Report: Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning subjected to "cruel and inhumane treatment" at Quantico brig

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128 Responses to “Report: Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning subjected to "cruel and inhumane treatment" at Quantico brig”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I read up on the solitary protocol of Quantico a few weeks ago. The conditions are so harsh that a judge knocked more than a year and a half off the sentence of someone else held here for a few weeks before trial. Fighting in the general population is almost unheard of because the punishment is the solitary hall. The damage to Mr Manning is already irrevocably done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So, it’s like supermax prison conditions?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermax

  3. hassenpfeffer says:

    “What he did was wrong,” Rincewind? Ever heard of “innocent until proven guilty”? Ever heard of actually filing fucking CHARGES against someone before detaining them. Also, your snap moral judgment is far from applicable in the real world. Read the whole Greenwald column and learn the kind of abhorrent things this kid was being asked to do to suppress peaceful Iraqi political opposition to the American regime before you lock him up and throw away the key without a pillow or sheets.

    • bja009 says:

      Whoa there, tiger. I understand why you’re upset, because the way he’s being detained is bullshit, but try to stick to the facts.
      Manning HAS been charged, under UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 (sources: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/07/2946534.htm?section=world ; http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=11098993)
      Also, when Rince said ‘wrong’, he may have meant ‘against a set of rules by which Manning agreed to be bound as part of military service,’ and not ‘morally reprehensible,’ which it probably wasn’t.
      (Not that I’m trying to put words in Rince’s mouth – it’s totally possible s/he thinks that Mannings actions actually were morally reprehensible.)

      • Rincewind says:

        You’re correct, I was referring to ‘wrongness’ in terms of US military rules. I was not in any way making a moral judgement upon Mr. Manning.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is pretty disgusting.

  5. Improbus says:

    You expected civilized treatment … from OUR government? Surely you know our government has no moral center. It is an exercise is raw power.

    • Anonymous says:

      “You expected civilized treatment … from ANY government? Surely you know _all_ government has no moral center. It is an exercise is raw power.”

      FTFY

  6. Anonymous says:

    “USA! Fuck Yeah!”
    (Team America movie for those who don’t ‘get’ the reference)

  7. teapot says:

    I think this sends a strong message to all Americans: Don’t be suckered in by the meathead automatons with shit haircuts recruiting your ass right out of high school.

    Don’t join the military… Deal hard drugs, kids! You will get way better treatment in prison, make more money and serve less time. Win Win.

    Hey Al-Qaeda… you out there? What say your next attack on American soil is on that prison, ey?

    • Teller says:

      Jesus, every radical knocks our fighting forces.

      • teapot says:

        Jesus, every radical knocks our fighting forces.

        No, bud – I knock all nations’ meatheaded automatons.

        If you want to be shot at for a terrible salary, a complete lack of creativity and under the direction of people you may not agree with, then go ahead and fulfill Darwin’s harmonious theory.

        The world will be better without you.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      One size don’t fit all, teapot: the military can be the best thing that ever happened to a given person.

      That’s just the way it is.

  8. niro5 says:

    Could be worse. He could be in general population with a bunch of other jailed soldiers, more than a few of whim may have a problem with some kid jailed on suspicion of espionage.

    Funny story, the army is still paying him his regular salary while he is in jail. Cruel and unusual? By some definitions, but at least he’s getting paid.

  9. humanresource says:

    Who ever heard of a prison that wouldn’t let people exercise in their own cell(that is, in a country that still gets called a democracy by people with straight faces)?

  10. hassenpfeffer says:

    @niro5, many soldiers consider their pay cruel and unusual punishment, even BEFORE the proposed salary freeze.

    • mdh says:

      and, to be fair, many consider their pay a secondary consideration to service with honor.

      I believe Manning is in the latter category.

      • Steve says:

        Not me. I wanted paid…too bad I was too lazy to work towards advancement. Also I wish I had stayed in.

        Navy Vet, 86-94.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “They hate us for our freedom”

  12. Ugly Canuck says:

    My statement above does not detract or contradict my belief that war, itself, is obsolete.

    That also is just the way it is.

    Unfortunately, that does not mean that violence is obsolete.
    For there is such a thing as righteous violence…and justice though blind yet swings a mean double-edged sword.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what the kid saw in those reports that prompted him to risk so much to expose them? I wonder what it is they are afraid he will tell anyone should he have the opportunity to talk with them. It must be really something to warrant this much reputation risk by both sides.

  14. hbl says:

    In capitalist America, cables leak you.

  15. skyywise says:

    The man volunteered for the military; on many levels that means he volunteered for cruel and inhumane treatment and should have understood the risks of what he was doing, both at the time of his enlistment and of his leaking actions. If he felt the need to take a stand, good for him – but I can’t have sympathy for his situation when he chose it for himself.

    • tad604 says:

      Initially I thought I would agree with you, but after watching how things have been playing out. I’m becoming more and more sympathetic towards pfc manning.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you enlist you still have full rights under the constitution. If not then what the hell are you fighting for? Exxon? Hedge fund investors with money in Raytheon?

  16. OldRipbeak says:

    That poor bastard. The US has had to use extralegal efforts to try to nail Assange, but Manning is done for and it’ll all be ‘by the book.’

  17. Voris Klopchick says:

    Somebody better start a defense fund for Lt. Villiard. Reprisals against him (or her) for saying anything at all on the record would seem a near certainty.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Becoming more like the Soviet Union every day

  19. fxq says:

    I wonder if Lamo realizes a human being is being tortured because of his efforts? And… although I have no proof, I suspect Poulsen helped, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      My guess is Lamo doesn’t fucking care. He’s nothing but an egoist who sold Manning out just to see his own name in print. If anyone should be in the hole (and I’m not saying anyone should be) it’s him.

  20. Anonymous says:

    He’s being detained rightfully under the UCMJ, as one other poster noted. He’s not a civilian. He’s a member of the Armed Forces. He knew the rules and regulations and the penalties for violating them and chose to ignore them. We do not live in a world of sunshine and rainbows. If he is innocent, then we have to trust that his court martial will reflect that and he’ll be freed. If he’s guilty, then the punishment, under the UCMJ, will fit the crime.

    Also, people should understand the dual nature of his restrictive confinement: it’s as much for his protection as anything else. The nature of military life is that he is already perceived as guilty by many of his peers and would potentially be in great danger if he was not sequestered in this manner. With all the media attention the WikiLeaks stuff is receiving, PFC Manning is high profile. Better for his sake that he remain under these conditions until he can be court martialed and either proven innocent or guilty.

    I would also remind everyone coming from the human rights angle (a fair and just one to be sure) that, as others have noted, his rights under the UCMJ are not the same as civilians. Forgive me for sounding harsh, but this is as it should be. He is a soldier. No one ever told him it would be all fun and games, especially if he violated rules and regulations (allegedly). Time will tell. Meanwhile, let him stay safe and secured until his court martial.

  21. Teller says:

    Reportedly, his anger at DADT precipitated his alleged release of documents to WL. Maybe true, maybe not. But if provable, military mucky-mucks may find it useful in future DADT discussions.

  22. acmeaviator says:

    And yet we wag our collective finger at China for what it does to its political dissidents lol. The US has done everything in its power for decades to foment turmoil and revolution in countries from Latin America to the middle east. I guess they can dish it out but can’t take it when the pigeons come home to roost. Thankfully the EU and the BRIC will move on without the now largely unneeded leviathan holding us back.

    • CatherineCC says:

      But the Chinese have different color skin. It’s not wrong when we do it!

      As for being the “are you surprised” gal, I think it’s entirely acceptable to be that person. None of this is surprising because the USA has been engaging in these behaviors for a long enough time that your government has become predictable in this acceptance of things that you do while publicly condemning other countries for doing. Of course, you condemn weakly, after all, you have to use these countries as outsourced torture operators from time to time.

      And yet nobody in the USA really cares about what this means in the long term. Everyone seems content to confine their protest to ineffective, whiny kvetching on some random forum online which carry about the same weight as the ineffective news articles that are published daily, describing the abuses your government perpetrates on a regular basis.
      I’m beginning to think that you all are deep down, kind of happy with the way things are going. And I’m beginning to think that because of your complacency and inaction, you deserve what you’re getting.

      So no, I’m not surprised and you shouldn’t be either. This is the true face of your government. It’s about time you understand how it operates and shed yourself of this ridiculous, naive notion that your country isn’t going to hell.

      • Anonymous says:

        You seem to have a wealth of anger toward ~300,000,000 fellow human beings most of whom you’ve never met. I guess it’s easier if you can draw a border around the object if your hate and give it a name.

        It’s sad really, but sometimes I get the impression that the only thing keeping people from tearing each others throats out like rapid dogs is the fear of punishment. I only hope that the bigotry that floods the internet is not representative of the main content of the souls on this planet. Hopefully there’s a shred of humanity left in the human race.

        And to think, this is BoingBoing, where the nominally geeky folks hang out and whom one would expect to be a bit more discriminating than to dismiss whole countries in the vein of “hate based churches in the south.”

  23. Bloodboiler says:

    Congratulations. You have moved from torturing and illegally imprisoning prisoners of illegal war to torturing and illegally imprisoning your own citizens.

    Unlawful combatant -> Exempt from human rights.
    Own citizen but Member of the Armed Forces -> Exempt from human rights.

    When you get Assanage into US “justice” system I expect you will be adding:
    Annoying Foreigner -> Exempt from human rights.

  24. simonster says:

    What are we fighting for again?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Distinguishing between “torture” and regular “imprisonment” is an exercise in semantics. Obviously this guy is never going to be entrusted with sensitive information by anybody again, in his entire life, and whatever happens to him behind closed doors has no deterrent effect on anybody else. Anything more onerous than confining him in the building serves no purpose other than gratifying people’s personal and collective sadistic impulses.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I hear that he’s up for the Confucius Peace Prize next year

  27. otterson says:

    The lesson here is simple: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. This guy broke the law and now he’s in jail pending his trial, where he most likely will be convicted and sent back to jail for a good long time.

    And I agree with the other posters, they are keeping him out of the general population for his own safety.

    • Anonymous says:

      otterson, Mike K:

      torture —————————— let go

      Look closely, and you’ll see things inbetween.

    • Mike K says:

      Exactly! Did he just think he’d be let go?

    • querent says:

      “And I agree with the other posters, they are keeping him out of the general population for his own safety.”

      And they are denying him the ability to exercise? For what noble reason, exactly? There is none. They are torturing him.

      Fuck taking this kind of thing as a given. And fuck taking it lying down.

    • travtastic says:

      And then they invade other countries to give them democracy.

  28. JaxSean says:

    If a few hundred thousand anti-war protesters would march on Quantico and demand Bradly Manning’s release, they might succeed in getting it.

  29. SonOfSamSeaborn says:

    Whether he’s in the military or not, I don’t understand why there isn’t a campaign, march or petition to treat him with basic human dignity when a bunch of people will go up in arms about Assange’s brief arrest.

  30. an0nymous says:

    Kenno, if hanging is the penalty for treason and a court finds him guilty of treason, fine. But causing irreparable harm to his person is as simply unacceptable. And there seems to be little doubt that that is happening.
    …and Kenno? How do you know he’s guilty?
    You should be more skeptical of the government’s claims. Ask Wen Ho Lee, Steven Hatfield or Richard Jewell. There was a time that, they too, seemed irredeemably guilty. Had their brains been irreversibly damaged during imprisonment do you think the truth would have come out?

  31. an0nymous says:

    Guh, edit: “causing irreparable harm to his person in advance of a legal hearing”

  32. Anonymous says:

    Bradley Manning had no choice but to act, his conscience dictated it.

    Free Bradly Manning
    FBM
    End the shadow conspiracy.
    Torturing Dissidents is wrong whether or not they are members of the military or not.
    Suggesting its inevitable or he knew the risks doesn’t make it right.
    At the Nuremberg trials NAZI’s often used the defense of orders and military chain of command to abdicate responsibility. The court ruled they should have acted on their conscience not their orders. A war crime is a war crime even if a soldier is ordered to.
    Likewise Manning acted on his conscience he has stated that he saw that the system was entirely corrupt and that Iraqi citizens were being locked up for disagreeing with their government and the American chain of command was entirely complicit in propping up a corrupt regime.
    This is undoubtedly the same in Afghanistan, Karzai is a heroin dealing gangster and the sham democracy we are giving our nations best for is utterly corrupt.
    Bradley Manning had no choice but to act, his conscience dictated it.
    If he had not acted then he was as guilty of crimes against humanity as the rest of his chain of command.
    Wikileaks has demonstrated that our rulers are rotten to the core and the war is a joke and the dead are not statistics but have been murdered by us and the blood is on all our hands.
    We are complicit and Bradley Manning is the only one who stood up for what is right, what is necessary.
    We should not desert him, if he must be incarcerated then they shouldn’t be torturing him (and torture it is – no excercise and ‘enforced’ chemicalisation).
    Read what he wrote to the vile traitor Lamo, it is an honest account of a young mans struggles and shows he is no traitor but a hero of those of us who believe government should serve people well.

    • Ed-M says:

      Anon #40, your response is the best I’ve read so far. I’m putting money where your mouth is! If anybody else wants to, google “Courage to Resist Bradley Manning.”

  33. Torchwood says:

    Although, if Torchwood were handling this no one would have found out…

  34. Anonymous says:

    Remind me never to leak top secret cables.

  35. Steve says:

    On the one hand, he leaked classified docs.

    On the other hand, I don’t see how this crime justifies his treatment.

    Besides, the more I think about it, the more I think most of these leaks are not harming the war effort. Diplomatic efforts, yes. But not the effort on the ground, where the fighting is. Not yet, anyway.

    And this is coming from a Persian…oops, “Arabian” Gulf vet (1st war).

    Also Stanley McChrystal may have something to do with it (timing of the leaks, payback is a b*tch). And he may have paid Manning in advance. The gov’t may have figgered this out.

  36. aelfscine says:

    Good thing we’re getting rid of any of our moral high ground when we snip at other countries for having concentration camps or for sawing people’s hands off.

  37. nate_freewheel says:

    Surprised? A government that wouldn’t treat a person in this way, probably wouldn’t warrant a massive leak of documents. This is par for the course I’m afraid.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Golly… you’d almost think the US Military took charges of treason personally?
    So let me get this straight… according to published articles on the subject matter… Assange is detained by the UK pending Extradition to Sweden for charges he might have been able to avoid if he A) could keep it in his pants and (B) subjected himself to an STD screening voluntarily prior to bolting… He’s become a celebrity poster child for all the arm chair anarchists in the modern world… gets famous people to post his 200K pound bail bond, and assuming he is released on under house arrest, will lounge as a guest in a multihome mansion while fighting his extradition.
    MEANWHILE we have Pfc. Manning, whom is widely believed to be the source of the bulk of the most lauded leaked documents sits in the stockade, not having been given dime one of the collected defense funds promised him by WikiLeaks? And unsupprising to those of us who have a realistic world view, is being treated harshly while in a Military prison charged with violation of his oath of service and treason against his country and the constitution he swore to protect?
    Do I understand that correctly?

    Cuz it sounds to me like Assange supporters could spare everyone some of their ire and fauxtrage over their new temporary cause celebre, and try and pressure Wikileaks to do something to support Pfc. Manning, without whom most of them wouldn’t even have HEARD of Assange before.

    Double Standard Much?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Manning is going to be shown as a hero in the eyes of history. I just hope that he lives to see the day. Stand tall brother. There are more than just a few of us out there that are thankful for the sacrifice you’ve made. One man calling out an entire nation, unheard of.

  40. Pickleschlitz says:

    He’s in jail because he has been charged with treason in an ongoing case. He’s in solitary because he’s gay and they are protecting him from the general prison population. He doesn’t have sheets because by now, he’s had plenty of time to realize what the rest of his life is going to be like. None of this seems remarkable to me.

  41. teapot says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np6_b-72H3E

    “I don’t want any gay people hanging around me while I’m killing kids”

    20 years later and its the same old shit on spin cycle.

    • Teller says:

      Don’t mean to pick on you, and I love Bill Hicks, but what does that mean:

      Don’t gay people serve in the military? Are they the only ones who don’t kill kids?

      Or does it mean Hetero people won’t be able to kill kids because gays will tell on them?

      Maybe I’m just analyzing Hicksian humor – but you seem to find some deeper truth in it.

      • teapot says:

        Did/have you listened to the clip I posted?

        That quote is said by Bill, as a mocking impression of the general lack of reasonable rationale given by many military types as to why gay people should not be allowed to serve openly in the military. The comment, in context with the whole general message he puts out in that clip, is pretty clear in its purpose.

        I am pointing out that 20 years ago Bill Hicks rightly ridiculed the exact things which we are discussing today, but sadly nothing whatsoever has changed. You could take Bill’s words and stick them in the mouth of a contemporary comedian and they wouldn’t seem dated. THAT is wrong because it is exactly what Bill was fighting against.

        The DADT discussion at the bottom of this page just brought it to mind and I thought I should post it.

  42. Ernst Gruengast says:

    thanks for posting this excellent article Xeni.

    May be worth directly linking to the Bradley Manning support fund here:
    http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/858/1/
    for anyone who missed it at the bottom of the salon piece.

    Ernst

  43. Anonymous says:

    @Xeni: thanks for the post. in all the tumult about the cables and assange, the manning case barely seems to register on people’s radar. and when it does, people are very quick to assume that whatever happens to him, he had it coming.

    it might be helpful nice to add the link for people to done to his legal defense fund:
    http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/858/1/

  44. nezzyidy says:

    Update at the bottom at the bottom of the article:

    “UPDATE: I was contacted by Lt. Villiard, who claims there is one factual inaccuracy in what I wrote: specifically, he claims that Manning is not restricted from accessing news or current events during the proscribed time he is permitted to watch television. That is squarely inconsistent with reports from those with first-hand knowledge of Manning’s detention, but it’s a fairly minor dispute in the scheme of things.”

    • Ed-M says:

      Nezzyidy, if they do allow him to watch news / current events programs on TV, he could be restricted to watching Fox News for those shows. And watch them demonise him. So it would be no wonder that those who have direct knowledge of his confinement would say he’s not allowed to watch news and current events on the teavee.

  45. elagie says:

    Look, there’s no question that this guy did what he is claimed to have done. He not only admitted but preened about it. Yes, he believes he did it for good reasons. But anyone (or any country, for that matter) who has committed a crime or atrocity ALWAYS believes they had a good reason. The bottom line is he committed a criminal betrayal to the military he voluntarily joined and his country as well. He had to know his actions would have the severest consequences — he clearly just assumed that they did not apply to him. What he “leaked” was mostly worthless (or carefully over-edited to look more damning than it was like the infamous helicopter footage) but what he did was dead wrong. He felt so strongly that these secrets should be revealed to the world (through the smarmiest of venues yet) that he didn’t care who it hurt. I cannot weep that it came back to hurt him as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you say the same if his name was SS Obersturmbannführer Manning and he released similar documents 1939?

    • dalesd says:

      “Look, there’s no question that this guy did what he is claimed to have done. He not only admitted but preened about it.”

      How do you know this?

  46. piminnowcheez says:

    I really am coming to despair for this country.

  47. mooserov says:

    If Manning had a security clearance, and IIRC he did, there was absolutely no doubt about the repercussions of his actions. We were beaten over the head with stories of Leavenworth and other military prisons. There were posters around with pictures of famous spies who were shot or imprisoned, along with what they did. A firing squad is still a possibility here, yet unlikely.

  48. Anonymous says:

    America has gone from “virtually none” to “less than zero” in the credibility stakes. “Freedom” “Democracy” and “Human Rights” are meaningless sounds coming from a hollow and dying nation. I can’t wait for America to be over- it’s currently an affront to humanity.

  49. strangefriend says:

    For those who want to comment on Manning’s treatment:

    COMMANDING OFFICER (703)784-6870

    BRIG MAILING ADDRESS:

    3247 Elrod Avenue

    Quantico, VA 22134

    BRIG FAX:
    (703)784-4242

    From here:
    http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/activities/display.aspx?PID=588&Section=SECBN

  50. AGC says:

    These generals are similar to the French ones that chained Dreyfus to a bed, in a hut, on Devil’s island out of fear that their incompetence would become public.

    They can’t win any war, have no clue to what is going on, and cling to their pensions above all else.

  51. Johnny Coelacanth says:

    Land of the free, home of the brave, amirite? USA! USA!

  52. Rincewind says:

    Don’t panic, Mr. Manning!

    What he did was wrong, and now he’s being made an example to deter others who might do the same. Is anyone really surprised?

    • Ben Terry says:

      Please don’t be “Is anyone really surprised?” guy. I hate that guy. He is one of the standard guys that makes his comment in stories on the internet. Maybe some people are surprised, which the question seems to imply that someone would be sort of dumb to be surprised. Most of the people, however, are not really surprised at all but thought it was an important issue to bring up. The “Is anyone really surprised?” guy seems to be telling them that the whole issue is a waste of time, and they should just kind of shut up about it. Sometimes, though, “Is anyone really surprised?” guy is just trying to look detached and cool, like he’s seen it all before, and its all old hat now, and he has to let people know he’s detached and cool like that. I don’t know which variety of “Is anyone really surprised?” commenter you are, but I’ve never seen that guy’s comment bring good things to a conversation.

      Please don’t be “Is anyone really surprised?” guy.

      Thank you.

      • Rincewind says:

        I’m sorry to represent someone you hate. I’m merely suggesting that there was such a heavy weight on inevitability about the way that Mr. Manning has been treated.

        Were you surprised, then?

      • Anonymous says:

        Is anyone really surprised by this comment?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t like the “Is anyone really surprised” either, but maybe in a way that is different from your view.

        Manning and Assange and others are engaged in a conflict of ideas and perceptions. Yes, there are facts involved, but there is also plenty of spin on both sides (that is, on the sides of both the leakers and the evil U.S. government.) It’s quite common in these forums to talk about the very predictable “playbook” by which the U.S. government proceeds in their evil plots. But the leakers and their sort have a playbook as well, and one page in it dictates that one always claim cruel and unusual punishment. While I try to keep an open mind in these things, I am usually skeptical when this card is dealt. Indeed…I’m not really surprised.

        Years ago I toured the brig in Quantico as part of my official duties as a Marine Lieutenant. Among the prisoners was an officer who was being held in solitary. His confinement was indeed solitary, but it was certainly not cruel and unusual. Obviously this was far removed from Manning, but without further specific information I’ll remain skeptical. For one thing, the brig at Quantico, just a few miles south of D.C., is a fairly high profile facility, in that it is often used to house prisoners involved in high profile crimes. This is not an outpost in the desert, or a high-traffic detainment facility for captured combatants in the middle of a warzone…it is a major Marine base that houses many elements of Headquarters Marine Corps, including functions that the other services run out of the Pentagon. The likelihood that there would be a prolonged, illegal campaign of abuse in such a visible place is, in my opinion, remote. Manning will have his day in court, and substantiated claims of mistreatment can be addressed there. I won’t be surprised if there are none.

    • mdh says:

      You’re also the “he did something wrong”, therefore no rules apply, guy. And in being so, you turn out to be the ‘military is always right, stop asking questions you hippie’ guy.

      So, unless you’re in the US military you are not his peer, and your judgment is not merely inapplicable, it’s ill informed and self-important.

      And if you are in the military, engaging in these discussions is a career-limiting-move.

      • Rincewind says:

        Please tell me where I have suggested that his treatment is ‘Right’? Don’t put words in my mouth.

        • mdh says:

          What he did was wrong, and now he’s being made an example to deter others who might do the same.

          There is where you said that one side was right. Exactly there. I’m not even taking you out of context.

          What else could you possibly mean? Maybe you’re just very very bad at irony?

          • Rincewind says:

            You’re insufferable. “What he did was wrong” does not in any-way-shape-or-form mean or imply “How he was treated was right”

            For the record, I think it’s atrocious that anyone should be treated that way.

          • mdh says:

            I appreciate that, upon challenge, you will clarify your point.

            Perhaps try to be clearer in what you’re actually trying to communicate. because you definitely sounded like someone who was unsurprised, powerless, and defeatist about it.

            I am only insufferable to the degree that I suffer fools poorly, and all three of those are foolish sentiments to those who wish to show support to a man wronged badly by his nation.

            He may be a criminal, he may deserve punishment, but he also has rights, and I will not be defeatist, half-assed, or funny about his deserving them – because this brutality is not funny, we still need to try, and he is not yet defeated.

      • evilpyrate says:

        Quoth mdh:

        So, unless you’re in the US military you are not his peer, and your judgment is not merely inapplicable, it’s ill informed and self-important.

        So by your own statement, your continued commentary is ill-informed and self-important.

        At this point, I don’t think anybody actually needs the quote to make that assessment, but hey. It’s in context and everything. Just like you seem to keep harping on everyone else for.

        • mdh says:

          I’m not judging him. I’m upset that so many are glad to see him treated excessively harshly, prior to a trial by his peers. I have yet to hear anything about misbehavior on his part in custody, and in the absence of his being a horrible prisoner I have every expectation that our services would want to maintain the maximum health of an innocent (until proven guilty) Airman in their custody. If he is found guilty I won’t protest his death, but I will protest his treatment.

          The inhumane treatment of political prisoners was one of the top 5 justifications for the war he (allegedly) leaked documents about.

          I have every standing to be upset about that, I’m an American. I have every standing to call fellow citizens out on their complacent attitudes that enable such idiocy.

          And I hope you understand that I have much family in the military, and so I know it’s not all campfires and graham crackers. but it’s at least supposed to be humane.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can you possibly say that what he did was wrong? He exposed unspeakable evils that had been committed in secret.

    • Mitch_M says:

      Do you mean what he is alleged to have done? He has not yet been convicted in a crime and in our legal system a person is supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      A gay soldier likely to be perceived as a traitor might not do so well in a military prison and he might require some kind of protective custody, but he should have sheets and a pillow, reading material, and the other basic amenities that other prisoners are expected to have.

    • Pantograph says:

      Fucking human rights, how do they work?

  53. Ito Kagehisa says:

    What address should I use to write directly to Manning?

  54. Torchwood says:

    Maybe next time he will think before he messes with the might of…Torchwood.

  55. Anonymous says:

    actually, that is exactly like “jail movies”

  56. Anonymous says:

    That sort of solitary confinement can cause irreversible brain damage, according to studies that were made to hundreds of prison detainees. It is indeed cruel and unusual punishment.

  57. mark says:

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but isn’t he still considered a member of the United States Military? It’s my (quite possibly flawed) understanding that military personnel have, with sensible reasons, far fewer individual protections under the Unified Code of Military Justice than they would as a regular citizen. Given that they government seems to be pursuing charges that could include espionage, sedition, and treason I’d imagine that they would take any and all measures possible to limit the amount of additional information he can share with either other uncleared military officials, or the outside world.

    That said, some of the specific methods being used do seem to have no non-punitive purpose. Does anyone with any knowledge of the penal system know of any practical reasons one could have for denying a prisoner access to sheets, or to exercise within their cell while it is secured?

    • Anonymous says:

      “they would take any and all measures possible to limit the amount of additional information he can share with either other uncleared military officials, or the outside world.”

      @mark yes, he could send smoke signals with his pillowcase

    • Ed-M says:

      Mark, he is receiving punishment that is in violation of Article 13 of the UCMJ. He has not yet stood trial, nor has he even been indicted. His confinement is supposed to be no stricter than that required to ensure his presence at court. A house arrest at his aunt’s house in Potomac, MD, 20 miles away, would meet that standard! He is enduring conditions that gradually wear down a prisoner until his brain is destroyed, his soul and spirit crushed and his personality erased. It has been reported that those who’ve been in solitary for six months have experienced irreperable psychological harm. This kid’s been in there for seven months (five at Quantico) and a friend of his from Boston, David House, reported to Glenn Greenwald that his physical and mental health are weakening! The officials at Quantico claim they have him on Prevention Of Injury watch but to me this sounds like an excuse; his conditions seem no more than purposely cruel and unusual punishment, especially for one who’s supposed to be treated innocent until proven guilty.

    • Alan says:

      mark is right. Manning is in the US Army; the justice code is far different. They literally own his ass. And since he did something that really pissed them off, the military is gonna treat him fairly harshly. And if Manning had thought about it for about 30 seconds, he would’ve come to the obvious conclusion that this is what would happen.

      As far as the US military is concerned, this isn’t a human rights issue. It’s about honor and trust. It’s about betrayal. In the military, you look out for each other and depend upon each other. In their eyes, Manning betrayed them, put the lives of fellow soldiers in danger and disgraced the image of the Army. My guess is they put him in solitary not only so he can’t talk to others, but for his own protection.

      I’m not saying it’s right or not; it just is.

      • petertrepan says:

        Call it the Olive Drab Code of Silence.

      • Anonymous says:

        How did showing abuses by the military and the failure of the strategy in Iraq and Afgh put troops in jeopardy? You’d have to stretch logic pretty thin to make some lame case.

        I’d say encouraging them to pull out will help his fellow troops far more.

        • Alan says:

          I said “in their eyes”. I’m not saying what happened or didn’t happen, only what members of the military perceive.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Alan

        Bingo. And due process runs on military time.

        Even worse, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has a number of crimes you can be executed for, that you wouldn’t be in civilian court. Rape, for example, is potentially a capital offense under the UCMJ.

        That number of capital offenses goes up to something like 13 if the crimes were committed during a war, or were war crimes themselves. At least that was the number when I was enlisted as a 71D Legal Specialist in the 90s.

        Crimes like treason, aiding the enemy, etc. all become eligible for the death penalty. So if/when he *is* charged, he could be facing a lot worse than solitary.

    • mdh says:

      your understanding is flawed in this way: Military members put aside some of their rights of citizenship during their service, but they still have HUMAN rights.

      the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ applies to military justice as well. The ‘cruel and unusual’ thing has to do with how he is punished, once convicted.

      • mark says:

        While clearly the purpose of pre-trial (or court martial) confinement is not meant to be punitive in nature, there are other considerations here. The nature of the pending charges against Manning include the intentional sharing of classified and confidential information in violation of standing orders and procedures for handling same. Given that Manning may be in possession of more that information which has not been disclosed it seems reasonable to prevent him from communicating with the outside world.

        I think that in examining how this is being handled it is very important to distinguish between measures that are necessary, or can reasonably argued to be necessary from a security standpoint from measures that are simply punitive in nature and have no reasonable or practical justification. Obviously there is a lot of room for debate about what falls into which category, but it does some of the policies that have been shared in the article seem to me to be wholly punitive in nature, and are thus basically indefensible.

        • CatherineCC says:

          You’re right. Strap a ball gag on ‘im and lock on a gimp hood so he can’t tell his jailers any confidential material – or blink out any messages in morse.

        • mdh says:

          they could let him exercise, no? How does that fit into your theory?

          • mark says:

            I’d say that it’s indefensible as a confinement strategy. I’ve never worked in a prison, but I can’t see any useful purpose in preventing someone from exercising while in a secured cell. Nor can I see a reason, outside of a fear of a suicide attempt, for denying access to bedding.

            CatherineCC: With the exception of some specialists I don’t think that the US military teaches morse code anymore.

          • mdh says:

            are you aware that you very much come across as defending as reasonable the whole process, with the exception of these few niggling human rights details?

          • mark says:

            I’d say that the human rights parts aren’t just niggling details, but rather the most important part of the whole issue at hand — at least with respect to the current discussion. I’d say that it is wholly reasonable for the government to detain a member of the United States military in advance of a prosecution for intentional violation of standing orders.

            Given the specific nature of his (alleged) violations of same I’d say that there are specific measures which are reasonably defensible in his detention. Given the dramatic depth and breadth of information he is generally believed to have already disclosed it seems entirely reasonable to assume that he could be in possession of additional information of a classified or confidential nature. Further, it is also reasonable to believe that he is inclined to further violate the policies and procedures for the dissemination of that information. As a result the US government is obligated to take steps to prevent these violations. He is not a journalist who was alerted to clandestine and illegal government actions, nor is he a civilian who stumbled onto a government conspiracy. He is (or was) a serving member of the United States military who is charged with intentionally releasing classified and confidential information to the public without authorization.

          • catbeller says:

            Nuremberg defense.

            Obeying orders to cover up a war crime is itself a war crime. “Following orders” is no defense.

            He swore an oath to obey *lawful* orders, and to defend the Constitution against all enemies, *domestic* and foreign. Sometimes, your leaders are the enemies of the United States.

            Manning had been ordered to railroad innocent people into the Iraqi prison/torture system for disseminating a paper analyzing the theft of money by our puppet leader’s buddies. That is a war crime. When he informed his superiors, they told him to shut up. He was therefore ordered to commit and hide endless chains of war crimes. He rebelled. He is a hero.

            Nuremberg defense.

          • mdh says:

            and you’re going to go on, at length, about the reasonableness of most of it, and spend little of the same energy you’re using to educate us about why it’s mostly right, and very little of that same passion to point out what is DEEPLY wrong. Noted.

          • mark says:

            Well, in the absence of any difference of opinion on the clearly punitive measures it seems stupid and pointless to continue discussing them. You seem to be one of those people that just can’t take yes for an answer.

  58. Anonymous says:

    could someone explain why a PFC in Iraq has access to diplomatic communications that have *nothing to do with Iraq*!?

    perhaps he did leak something, but the story that is being painted just doesn’t add up. it seems PFC Manning is playing the part of scapegoat.

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