Wikileaks: Bradley Manning speaks about his conditions


70 Responses to “Wikileaks: Bradley Manning speaks about his conditions”

  1. BookGuy says:

    According to the U.N., torture is “…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed…”

    I think what you describe and what’s described in the article are both “torture.” What’s the issue?

  2. Brian Macker says:

    Didn’t they just used to shoot spies?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The torture (yes, it’s torture) is meant to ‘get’ WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. The US can’t touch Assange, due to 1st Ammendment rights, unless they can prove that he ‘made’ Pfc. Manning ‘do it’.

    At this rate (certainly,if *I* was Pfc. Manning)he’s going to tell ‘them’ anything they want to know to get out of this hell.

    For those of you who feel it isn’t torture: I challenge you to imitate his conditions for 72hrs. I know you can’t. Because it’s TORTURE.

  4. anharmyenone says:

    I wrote a letter to President Obama expressing my concern about Manning’s situation. Even though I do not support what Manning did, I am concerned about his treatment.

  5. RandyB5 says:

    Remember when soldiers and marines were accused of killing innocent civilians in Iraq? Some of them got the same treatment while awaiting trial. Nobody cared then.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have heard it said that Manning is being so poorly treated because he essentially shirked his duties as a soldier, and that when you enlist you should be willing to be a soldier first and foremost. While this is a very popular position to hold, particularly amongst members of the military, it is not only wrong, not only dangerous, but unconstitutional as well, and therefore in direct contradiction with the oath one takes to defend the constitution on becoming a member of the military.

    One’s duty as a soldier never supercedes one’s duty as an American citizen. Soldiers do take on additional duties, but these duties are extra. They are on top of, not instead of, the duties we all have as Americans. This distinction has been lost, some would say purposefully swept under the rug, by the US Military over the years.

    As American citizens it is our duty to speak out publically against injustice, particularly when it is coming from the upper levels of our own government and/or its agencies and departments. Becoming a soldier does not supercede that obligation, it does not eliminate it, and it can not constitutionally be defended even when the authority and credibility of that agency or department would be jeopardized as a result.

    A case could be made for issues of national security, but I believe that case is flimsy at best. From a purely ethical standpoint, security always follows from justice. It does not, and can not precede it. If and when it does, the justice will invariably be corrupt and as a result the security will ultimately fail. Our constitution is designed around this concept, the system of checks and balances depends on it, and it is being deliberately undermined by our own government.

    If that doesn’t scare you, it should.

  7. watchout5 says:

    It’s making me really sad to realize this is 2010 and my country is holding a political prisoner, and before trial they’re torturing him. I’m ashamed to be an American.

  8. RandyB5 says:


    Face it, folks. He’s obviously getting visitors. He has his own cell, but that’s not isolation. It’s absolutely ridiculous to be comparing this to the Taliban.

    For a man who’s widely believed to be gay, and widely believed to be a traitor, he’s much safer having his own prison cell.

    • Jesse M. says:

      Face it, folks. He’s obviously getting visitors.

      There’s no evidence he’s allowed regular social interaction with visitors, if he’s only allowed one half hour visit a week or something that probably isn’t going to significantly mitigate the serious effects of long-term isolation. Again, did you read the New Yorker article linked to in comment #11? A lot of people have an imaginary conception of what solitary confinement would be like that tells them it wouldn’t be so bad, but the actual empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

  9. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I’ve disemvoweled the sock puppet. Sorry if your responses don’t make sense anymore.

  10. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    “He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.”

    It is restrictive, arbitrary, and very harmful for the boy and mind. That´s fucking torture.

  11. ericmartinex1 says:

    Where’s that defense fund Julian keeps talking about for an hero?

  12. js7a says:

    Please call the DoD Inspector General (1-703-699-5638; ask for an investigator and tell them you want to report abuse of authority and a possible violation of law), the Army Inspector General (1-703-545-1845; same request) and the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps representative (1-703-588-6746; ask for Colonel Chuck Pede, pronounced P-D) and get case numbers for your concerns about the mistreatment of PFC Manning. If they don’t want to give you new case numbers because other cases have already been opened, just ask for the information necessary to file a Freedom of Information Act request on the subject with their offices.

  13. RandyB5 says:

    We do know that he had “a two and a half hour conversation” with that blogger.

    Am I supposed to wring my hands that his hour of TV every day is only local TV, and that he’s not getting international news? Sorry, but I locked the world’s smallest violin in my panic room.

    What happens when Manning goes to his next facility, and the only prisoners getting that treatment are soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians? Is Glenn Greenwald going to write on this stuff again? I don’t think so.

    Look around, folks. How many blog posts do we have on Gilad Shalit?

    Don’t think for a second that they’re not being tallied.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Good points!

      Here’s a song for all the prisoners who aren’t dead yet:

      ..but I can’t help but note that Pfc. Manning has NOT been charged with any crimes of ruly horrific violence – which makes his accused conduct very different than those other accused US soldiers you mention.

      But disloyalty does count for something.

      As does intent.

    • Jesse M. says:

      Am I supposed to wring my hands that his hour of TV every day is only local TV, and that he’s not getting international news? Sorry, but I locked the world’s smallest violin in my panic room.

      Did you read the New Yorker article in comment #11 yet? If not, and yet you still insist on making idiotic dismissive comments pooh-poohing the horror of long-term solitary confinement (the article specifically points talks about the fact that access to TV/radio doesn’t help ward off psychosis), then you are being a troll.

      What happens when Manning goes to his next facility, and the only prisoners getting that treatment are soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians? Is Glenn Greenwald going to write on this stuff again? I don’t think so.

      Do you have any evidence at all that the government is putting “soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians” in long-term solitary confinement? If such a hypothetical ever came to pass I’m pretty sure Glenn Greenwald would decry it, he’s pretty consistent in his attacks on government abuses of civil liberties, he’s not a hack who only attacks when it suits a partisan agenda (for example, he attacks Obama for this stuff just as much as Bush, and defends the free speech rights of neoconservatives like Mark Steyn when they are prosecuted for violating ‘hate speech’ laws in other countries)

      Look around, folks. How many blog posts do we have on Gilad Shalit?

      Highlighting abuses of power in democracies has a purpose in that there is some hope of changing things. Protesting the actions of Hamas is like protesting the actions of North Korea, or the mafia–they won’t listen, so it can only be an expression of emotion with no constructive purpose (unless your secret purpose is to try to encourage war with Hamas, but I don’t think Shalit’s sad plight is worth starting a war over, nor is Manning’s).

      • RandyB5 says:

        I’ve read as much of that article as I’m going to. I understand that isolation can be a terrible thing. I just don’t buy that the degree of isolation he’s receiving is comparable. (I’m more concerned about what it says of Supermax than I am about Manning.)

        I didn’t say anyone needed to go to war over Gilad Shalit — although Hamas is at war already.

        But protesting the actions of Hamas is not at all like protesting North Korea. Hamas has a few supporters in the U.S. It has many more who are sympathetic to their cause. Consider the difficulty that some people had in publicly acknowledging that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

        Hamas gets a lot of support from Iran, which has considerable ties to Venezuela (including military ties). Venezuela has a lot of supporters everywhere — most of whom would otherwise claim to care about human rights. Hamas is not at all isolated like North Korea.

        People could speak out if they chose do so so. They just choose not to.

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          You’re not trying to threadjack ?

          • Ugly Canuck says:

            I mean, Pfc. Manning versus USA is an entirely internal-to-the-USA matter: albeit that this particular American citizen is also a member of a peculiar subset of people – those who are serving members of the Armed Forces of the USA.

            What those intractable foreign squabbles have to do with how the Fed Gov treats Pfc. Manning, US citizen, soldier, and prisoner, is unclear to me.

            As indeed is what you hope to add to this thread, by bringing them up at all.


          • RandyB5 says:

            Sorry about that. I was only making a comparison in volume.

            Oddly enough, boingboing has Shalit’s picture on an article today.

          • Ugly Canuck says:

            I suppose that the experienced volume would depend on the strength of one’s ears (if not their length, necessarily) and upon who (or what) one is accustomed to hearing.

            I would advise everyone to turn the volume down from time to time, as the damage from repeated or constant exposure to higher volumes may cause severe hearing loss (or even complete deafness) over time.

          • RandyB5 says:

            The volume has been pretty high since the war started. The critics have been acting as though these are policies that started under the Bush administration. Just note that article in The New Yorker. Confinement is not a new thing.

            When people upset about Manning’s treatment cite McCain’s captivity, and apparently think it’s comparable to what some blogger saw when he visited Manning, it’s fair to ask where they stood on other matters. Gilad Shalit one good example. There are too many others.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anyone ever heard of “SPEEDY TRIAL”?

    The UCMJ has even stricter rules regarding speedy trial than that afforded an average citizen under the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    The government holds Mr. Manning in an unending fashion under inferior conditions in hopes that this subtle torture will get him to sign whatever confession they might author.

  15. boingaddict says:

    i wonder what would happened if this was happening in lets say iran and to an american gov agent or something…i’ll bet you US would be going instantly to war, and carpet bombing the fuck out of iran…..but if it’s happening in US it’s ok…because he must be a terrorist there fore he is not human….wooooo the decline of civilization as we know it….*puts on a aluminum hat*….

    PS: i should not drink baileys at 8am at work wooooo

  16. rebdav says:

    I was expecting the allegations of his homosexuality to affect the DADT debate, guess the white wingers missed that memo.
    If he did it and he is actually gay might the stress and isolation caused by DADT work as a mitigating factor in sentencing?
    I have always considered the US military to be generally abusive and the modified constitutional protections for those enlisted being more like those of a slave or prisoner than a free man.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just because you did it makes it not torture? Is this correct?

    Gay men willingly allow other men to put fingers, penises, dildos, and all sorts of things into their bodies. However, if that were done to me, I would consider it torture. Should those gay men question whether it’s torture because, after all, THEY did it and it was fine?

  18. braininavat says:

    > Manning is also confined under a longstanding Prevention of Injury (POI) order which limits his social contact, news consumption, ability to exercise, and that places restrictions on his ability to sleep.

    Prevention of injury my ass: This is torture.

    • EH says:

      He has to be woken up every five minutes so that the guards can be sure he’s not killing himself.

    • Scratchee says:

      <>Ths s trtr.

      f y s th wrd trtr t dscrb sltn, slpng wth blnkts bt n shts, nd lck f ccss t nws md, wht wrd wld y s t dscrb hs trtmnt f thy wr, sy, bndng hs lbws bhnd hs bck, thn rsng hm p t th clng by ths bndngs, thrby dslctng hs shldrs, nd thn btng hs lgs wth stcks ntl hs kncps wr shttrd nd hs nkls wr brkn, nd thn lvng hm hngng fr fw hrs?

      • Sequoia says:

        Take a look at the article on this subject in the New Yorker:
        From the article:
        “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” And this comes from a man who was beaten regularly; denied adequate medical treatment for two broken arms, a broken leg, and chronic dysentery; and tortured to the point of having an arm broken again.
        ^^quoting John McCain on his time as a POW in Vietnam. He thinks it’s torture (even the ‘worst kind’).

        • Scratchee says:

          McCn ws ls prsnr fr 5 yrs nd ws sbjct t physcl trtr drng tht tm. Tht’s vry dffrnt cntxt t ndr sltry cnfnmnt. Tll m hnstly….d y thnk f Jhn McCn rd th ccnt f hw Mnnng ws bng trtd, h’d cll t trtr? Nt th wrds, nt th gnrl cncpt, bt th ctl trtmnt f Mnnng th prsn…d y thnk McCn wld cll tht trtmnt trtr?

          • user23 says:

            Amazing. Simply amazing.

            So, then, I suppose you consider waterboarding to also -not- be torture? After all, the prisoner is clothed, fed and medically cared for before, during & after the practice. Typically, waterboarding only lasts a few minutes (believe I read a report that even the strongest prisoners can only stand about 1-2 minutes before they spill the beans) – I mean, a couple of minutes of waterboarding doesn’t constitute torture, right? No physical scars, no bleeding…

            We all know proper torture last days & days & weeks & months, involving iron maidens & water wheels & gloomy castles…& leaves physical scars. Anything short of that is just fun ‘n games.

            To deprive Manning of exercise, the company of other people, information, the proper sleeping environment, etc. is a subtle form of torture – but still torture nonetheless – as it is designed to cause emotional & physical distress & injury. The sheer crushing despair caused by isolation is enough to push anyone to their emotional limits.

          • Scratchee says:

            ctlly, ‘m n th fnc bt wtrbrdng. r wn ppl, lmst ncldng m, ndrg wtrbrdng drng trnng. ws wlkd vr t th brd nd my hd ws rmvd s cld s t, s thrt. Drng tht trnng ls ndrwnt thngs fr, fr wrs thn wht s dscrbd n Mnnng’s cs. Bt hv vr bn trtrd? N. Ws trtd n wy tht wld clrly b llgl f ws prsnr ccsd f crm? bsltly.

            Bt ‘m nt tlkng th prpr wy t trt prsnr. ‘m tlkng bt trtr. ‘m sr wld hv n trbl fndng ny nmbr f psychlgsts wh wld ttst t th mntl ngsh xprnc by ny prsnr n ny f r prsns, ncldng mnmm scrty. ftr ll, thy r dnd thr frdm, nd thy my fc yrs nd yrs f sltn frm scty. Tht dsn’t mk t trtr.

          • user23 says:

            of course you haven’t been tortured. It’s voluntarily part of your training. There are vast degrees of difference between what you & Manning experience.

            I agree to disagree with you.

          • Jesse M. says:

            Our own people, almost including me, undergo waterboarding during training.

            And are you saying it’s not “torture” just because you were able to “take it” and it didn’t cause any long-term trauma, or are you actually saying the experience itself wasn’t extremely unpleasant physically as it was happening? Were you waterboarded a bunch of times a day for an indefinite number of days, with no ability to call a stop to the process? If not I don’t think you really know what waterboarded prisoners go through. As a comparison, I’m sure most people wouldn’t have any long-term trauma from a single high-voltage electric shock, but a prisoner being regularly subjected to such shocks to try to get him to talk is certainly being tortured.

            During that training I also underwent things far, far worse than what is described in Manning’s case.

            Really? You were put in isolation for months at a time? If not, how do you know it is “worse”?

            I’m sure I would have no trouble finding any number of psychologists who would attest to the mental anguish experience by any prisoner in any of our prisons

            “Mental anguish” is not the same as something likely to lead to a breakdown of sanity and ability to interact socially with other humans (did you actually read the New Yorker article?) You wouldn’t be able to fine “any number of psychologists” who would say a “normal” prison experience (sans isolation, and other extreme traumas like rape) is likely to have such effects, even if it causes a fair amount of unhappiness.

          • Scratchee says:

            ctlly, nd trly dn’t wnt t drv ths thrd nt dtch, bt t’s ntrstng tht y’v brght p “xtrm trms lk rp,” snc tht s wht nthr fgr n ths drm, Jln ssng, hs bn ccsd f. Wrds hv shds f mnng, nd lws r dfnd by wrds, bt vn , n fn f ssng, cn s th dffrnc btwn th rps f whch h s ccsd nd th rps cmmttd by vlnt, sdstc prdtrs wh mm nd kll. n ths vnts w s vry lrg rngs n th ssgnd mnngs f wrds. Th prsctr nd th vctms clm tht ssng s glty f rp, whl n f ssng’s cllgs dclrd tht ssng ws glty f “bng rd n bd.” Bt rp s rp, rght?

            Thnks ll fr th thghtfl dscssn.

          • Jesse M. says:

            The prosecutor and the victims claim that Assange is guilty of rape

            I don’t think that’s true actually, the guardian article detailing the charges says nothing about the victims accusing him of “rape”, and in fact says that they mainly just wanted to force him to take an STD test: “Both complainants say they did not report him to the police for prosecution but only to require him to have an STD test.” The official charges by the prosecutor also don’t seem to include the word “rape”, although it’s possible that’s not a term used in legal briefs over there, I don’t know. In any case it seems like you’re using semantic quibbles to avoid the central humanitarian issue of whether the government should be allowed to subject people (especially citizens who haven’t yet been charged with any crimes) to extreme conditions highly likely to cause a mental breakdown–the semantic question of whether we label this as “torture” is a side issue.

          • Owen says:

            Yes, rape is rape. And torture is torture. There are degrees of both, but both are immoral no matter the degree.

            The allegations against Assange are a separate matter from Manning’s treatment, though. Manning’s treatment should be judged on its own merits. And I believe that his conditions do qualify as torture.

          • Anonymous says:

            Did you read the new york times article? It argued that prolonged isolation IS torture and talked at length about the psychological effects. Some of the people they used as examples never recovered. One, IIRC, ended up institutionalized.

          • Owen says:

            You underwent things far, far worse than what Manning suffered, you say. Were they so unspeakable that you can’t tell us? Did they include solitary confinement for six months or so?

            You’re trying to use shadowy, mysterious things that you say happened to you to justify punitive solitary confinement. No dice.

            Also, in regards to waterboarding, being almost waterboarded but not for real as part of what I presume was military training grants you no special authority. In WWII, Japanese commanders waterboarded U.S. soldiers, and after the war we tried and executed them for it, saying that it was torture. Thus, it is still torture.

          • mn_camera says:

            I think McCain thinks that what happened to him was torture, and what happens to anyone else, is not.

          • user23 says:

            Looks like those who know better than you or I have decided Manning is, in fact, being tortured.


            read the story.

            Although prolonged solitary confinement can unquestionably constitute torture (the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande made the definitive, undeniable case for that last year in The New Yorker), I wasn’t prepared to state based on what I could confirm that the treatment of Manning met the legal definition of torture…edit for brevity…But others have made the argument persuasively that this is torture.

            Ralph Lopez chided me for my equivocation on that question, assembling ample evidence to support his view that the treatment amounts to torture. Digby made a strong case that “locking up someone who has not presented any kind of threat to other prisoners and who has not been convicted of a crime for months on end in solitary confinement under tight restrictions is torture.”

        • Cowicide says:

          “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.” And this comes from a man who was beaten regularly; denied adequate medical treatment for two broken arms, a broken leg, and chronic dysentery; and tortured to the point of having an arm broken again. – quoting John McCain on his time as a POW in Vietnam. He thinks it’s torture (even the ‘worst kind’).

          Wow, that’s a great quote on the issue of solitary confinement from McCain. It would be great if he was ever questioned on that by the corporatist media, but I guess that’s a pipe dream.

          But fuck them anyway, it’s time for the American people to stop depending on corporatists for anything, especially news and information. They are all too often useless and/or harmful to the American public.

      • Anonymous says:

        The point is not whether it is the worst possible torture imaginable (although John McCain has said solitary was worse than the physical abuse); the point is that it is, undeniably, a form of torture and abuse. As a civilized nation with laws, we should not treat our prisoners this way, whether they are citizens or not, and whether they are civilians or military.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you missed the part where they wake him every 5 minutes. He has to respond affirmatively every time the guards ask him if he’s OK. If not, they’ll enter his cell to make sure. Sleep deprivation is torture, no doubt about it.

  19. Patient says:

    Has anyone actually read the description of his conditions according to his lawyer’s blog?

    “He is allowed to watch television during the day. The television stations are limited to the basic local stations. His access to the television ranges from 1 to 3 hours on weekdays to 3 to 6 hours on weekends.”

    I was imagining that torture scene from Rambo 2 after reading some of these comments.

    Lets put this into perspective. First off, manning is not a civilian. He is being held under 2 Uniform Code of Military Justice charges and other 8 criminal charges. The 2 UCMJ charges include violations of the U.S.C. 793(e) Espionage act. (Which can result in the death penalty if convicted)

    So, here is a guy that is suspected of espionage, not only that, but the largest leak of classified documents in American history. So, what exactly is it that they should do with him? Let him roam around with other inmates? Let him shoot some hoops? Let him have a cell phone? Laptop? Write letters? Have random visitors show up for a chat? Seriously, according to the Military, Manning is one notch below a cold war spy.

    “Maximum Custody” is farthest removed from other inmates, thus always the type of confinement when someone is being charged with espionage or terrorism. The reason obviously being so that it is impossible to communicate with the outside world some form of instructions to further damage national security.

    If you want to be outraged, how about the 25,000 civilian inmates that are in solitary confinement doing 50+ years in a supermax prison. Inmates that have nothing to do with leaking defense secrets. Or how about the private prison lobby and how they prefab those types of cells because they are cheaper to produce and secure?

  20. JHaze says:

    YouTube is cooking the view count of this WikiLeaks video:

  21. Werehawk says:

    Let’s draw distinction between the treatment McCain got from his Vietnamese captor and what Private Manning is undergoing. In fact I would bet you that McCain would have far preferred the treatment Manning is getting than what he got from his captors. And if he is getting visits from lawyers and other people he is not being held in strict solitary particularly when one compares the conditions and the length of time MacCain was held Manning positively has it easy

    Also I will state that in my opinion Manning is no sense a hero or whistle-blower, In fact I would state that if anything he is a classic example of people who should not have access to secure data.

  22. Unmutual says:

    I have no doubt in my mind that those American “hikers” who crossed over the Iraq / Iran border were treated better than this.

  23. SonOfSamSeaborn says:

    The police always seem to have that attitude in TV shows. The thought of it makes me uncomfortable.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Fighting about nuances is fine, but a non-partisan objective person recognizes that the US military is overbearing if not downright corrupt–only the most dedicated pro-government statists could say otherwise. Where are the libertarian readers?

  25. boingaddict says:

    i think this saying applies: do as i say and not as i do

  26. Spud Spudly says:

    I can support Assange’s right to publish materials that were leaked to him, but I can’t support a person who takes those things in the first place. So let him rot. Who cares.

    • insert says:

      Yep. Manning broke the law. So who cares about him. Lawbreakers aren’t people.

      We should also go back in time and torture Rosa Parks. She broke the law too.


      When government goes off the rails and starts invading countries (e.g. Yemen) without telling the people, it’s heroic to leak that information. Laws or not.

    • Jesse M. says:

      Personally I support Manning’s actions, but the idea that the government should be allowed to torture criminals for punitive reasons is disgusting to me regardless of whether their own crimes were equally disgusting or worse (and if you don’t think long-term solitary confinement is torture, read the New Yorker article linked to in post #11). We’re not the taliban or the inquisition, it shouldn’t be the government’s business try to break people down psychologically by inflicting medieval punishments on them, regardless of whether they’re Bradley Manning or Jeffrey Dahmer.

    • Owen says:

      U.S. citizens have inalienable rights, which cannot be taken away, even if someone is charged with, or convicted of, a crime. Cruel and unusual punishment, such as Manning’s solitary confinement, are not permitted even for those convicted of a crime. Manning has only been charged, not convicted, which means that right now, he is innocent.

  27. Anonymous says:

    He is in a “stockade” or military detention center — “brig” is a term specific to the navy.

  28. Sequoia says:

    What’s A blogging platform? The writer there sounds authoritative enough, just curious about firedoglake, I’ve never heard of it.

    Also, did he say *why* he has special access to pfc Manning? I was confused about that as well.

    As for his conditions in prison, it sure seems a lot like torture. I don’t know what the criteria is to put someone in max security… I was arrested at a non-violent anti-mountain-top-removal demo and they put my scrawny hippy ass in maximum security 23hr lockdown. It seems to be “you are a high-risk, potentially violent person, or you are engaging in political dissidence that’s may actually make a difference.” (As long as your political demonstrations/actions are wholly ineffective, they don’t seem to mind; when it looks like you might actually CHANGE something, that’s when the cuffs and subpoenas come out. :p)

    • Anonymous says:

      @Sequoia — House is a researcher at MIT ( who has been a supporter of Manning and Wikileaks. He was one of the Wikileaks-connected AMCITS who was detained by ICE while re-entering the country without being given an explicit reason; if I recall correctly, his laptop was seized and hasn’t been returned.

    • jacobian says:

      Isolation is devastating inhumane and, yes, torture. It causes serious brain damage, emotional damage and can cause extremely long term psychological distress. It also serves absolutely no purpose. It’s a barbaric behaviour, more fitted to medieval times than a modern democratic society. The fact that you’re trying to re-frame it as something other than torture is disturbing because it’s an explicit attempt to put it within the frame of activities which we might deem acceptable.

      The answer to your question is, yes, it is torture. Yes, McCain thought it was the most difficult thing to endure. Yes, we have lots of information that it has lasting deleterious effects.

      I’m curious why you might want such “tools” to be disregarded as torture. What motivation would you have to de-list such things from the range of barbaric activities other than to normalise them.

      In addition, I’m profoundly curious if you are paid to write on this blog.

      • Sequoia says:

        Hi jacobian. I have no idea what your response is about, did you mean to respond to someone else? I think it _is_ torture, and anyway I’ll I did was link to the article and pull an excerpt. And yes, I do get paid exactly $742.43 per week to write on this blog. Blog commenting is zrzbznz, after all.

    • mn_camera says:

      Firedoglake is a site run by Jane Hamsher, a Libertarian masquerading as a progressive, citing Glenn Greenwald, a Cato Institute Libertarian again masquerading as a progressive.

      There is documentary evidence of their affiliations and contributions to Libertarian candidates and causes.

      This is credible only under the “stopped clock” principle, and I do wholeheartedly wish the information came from other sources.

    • Scrotch says:

      With respect to mn_camera, a more balanced sense of what Firedoglake is can be found at

      Libertarian and Progressive are by no means mutually exclusive political labels, they tend to agree on many issues, for example decriminalization of marijuana. I don’t read Firedoglake very often but I would suspect that their commenters do not have a unified political viewpoint.

      I believe that Pfc. Manning’s current treatment is despicable, I do not understand why he is being treated this way – I doubt Major Hasan is being treated like this.

      • mn_camera says:

        Libertarians and progressives may occasionally have a small overlap though I’d be very hesitant to make too much of it. The Libertarian “philosophy” – being represented almost entirely by the single word “ME!” – is closer to sociopathy than I’d ever care to approach, while progressive beliefs are far more oriented toward a view of society that takes the existence, to say nothing of the needs, of others into account.

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