2011-02-25 Appeal to American Medical Association concerning Bradley Manning

Appeal to Cecil B. Wilson, MD, president of the American Medical Association

Rotterdam 16/02/2011

Dear Dr Wilson,

I wish to alert you, as the president of the American Medical Association (AMA), to possible abuse of the medical profession, on US soil, by those who may engage in practices amounting to torture.

Private Bradley Manning is the alleged source of a leak of documents from
the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and from cables between American
diplomats worldwide to website/publisher WikiLeaks. This has made him America's foremost political prisoner. At the moment he is kept in conditions similar to solitary confinement on the Quantico Marine base in Virginia. This has created a genuine concern worldwide for the health of Mr Manning and the legitimacy of his situation. The following article basically says it all:

Lawyer for Bradley Manning alleges prison mistreatment

What I find concerning about this article are the conflicting claims from
the Marine staff:
- On the one hand they claim that the austere regime, the "prevention of injury watch" under which Bradley Manning is kept, has a medical foundation
and is for his own good.
- On the other hand, they are adamant that this regime is not in the sole
control of skilled medical staff but is ultimately imposed by the commander of Quantico, and that reasons to do so can be other, unspecified, than medical.

See also the website of Bradley Manning's lawyer:

Bradley Manning is not being treated like every other detainee

The following document (like the Washington Post article) clearly states that the army believes that decisions about the treatment of Manning are ultimately up to the Quantico commander and that this includes the "medical" decision to place him on prevention-of-injury watch. The
relevant passage is copied and pasted at the end of this letter.

DoD news briefing: Geoff Morrell from the Pentagon

Of course abuse of medical diagnoses and treatments for torture is a known
technique (punitive psychiatry has, for example, been used in Russia on Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky). So far medical staff seem to have refrained from any such practices, all the time stating correctly that Bradley Manning is sane and should not been kept in these conditions. I feel that this is to no avail, as the medical profession does not strongly condemn any self-entitlement of other staff (including the Quantico commander) to carry out medical diagnoses and treatments.

I feel that the treatment of Mr Manning must be either medical - and in that case should be under control of medical staff - or is essentially non-medical and under control of non medical staff. In the latter case its purpose and reason should be redefined, clarified, and subject to the law.

I am at the moment quite concerned and I would like to remind the AMA of
its very strong condemnation of torture in resolution 10 (A-05) on
19 June 2005 of the AMA House of Delegates. I feel that this condemnation should include torture under a medical pretext, through abuse of medical terms and procedures, by non-medical staff.

I hope that you can take legal measures to stop this abuse of power and
take up the matter with all of the responsible authorities.

Because this is a matter of great interest to the general public, I will
treat this as an open letter and publish on several places on the internet.
I will then add your reply to these publications.

Thank you for your attention - awaiting your reply,

Yours sincerely
Mirjam Eikelboom