Oregon Dem attacks Obama for State Dept. spokesman’s firing

By David Edwards
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 15:58 EDT
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A Democratic congressman is calling out President Barack Obama over the firing of the State Department’s top spokesman.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called the forced resignation of P.J. Crowley “outrageous” and demanded Obama “fix” the situation.

“Outrageous -PJ Crowley leaving State Department for saying the truth about treatment of Bradley Manning,” Blumenauer tweeted Tuesday. “Obama needs to fix this.”

Contacted by Raw Story, Blumenauer’s press secretary Derek Schlickeisen was hesitant to go into detail. He simply said that the congressman’s tweet should speak for itself.

Crowley was forced to resign over the weekend after he spoke out in defense of Bradley Manning, the Army private who has been accused of leaking secret State Department cables to WikiLeaks.

During at talk at MIT, Crowley had told British television journalist Philippa Thomas and several others that the treatment of Manning was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

In a statement, Crowley acknowledged his remarks but did not rescind them.

“The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values,” he said. “Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation.”

Manning attorney David Coombs revealed earlier this month that for at least two nights in row, the Army private had been “stripped naked” for as long as seven hours at a time.

Manning has been held at the Quantico brig since July under a maximum security regimen, which leaves him in his cell for 23 hours a day, because authorities say his escape would pose a risk to national security.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich warned last week that there would be “consequences” for the way the military was treating Manning — but it was unclear what those consequences might be or in what ways the congressman could make good on his threat.

“It appears they’re trying to break him,” Kucinich told MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer. “This is not defensible. There is no way, stretch of the imagination that this could be allowed, or that this should be happening in America.”

“I just want to say one thing if I had a chance to talk directly to Secretary Gates. He’s at the end of his career, Secretary Gates. It would be a shame to have a blot on his record which suggests he suborned human rights violations,” he said.

Kucinich added over the weekend that he was personally denied a request to observe Manning’s treatment firsthand.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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