Payday men's network / Queer Strike
c/o Crossroads Women's Centre PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU, United Kingdom
Crossroads Women's Center PO Box 14512 San Francisco CA 94114, USA
Major General Jeffrey S. Buchanan
Commanding General, US Army Military District of Washington
27 October 2013
Dear Major Gen Buchanan
We are writing to urge you to consider using your power as the Convening Authority in the case of Private Bradley Manning to eliminate his sentence or reduce it to the time already served.
As community organizations that support human rights, we believe that Private Manning has been detained long enough, considering that he has been in military confinement since 29 May 2010, to this day for 1249 days. We are extremely concerned about the fairness and even the legality of the judicial process that led to his conviction and his very severe sentencing, for the following reasons:
1. On April 21st 2011, when President Obama responded to questions regarding PFC Manning’s alleged actions, he concluded: "We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decision about how the laws operate. He [PFC Manning] broke the law." We believe this constitutes an "Unlawful Command Influence" at the highest level, because a superior officer in the chain of command is prohibited from saying or doing anything that could influence any decision by a subordinate in how to handle a military justice matter.
2. On December 2nd, 2011, the defence filed a request for the production of 48 witnesses for the Article 32 hearing. The government responded to the defence's request on December 7th, 2011 opposing the presence of all defence requested witnesses (with the exception of ten witnesses who were also on the government's witness list). The bias of this decision is palpable and denied to the defence the possibility of comprehensively putting its case.
3. Private Manning has had to wait over three years to have a trial, denying him the right to a speedy trial, in violation of UCMJ, Article 10. As recognised by Military Judge Colonel Denise Lind and by Juan Méndez, special Rapporteur on Torture of the UN, Private Manning has been illegally abused for nine months whilst detained in Quantico, in conditions described by the latter as "degrading and inhumane".
4. Private Manning was convicted on charges of espionage, yet he disclosed information to a public media to enable a public debate on the conduct of war as he saw and experienced it. How can this be considered "espionage"? At no point did he secretly pass information on behalf of or for the benefit of any particular government or military entity which, by definition, is espionage. It is worth remembering that during the whole trial, prosecutors of Private Manning have never shown that any enemies used this information against the US government or that the disclosure ever resulted in any casualties.
The situation of Private Manning has been an ongoing and growing concern of the international community. To mention but two recent instances, we must recall that seventeen Members of the European Parliament from seven countries have written a letter calling on President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to free Private Manning, and that over 112,000 people have signed a international petition demanding that he be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
We look forward to your urgent response and that you are considering a redress of this injustice suffered by a Private who has acted not out of malice or on behalf of any enemy of the US government and military, but out of his conscience.