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Posts Tagged ‘US involvement

Kuwait, A Quantico Brig And Now Fort Leavenworth.

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The captivity of Bradley Manning does no favours for America, his treatment has been harsh, petty and unnecessary.

I had not appreciated that Manning was held in Kuwait for two months before his move to the US, and it is fairly clear that the regime at Quantico was used to make him lose his marbles, Kim Zetter has more:

“Manning’s treatment during his detention has been the subject of intense criticism. The ACLU called his treatment “gratuitously harsh” in a letter sent last month to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was forced to resign after publicly calling Manning’s treatment by the military “counterproductive and stupid.” President Obama found himself defending Manning’s treatment at a press conference last month.

Johnson, however, said there were a number of other issues that led the Pentagon to re-evaluate Manning’s confinement location. These included the length of time he’s expected to be confined prior to undergoing a trial, and the services available to pre-trial prisoners.

Johnson said Quantico was designed for only short pre-trial stays of a few months, whereas Manning was already in his ninth month at Quantico and is not expected to go to trial for many more months. Leavenworth was also more suitable because it has better mental health support and is an Army facility. Manning is an Army soldier, and the case against him is being handled by the Army, not the Marine Corps.

PJ Crowley On Bradley Manning.

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Being sacked for saying what you know to be true is a bit more than annoying, and in this instance rather surprising when you consider what position in the State Department that PJ Crowley held.

He was Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

He was the public face of the State Department, and so his criticism of Bradley Manning’s humiliating treatment holds all the more veracity and force.

PJ Crowley is not some chicken-livered-do-gooding-liberal, he’s an ex-military man who would like to see Bradley Manning prosecuted and presumably locked up for decades and decades.

But 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 experience, if you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in the middle of a jail cell, you have a policy in need of urgent review. The Pentagon was quick to point out that no women were present when he did so, which is completely beside the point.

The issue is a loss of dignity, not modesty.

Our strategic narrative connects our policies to our interests, values and aspirations. While what we do, day in and day out, is broadly consistent with the universal principles we espouse, individual actions can become disconnected. Every once in a while, even a top-notch symphony strikes a discordant note. So it is in this instance.

The Pentagon has said that it is playing the Manning case by the book. The book tells us what actions we can take, but not always what we should do. Actions can be legal and still not smart. With the Manning case unfolding in a fishbowl-like environment, going strictly by the book is not good enough. Private Manning’s overly restrictive and even petty treatment undermines what is otherwise a strong legal and ethical position.”

Bradley Manning’s Treatment.

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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

News just In, Assange’s Extradition Ordered.

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According to information coming out of the hearing, Julian Assange’s extradition has been ordered.

Seemingly, he will have 7 days to appeal. Not looking good.

I imagine he’ll lose, then end up in Sweden for a while, and finally the US.

Update 1: The full judgement against Assange is here. Thanks to David Allen Green.

Update 2: This part of the judgement is interesting:

“There was at one stage a suggestion that Mr Assange could be extradited to the USA (possibly to Guantanamo Bay or to execution as a traitor). The only live evidence on the point came from the defence witness Mr Alhem who said it couldn’t happen. In the absence of any evidence that Mr Assange risks torture or execution Mr Robertson was right not to pursue this point in closing. It may be worth adding that I do not know if Sweden has an extradition treaty with the United States of America. There has been no evidence regarding this. I would expect that there is such a treaty. If Mr Assange is surrendered to Sweden and a request is made to Sweden for his extradition to the United States of America, then article 28 of the framework decision applies. In such an event the consent of the Secretary of State in this country will be required, in accordance with section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Sweden can order Mr Assange’s extradition to a third State. The Secretary of State is required to give notice to Mr Assange unless it is impracticable to do so. Mr Assange would have the protection of the courts in Sweden and, as the Secretary of State’s decision can be reviewed, he would have the protection of the English courts also. But none of this was argued.

I have specifically considered whether the physical or mental condition of the defendant is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

In fact as I am satisfied that extradition is compatible with the defendant’s Convention rights, I must order that Mr Assange be extradited to Sweden.

Howard Riddle
Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)
Appropriate Judge

24th February 2011 “

Update 3: There a site for Wikileaks videos, wikileaks.videohq.tv

Written by modernityblog

24/02/2011 at 12:34