ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Bradley Manning’s Treatment.

with 11 comments

I suppose that the appalling treatment of Bradley Manning is to break him, to make him confess and more, this is so wrong, the Guardian reports:

“Bradley Manning, the US soldier being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of having released state secrets to WikiLeaks, has spoken out for the first time about what he claims is his punitive and unlawful treatment in military prison.

In an 11-page legal letter released by his lawyer, David Coombs, Manning sets out in his own words how he has been “left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody” ever since he was brought from Kuwait to the military brig of Quantico marine base in Virginia in July last year. He describes how he was put on suicide watch in January, how he is currently being stripped naked every night, and how he is in general terms being subjected to what he calls “unlawful pre-trial punishment”.

It is the first time Manning has spoken publicly about his treatment, having previously only been heard through the intermediaries of his lawyer and a friend. Details that have emerged up to now have inspired the UN to launch an inquiry into whether the conditions amount to torture, and have led to protests to the US government from Amnesty International.

The most graphic passage of the letter is Manning’s description of how he was placed on suicide watch for three days from 18 January. “I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness.”

Manning writes that he believes the suicide watch was imposed not because he was a danger to himself but as retribution for a protest about his treatment held outside Quantico the day before. Immediately before the suicide watch started, he said guards verbally harassed him, taunting him with conflicting orders. “

Update 1: One of Hillary Clinton’s officials even acknowledges the mistreatment of Manning, calling it counterproductive:

“Hillary Clinton’s spokesman has launched a public attack on the Pentagon for the way it is treating military prisoner Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of handing the US embassy cables to WikiLeaks.

PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the US state department, has said Manning is being “mistreated” in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. “What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence.”

Crowley’s comments are the first sign of a crack within the Obama administration over the handling of the WikiLeaks saga in which hundreds of thousands of confidential documents were handed to the website.

It is the first time anyone within the administration has expressed concern about Manning’s treatment, which has included being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and being stripped naked every night. Until now the US government had presented a united front, promising to aggressively pursue anyone involved in leaking state secrets. Clinton herself described the WikiLeaks material as “an attack on America” and said “we are taking aggressive steps” to hold those who leaked it to account. “

Update 3: I can understand being concerned for a potential suicide, but it appears that Manning is shackled most of the time and why he can’t be given an equivalent pair of plastic prescription glasses, with unbreakable lenses I don’t know, the Beeb has more:

“Private Manning is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security US military jail.

He is shackled at all times and has been on suicide watch at the Quantico marine base in Virginia.”

I would like someone to explain to me, how someone shackled at all times and in his underpants, under constant supervision should have his glasses taken away?

Written by modernityblog

11/03/2011 at 15:12

11 Responses

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  1. Memo to Bradley: When you are in custody, think very long and hard about threatening to harm yourself. It makes matters much, much worse. Yes, suicide watch sucks. You’re luck you got to keep your undies.

    mesquito

    11/03/2011 at 16:01

  2. Memo to US Govt. treating prisoners badly will surely backfire.

    Abu Garb. Gitmo ring any bells?

    modernityblog

    11/03/2011 at 16:09

  3. My point, mod, is that little Bradley’s treatment is exactly what you’d expect in any jail in America. Probably a little better, given that he’s evidently in a facility with a very low population. In my mispent youth I spent more time than I care to admit locked down in places like this, and we’d always shake our heads in disgust and amusement at the drama queens who succeeded in doing nothing but making their incarceration more difficult. Most threats of self-harm are bogus, but they all must be considered serious. Anything that can be used as a noose or can open an artery is taken away. So Bradley had to sit in an empty cell in his undies and without his specs. To think that the jailers who watch over him on a day-to-day basis give a shit about who he is or what he is charged with is fantasy.

    mesquito

    11/03/2011 at 16:19

  4. Oh, and if Gitmo is good enough for my Nobel Peace Prize-winning President, it’s certainly good enough for me.

    mesquito

    11/03/2011 at 16:22

  5. And the bullying? Come on, the tactics are obvious, they want to break him.

    modernityblog

    11/03/2011 at 16:27

  6. Bullying? Oh, for Pete’s sake. The poor dear. He gets “conflicting orders.” (This is what’s known in jail as a “shift change.”) I can guarantee you, mod, that the jailers who are holding him don’t give a fuck about Bradley Manning or the charges against him (and my experience with jailhouse drama queens is this probably hurts him more than anything else.) They simply have no reason to. He is just another inmate remanded to their custody for the time being. Break him? What? Wring a legally worthless “confession” from his torn psyche? Give me a break.

    mesquito

    11/03/2011 at 16:37

  7. Really, mod, if the case against him is so weak that the prosecutors must conspire illegally with the jailers to secure a conviction, it would be astonishing indeed. It would be an epic scandal. Heads would role. Poeple other than Bradley would go to jail for a long, long time. It be so stupidly detectable that it could never succeed. Happily, it’s just a fantasy concieved by people who don’t have a clue what they are talking aboout.

    mesquito

    11/03/2011 at 16:43

  8. We shall see eh?

    modernityblog

    11/03/2011 at 16:45

  9. Apparently even members of the current administration acknowledge that he’s been maltreated.

    modernityblog

    11/03/2011 at 18:41

  10. Well, they really ought to present their case to the DoD or shut the hell up, huh? I understand the wish to pander to readers of The Nation.

    All I’ve heard, btw, is the Department of State is sore at the DoD for having their secret cables printed in every newspaper on the planet. Can’t say I blame them.

    mesquito

    12/03/2011 at 00:00

  11. […] even he can see how the treatment meted out to Manning is not only degrading but stupid, he writes in the Guardian: “Based on 30 years of government […]


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