Statement on Bradley Manning
In the USA, 23-year old defense analyst Bradley Manning is jailed for an alleged leak of a video, showing a US helicopter attacking and killing at least 11 civilian Iraqis, including two journalists. He is also charged with leaking thousands of documents, “The Afghan War Diary”, documenting atrocities against civilians, coveer -up of corruption, conflicts with local war lords, and the failed efforts of NATO and the USA in Afghanistan. Manning is looking at a very long prison sentence.
Norwegian PEN does not want to consider the judicial- and safety-aspects of Mannings “crime”, but would like to recall President Obamas observation about whistle-blowers during his presidential campaign in 2008: “The only reason we know about these crimes is because people on the inside blew the whistle, at great personal risk. Whistle-blowers are part of a healthy democracy and should be protected.”
Manning is now in isolation at the Quantico Marine Base and, according to the website “Free Bradley Manning”, has been subject to torture. Norwegian PEN urges President Obama and the US Department of Defence to respect local and international regulations by stopping the torture and allowing for prison visits.
28. April 2011 – Norwegian PEN Annual Meeting