Call top Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson
Tell top Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson to let U.N. officials meet with Bradley Manning
On Monday, Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ top official on torture, blasted the Obama Administration for its abuses of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning.
Speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Mendez stated:
“I believe Bradley Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the excessive and prolonged isolation he was put in during the eight months he was in Quantico.”
Jeh Johnson, in his capacity as General Counsel, has been the Pentagon’s main point of contact with Juan Mendez. He has been the official mouthpiece through which the Obama administration has repeatedly denied a private meeting between the U.N. torture investigator and PFC Manning.
Call Jeh Johnson’s office: 703-695-3341
If the main line is busy: 703-697-7248
You can also fax his office: 703-693-7278
- Let Juan Mendez meet with Bradley Manning in private, to conduct a proper fact-finding mission, according to the terms of his U.N. mandate.
- Drop all charges against Bradley Manning. There is no excuse to imprison and subject anyone, let alone a soldier and a whistle-blower, to prolonged cruel and degrading treatment.
- If he is unable to stand up for PFC Manning’s rights under the Constitution and international humanitarian law, he should resign.
More on Jeh Johnson’s involvement in Bradley Manning’s case:
Following his transfer from detention in Kuwait in June 2010, PFC Manning was held in solitary confinement under abusive conditions at a Marine brig in Quantico Virginia. He was subjected to forced nudity, sleep deprivation, and humiliating treatment from his guards. He was expressly forbidden from doing sit-ups and push-ups in his cell. At one point, his guards even confiscated his eyeglasses, presumably to heighten a sense of disorientation.
There were widespread condemnations of the mistreatment — not only from protests outside the prison organized by the Bradley Manning Support Network, but also from hundreds of legal scholars, advocacy organizations like Amnesty International, and government officials at home and abroad. This outcry led to a media firestorm that forced the Pentagon to move Manning to more humane conditions in April 2011.
At a Pentagon press conference in April 2011, Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s General Counsel, suggested that these measures were undertaken “in Private Manning’s own best interest.” This comment echoed the President’s assertion a month earlier that the humiliating and degrading treatment “has to do with Private Manning’s safety” even though brig psychiatrists repeatedly found that Manning was an exemplary detainee who never posed a threat to himself.
At the conference, Johnson went on to acknowledge that, “it is fair to say that because this case has been in the media, people at… my level have been involved in this process.
In response to repeated questions about the reasons for the transfer, Johnson conceded that, “I won’t say that his conditions at Quantico had nothing to do with this.
In May 2011, Jeh Johnson wrote a letter to Mr. Mendez, in which he denied an unsupervised meeting with the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower. Mr. Johnson also added bluntly:
“You should have no expectation of privacy in your communications with Private Manning.”
In a June 2011 letter to the U.S. government, Mr. Mendez reaffirmed his call for an unmonitored meeting:
“I would like to express my disappointment at my inability to have a meeting with Pfc. Manning which is private, unmonitored and a privileged communication in line with the usual practice of my mandate. I would like to recall that private, unmonitored and privileged communications are an essential prerequisite of any credible fact-finding endeavour undertaken by the Special Rapporteur.”
At the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council this week, Mendez offered his most forceful condemnation yet of the Obama administration’s treatment of Bradley Manning. In response to a question from an AFP reporter about the U.S. government’s explanation for the conditions of pre-trial confinement at Quantico, Mendez added that “the explanation I was given for those eight months was not convincing for me.”
An internal investigation into PFC Manning’s mistreatment at the Quantico brig found that military officials did not even properly follow their own policies. These findings were ultimately overturned by the brig commander who had been implicated in the report. When the facility was ultimately scheduled to close at the end of 2011, military officials stressed that the decision had nothing to do with the widespread criticism of their treatment of PFC Bradley Manning.
Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake called on Jeh Johnson to explain the discrepancies
between his statements and those of the President.