Former Commander of Headquarters Company at Quantico Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning


General James F. Amos
Commandant of the Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington DC 20350-3000

Dear General Amos:

As a former regular Marine Corps captain, a Korean War combat veteran, now retired on Veterans Administration disability due to wounds suffered during that conflict, I write you to protest and express concern about the confinement in the Quantico Marine Corps Base brig of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning, if the information I have is correct, is charged with having violated provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice by providing to unauthorized persons, among them specifically one Julian Assange and his organization Wikileaks, classified information relating to US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department communications. This seems straightforward enough and sufficient to have Manning court-martialed and if found guilty sentenced in accordance with the UCMJ.

What concerns me here, and I hasten to admit that I respect Manning’s motives, is the manner in which the legal action against him is being conducted. I wonder, in the first place, why an Army enlisted man is being held in a Marine Corps installation. Second, I question the length of confinement prior to conduct of court-martial. The sixth amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing to the accused in all criminal prosecutions the right to a speedy and public trial, extends to those being prosecuted in the military justice system. Third, I seriously doubt that the conditions of his confinement—solitary confinement, sleep interruption, denial of all but minimal physical exercise, etc.—are necessary, customary, or in accordance with law, US or international.

Indeed, I have to wonder why the Marine Corps has put itself, or allowed itself to be put, in this invidious and ambiguous situation. I can appreciate that the decision to place Manning in a Marine Corps facility may not have been one over which you had control. However, the conditions of his confinement in the Quantico brig are very clearly under your purview, and, if I may say so, these bring little credit either to you or your subordinates at the Marine Corps Base who impose these conditions.

It would be inappropriate, I think, to use this letter, in which I urge you to use your authority to make the conditions of Pfc. Manning’s confinement less extreme, to review my Marine Corps career except to note that my last duty prior to resigning my captain’s commission in 1959 was commanding the headquarters company at Quantico. More relevantly, during the 1980s, following a stint as a senior estimates officer in the CIA, I played a very public role as a “whistleblower “ in the Iran-contra affair. At that time, I wondered why Lt.Col. Oliver North, who very clearly violated the UCMJ—and, in my opinion, disgraced our service—was not court-martialed.

When I asked the Navy’s Judge-Advocate General’s office why neither North nor Admiral Poindexter were charged under the UCMJ, the JAG informed me that when officers were assigned to duties in the White House, NSC, or similar offices they were somehow not legally in the armed forces. To my question why, if that were the case, they continued to draw their military pay and benefits, increase their seniority, be promoted while so serving, and, spectacularly in North’s case, appear in uniform while testifying regarding violations of US law before Congress, I could get no answer beyond, “That’s our policy.”

This is not to equate North’s case with Manning. It is only to suggest that equal treatment under the law is one of those American principles that the Marine Corps exists to protect. This is something you might consider.

David C. MacMichael

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Posted by on January 20, 2011, With Reads Filed under Military. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Responses to "Former Commander of Headquarters Company at Quantico Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning"

  1. Dale R. Suiter  January 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Marine Corp Order 1640.1 “Corrections Program” should be the controlling doucment regarding the standards PFC Manning is confined under.

    He may be held under Maximum Security. Twenty-three hours confinment with one hour of out of cell time each 24 hour cycle is an acceptable standard. PFC Manning has access to religious services, legal counsel, mental and medical health care and must be protected from physical harm.

    This is a very high profile case. PFC Manning is facing serious legal issues. Often – suspects and defendants become depressed to varying degrees when facing legal action. This is a very common reaction to arrest and prosecution.

    Based upon avaialbe information, PFC Manning is confined within acceptable correcttional standards.

    Dale R. Suiter

  2. Ron Willison  January 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry Quantico not Cuba.

  3. Ron Willison  January 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I would recommend Private Manning for a promotion not a court marshal. Furthermore maybe a big enough promotion to give him the position of the general or who ever it was that made the decision to sent him to Cuba.

  4. Ron Willison  January 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    This is part two. I don’y know if there was a charachter limit on comments here.

    When I mentioned “guilt” in part one. This is where the most pain comes from.

    Having traveled to Thailand and Cambodia for some Temple touring with my daughter last Nov. We cam face to face with the death and destruction that we “Americans” exported there, that to this day continues to cause death, blown off arms and legs, burnt faces, missing eyes and dead ears. You would think we might be over there helping to dig up all those leftover land mines. Instead numbers one and two American imports. Cigarettes and alcohol. We won’t mention our Nam vets that are basket cases living under bridges and inhabiting our freeway off ramps with “HOMELESS” or “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” signs. Maybe if we had wikileaks then we would have left the French clean up their own mess by sitting that one out. After all we now know that the “BAY OF TONKIN” never happened. And I wonder how long it will be before our currant two wars over false “murdered incubator baby’s” And “weapons of mass distraction” veterans start competing for their space on the off ramps. Manning Assange and the internet give me hope that we can reign in our government officials. PEAK OIL is upon us. ZERO population growth has to become a world “MANHATTAN PROJECT” type endeavor. Mother Earth is saying she’s tired and needs some help. It’s time people. Humanity has such potential. We dare not waste this time. Did you know that from almost extinction to overpopulation only takes approx. 3500 to 5000 years. We have come and gone countless times. How many chances to get it right do we get?

  5. Ron Willison  January 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The Commander and author of this article has renewed some of my faith in Our military.
    As an American citizen who has been around since 1949 and lived through our greatest moments as well as our worst. There are lessons that were learned and somehow forgotten, and worse yet not even taught to our current young people. For instance. The massacre in Viet Nam at Melai. Out of that abomination our Govt. and military told us the American people that policy’s and programs were instituted that would insure that events like that would never happen again. So how did it happen again? ie “Apache Helicopter Event” Was Private Manning made aware of these programs in boot camp. Did he in fact have a safe haven that he could have turned to? Or was wikileaks his only perceived option?

    This American citizen is fed up with corrupt officials lining their pockets while serving up our nations youth as cannon fodder. The justification that “Our spoiled brat citizens will tow the line as long as their TV’s work and they have gas in their cars is a fallacy that’s about be in their face. This American is sick of the guilt I have to carry around because of the stupid self serving actions of of an ever growing group of soulless greedy people that assuage themselves by believing that they are acting in my best interests.

  6. A. Humanist  January 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Highly recommended.
    Many thanks to David C. MacMichael for his authoritative, independent perspective on the treatment and confinement conditions of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning at QMCB brig. It appears that the current so-called Brig Rules are not codified and are not Orders or SOPs, but rather are arbitrary and dictatorial, and in this case, irrational, punitive and persecution.
    Not only Pfc. Manning, but many others in the USA and around he world suffer cruel confinement without conviction of any crime, without legal due process, without the Rule of Law, and without a decent lawyer.

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