Washington D.C. (February 4, 2011)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today requested a visit with Private First Class Bradley Manning, the solider accused of leaking classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. He requested the meeting as a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Kucinich has previously written to Defense Secretary Robert Gates requesting confirmation and explanation of reports that the Army ignored evidence of mental health problems of Pfc. Manning and that he is being held in conditions that could contribute a violation of the his Eighth Amendment right of protection from “cruel and unusual” punishment.
The full text follows:
February 4, 2011
The Honorable Robert C. Gates
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301-0001
Dear Secretary Gates:
I write to request that I be able to visit Private First Class Bradley Manning at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.
As you know, I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health. A March 2009 article by surgeon Atul Gawande discusses the effects of solitary confinement on prison inmates and prisoners of war: “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.” Studies highlighted that such prisoners, months after being released, revealed severe brain abnormalities mirroring those who had endured significant physical head trauma.
Private Manning’s guilt or innocence is a question for adjudication and his treatment at Quantico severely undermines the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and raises questions as to whether he is truly able to stand trial. His care while in the custody of the Department of Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Government and as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform it is my duty to conduct effective oversight.
Thank you for your attention to this request. I look forward to your prompt reply.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress
-thanks to War Is A Crime