Wikileaks: LA Times editorial on "inhumane imprisonment" of Bradley Manning

A surprisingly strong editorial from the Los Angeles Times on the conditions under which alleged Wikileaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning is being held: "Regardless of one's view of his alleged conduct, the conditions under which he is being held are indefensible."


  1. I think the wikileaks disclosure is irresponsible, putting people’s lives at risk. I think that, whoever was responsible for leaking the information should be put in prison for a long time. Even I think that the treatment of this man is a completely unacceptable abuse. Obama, as CinC, should put a stop to this and ensure that PFC Manning is treated the same as other non-violent military detainee.

    1. Agreed. Even worse is the fact that this seems to be very widely known, making Obama complicit in this torture.

    2. I think the benefits of the Wikileaks disclosure outweigh the risks, but I accept that there other views. Surely the issue here is simply that these conditions appear to be being imposed as a punishment on an individual whose case has not yet come to trial. Even had he been found guilty of any offence, I’m not aware that his current conditions could possibly form part of any sentence.

      Who is responsible for imposing these conditions, and what justification do they advance for doing so? Does the system hold them accountable in any meaningful (and timely) way?

    3. Has anyone actually been endangered by the leaks? No.

      I hear this rhetoric all the time, but so far it seems the only people “harmed” by the cables are the politicians who were caught lying to us.

      Everyone seems to say that wikileaks just “dumped” hundreds of thousands of cables without even bothering to redact sensitive information, and that’s simply not true. Wikileaks has released 1000 out of 250,000 cables, all hand picked, all reviewed, and all with sensitive info removed. Wikileaks had NYT, Der Speigel, The Guardian, etc review each cable before it was released, and it was those newspapers who did all of the censoring and redacting.

      No one has ever been “put at risk” by any of the leaks. Ever. At all. Period. Stop saying that. The only people who’ve been harmed is the politicians whose lies have been exposed.

    4. It doesnt seem to be popular knowledge, but Wikileaks made strong efforts to sterilize the documents of any names by sending their documents to the Pentagon first. Of course the US government wanted nothing to do with it and decided not to respond. Thus, its obviously time to blame Wikileaks right?

  2. It seems pretty clear that they are torturing him to negotiate a plea bargain which implicates Assange. And that’s just not right.

    I can’t believe this is happening under Obama.

      1. It wears off in layers. This is one more, “I didn’t think it was *that* bad”.

        Eric Holder is off his rocker.

        1. For me, it’s almost bordering on the feeling I had with Bush where I would get mad the second he came onto a TV screen.

          But there are two plus sides here: one, I don’t have cable anymore; two, Progressivism is starting to reawaken, in a way that doesn’t involve begging Democrats for table scraps.

  3. Whether or not someone agrees with what Manning is alleged to have done, he’s still innocent until tried and proven guilty, and no one awaiting trial deserves to be held under deliberately cruel and punitive conditions like this. His detention under these conditions makes laughable the assertion that young soldiers like Manning are dying to preserve anything worth fighting for.

    Every single story about wikileaks should mention this appalling treatment, until something is done about it. Hopefully, boing boing will take the lead on this.

  4. OK, who’s the loudmouth who blabbed about the conditions Manning is being held in? Throw him in solitary confinement! Ditto anyone who leaks to information about how he is being treated!

  5. I think the real story here is “If you don’t want someone to know that you did something wrong, then why do it in the first place?”

    I agree with the leaks 100%. It is the same as exposing any criminal.

  6. The comments on are full of malice. Most of the commentators have already convicted Manning in their minds, and seemingly support his torture in any manner the military sees fit.

    1. It disheartens me too, but the reality is that most comments on any news site are full of malice. The nastiness in their comment sections is truly depressing.

      It has to be brutal to be writing for mainstream publications these days. The majority of the feedback is a constant cesspool of vitriol.

    2. Those commenters are probably regular readers of Jonah Goldberg, regular LA Times columnist and author of that scholarly tome, “Liberal Fascism.”

  7. His treatment is pretty standard for people in his position. They didn’t just invent it last year.

    I’d be more impressed with the LAT editorial if they cared about the treatment of other soldier-defendants held under the same conditions. I don’t think we’d hear a peep if he was charged with rape or murder.

    1. His treatment is pretty standard for people in his position.

      ummmm, no it isn’t, it’s pretty standard for convicts with bad attitudes, not accused service members with otherwise clean records – even under military justice.

      Remember, the point is that if he is found innocent he is to be kept in such a condition that he could return to service shortly after trial.

      This is what you do when you want to force a mistrial.

  8. I had the conversation with a relative that begins, “He’s committed treason, he doesn’t deserve a trial!”

    “Uhm, without his being found guilty in a court of law, how would you say he committed treason? What happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty?’ ”

    “He gave up his rights when he committed treason! And why are you defending him? What’s wrong with you, do you approve of espionage? How dare you take his side? That kind of talk shouldn’t be allowed!”

    I suppose that if it keeps us safe, surrendering our right even to discuss issues like the presumption of innocence is a small price to pay. After all, anyone who insists on a trial for traitors must be a traitor himself. And a traitor has given up his citizenship, and therefore has no rights.

  9. I’ve spent a couple of fruitless hours reviewing the bookmarked articles and quotes I’ve saved regarding the conditions of Manning’s incarceration. I was sure that I’d read that he was being given anti-depressants, yet I haven’t read an incidence of that allegation anywhere *recently*, nor could I find it within the materials I have saved. Unfortunately, I do have a rather large file of materials.

    Does anyone have any ideas where that allegation has appeared and whether it’s correct or not? Keeping him in solitary conditions under the POI order, and feeding him what could include dangerous anti-psychotics such as Seroquel or Haldol would have a serious effect on his powers of critical thinking.

    I’m frequently reminded of the treatment of Capt. Dreyfus during the Dreyfus Affair. Different century with different means of softening up a prisoner, but quite similar in effect and intention.

  10. Is wikileaks still donating at least the $20K they backpedaled to or have they reneged on that as well?

  11. I agree strongly with the sentiment, “it doesn’t matter what he’s been accused of: this is unacceptable treatment.” I’m concerned too many wikileaks apologists make conditional arguments along the lines of “This is unacceptable because he’s a hero.” No. No. No. It is just unacceptable, whether he’s a hero, a criminal, or both.

  12. I spoke Jan 7 and 10, 2011, with Lt. Villiard, PR officer for Quantico Marine Base where Bradley Manning is being held in “maximum custody, a classification for a detainee, whose escape could pose a risk to life, property or national security.” Manning may not receive mail from anyone whose name is not on his list of correspondents. Thus, mail from well-wishers is returned to sender. Individuals may not send him books, magazines, or newspapers, even if their name is on his approved correspondents list. For details on his incarceration, read my blog at

  13. AFIC, yeah… put convicted rapists, murderers, and those who are CONVICTED of horrible crimes into solitary and never let them see the light of day again.
    But… this is some guy who is ACCUSED of leaking some “sensitive” info. If he ever gets a fair, normal trial, it’ll be too late, he’ll be broken.

    FSM bless the good ol USA.

  14. Nowhere do I read the simple reason while he’s being put through psychological torture like this AND the fact is well known: it’s just a warning to other potential whistleblowers “Leak something and we’ll torture you for months on end”.

    1. Land of the free*, home of the brave**……

      * Free until accused, then any and all punishments are acceptable before actually proving that you are guilty. Free to travel, but if you want to travel faster than a car, you must have strangers either look at you naked (and possibly risk your health) or have your penis/testes/vulva/breasts fondled. And the same holds true for any children you want to take with you.

      ** For all values of brave that are equal to: so scared that the previous version of ‘Free’ holds true.

      Clarified that for you.

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