I spoke to a pleasant young man from Amnesty-USA today. He told me Amnesty is investigating conflicting claims about the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention.
How close are they to concluding their investigation? The people with details are in the London office he replies.
Wouldn’t the USA Amnesty people be better situated to investigate something in the USA? The London office handles the research he tells me.
Why hasn’t Bradley Manning been designated a "prisoner of conscience"? Manning may be a "POC" replies the young man, but the London office would have to be sure about his motivations for leaking the information. They would also consider his employment contract. Why would the employment contract be relevant I asked? If he was moved break his contract for moral reasons – as published chat logs reveal – why should anything else matter? He didn’t want to speculate on what the London office was doing.
Calling the London office – as I have a few times – leads me to a polite receptionist who says I should send an email. The emails to London go unanswered.
I asked the young man at Amnesty USA what Amnesty would do if "confirmation" proves very difficult. Why not publicly express concern, as Amnesty does in numerous other cases, where the facts cannot ever be completely verified – and certainly not promptly enough to help the victim? He said the London office may indeed make some kind of "conditional" statement but did not want to speculate when.
Past experience – the July 6, 2005 massacre of Haitians by UN troops – tells me Amnesty will "investigate" indefinitely unless pressured, especially by members and donors. Past experience also shows that Amnesty raises the bar for evidence depending on how the US government views the victims. See Znet "Amnesty International's Track Record in Haiti since 2004";