Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?

20.12.10

In disturbing reports from the US, it appears that Private First Class Bradley Manning, the former intelligence analyst accused of leaking the Afghan and Iraqi war logs, the US diplomatic cables and the “Collateral Murder” video, which have dominated headlines globally since WikiLeaks began making them available in April this year, is being held in conditions that bear a marked and chilling resemblance to the conditions in which a handful of US citizens and residents were held as “enemy combatants” under the Bush administration.

Manning, whose 23rd birthday was on Friday, has been held in solitary confinement for seven months since he was seized in Kuwait, where he was held for the first two months prior to his transfer to a military prison in Quantico, Virginia.  According to David House, a computer researcher from Boston who visits him twice a month, his “prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell … is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect.” House explained how Manning “was no longer the characteristically brilliant man he had been, despite efforts to keep him intellectually engaged.”

However, what was particularly revealing about House’s comments was his denial of the authorities’ statement that Manning “was being kept in solitary for his own good,” based on a claim that he was initially held on suicide watch. As he explained, “I initially believed that his time in solitary confinement was a decision made in the interests of his safety. As time passed and his suicide watch was lifted, to no effect, it became clear that his time in solitary — and his lack of a pillow, sheets, the freedom to exercise, or the ability to view televised current events — were enacted as a means of punishment rather than a means of safety.”

The key elements here are the elements of profound isolation and suffering identified by House — not just the solitary confinement, with no other human being for company, but also the refusal to allow Manning to have a pillow, sheets, or any access to the outside world through the reporting of current affairs.

It is these factors that mark out his conditions of detention as sharing some key elements with the conditions endured by the three “enemy combatants” held on the US mainland under the Bush administration — the US citizens Yasser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, and the US legal resident Ali al-Marri.

Hamdi, initally held at Guantanamo, was kept in isolation from May 2002 until he won a case before the Supreme Court on June 28, 2004, leading to his release in Saudi Arabia three months later. Padilla, held from May 2002 until he was transferred into federal custody on January 3, 2006 (and subsequently tried and convicted in August 2007, and given a sentence of 17 years and four months in January 2008 for conspiring to kill people in an overseas jihad and to fund and support overseas terrorism), was held for 21 months in total isolation. Al-Marri, who was initially arrested in December 2001, was held alone for five years and eight months (including 16 months in total solitary confinement) before President Obama moved him into the federal court system in February 2009, leading to a trial and an eight-year sentence after a plea deal eight months later.

As I explained in an article two years ago:

As was recently revealed through the disclosure of military documents following a Freedom of Information request (PDF), al-Marri, along with two American citizens also held as “enemy combatants” — Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla — was subjected to the same “Standard Operating Procedure” that was applied to prisoners at Guantánamo during its most brutal phase, from mid-2002 to mid-2004. This involved the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including prolonged isolation, painful stress positions, exposure to extreme temperature, sleep deprivation, extreme sensory deprivation, and threats of violence and death.

Although the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo was disturbingly harsh, it can be argued — with some confidence, I believe — that the treatment of al-Marri, Hamdi and Padilla was worse than that endured by the majority of the Guantánamo prisoners, as all three suffered in total isolation … Held alone in cellblocks that were otherwise unoccupied, al-Marri, Hamdi and Padilla had to survive without even the small comforts available to most of the Guantánamo prisoners, who, when not held in isolation as a punishment or as a prelude to interrogation, could at least communicate with the prisoners in the cells adjacent to them, and could take advantage of what lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has called the “incredible prisoner bush telegraph,” through which information is conveyed around the prison.

In the case of Hamdi (who was picked up in Afghanistan in November 2001 and initially held in Guantánamo until it was discovered that, although he had lived in Saudi Arabia since he was a child, he was born in Baton Rouge and was an American citizen), the effects of this near-total isolation were already apparent in June 2002, just a month after his transfer from Guantánamo. As one of the officers responsible for him explained in an email to his superiors, “with no potential end in sight and no encouraging news and isolated from his countrymen, I can understand how he feels … I will continue to do what I can to help this individual maintain his sanity, but in my opinion we’re working with borrowed time.”

In the case of Jose Padilla, who was held in strict solitary confinement for 21 months, the effects of his isolation were so intense that it has been reported that he literally lost his mind (his warders described him as “so docile and inactive that he could be mistaken for ‘a piece of furniture’”) [Further details of Padilla's harrowing mental collapse can be found here].

Al-Marri’s experience was similar. As his lawyers explained in May [2008], in court documents protesting his treatment (PDF), for the 16 months that he was held incommunicado, “He was denied any contact with the world outside, including his family, his lawyers, and the Red Cross. All requests to see, speak to, or communicate with Mr. al-Marri were ignored or refused. Mr. al-Marri’s only regular human contact during that period was with government officials during interrogation sessions, or with guards when they delivered trays of food through a slot in his cell door, escorted him to the shower, or took him to a concrete cage for ‘recreation.’ The guards had duct tape over their name badges and did not speak to Mr. al-Marri except to give him orders.”

There is, at present, no suggestion that Bradley Manning has been subjected to a wide range of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” but prolonged isolation is confirmed, and depriving him of a pillow, sheets, or any access to the outside world through the reporting of current affairs are all elements of discomfort and further isolation that were key to the program of belittling and punishing “enemy combatants,” and, crucially, “softening them up” or “breaking” them for interrogation. It is, sadly, all too easy to imagine that other techniques designed to disorientate Manning and to further erode his will — involving elements of sleep deprivation, threats and sensory deprivation — could also be applied, or are, perhaps, already being apllied, especially if, as has been suggested by the Independent, the authorities are hoping to cut a plea deal with him, reducing a 52-year sentence in exchange for a confession that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, whom the US is seeking to extradite to the US, was not just a passive recipient of the information leaked by Manning, but was instead a conspirator.

Assange, who was released on bail in the UK on Thursday, after being imprisoned for nine days following an extradition request from Sweden relating to rape charges, denies knowing Manning at all. After his release from Wandsworth prison, he said, “I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. WikiLeaks technology [was] designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material.”

In contrast, however, as the Independent explained, “Adrian Lamo, a former hacker who had been in contact with Pte. Manning and eventually turned him in to the government, has told the FBI that Mr. Assange had given the young soldier an encrypted internet conferencing service as he was downloading government files and a dedicated server for uploading them to WikiLeaks. Mr. Lamo claims that Pte. Manning had ‘bragged’ about this to him. In one email, now in the possession of the Justice Department, the soldier allegedly wrote: ‘I can’t believe what I’m confessing to you … I’m a source, not quite a volunteer, I mean, I’m a high-profile source … and I’ve developed a relationship with Assange.'”

As this story continues to develop, further clues about the kinds of pressure exerted on Manning can be gleaned from David House’s description of the lengths to which the authorities are going to harass those who know Manning. House told the Guardian that “many people were reluctant to talk about Manning’s condition because of government harassment, including surveillance, warrantless computer seizures, and even bribes,” stating, “This has had such an intimidating effect that many are afraid to speak out on his behalf”

The Guardian added, “Some friends report being followed extensively. Another computer expert said the army offered him cash to — in his words — ‘infiltrate’ the WikiLeaks website.” He said, “I turned them down. I don’t want anything to do with this cloak and dagger stuff.”

House also explained how, on November 3, he “found customs agents waiting for him when he and his girlfriend returned to the US after a short holiday in Mexico. His bags were searched and two men identifying themselves as Homeland Security officials said they were being detained for questioning and would miss their connecting flight. The men seized all his electronic items and he was told to hand over all passwords and encryption keys — which he refused. The items have yet to be returned.”

In conclusion, then, anyone concerned with justice needs to keep a close eye on Bradley Manning’s case, not just because any pressure exerted on Manning to implicate Julian Assange in his decision to leak classified US documents would have a disastrous impact on freedom of speech, and would, possibly, pave the way for an unprecedented assault on the freedom of the Internet, where alternative voices to the mainstream are needed more than ever, but also because of the suspicion that, in exerting pressure on Manning, the Obama administration has crossed a line and is drawing inspiration from the discredited — if not thoroughly repudiated — practices of the Bush administration.

Note: Anyone interested in supporting Bradley Manning — and contributing to his legal fund — should visit the website of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

Cross-posted on The Public Record, The Smirking Chimp, UruknetRon Paul Forums and Dandelion Salad.

51 Responses

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  3. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Damian Fortieth wrote:

    Andy, according to David Coombs (Bradley Manning’s lawyer) “He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.” http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info/2010/12/typical-day-for-pfc-bradley-manning.html

    So that at least is some good news amidst all the bad. I haven’t had time to study all of your comparison to the other prisoner’s treatment, because I have to run to work, but I look forward to reading in depth later with much appreciation. Grateful for your writing/posting this.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Damian, but what I found by following that link were the following comments, which only add to the picture of a man kept in serious isolation:

    1. “The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning. Given the nature of their job, however, they do not engage in conversation with PFC Manning” (it’s that last bit that’s important).

    2. “Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.”

    3. “He cannot see other inmates from his cell. He can occasionally hear other inmates talk. Due to being a pretrial confinement facility, inmates rarely stay at the facility for any length of time. Currently, there are no other inmates near his cell” (again, it’s the last bit that’s important).

    4. “When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.”

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Meenakshi Sharma wrote:

    Andy I wonder what is going to surface in the future, but don’t you think the US would be careful now handling the Manning case??

  6. the talking dog says...

    Andy:

    The conditions, I understand, are unusually harsh, but are by no means “unprecedented” within the military confinement system, which is not a particularly pleasant branch of the not particularly pleasant American penal system. The conditions described for Manning are, interestingly, not dissimilar from conditions in which Captain James Yee was held (my interview with him is here: http://www.thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000795.html ; for about two and a half months Yee was held in comparable solitary conditions as Padilla, al-Marri, Hamdi, and now Manning, only unlike Manning, the trumped up charges against Yee carried the death penalty, before the charges were abruptly dropped).

    Interestingly, according to Attorney Coombs, anyway, Manning gets some television and some reading material– putting him ahead of many of the GTMO prisoners, who were left with their toilets and their Korans, AND “enhanced interrogation”. And Manning, of course, has charges pending against him and he has counsel.

    What’s most fascinating to me is the wholly seamless corporate web between Bush and Obama… it’s as if management of the Defense apparatus hadn’t changed at all between them (OH WAIT! Bob Gates is STILL SecDef!!!! It HASN’T!!!)

    Accepting what Manning did at face value– turn over secret documents to a public whistle-blower site that may have damaged American national security– one can see why he is regarded as a “Class A miscreant.” What Manning really did, to wit, facilitate making the powerful uncomfortable… is well-nigh unforgivable, of course, and he must be made an example of for the next wise-ass who thinks that they’re going to embarrass the Imperium. THAT’S what his treatment is about; if he rats out Julian Assange, that would be gravy… but, I don’t think that’s the primary motivation for his treatment (and the US Gov’t should be somewhat careful about hailing Assange here on made-up charges based on coerced evidence… it may not end the way many feckless American officials would like it to.)

    All in all, another day in Barack Obama’s America. Hope and change, anyone?

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, TD. On the question of “embarrassment” v. “espionage,” I was interested to see that Army Times — not, traditionally, a bastion of lefty dissent — published the following, which captured perfectly the essence of the whole problem:

    Classify less material; do more to secure sensitive info

    The military has long fostered the concept of “strategic” captains and sergeants who are authorized to employ firepower or diplomacy to accomplish their mission.

    But allegations against Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the suspected source of WikiLeaks’ trove of stolen government documents, show that pushing authority and responsibility down the chain can also be an Achilles’ heel.

    Many are wondering how such a low-ranking soldier could have such broad, unmonitored access to so much classified information.

    The answer is that since 2001, the military and intelligence communities have moved to classify almost every shred of information, while also insisting that classified data be shared more widely than ever — to the point that anyone, anywhere, with a security clearance can access almost anything.

    It was only a matter of time before the wrong person with the right access caused a calamity. What’s lacking is the extra layers of security to ensure that those who have access don’t abuse it.

    Some simple protocols could have averted this mess. To start, the government should classify less but do more to protect its most sensitive data by limiting universal access and employing strict oversight up the chain.

    Policing of networks also must improve. If a guy in Paris digs for files in Pakistan, that should set off an alert and trigger an investigation, just as banks monitor accounts for unusual activity.

    Military and intelligence officials must ensure that a future junior service member does not set the stage for a greater disaster.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Gareth Smith wrote:

    No doubt the “soul doctors” have unleashed their drugs on him by now.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Deborah Emin wrote:

    They need to make him talk the way they want him to talk. This is the US government making sure it can get what it wants in dealing with the two of them. A lesson to us all.
    And more criminal acts by this supposedly democratic government.
    Remedies for this kind of behavior are sorely needed, and now.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Lisa Barr wrote:

    It’s a conspiracy when a source speaks to a journalist under the prez who wants the power to kill people he finds inconvenient. Cool.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Andy, much to be concerned about the treatment of Bradley Manning. Where is the presumption of innocence? It seems these people are used to the idea of intentionally causing psychological harm. It would seem to be a near-impossible task to obtain more humane treatment for him. I do not expect the USA to even manage to give him a fair trial.

    … and now here comes Joe Biden, a man apparently without a useful job to do raving about Assange being a ‘high tech terrorist’ – careless talk indeed.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Rowland S. Whittet wrote:

    Once you lose the concept of innocent until proved guilty and replace that with presumption of guilt on accusation for crimes against the state allowing everything from indefinite detention under conditions of torture to assassination it becomes very difficult to get the white hat clean again.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf Artist wrote:

    You know what I wish: I wish that every regrettable action that was documented, discovered and then leaked, had never taken place. I wish that people would be as critical and strict on themselves all the time, as they are with Manning now.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Sharon Askew wrote:

    I believe he is being given antidepressants due to the conditions he is subject to. At a guess it would be a concoction of pills having had a little experience with the mental health. To keep him in these conditions and pump him full of this medication, having to remain awake for 15 hours in isolation with no interaction, pretty much torture with a clear intent to break him.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    Perhaps this is another way for the Elite-Pres. & corp. to take away rights. If it is just done to one person at a time to begin with the public gets used to it & then after awhile it is ignored & they Pres. & corp can do it to anyone who gets in the way of their power structure.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Lisa Barr wrote:

    I suggest we mail a sheet or pillow each week to the assholes torturing Bradley manning. Thousands of extra packages for them to tend to daily…

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, everyone. I couldn’t reply yesterday. Another victim of the weather was my phone and Internet provider, which crashed in south east London at about 1.30 yesterday afternoon and wasn’t back up until this morning!
    Great comments. Rowland, I think you particularly nailed the problem of crimes against humanity in one succinct sentence.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Here are some comments from Common Dreams:

    arkay wrote:

    In all the intrigue and commotion over Julian Assange, the guy who’s taken the biggest risk of all has been forgotten. If nothing else we can show our solidarity and thanks through Facebook and contributions to his defense fund:
    http://www.facebook.com/savebradley

    And here’s a good idea–just imagine if it came true!
    Lady Gaga, Stand Up for Bradley Manning
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000946434027#!/pages/Lady-Gaga-Stand-Up-for-Bradley-Manning/113967602005909

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    polycarpe wrote:

    Mr. Worthington does a good job of keeping the attention where it rightfully belongs – the Manning case.

    The whole situation with Lamo stinks.

    Below is a great article by Glenn Greenwald from June which details all the shady aspects of the case, how little we know as to what went on and how all of our info is basically dependent upon two people.

    The military had it out for Wikileaks since 2008 – as detailed in the article below – more than enough time to get their ducks in a row.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/18/wikileaks

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Elizabeth H wrote:

    Excellent Greenwald article. Lamo’s character, along with his expertise as a hacker, should be taken into consideration. I’ve had my email hacked into, as have many people I know, so who’s to say that Lamo didn’t modify,or indeed create the emails attributed to Manning. I find it highly unlikely that Manning would have trusted Lamo to the extent he is said to have done.

    The level of barbarity in this country is overwhelming. We’ve accepted torture for so long now that we’ve set ourselves up. We have more people in solitary confinement in our prisons than any other nation. It is torture in itself. I’ve no doubt those guarding Manning are just the sort who would maximize his pain.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Paranoid Pessimist wrote:

    Obviously they’re trying to “make an example” of Manning, treating him as harshly as they can manage rights be damned to make sure no one else with access to embarrassing classified information even considers letting loose with it.

    But I was in the Army many years ago and I don’t understand how a PFC had access to all that classified stuff. Doesn’t sound like “security” was all that hard to “breech.” Who’s responsible for that? Shouldn’t whoever is be in the slammer also?

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    See 7, above. This is what you get when 3 million US employees have access to classified material!

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    sheepherder wrote:

    I agree that the level of security in the Defense Department seems sloppy, to say the least. My wife was once the security administrator for an insurance company’s mainframe computer systems. The software she ran kept track of every keystroke on every computer (in-house or on agents’ remote terminals) connected to the mainframes. Any time someone tried to get access to a file he or she was not entitled to access, that access was denied, and a flag appeared on my wife’s monitor.

    Is it asking too much that something similar (if not better) be installed in the DOD systems? I can understand how Manning might have had a high-level security clearance, but I cannot understand why he was allowed to download anything. And I have no idea how he could get access to State Department computer systems. The IT people at “State” must be rank amateurs.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    AD wrote:

    Bradley Manning deserves as much progressive support as Jullian Assange and maybe more as the US military may be torturing him while he gets no due process.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    karl dubhe wrote:

    [But I was in the Army many years ago and I don't understand how a PFC had access to all that classified stuff. ]

    I don’t think any reasonable person really thinks that he did have access to any of the files which were sent. Of course, give him a few more months of solitary torture and he’ll be claiming that he did. For the greater glory of lenin or allah, or whoever else the torturers want to damn for this act of exposure.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Jim Shea wrote:

    The US populace has, indeed, achieved true “groupthink” on the Wikileaks, Assange, Manning matter. Not surprising at all, since this is exactly what our masters want.

    Truly, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    queerplanet wrote:

    Obama, Biden, Lieberman.

    They kill the messenger, but the message still exists.

    Whatever will they do?

    They have trapped themselves with their own lies.

    And now the world watches.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    WTF wrote:

    The USA has a policy of torturing anyone, anywhere.

    Why is this a surprise to some?

    Don’t like living in Stalin’s regime, then change it! Hit the streets and don’t be gentle.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Bodryn wrote:

    That may not be so easy – you might want to read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s accounts of what happened to those who resisted the Soviet system. Or even exercised a little freedom of expression. I found them quite fascinating.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Dorothy wrote:

    Enemy combatant or not, Private Manning is now wholly owned by the Commander in Chief–a political hack who once promised change and who, immediately after his election, did.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    coco wrote:

    he’s being held as a ‘scapegoat’………..

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    corvo wrote:

    They will destroy him, just as they destroyed Jose Padilla.

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Briar wrote:

    Manning’s treatment reveals a fundamental truth about the USA – it is an Old Testament country that believes in vengeance, not justice, and has not one ounce of compassion in its attitudes towards those who are not “with it”. There are plenty of echoes of this regime of brutal oppression in the calls (including by feminists convinced Assange is guilty before he is even charged) for assassination, life imprisonment, homosexual rape etc littering the message boards of liberal European media organisations. And similarly, these conditions are normal in the ghastly American penal system. America is a savage country, not a civilised one.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    courtjester wrote:

    If anyone still doubts that we are now living in a full blown dictatorial police state, here’s the evidence along with the articles by Glenn Greenwald. And the tyrant/front man himself is unique in world history in having on his resume a fresh, new Nobel Peace Prize as he heads the most vicious warfare juggernaut in all of history. But the ruling elites who have promoted and conducted the destruction of the entire nation of Iraq with a million plus dead civilians and millions more internal or external exiles, will not blink at the destruction of Bradley Manning or Julian Assange for daring to challenge their imperial prerogatives and rule. And into this soul searing nightmare come the empty hearted G/Ls all so eager to “serve their country”, as they eagerly swallow the empire’s endless lies.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    karl dubhe wrote:

    Not full blown quite yet. You still can speak out, even if your voice is ignored. It’s when you can’t speak your mind in any forum, online or off, that we’ll be in a north american police state.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    And that, of course, is the fear if Assange is extradited and prosecuted for espionage — a serious attempt to clamp down on Internet freedom …

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    dcrimso wrote:

    You think anything said on this website makes a difference? Sorry folks, you’ve been had! We live in a full blown police state, and you so-called progressives think you know what’s happening. When somebody dies, then maybe something will change, but I wouldn’t count on it. You’re all too complicit in the system, to change anything. So just shut up!

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    limeywestlake wrote:

    We are often guilty of chewing the fat, ad nauseum, sure. But does that mean we should ‘shut up?’

    Absolutely not.

    But there are things you can do to break the machine. As I have said elsewhere – brew your own booze, grow our own food, set up a Transition Town initiative, tell your Grandma about Peak Oil, avoid the outlet malls, shop at thrift stores, download torrents, declare bankruptcy, buy books from independent bookstores, avoid the police in resolution issues, work under-the table if possible – or, better still, set up LETS schemes to trade goods and services.

    But never write letters to your congressman / Member of Parliament – it is a complete waste of time. They are not going to change. We need to change. Lead by example.

    And the trick is, to do some – or all of the above – in the knowledge that others may not, indeed, follow that lead.

    So, do I do all of that which I have suggested? No, I do not: it is a journey not a destination. I am working at extricating myself, one day at a time, as the AA’ers put it.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Ocean wrote:

    Bradley Manning in 2012 – if he’s old enough then he has my vote.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    conscience wrote:

    Trust we are all letting Obama know how we feel about this TORTURE of Manning — about our support for WikiLeaks and Assange —
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/
    Right now, I’m ashamed to be an American — and to have had anything to do with the election of this president and his administration — and that includes Biden who has been urging Israel to attack Iran for more than a year now saying “Israel would be justified in attacking Iran!” —
    Further, I can’t any longer look at my vote as supporting a party — any further voting for either the Democratic or Republican party would have to be viewed by me as a vote for criminal activity — organized crime.

  41. the talking dog says...

    Andy, re: your comment no. 36 and waning internet freedoms, note that even today, the Obama-appointed Federal Communications Commission is granting unfettered license to private telecoms to squelch ANY internet speech they don’t like for any or no reason as “net neutrality”– something that, like social security, no REPUBLICAN could actually kill– will die at the hands of “The Hopey Changey One.”

    It’s all of one big, happy giant corporate piece. [And, of course... you're either with us, or against us... etc., etc.]

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, TD — and that’s even before we’ve had a concerted manufactured outrage about the “terrorists” of the Internet …

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Also from Facebook:

    John H Kennedy wrote:

    After Obama’s “embrace” of Bush policies and abandonment of important campaign promises and his liberal and progressive base, I no longer even hope that he will do the right thing. Torturing Manning? What else would we expect from a US President that claims to have the power to order the assassination of any American anywhere, IF HE the Decider so chooses?

    If the Democratic Party stands for anything of value IT will find multiple PRIMARY CHALLENGERS for 2012.

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Parker wrote:

    The US government is getting noticeably more fascist by the minute, much like their lackeys, the British. Where is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in Manning’s case? Wikileaks is either a CIA conspiracy or the best thing to have happened to ‘diplomacy’ in ages (I’m not sure which). But the best thing is that the conditions of his remand are known via the internet.

  45. The power of the state of exception « The Menso Guide to War, Conflict and World Issues says...

    [...] let out of his cell for more than an hour a day and cannot exercise in it; nor does he have even a pillow or sheets. Psychological studies find prolonged solitary confinement highly destructive to the brain, with [...]

  46. Former Quantico Commander Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning, the Alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] Via WarIsACrime.org, here’s a powerful letter to General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, by retired Marine Corps captain David C. MacMichael, the former commander of Headquarters Company at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, where Pfc Bradley Manning, the young soldier accused of providing a trove of classified US government documents to WikiLeaks, is being held in conditions that amount to prolonged solitary confinement, as I explained in a recent article, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”? [...]

  47. The Bastille is Falling Again. « The Web Presence of Anna Johnstone says...

    [...] to enforce their will on the majority as the Military police have been holding another individual, Bradley Manning in solitary confinement without trial for several months. Transparency over our respective [...]

  48. Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks: New Film by the Guardian Tells His … » WeNewsIt says...

    [...] which sparked outrage in the US and around the world, and which I discussed in my articles, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?, Former Quantico Commander Objects to Treatment of Bradley Manning, the Alleged WikiLeaks [...]

  49. Bradley Manning Hearing Date Set, the Alleged Whistleblower Who Exposed Horrors Of America’s Wars And Guantanamo « freedetainees.org says...

    [...] details began to emerge about his treatment, as I discussed, in particular, in my articles, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?, Psychologists Protest the Torture of Bradley Manning to the Pentagon; Jeff Kaye Reports, and [...]

  50. UN Torture Rapporteur Accuses US Government of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment of Bradley Manning « Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle says...

    [...] treatment noticeably improved. I wrote about Manning’s ill-treatment at the time, in my articles, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?, Psychologists Protest the Torture of Bradley Manning to the Pentagon; Jeff Kaye Reports, and [...]

  51. Death Penalty for Bradley Manning, the Alleged WikiLeaks Whistleblower? | Dandelion Salad says...

    […] closing months of 2010. I discussed the concerns about Manning’s mental health in my articles, Is Bradley Manning Being Held as Some Sort of “Enemy Combatant”?, Psychologists Protest the Torture of Bradley Manning to the Pentagon; Jeff Kaye Reports […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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