Media coalition protests censorship of Bradley Manning trial documents
ARLINGTON, Virginia — A broad coalition of media outlets sent a letter of protest to top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson today, complaining that “the overwhelming majority of court records filed in [PFC Bradley] Manning’s court-martial have remained shielded from public view.” They say that the U.S. military’s “unnecessary degree of secrecy” has prevented journalists from adequately covering issues of considerable public interest.
Writing on behalf of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Executive Director Lucy Dalglish urged the Defense Department to adopt at least the same level of media access as was recently extended to trials at Guantanamo Bay. She argued that these reforms are necessary “to ensure that military personnel tried stateside have the same rights to a public trial as those afforded accused terrorists.”
Read the full letter:
“The Obama administration is trying to hide their shameful and unjustifiable retaliation against Bradley Manning,” said Jeff Paterson, a lead organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. “The Pentagon’s carefully orchestrated show trial could veer off script if journalists were able to publicly engage critical evidence related to over-classification, abusive pre-trial confinement, and misleading public comments about Bradley Manning.”
The letter, which has been signed by at least 46 media outlets, comes as the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower faces another hearing at Fort Meade on March 15. PFC Manning’s defense team is continuing to pursue motions that would allow depositions of key witnesses, as well as access to documents such as WikiLeaks impact assessments that showed no harm to national security.
Last week, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez condemned the Obama administration’s ongoing refusal to allow a private meeting with PFC Manning. Mendez is seeking to conduct an investigation into what he called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” during the eight months PFC Manning was held in solitary confinement at a brig in Quantico, Virginia.
The Bradley Manning Support Network organized hundreds of calls by supporters to Jeh Johnson’s office last week, urging the top Pentagon attorney to stop blocking a meeting between PFC Manning and the U.N. investigator.
“Bradley Manning’s treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules”. http://www.guar
“Call top Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson”. http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/call-in-top-pentagon-attorney-jeh-johnson