Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law” – So Much for That Trial?

President Barack Obama made stunning accusations about accused Wikileaks whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning, directly asserting that Manning “broke the law.” Apparently the President of the United States of America and a self-described Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or convicted for any crime.

In a discussion yesterday with Logan Price, a Bradley Manning supporter who was part of a group of activists who sang a song during the President’s San Francisco fundraiser, President Obama flatly stated that Bradley Manning “dumped” documents and that “he broke the law.” A rough transcript follows, provided by UK Friends of Bradley Manning:

OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]… That’s not how the world works.

And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law.

We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

[Q: Didn’t he release evidence of war crimes?]

OBAMA: What he did was he dumped

[Q: Isn’t that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]

OBAMA: No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.

This is the President of the United States speaking about a US military soldier detained for almost a year on charges of leaking classified (but not top secret, the level of files released by Ellsberg) documents. Manning’s lawyer is considering filing a writ of habeus corpus for the length of time and totality of abuse suffered by Manning while in military custody.

President Obama has already made up his mind. He thinks Manning “broke the law.” It’s no wonder he considered Manning’s abuse to “meet our basic standards” when he thinks Manning is already guilty.

This is vile.

As a reminder: the Pentagon plans to hold Manning indefinitely. Might as well, since they think he’s guilty already.

Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law.” So Much for that Trial?

President Barack Obama made stunning accusations about accused Wikileaks whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning, directly asserting that Manning “broke the law.” Apparently the President of the United States of America and a self-described Constitutional scholar does not care that Manning has yet to be tried or convicted for any crime.

In a discussion yesterday with Logan Price, a Bradley Manning supporter who was part of a group of activists who sang a song during the President’s San Francisco fundraiser, President Obama flatly stated that Bradley Manning “dumped” documents and that “he broke the law.” A rough transcript follows, provided by UK Friends of Bradley Manning:

OBAMA: So people can have philosophical views [about Bradley Manning] but I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source [basis]… That’s not how the world works.

And if you’re in the military… And I have to abide by certain rules of classified information. If I were to release material I weren’t allowed to, I’d be breaking the law.

We’re a nation of laws! We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

[Q: Didn’t he release evidence of war crimes?]

OBAMA: What he did was he dumped

[Q: Isn’t that just the same thing as what Daniel Ellsberg did?]

OBAMA: No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.

This is the President of the United States speaking about a US military soldier detained for almost a year on charges of leaking classified (but not top secret, the level of files released by Ellsberg) documents. Manning’s lawyer is considering considered (corrected: his transfer made the writ moot) filing a writ of habeus corpus for the length of time and totality of abuse suffered by Manning while in military custody.

President Obama has already made up his mind. He thinks Manning “broke the law.” It’s no wonder he considered Manning’s abuse to “meet our basic standards” when he thinks Manning is already guilty.

This is vile.

As a reminder: the Pentagon plans to hold Manning indefinitely. Might as well, since they think he’s guilty already.

Jane Hamsher on MSNBC: Obama Must Explain Statements on Manning Treatment

Jane Hamsher was on MSNBC this afternoon to speak about Pfc. Bradley Manning’s surprise transfer from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, away from his attorney, his friends, and his family. Jane called on Obama to explain why he said Manning’s treatment met basic standards, when the Pentagon admitted yesterday Manning’s treatment was “rare, if not unprecedented.”

“I would like the President to explain why Jeh Johnson is now saying that what he told the public on March 11 is not true. Jeh Johnson said the Pentagon only began their review of this situation two weeks, as opposed to five weeks ago when they told the President that they had. So now that they’ve acknowledged that Manning’s treatment was punitive, as Jim Miklashevski has reported, and that he was not being held appropriately (he was being held in maximum security conditions because he was supposedly so dangerous, and now he’s going to medium security), the President needs to be explain why he was either misled, or chose to mislead the public himself.”

This was only Jane’s first appearance on MSNBC today – she was also seen on the Dylan Ratigan show with former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley in the 4pm hour. We’ll have video for that soon.

Jane Hamsher on MSNBC: Obama Needs to Explain Misinformation about Manning Treatment

Jane Hamsher was on MSNBC this afternoon to speak about PFC. Bradley Manning’s surprise transfer from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, away from his attorney, his friends, and his family. Jane called on Obama to explain why he said Manning’s treatment met basic standards, when the Pentagon admitted yesterday Manning’s treatment was “rare, if not unprecedented.”

“I would like the President to explain why Jeh Johnson is now saying that what he told the public on March 11 is not true. Jeh Johnson said the Pentagon only began their review of this situation two weeks, as opposed to five weeks ago when they told the President that they had. So now that they’ve acknowledged that Manning’s treatment was punitive, as Jim Miklashevski has reported, and that he was not being held appropriately (he was being held in maximum security conditions because he was supposedly so dangerous, and now he’s going to medium security), the President needs to be explain why he was either misled, or chose to mislead the public himself.”

Jane’s not done at MSNBC today – look for her on the Dylan Ratigan show with former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley in the 4pm hour.

Pentagon Plans Indefinite Detention of Bradley Manning (Video & Transcript)

Yesterday the Pentagon surprised everybody – including Bradley Manning’s lawyer – with news that the accused Wikileaks whistleblower will be moved from the Quantico brig in Virginia to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon’s lawyer, Jeh Johnson, announced Manning’s transfer in a snap press conference (video embedded) that revealed the government’s strategy: take Manning to a place “not in the Washington[, DC] area” where he will “likely be in pre-trial confinement for a while.”

What was obvious in the Pentagon’s press conference yesterday was they plan on keeping Manning in Fort. Leavenworth for quite some time. Despite being held for 11 months, including 8 in abusive conditions at Quantico, there are no plans to try Manning any time soon. And the Pentagon made it clear:

the possibility that he will remain in pre-trial confinement for an additional time […]

and then when you look forward at the likely time before this case goes to trial, […]

And given the length of time it appears he’ll be in pre- trial confinement, we believe that at this point, this was an appropriate thing to do. […]

what the projected likely length of time of the pre-trial phase of this case […]

given the length of time — in the future it looks — it looks as if he’ll be in pre-trial confinement. […]

given what the likely period of pre-trial confinement in the future will be […]

And so if you’re in a place for what we expect will be a longer period of pre-trial confinement, […]

But it is a place where if you’re going to be confined for a longer period of time, […]

this is a complex case, and we are probably months off from the trial of this case. […]

Message received: Manning’s going to be held for as long as the Pentagon damn well pleases. Which is probably something they’d have communicated to his lawyer, yes? No. Manning’s lawyer wrote on his blog yesterday that he found about his client’s “imminent” transfer the same way we did: by reading it in the news.

Like many others, the defense first learned of PFC Manning’s move to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by reading that a government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, leaked the information to the Associated Press. The defense was not officially notified of PFC Manning’s pending move until twenty minutes before the Pentagon’s press briefing. This is despite the fact that the Pentagon has “been thinking about this for a while.” Although the news of the move came as a surprise to the defense, the timing did not.

All three Pentagon officials at yesterday’s press conference made a big deal that the Kansas facility was medium-security, and that Manning would have the ability to interact with other prisoners, eat in the mess hall, and otherwise be treated like a normal prisoner. Except for that’s not true – yet. That’s the best-case scenario. [cont’d.] (more…)

Pentagon Plans Indefinite Detention of Bradley Manning (Video & Transcript)

Yesterday the Pentagon surprised everybody – including Bradley Manning’s lawyer – with news that the accused Wikileaks whistleblower will be moved from the Quantico brig in Virginia to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon’s lawyer, Jeh Johnson, announced Manning’s transfer in a snap press conference (video embedded) that revealed the government’s strategy: take Manning to a place “not in the Washington[, DC] area” where he will “likely be in pre-trial confinement for a while.”

What was obvious in the Pentagon’s press conference yesterday was they plan on keeping Manning in Fort. Leavenworth for quite some time. Despite being held for 11 months, including 8 in abusive conditions at Quantico, there are no plans to try Manning any time soon. And the Pentagon made it clear:

the possibility that he will remain in pre-trial confinement for an additional time […]

and then when you look forward at the likely time before this case goes to trial, […]

And given the length of time it appears he’ll be in pre- trial confinement, we believe that at this point, this was an appropriate thing to do. […]

what the projected likely length of time of the pre-trial phase of this case […]

given the length of time — in the future it looks — it looks as if he’ll be in pre-trial confinement. […]

given what the likely period of pre-trial confinement in the future will be […]

And so if you’re in a place for what we expect will be a longer period of pre-trial confinement, […]

But it is a place where if you’re going to be confined for a longer period of time, […]

this is a complex case, and we are probably months off from the trial of this case. […]

Message received: Manning’s going to be held for as long as the Pentagon damn well pleases. Which is probably something they’d have communicated to his lawyer, yes? No. Manning’s lawyer wrote on his blog yesterday that he found about his client’s “imminent” transfer the same way we did: by reading it in the news.

Like many others, the defense first learned of PFC Manning’s move to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by reading that a government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, leaked the information to the Associated Press.  The defense was not officially notified of PFC Manning’s pending move until twenty minutes before the Pentagon’s press briefing.  This is despite the fact that the Pentagon has “been thinking about this for a while.”  Although the news of the move came as a surprise to the defense, the timing did not.

All three Pentagon officials at yesterday’s press conference made a big deal that the Kansas facility was medium-security, and that Manning would have the ability to interact with other prisoners, eat in the mess hall, and otherwise be treated like a normal prisoner. Except for that’s not true – yet. That’s the best-case scenario.

Jeh Johnson said that Manning’s transfer to Leavenworth was “imminent” – so it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be there in the next couple of days, if he’s not there already. Lieutenant Colonel Dawn Hilton, who is the commander of the Fort Leavenworth facility where Manning will be held, said that Manning will be subject to a 5-7 day evaluation upon arrival that will determine his security, access, and basic treatment.

LT. COL. HILTON: Absolutely. I don’t know what he was allowed to do at the — at the Quantico brig. But what I can tell you is when he first arrives into the facility, he’ll receive an in-depth risk assessment, initial assessment. And during this phase, anywhere from five to seven days, we try to make sure that he’s assimilated into the population, and that we assess his internal and external risk. After that, typically when he — when we have finished assessing his risk, he will be housed with the other pre-trial inmates. And a typical day is three square meals a day in a dining facility that the post-trials eat at. He’ll receive open recreational time for three hours during the day, both indoors and outdoors. And he’ll have the capability to interact with other pre-trial inmates on a routine basis.

There is no guarantee that Manning’s treatment will be any better than his abuse in Quantico. Right now, it seems it’s all dependent on this initial evaluation. Manning’s lawyer doesn’t seem hopeful, either:

While the defense hopes that the move to Fort Leavenworth will result in the improvement of PFC Manning’s conditions of confinement, it nonetheless intends to pursue redress at the appropriate time for the flagrant violations of his constitutional rights by the Quantico confinement facility.

The Pentagon can’t run away from their abuse, either. Manning supporters have already organized a protest outside Leavenworth for June 4.

[Full transcript of the Pentagon presser on Manning’s transfer here.]

Bradley Manning to be Moved to Fort Leavenworth

Bradley Manning civilian clothesBradley Manning is set to be moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon is expected to announce the move tomorrow.

Manning has been held in torturous conditions at Quantico Marine Base’s brig since July, just south of Washington, DC. The Army’s intention to move to Fort Leavenworth is questionable. It puts Manning in the middle of America, away from the spotlight of DC.

It remains to be seen what facility at Fort Leavenworth Manning will be held at, as the fort hosts two: The United States Disciplinary Barracks, the nation’s only maximum security military prison and home of death row; and the new Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, a military prison that holds convicted military members for 5 years or less, as well as those awaiting trial.

Moving Manning to Fort Leavenworth serves to further isolate Manning, and makes it easier for the Pentagon to continue its abuse of Bradley Manning. It is hard to see any good that comes out of this move.

If the Pentagon was getting serious about treating Manning well, they could lighten up at Quantico. Are they admitting Quantico is out of control? They already replaced the brig commander once. It seems the solution to Manning’s abuse isn’t to move him, it’s to control the people in charge of his treatment.

Bradley Manning to be Moved to Fort Leavenworth

Bradley Manning civilian clothesBradley Manning is set to be moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Pentagon is expected to announce the move tomorrow. Manning has been held in torturous conditions at Quantico Marine Base’s brig since July, just south of Washington, DC.

It remains to be seen what facility at Fort Leavenworth Manning will be held at, as the fort hosts two: The United States Disciplinary Barracks, the nation’s only maximum security military prison and home of death row; and the new Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, a military prison that holds convicted military members for 5 years or less, as well as those awaiting trial.

Moving Manning to Fort Leavenworth may serve to further isolate Manning, and may make it easier for the Pentagon to continue its abuse of Bradley Manning. If the Pentagon was getting serious about treating Manning well, they could lighten up at Quantico. Are they admitting Quantico is out of control? They already replaced the brig commander once. It seems the solution to Manning’s abuse isn’t to move him, it’s to control the people in charge of his treatment. But hopefully things will be better for Manning in Kansas. We’ll have to wait and see.

(This story has been updated from the original posting)