I will drive down to Quantico this weekend with Bradley Manning’s friend David House when David delivers petition signatures to the Commander of the Quantico brig. The petition urges an end to the inhumane treatment of Manning during his pre-trial confinement.
Today David C. MacMichael, former Commander of Headquarters Company at Quantico, writes to the Commandant of the Marine Corps protesting Manning’s conditions.
MacMichael was involved in the Iran-contra affair and notes the dramatic difference in the treatment of Oliver North and Bradley Manning. North was also accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
At that time, I wondered why Lt.Col. Oliver North, who very clearly violated the UCMJ—and, in my opinion, disgraced our service—was not court-martialed.
When I asked the Navy’s Judge-Advocate General’s office why neither North nor Admiral Poindexter were charged under the UCMJ, the JAG informed me that when officers were assigned to duties in the White House, NSC, or similar offices they were somehow not legally in the armed forces. To my question why, if that were the case, they continued to draw their military pay and benefits, increase their seniority, be promoted while so serving, and, spectacularly in North’s case, appear in uniform while testifying regarding violations of US law before Congress, I could get no answer beyond, “That’s our policy.”
This is not to equate North’s case with Manning. It is only to suggest that equal treatment under the law is one of those American principles that the Marine Corps exists to protect. This is something you might consider.
When many people hear about Bradley Manning’s confinement, they believe that his conditions simply reflect the way in which the military deals with those who violate the UCMJ. But Oliver North was ultimately convicted of three felonies, which were only vacated due to an immunity agreement granted for his pre-trial testimony before Congress — with the help of the ACLU.
David House is the only person aside from Bradley’s lawyer who visits him regularly. He recently wrote about Bradley’s conditions here at FDL, which include severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime, nor is there a date for any court hearing. The New York Times recently reported that these techniques are being used to induce Manning to flip on Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
I don’t recall Oliver North being subjected to anything like that while he was awaiting trial.
Over 30,000 people have signed the petition. We’d like to get it up to 50,000 by the time David delivers them. I promise to be a faithful videographer and bring back video of David’s experience with the petitions, to the extent that it is allowed on the base.