Tuesday afternoon, I delivered the letter signed by many here at FDL, and by 27 Alaskans, to Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, requesting he join Rep. Dennis Kucinich in investigating the abusive treatment of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning at the brig of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
My longtime friend who runs Begich’s Wasilla office, Mary Kvalheim, immediately unstapled the three-page document, copied it and shoved it through the fax connecting her office with Mark’s DC HQ. I thanked her and left to prepare to fly to Seattle overnight. Before I left Wasilla, I also emailed MS Word copies of the letter to Begich’s Press Secretary, Julie Hasquet, to his Chief-of-Staff, David Ramseur, and to his military affairs legislative aide, Lindsay Kavanaugh.
When I got to SeaTac Airport, I checked my email. Here’s what Ramseur had written to me overnight:
We got the letter and Senator Begich will have it today, if he doesn’t already. We’ll get you a response shortly.
Thanks – David
Though this is certainly good news, and a much more straightforward process than has been dealing with Mark’s Press Secretary, Julie Hasquet, we’ve yet to see how Mark will react. Sen. John Kerry promised constituents on February 21st to look into Manning’s treatment:
A person in the back of the room asked about the alleged torture and solitary confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking a vast amount of information on the war in Afghanistan through the Web-based government watchdog organization WikiLeaks. The question led to a brief chant of “Free Bradley Manning.” In response, Kerry promised, “I will join with John McCain and we will make sure it stops,” to huge cheers.
Kerry doesn’t appear to have given it much of a shot, though. Yet:
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was asked about the situation, and offered some defense for what’s going on.“There are concerns about what is happening, but a strong argument is being made that they’re trying to preserve his safety, they don’t want him harming himself, and using his own clothing to hang himself, or do something like that,” said Kerry. “That’s happened in prison before. I think it is possible to protect him, I think, and there are some legitimate reasons to believe that that may be true also. But I think that a lot of people are now reviewing this very, very closely, people have weighed in, myself included, I think that analyses are being made. There was a big article in the newspapers today examining it. And I’m convinced that there will be real scrutiny with respect to that issue.”
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was asked about the situation, and offered some defense for what’s going on.
Read the rest of this entry →