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Thursday: It’s just too much

This is wildly late I know but, I’ve been bogged down catching up with Glenn Greenwald’s posts and getting more and more depressed with every word:

The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention

Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a “Maximum Custody Detainee,” the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.

From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day — for seven straight months and counting — he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he’s barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not “like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole,” but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.

In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything.

As Blue Lyon says, “What you won’t find in Greenwald’s latest”

The words “U.S. Constitution“

As in, the detention of Bradley Manning violates it.

And Suburban Guerrilla, “Conspiracy”

As I’ve said before, the thing that always scared me about the feds was that they targeted someone first and then came up with charges. Clearly, that’s what they’re doing to Julian Assange.

…. It’s too depressing. I think I’ll go work on a knitting post.

10 Responses

  1. He’s in military jail. The word “constitution” is inoperative here.

    • It’s not “inoperative”. The Supreme Court has held in several cases that solitary confinement does not violate constitutional rights.

      Glenn’s comment: “For reasons that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch)” is purely his own speculation – he really has no idea. I usually like Glenn, but this is on a very low par with Rachel Maddow editorializing without having things like “all the facts”.

      If he is being abused, then that is shameful. But we don’t really know, so all this hair pulling is a bit premature.

      Lest we also forget, Manning confessed to a journalist on several occassions that he did release classified material, and while not in a court of law, he is the one who also contacted the journalist in the first place. Did he think the military was just going to pat him on the back and say “Good job! You’re a hero!”?

      This is not Daniel Ellsberg, and the comparison to the Pentagon Papers is weak. Let’s get the whole story out before we start pronouncing that he’s been railroaded, shall we?

      • Nobody is saying that Bradley Manning is innocent. His guilt or innocence is for the courts to decide. We are objecting to the conditions of his imprisonment, which is all Greenwald is doing as well, and who cites authority after authority who demonstrate that extended isolation has long been recognized as akin to torture and has long standing effects.

        • Thank you for your sane comment. I can’t believe some would advocate a violation of human rights “because he’s military” and “he knew what he was getting into”. Torture should not be advocated for ANY reason.

    • Technically, he’s in the Brig.

      As active duty military, it’s legal.

      May be disgusting or disconcerting, but it’s legal.

      He knew that, going in.

  2. Assange has not been charged by the USA and is not being held in the USA. We don’t know the validity of the charges against him in Sweden.
    I would guess that the involvement of Interpol in searching for him is politically motivated but I don’t know that for a fact.

  3. Even if one is in the military, where one has arguably waived some rights, one has not waived all rights under the US Constitution. I would argue that these conditions violate the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause and the “due process” clause.

    If this young man was the only leaker in the Wikileaks scandal, the military’s security is criminally lax.

    Off topic, but possibly of interest to this group, the European Court of Human Rights held that a particular woman’s rights were violated by Irish laws against abortion, but “the court ruled Article 8 cannot be interpreted as conferring a right to abortion, which may come as a relief to defenders of the Irish ban.”


    The second part is disturbing (why not, particularly if a woman’s health is affected?), but I have not read the ruling.


    • For someone who says he is “very annoyed” at the “torturous” behavior he is enduring, it sounds more like a criminal defense attorney trying his case in the media. I can’t imagine if you were tortured, you would be “very annoyed”.

  4. Considering the treatment of detainees captured in the “war On Terror” Manning’s treatment is no different. Not right, moral or humane but in accordance with dick Cheney’s and now Obama’s wishes. I’m sure Barack would love to kidnap Julian and whisk him off to one of our allies in this “war” for a little enhanced interrogation.

    One thing to consider, besides a conspiracy, in this massive security failure is the way contracts are let by the DOD and State Department. Look at how no-bid contracts were handed out in Iraq and how shoddy the work was done. Military personnel electrocuted or sickened. Now why should a contract for computer security or the product delivered be any better? Good for the retired general and the congress member that got to pocket some cash but not so good for the rest of us.

  5. All this torture just creates more, and more violence.

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