and/or donate some money for Manning's defense.

You can do the latter by going to

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