Statement of Events: Bradley Manning’s Primary Visitor Detained at Quantico
At roughly 1:00 pm, upon driving onto the base at Quantico, David House and blogger Jane Hamsher were detained by military guards. House, who is on the Quantico Brig’s visitation list, has been visiting Bradley Manning in confinement since last September.
In December 2010, House came forward with testimony that he witnessed a deterioration in Manning’s physical and mental state due to the conditions of Manning’s solitary confinement. House traveled to the Quantico brig to check up on Bradley’s well-being after a week in which Manning’s lawyer filed an Article 138 complaint over Manning’s mistreatment at Quantico. House and Hamsher also planned to deliver a 42,000-signature strong petition calling for an end to the inhumane conditions that Manning is being held. Upon arriving at the main entrance at Quantico, House and Hamsher were stopped and detained by military police who provided no explanation for detainment aside from a statement from one MP that his orders to detain had “come from the top.”
Between 1:00 – 1:30 MPs took their IDs and made them sign a form that they could not deviate to the brig or else they would be considered trespassing. At this time, one of the MPs asked for Hamsher’s auto insurance card. MP Gunnery Sgt. Foster informed Hamsher that her car would be towed after declining to accept a digital copy of Hamsher’s insurance card. House and Hamsher offered to drive off the base but were denied, despite being detained only ten feet inside the base’s perimeter. The MPs then took the Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of House and Hamsher.
Around 1:40 the tow truck arrived and MPs instructed House and Hamsher to leave their vehicle, informing them that their vehicle would be searched. At 2:00 pm House observed military officers arriving and entering the MP outpost which oversaw their detainment. House expressed concern that he would miss Manning’s visiting hours but was told that he could neither exit nor move forward to the base. No explanation for House and Hamsher’s detainment was provided until 2:50 when they were informed they could leave the base. They were detained for two hours up until Manning’s visitation time period expired at 3:00 pm.
In past visits, Hamsher and House have had no problem driving onto the base to visit Manning. This is the first time House has been denied access to Manning. House and Hamsher’s detainment comes on the heels of Amnesty International calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has also announced that the UN will be starting an investigation and Manning’s attorney has filed an article 138 complaint citing inhumane and overly harsh conditions on part of the Brig. Now House, Manning’s primary visitor outside of his attorney, who has provided public testimony about Manning’s deteriorating conditions as a result to his solitary confinement, has effectively been denied access to Manning.