According to Manning’s attorney, Kucinich, Amnesty, and UN have been trying to get clearance for “official visits” to Manning at the Quantico Marine brig. An “official visit” is different from an “authorized visit” in that an “authorized visit” – one made by family or friends and approved by the brig and Manning – is subject to full surveillance by the brig. An official visit would be one conducted by those officials on government business, and would not be subject to monitoring by the brig. So essentially, the government and the brig are saying you can come visit Manning, but we’re going to watch and record every thing you say, and those recordings could be used as evidence against Manning at his trial.
Manning’s attorney stated that Kucinich, Amnesty, and the UN are not allowed to have an official visit “because none of these individuals are conducting ‘official government business.’” This is, of course, ludicrous. Rep. Kucinich is a sitting Member of Congress with a seat on the Oversight Committee, and he submitted official notices to the Department of Defense that he wanted to inspect the conditions of Manning’s confinement. Additionally, the UN Special Rappateur on Torture has opened an investigation into Manning’s detention and would be visiting in his official capacity.
What is the government afraid that Manning will say to these officials when the Brig isn’t able to record his every move? If Manning’s torture is “meeting our basic standards,” as President Obama says, what is there to hide?