by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Washington, Apr 28, 2011
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has repeatedly challenged the Defense Department’s treatment of Private First Class (Pfc.) Bradley Manning and sought to meet with Manning, today challenged the purpose of a so-called “Media Day” at the Joint Regional Correctional Facility, Ft. Leavenworth, where Pfc. Manning is currently being held. Pfc. Manning was transferred to Ft. Leavenworth from the Marine Corp Brig Quantico following criticism of his treatment there which may have violated his constitutional rights. Pfc. Manning has been accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks, but after nine months of confinement a trial date has not yet been set.
“Instead of answers and accountability for the potential mistreatment of Pfc. Manning, the Department of Defense only offers fake transparency in the form of a guided tour of his new prison. Instead of responding to criticism from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Army will offer the media a scripted fantasy of Manning’s brand new facility. With this stunt, it is clear that the Department of Defense and the Army are more concerned with public relations than the rights and security of Pfc. Manning.
“This fake transparency ignores the central question: How was Pfc. Manning treated during his long, solitary pretrial confinement at Quantico? What is his mental state after suffering the indignity of being left naked for an undetermined period of time, and after being continually disrupted in the manner of a continuous interrogation?
“If it is determined that there has been a deliberate effort to break Pfc. Manning physically and/or mentally prior to his trial or subvert his rights in any way, then the news media, which is participating in the public relations exercise today at Ft Leavenworth could become complicit in a cover up.
“The Department of Defense must grant my legitimate request to meet with Pfc. Bradley Manning and fully answer serious questions about his treatment.
“I urge the news media not to be taken in by this contrived pretension of transparency. The American people rely on the news media to investigate the cover up of abuses, not tell us about the nice, new prison the Army has built,” said Kucinich.