Home > Law, Torture > Change We Can Believe In, XII, Part 2

Change We Can Believe In, XII, Part 2

Change We Can Believe In: Torturing US Citizens Awaiting Trial

Three days ago, I wrote of the latest mistreatment of PFC Bradley Manning, being held in solitary confinement and, in recent days, overnight forced nudity at the Quantico brig. Over the last nine months, as summarized here, these are the conditions of his detention:

23-hour/day solitary confinement; barred even from exercising in his cell; one hour total outside his cell per day where he’s allowed to walk around in circles in a room alone while shackled, and is returned to his cell the minute he stops walking; forced to respond to guards’ inquiries literally every 5 minutes, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in the corner of his bed or otherwise outside the guards’ full view.

And now forced nudity. This because he released classified documents, an act for which he has yet to be tried, much less convicted. Regardless of one’s views about the damage done by WikiLeaks (and the newspapers that published the documents released by WikiLeaks, though as I mentioned three days ago, I haven’t seen the NYT’s Keller arrested), what is the justification for this treatment? UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, no fan of WikiLeaks, wrote this on Friday under the heading Bradley Manning, meet George Orwell (boldface mine, and hat tip, Glenn Greenwald):

The United States Army is so concerned about Bradley Manning’s health that it is subjecting him to a regime designed to drive him insane. That’s old news. Now we learn that the Army is so concerned about his right to privacy it refused to explain why he is being stripped naked and forced to stand outside his cell.

Yes, yes, PFCs don’t get to decide to release a bunch of classified material. Manning has probably earned himself a prison cell. And I can understand the desire to pressure him into implicating Julian Assange.

All of that said: This is a total disgrace. It shouldn’t be happening in this country. You can’t be unaware of this, Mr. President. Silence gives consent.

Those last two sentences were the point of my previous post, though I failed to say make the point as well.

See also this piece by Ryan Gallagher in today’s Guardian (h/t to Greenwald again). Here is Gallagher’s closing paragraph:

“Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal,” said Barack Obama in 2008. But the stench of his hypocrisy is no longer bearable. It is time, now more than ever, that Bradley Manning received the justice he so clearly deserves.

Categories: Law, Torture
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