Prisons

Bradley Manning Alone

|

Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker, has spent the last five months at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, following another two months' imprisonment in Kuwait. Glenn Greenwald has a disturbing report on the conditions of his confinement:

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)….Lt. [Brian] Villiard [a Quantico brig official] protested that the conditions are not "like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole," but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, isolated 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. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation….

It's one thing to impose such punitive, barbaric measures on convicts who have proven to be violent when around other prisoners; at the Supermax in Florence, inmates convicted of the most heinous crimes and who pose a threat to prison order and the safety of others are subjected to worse treatment than what Manning experiences. But it's another thing entirely to impose such conditions on individuals, like Manning, who have been convicted of nothing and have never demonstrated an iota of physical threat or disorder.

NEXT: On The Other Hand, There's Viagra, Penicillin, & LSD

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Seven months of punitive incarceration, and no action on arranging his court martial?

    Seems to me there are more than a few violations of the UCMJ here.

    -jcr

    1. “Seems to me there are more than a few violations of the UCMJ here.”

      Yeah, Manning is charged with 8 of them I think.

      As I said in the Morning Links thread, personally, I’m sorry that the young PFC is being held in isolation, but as a NCO I feel nothing for him. He betrayed the trust that was placed in him. That he is now suffering the easily foreseen and possibly justified consquences of that betrayal, which he naively thought he’d be protected from since he thought of himself as some sort of heroic whistleblower, elicits nothing but a shrug and a “tough it up cupcake” from me.

      1. Uh, dude, he could be the reincarnation of Benedict Arnold himself, yet he has rights. “Tough it up cupcake”? How about you get arrested for something and sit in solitary for seven months, and I’ll say “tough it up cupcake” before you even get a hearing, and we’ll see how much you like it.

        1. Exactly which of his rights are being violated?

          1. Could be a speedy trial issue, but I’m not sure the UCMJ deals with that the same way. And it seems to be one of those rights that has been diluted, anyway.

            1. And if he did get a quick trial, you would be bitching about a “Rush to judgment”.

              1. I would?

            2. I dimly recall, way back when I first started reading reason in 2006, there being an article about some guy in prison in CA who was held for almost two years before trial.

              IIRC that wasn’t considered “excessive” by the courts.

              1. Was he in solitary?

            3. Everyone was quiet (mainstream media, Wikileaks criers) when that Joe fella from Chicago (the would-be radiobomber) was held up in the same brig for something like two years without being charged and he was civilian, a real stupid civilian at that.

              If the government can do that to the citizenry and get away with it, this Manning dude is just getting started on his stint, he’s in US-MIL, they own his ass to begin with. Everybody with a brain knows that’s the score going in, especially going in on a Eyes Only stint. You think some dumbass caught tinkering with munitions gets arraigned next Monday? Nope. Same deal with Eyes Only shit.

              And this Pentagon Papers comparison – with Manning and Assange – isn’t accurate.

              NY Times is not under legal duress for publishing this shit, which is what Pentagon Papers was really about: Not freedom of info, freedom of speech, but freedom of the institutionalized press to do what they want without legal liability.

              Wikileaks, Manning, and Assange are not in that Institution. Which is why there is no vociferous defense of them coming from those quarters. They watch out for their own, nobody else.

          2. Uh…he is experiencing cruel and unusual punishment?

            Unlike many here (I am not including you if you don’t feel this way), I take no joy in someone’s suffering, even if they are a shithead. Except for Edward/Max; I do enjoy the suffering that is his life.

            1. Solitary confinement and a lack of amenities is cruel and unusual punishment?

              Heaven forbid our soldiers should ever have to risk becoming POW’s. I’m sure they’d faint dead away….

              1. Did you RTFA? There’s a lot in there about how solitary confinement is considered as bad, if not worse than physical torture. Most countries consider solitary for extended periods a form of torture. There were Viet Nam vets who said that the solitary they had in the North was often as bad as the other things done to them.

                1. Considered by whom? It’s used routinely in our prisons, so I assume at some point it’s passed muster with the courts.

                  1. Extended solitary is torture and is a standard technique for breaking someone down. Note that the article says they have to give him anti-depressants because they know what the effects are.

                    Reading some of the commenters here, I think they would be perfectly happy with treating him the way the Russians did Oleg Penkovsky.

                  2. It has, sadly, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t consider it cruel and unusual punishment.

                    I’ve consistently said that our treatment of SuperMax prisoners is worse than waterboarding (and certainly worse than ordinary Gitmo conditions.)

                    However, most people have rejected that. You do have a point that apparently President Obama and most Democrats find this sort of treatment to not be cruel and unusual, or else they wouldn’t advocate it as an alternative to being held at Gitmo.

                2. Americans like to think that we are above the use of torture, but the simple fact is that American law enforcement agencies have perfected the art of psychological torture, and use it frequently without regard to whether their victims are known to be innocent or not.

              2. Nazi POW camps did actually treat GIs better than this. Haven’t you ever seen Stalag 17, which I’m sure is exactly how POW camps were?

                1. I’m sorry, but I get all of my stalag facts from Hogan’s Heroes, and, where my stalag questions remain unanswered by that series, The Great Escape.

                  1. What about that stupid POW soccer movie?

              3. Yes, let’s treat our soldiers the same way they’d be treated by the enemy. That’s a wonderful idea.

            2. As an expert in the US prison system (due to my having watched every episode of Oz), I thought solitary was just for prisoners who posed a serious risk to — or had significant risk from — other inmates. Unless Manning went into the brig and started getting stabby, I don’t see the point of solitary… well, other than punishing him for perceived wrongs of which he hasn’t yet been convicted.

              1. It’s to keep him from being killed by the other prisoners. I suspect that in a millitary prision, treason is about as well recieved as a pedophile / child killer in civilian prision.

                1. And the sheets are fucking mad at him too! Sheets fucking hate treason.

                  1. The sheets could be due to suicide concerns (if they’re pumping him full of antidepressants it’s obviously something they expect). Of course, if he’s under 24/7 surveillance, I doubt he could set up a noose without being caught.

                2. That doesn’t explain the prohibition on exercise in the cell.

                3. And the not-exercising is to keep him from being killed by other prisoners?

                  They are punishing him without bothering with a trial. It’s that simple.

        2. Yup. He has rights. And he’s being detained IAW those rights. He probably should have done a little bit of research into how the military treated people charged with illegally releasing a couple gigabytes of classified information before he went ahead and sent that CD out to the world.

          And when I’m waiting 7+ months pre-trial for the same crime, go ahead and say “tough it up”. I’d expect nothing less.

          1. Shhh! Are you trying to traumatize our Sensitive Men, or what?

            1. Fuck off, you Nazi piece of shit.

              1. There’s lots of misery in the world and this jackass I should weep for? N’ah. I’ll pass thanks.

        3. “he could be the reincarnation of Benedict Arnold himself”

          You mean Benedict Arnold the British Hero?

          1. Watch it, buddy.

            I just heard (on a lecture series about the British Empire) that there was serious talk about some or all of Canada joining up in some way with the U.S. prior to that Civil War business, when your people decided we were batshit insane and stuck with the Commonwealth. Is that true?

      2. Do you have any evidence that he committed these alleged crimes besides the word of one insane individual who would do anything for fame and power?

        1. I’m pretty sure Manning bragged openly about having pulled this information from secure servers and sending it to Wikileaks.

          1. No he didn’t, at least not openly. He supposedly bragged about it to Adrian Lamo. All evidence against him comes from Lamo, and Lamo is both insane and would do anything to get himself on TV and in the papers. Therefore, the only evidence against Manning is from a totally unreliable source.

        2. If you’re ref’ing Julian A, try again – Assange has consistently stated he has no idea who his sources are, and WL is set up to make sure he doesn’t.

          Manning was busted by one of his buds that he supposedly bragged to about what he’d done.

          The 8 months with no trial yet thing is fucking stupid, and some fucking sub-par military lawyers need to get their asses lit up over this shit, for sure.

          Holding him in solitary, not too many croc tears here. It’s likely that if he was in general population or a group setting the other Einsteins incarcerated with him would probably fuck him up pretty bad, which is an unintended consequence that Greenwald doesn’t really mention.

      3. Betrayal. Yeah, let’s talk about betrayal. Like, the way the US Gov’t betrays it’s citizens on an hourly basis.

        I’m sorry that someone insulted the Military Brotherhood by breaking ranks, but as a trampled-citizen I feel nothing for you. You have betrayed the trust the citizens have placed in you. That you will eventually suffer at the point of easily forseen pitchforks and torches, which you naively think you will be protected from since you think of yourself as some sort of heroic patriot, elicits nothing but a shrug and a “eat lead” from me.

        1. Um, if your rights are being trampled on it’s not being done by someone in the military. That whole “posse comitatus” thing.

          We’re too busy using JDAMs on mud huts to worry about you.

          1. Sorry, i get the cops mixed up with the military these days. But You’re right, it will be citizens Vs. cops when the revolution comes. Until the cops get their asses kicked and y’all get called in to “restore order”.

            1. When the “revolution” comes, I give shit like you a nanosecond.

            2. The military has stricter rules of engagement and exercises more caution and restraint when dynamicaly entering a house.

              We wouldn’t use SWAT tactics to arrest a MJ user because the Risk Assessment for the action would be too damned high.

              1. LOL.

                Pre-mission planning session: Okay so the risk of smashing in the door is high, what can be done to mitigate that risk?

                How about we just, you know, wait for the guy to come out and then arrest him?

                OK-that reduces the risk to low. Think he’ll be suspicious that there is an LMTV parked outside his house all day?

                Dude, he’s a stoner. Just write “free cookies” on the hood.

                1. It would be very LOL-funny if it wasn’t completely true that, if SWAT were to use freaking CRM they’d shoot a lot fewer dogs.

                  I see the various videos and the after-action reporting on a lot of these police raids and ask myself “How the fuck did they get that through risk management?”

                  CRM might be a PITA and stupid when you’re trying to do a company run, but when you’re going to be entering a house while carrying locked & loaded weapons where there might be innocent people in harm’s way it is indespensible.

                  It is almost depressing that the Army places more value on the lives of the civilians it interacts with than most metro police departments do.

          2. I am being forced to pay your salary, your pension and for all the toys you get to play with. So yeah, I am being trampled.

          3. Posse Comitatus has been repealed. U.S. military is now free to tyrannize the populace.

      4. Say there, Sarge: do you remember taking an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution? You know, the document that guarantees the right to a speedy trial, and prohibits cruel and unusual punishments?

        The problem here is that the accused (take note of that term, it’s not the same as convicted), is being punished in his pre-trial confinement.

        Now, I’m sure you’re just as tough as all get-out, and I’m sure you impress the hell out of the recruits you kick around, but if you don’t stand for the rule of law, then you’re no better than the goons who wear Castro or Kim’s uniform.

        -jcr

        1. Ah yeah, I’m totally a fascist because I have no sympathy for a guy who admitted to committing a very serious breach in security being detained IAW the regulations which govern such detention.

          And given John’s (the other commenter) experience as an Army lawyer and his observations I’m willing to bet that the PFC and his own legal team are partially responsible for the duration of his time in pre-trial confinement.

          I’ll have to beg your forgiveness for my not being willing to completely believe the reporting of PFC Manning’s detention as reported by Glen Greenwald. He’s already had to publish at least one correction to his reporting which undercut his contention that the PFC was being held in some sort of sensation-deprivation chamber.

          1. Yeah, and that correction was:

            I was contacted by Lt. Villiard, who claims there is one factual inaccuracy in what I wrote: specifically, he claims that Manning is not restricted from accessing news or current events during the proscribed time he is permitted to watch television. That is squarely inconsistent with reports from those with first-hand knowledge of Manning’s detention, but it’s a fairly minor dispute in the scheme of things.

            Which defeats Greenwald’s entire point.

            Oh wait, no it doesn’t.

          2. Nobody asked you to sympathize with the accused. The issue at hand is that he’s being punished before he’s been tried, let alone convicted.

            That kind of shit is how a free country squanders its moral position. Am I going too fast for you?

            -jcr

      5. Word.

  2. But it’s another thing entirely to impose such conditions on individuals, like Manning, who have been convicted of nothing and have never demonstrated an iota of physical threat or disorder.

    Glenn, in this country one is guilty and summarily convicted for doing something Bill O’Reilly and Diana Feinstein do not like.

  3. Where’s his fucking “speedy trial” as guaranteed by the Constitution? Shit, where is his lawyer?

    1. They are saving him for a show trial. Obama will shore up his foreign policy cred by slowly strangling Manning at his next Presidential Triumph.

      1. How much for box seats?

    2. I don’t think there is a definition of “speedy trial” in the MCM. He has to be charged within 120 days of being apprehended/detained (which he was).

    3. The Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to the relationship between the military and a soldier, obviously. A superior can shoot a soldier on the spot for desertion or pusilanimous conduct in the face of the enemy.

      1. Even though the constitution makes no distinction between soldier and citizen, or soldier and person for that matter.

        1. yea, they didn’t plan on the permanent warfare state. what were they thinking?

  4. Here’s something else from the article I didn’t know:

    Manning described the incident which first made him seriously question the U.S. Government: when he was instructed to work on the case of Iraqi “insurgents” who had been detained for distributing so-called “insurgent” literature which, when Manning had it translated, turned out to be nothing more than “a scholarly critique against PM Maliki”:

    i had an interpreter read it for me? and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled “Where did the money go?” and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet? i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on? he didn’t want to hear any of it? he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees?

    1. Oh man, and I thought he was just in a big old gay snit and decided to punish the US government and his boyfriend in one go.

      I simply must stop listening to Ann Coulter.

    2. Spreading freedom, alright.

    3. So he had a REASON for it. I’m sure the military will let him go now.

  5. MCM Rules 304 and 305 cover pretrial restraint and confinement. Captain Sockpuppet as usual, couldn’t bother to do some basic research, and thus, you have a knee jerk weepfest instead of actual analysis.

    1. The conditions are the conditions.

      It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other if you can find a section of code that says they’re permissible.

  6. It might be more accurate to describe him as “the self-confessed WikiLeaks leaker.”

  7. Solitary confinement now qualifies as torture? Does that mean the death penalty is more humane?

    From my time in the military I quickly learned (after a minor brawl at a base bar) that the brig is nothing like jail. Bread and water rations are still utilized for example.

    On the other side, if I were going to jail/prison, I would PREFER solitary. Being locked up doesn’t scare me as much as those I would be locked up with…

    1. Actually, excessive solitary confinement has been recognized as cruel and inhuman treatment for some time.

      1. Not that that stops the US from practicing it at ADX Florence.

    2. Re: FleeingCali,

      Solitary confinement now qualifies as torture?

      Right on! It’s not like he hasn’t been formally found guilty of a crime or not received a fair trial! I mean, c’mon!

      Uh… wait…

    3. Does that mean the death penalty is more humane?

      A certain weird variety of anti-death penalty politician likes to actually brag that SuperMax treatment is worse than the death penalty, trying act “tougher on crime” because they support that sort of treatment instead of the easier punishment.

  8. Treason! Summary execution!

    Bloody tuffgaiz!

    Yay!

    1. TUFF GAIZZZZZZZZZZZ, TO THE BATTLE!!!

      I once spent a whole semester in my parent’s basement. It wasn’t so bad.

      MOOO-OOOOMMMMMM! CHEEZBORGER ME! NOW!!

  9. “Bradley Manning Alone”

    Tough. Shit.

    1. And here come all the bloodthirsty, as P Brooks stated, “tuff gaiz” who are proponents of cruel and unusual punishment for someone who hasn’t even had a trial. Wow, you guys are such defenders of liberty and such big men! It’s delicious to watch any supposed principles you might have go straight the fuck out the window the instant you don’t like someone. But we can’t call you partisans or assholes; that makes us partisan assholes, or whatever other shit you’re going to make up today.

        1. Bet you feel dirty now, don’t you Epi?

      1. I guess my definition of ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment is a bit different than yours….

        I’ve lived in conditions nearly as bad as his (and worse in some ways) when I DIDN’T do anything wrong.

        Should he get an xBox in his cell? Pizza delivery?

        1. How about a fucking trial? That would do for starters.

          1. He’s getting one. Has his defense team complained that the government wasn’t providing the trial fast enough? He is expected to have a preliminary hearing shortly and a court martial spring of next year.

            1. How about allowing him to exercise? Would that be OK?

              1. He is allowed out for an hour a day. I’ll agree that the length of time it’s taken for the lawyer-beauracrats to get their shit into one sock and bring this to trial is egregious – but re-iterate the point that it may be a good thing that Manning is separated from general population. Someone bright enough to be busted for shoplifting from the BX or some stupid shit is likely to be idiotically self righteous enough to beat the living shit out of Manning given half a chance.

            2. Yes he’s getting a trial…eventually. The problem is, he’s entitled to a speedy one–and what his lawyers are or are not doing isn’t any of my concern.

              He’s being punished for a crime he’s only been accused of, not convicted of.

              There’s supposed to be a presumption of innocence in the US…

              1. When they put the noose around his neck, he’ll be begging like the little bitch that he is to be taken back to his cell.

              2. There’s supposed to be a presumption of innocence in the US…

                Like most commenters here, you’re talking about the rights one has in the civilian court system in the US. The military courts are a different animal entirely.

                You give up a lot of rights when you sign on the dotted line to enlist.

                1. Soldiers also agree to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC – which, frankly, Bradley Manning appears to have done decidedly better than his superiors.

        2. SuperMax conditions have been conclusively proven to drive men insane.

          Their continued use is justified by the fact that some prisoners cannot be physically controlled without them, and the risk to staff is just too great to treat the prisoners in question any other way.

          That factor is completely absent here, as far as we know.

          So why is it being done? What other reason is there, other than because it’s a convenient mechanism to mistreat this particular prisoner? If there’s a reason for it, the brass could say so.

          1. In reality, there are a lot of people in SuperMax at ADX Florence that aren’t actually a risk, but simply because they committed egregious crimes and we want to punish them as much as possible. It definitely applies to spies held there.

            1. ^^THIS^^

              I MISS YOU LACI!!!

          2. Often times, solitary for spies/leakers is justified by claiming that they might pass more secrets to other prisoners if allowed to interact with them. That was used by our “friends” in the OnlyDemocracyInTheMiddleEast? to justify the treatment of Mordechai Vanunu, at least.

      2. Oh, suck my dick you pretentious, holier-than-thou, pontificating, Internet poseur assmaggot.

        1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      3. He should have a trial and I’m sure he will, but having agreed to service and violated that agreement the rules are different than if he were a non-serving citizen. There is a distinction.

        He deserves better treatment, but in the same breath he knew what he was doing the whole time and he knew the potential repercussions.

        1. hmm, you sound like a politician and a bureaucrat all at once – talking out of both sides of your mouth and not caring about anything other than the rules exactly as written.

          1. Nice ad hom. I’d say I’m sorry that you are incapable of understanding how entering into a contract may change the way you are treated. But I’m not. He signed an agreement and took an oath, he knew what would happen if he violated that oath. He knew some situations he would be put in would be life threatening, dangerous, and may have negative effects on his person. He knew when he violated that oath and contract that he would be subject to some pretty shitty conditions.

            Now with all that said I’ll post my disclaimer since you seem to fall in the group that requires a disclaimer.

            (qualifier for the stupid people: this of course doesn’t condone torture so leave your straw man in the barn)

            Fuckin’ moron. I can ad hom too, just a little more blunt about it.

            1. That was not an ad hom argument. It was a comment on what you said: “He deserves better treatment, but…”

              Check yourself next time you think about calling somebody else stupid.

              1. You called me a politician and described a politician in a negative tone in an attempt to insult my person. Then implied I only cared about the written rule in a false attempt to portray me as unthinking.

                Not only that you completely missed the point. You couldn’t even address the point in your response, and then go on to offer me some sort of early 1980s rap style advice about checking myself.

                Thanks for the laugh and bite me.

                Oh and since we are following your definition of ad hom is my saying you “seem” like on of those people really an ad hom or accusation in your book? LOL

                1. Smiles to you!

                  1. The mentally handicapped always smile at everyone. It’s one of the joys of not knowing what is going on around you.

                    1. You would assume I intend to bring you down. You did that all on your own. But it’s okay. Society often gives those with a perceived lesser means a little slack.

              2. (This just got funnier because someone further downpage linked to a definition of ad hominem to point out an actual use of an ad hominem argument.)

            2. Funny. Congresscritters make careers out of violating their Oaths, yet they get rewarded for it.

          2. And you sound like a bleeding-heart apologist for people who sign a contract and then whine when they don’t like the consequences.

            1. I offered no defense of anyone or anything. I have no idea what you refer to.

      4. “Wow, you guys are such defenders of liberty …”

        Actually, it’s that shitbag Manning who has been making claims on my liberty, as I am required, through the coercive collection on my tax dollars, to support his worthless ass while he’s incarcerated.

        I say we sentence him to the same fate as the Afghans, who were providing intelligence to NATO forces and whose identity he leaked and the NATO soldiers who must now engage the enemy without that intelligence.

        Only a moral retard would support this scumbag.

        1. You want him to be left alone and not harmed in any way? You don’t even want him to be threatened?

          That’s what has happened to the Afghans whose names came out in the Afghan War Logs.

          The Pentagon’s internal study (leaked to the AP) was unable to find a single Afghan civilian harmed in any way as a result of those leaks. In fact, it was determined than none of the people helping us even required extra protection. (You can be damned sure by the way that if someone were actually hurt or killed as a result our government would be sure that information was “leaked” to their friends in the media, rather than simply saying that WikiLeaks could have blood on its hands or that innocent people might be hurt).

        2. Don’t forget, he’s still getting paid, too.

        3. I could care less about the Afghans or Iraqis who were giving us intelligence. They are traitors and Quislings. A bullet in the back of their heads from their country men would be just punishment.

          1. Seriously?!?

            People who decide that maybe they want to side with someone other than violent, backwards theocrats are “traitors and Quislings” who deserve a bullet in the back of the head?

    2. Re: Clancy,

      Tough. Shit.

      “I was looking for blood
      in all the wrong places!
      Looking for blood
      in too many faces!
      Searching his eyes
      looking for traces,
      hoping to find
      a traitor and a victim!”

    3. Pre-trial incarceration is not supposed to be a form of punishment, asshole. He hasn’t been convicted of a crime, remember?

      The only reason he’s in jail is to make sure he doesn’t flee or kill himself. Why is 23-hour-a-day solitary necessary to achieve those goals?

  10. Cue world’s smallest violin.

  11. Solitary confinement is torture. Do some research. Better yet, try sitting in a small room for 23 hours a day for a few months and see how you like it — or if you can even retain your sanity.

    BRADLEY MANNING HAS NOT BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME. HE IS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND A POLITICAL PRISONER. Geez, I thought we looked down on all those evil undemocratic countries for doing this kind of thing. WAKE UP, PEOPLE! THIS IS A VIOLATION OF OUR MOST BASIC DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES! Has the whole country gone insane?

    1. Political prisoner? Wow. I thought he was a soldier that pretty obviously (and admittedly) betrayed his country.

      Torture sure has been defined down lately.

      1. Re: FleeingCali,

        Political prisoner? Wow. I thought he was a soldier that pretty obviously (and admittedly) betrayed his country.

        It’s not like he sold secrets to the Chinese, FC. That would be treason. He simply gave them to a guy that published them in the open for all to see. That’s whistleblowing. It is NOT the same thing as committing treason.

        Torture sure has been defined down lately.

        It’s not like they are making him watch Family Ties, right?

        Actually, torture is still torture, it hasn’t been defined down – it is just that torturers are more squeamish now, that’s all.

        1. It’s not like he sold secrets to the Chinese, FC. That would be treason. He simply gave them to a guy

          So being guilty of espionage depends on the price you do or don’t charge for the secrets you steal?

          1. Indeed. And it’s espionage (and bad) if you give secrets to an enemy agent, but whistleblowing (and not bad) if you give them to everyone, including enemy agents?

            Are there other crimes that work like that? E.g. assault one person = crime, assault everyone = not crime?

            1. One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.”

            2. One death is a tragedy. A million deaths are a statistic.

              1. Jinx Coke!

            3. The analogy I was thinking of was this:

              (Depending on the state you’re in, and its laws…) If you take pictures of someone that prove or strongly suggest they are having an affair (e.g., entering a motel room with a person of their favored sex), and you then demand money from them for the pictures, that is blackmail. If you simply hand the pictures over to their spouse for no remuneration, you haven’t committed a crime.

              1. What if you take pictures of them having sex. Is that not illegal?

            4. And it’s espionage (and bad) if you give secrets to an enemy agent, but whistleblowing (and not bad) if you give them to everyone, including enemy agents?

              The latter case includes situations where attempts to cover up state crimes and other abuses of power are exposed to the public. Since that is absolutely necessary to a functioning democracy, that kind of disclosure is sometimes protected.

              The former case cannot possibly include those situations, so it is never protected.

              The assault analogy you offer is flawed on many levels, starting with the fact that disclosing a secret to someone does not harm them, as assaulting someone does.

            5. Also, if secrets are published, at least the US govt knows that the secrets are known to the enemy and can adjust military plans and such. If secrets are disclosed in private to the enemy, the US govt may not be aware that the secret has been compromised and walk into a trap.

          2. Re: J_L_B,

            So being guilty of espionage depends on the price you do or don’t charge for the secrets you steal?

            Of course. A person that steals “secrets” (by the way, copying words is only ‘stealing’ in the mind of the IP-lovin, statist fuck) on the behest of a true enemy nation IS engaging in espionage. A true enemy nation is the one to whom Congress declared war, following the letter the Constitution. No declaration of war, no enemy. But I digress…

            Instead, some guy that dumps miscelaneous files on an iPod to have them published for all to see is no more a spy than a paparazzo.

            1. Just to be clear: you can be convicted for engaging in espionage for countries who are nominally our allies. (See Pollard, Johnathan.)

            2. A true enemy nation is the one to whom Congress declared war, following the letter the Constitution. No declaration of war, no enemy.

              I don’t see anything like this definition of “enemy” stated in the Constitution. A Constitutional literalist claiming his interpretation is “the letter” of the Constitution is even more despicable in my eyes than a living Constitution type.

        2. Bullshit, OM. He released the information knowing that it would get out worldwide – including to enemies of the US. (You don’t have to be a tough guy to acknowledge that this country has enemies, by the way.) If that information aids those enemies in any way, he has committed treason. It’s right there in the Constitution. Check it out. All that should remain is to meet the evidentiary requirements.

          1. Re: Xenocles,

            He released the information knowing that it would get out worldwide – including to enemies of the US.

            That would make war journalists traitors as well, since their reports are ALSO seen by “our enemies.”

            If that information aids those enemies in any way, he has committed treason. It’s right there in the Constitution.

            It also says only Congress can declare wars, which would define who is the enemy. Have any of these wars been declared?

            No?

            Didn’t think so.

            1. You’re claiming that the USSR was not an enemy of the US during the Cold War, I take it.

            2. I don’t like the arrangement, but Congress delegated part of its war authorization power to the President some time ago. At any rate, we are fighting, and that fight has at least some defined enemies. Finally, as Tulpa said, you don’t have to be actively at war to have real enemies.

              War journalists have their reports tightly screened by the military, so it’s pretty stupid to try and make a case for treason against them.

          2. Not a lawyer here, but I would think there has to be a specific enemy who is provided specific aid and/or specific comfort directly by the overt act that is claimed to be treason. It can’t just be a grab bag of THEY KNOWS OUR SECRETS!!!1!!!

            1. I understand the first round of leaks had the names of Afghans who were helping us. Think the Taliban, whom we are fighting, might like to know those names?

    2. 1) Your capslock/shift key is stuck
      2) He’s a member of the military, he is military prisoner, he violated his code for his political reasons. That doesn’t make him a political prisoner.
      3) You hyperbole is annoying.

    3. Yes, the whole country has gone insane.

      Americans don’t want to believe in their own cruelty, so they self-righteously oppose physical torture while perfecting psychological torture. Americans are – on the whole – unfeeling and vindictive, more like animals than men. Appeals to rationality or humanity are always rejected with great laughter.

      That’s been my experience, at least.

  12. Making him crazy pre trial helps the Feds’ narrative that only a crazy person objects to Gubmint shenanigans.

  13. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people that break contracts and agreements. He knew what he was getting into. He’s a member of the US military, he voluntarily gave authority to the government with certain respects. He signed on the line and agreed to the restrictions of his rights. Then blatantly violated that contract.

    That said. There is no need to be cruel. He did what he did and he’s still human. There are other punitive means that do not destroy the person.

    1. This.

      The question isn’t just “Is Bradley Manning a criminal and possibly a traitor?” it is also “What kind of people are we?”.

      Confinement? Yeah, of course.

      Solitary? Don’t know, is he dangerous or in danger?

      The no exercise or sheets bit? Uh…why? Is this some kind of policy for all prisoners in solitary?

    2. In the civilian court system we don’t allow contracts with unconscionable penalties to be enforced. For instance, the bank giving you a loan can’t enforce a clause that requires cutting your arms and legs off if you miss a payment.

      I understand that the realities of military operations require harsher enforcement of rules, but in this case the harshness seems totally unnecessary. The law is clear that the military is allowed to do this, but I don’t necessarily think it should.

      1. civilian

        and I agree.

      2. But the military is allowed to shoot you for desertion right? Seems like that contract is full of “unconscionable penalties”

  14. Leave Bradley Manning Alone! In a prison cell! For 23 hours a day!

  15. One thing that’s at issue here is that if he worked for a corporation, he’d have a whistleblower argument. How would that work for someone in the government or military? There has to be some kind of line where disclosing even top secret information is protected.

    For instance, say Obama ordered the military to round up some people he didn’t like in secret camps in Alaska–no crime, trial, nothing–where these people would be encouraged to die. That’s an extreme instance, but revealing that is almost a duty–it certainly shouldn’t be a crime. In most cases, revealing highly classified information that isn’t otherwise available publicly should be actionable (in regards to government personnel, not third-party publishers). When is that?

    Could be some law on this–don’t really know.

    1. Treason shmeason, he’s embarassed Obama, Hillary and the Pentagon. He’s going to pay.

    2. The proper way to do such a “whistle-blowing” in the military would be to contact the Inspector General or some other military element outside the chain of command (Chaplain or JAG for instance). If you’re of the belief that your fellow military members are so irredeemably corrupt that they cannot be relied upon to act honestly on what you have found, then contact an elected representative (I have no doubt that, had there been revelations of truly horrible crimes on SIPR, Bernie Sanders or Ron Paul would be more than happy to ruin some commanders’ days).

      If PFC Manning had written “Dear Anti-Military Intervetion Senator, I have come into possession of secret military documents which show how they are purposely targetting orphans and puppies, and then systemically covering it up.”

      If he had done that PFC Manning is probably safe and sound at home pending giving his testimony to some House committee instead of spending most of his day in a cell.

      1. That would certainly be the safest way to do it. In the end, it’s still unauthorized dissemination of classified information.

        1. True, but I’m willing to bet that there is a HUGE world of difference between how his case would be handled if it was disseminated to a congressional oversight committee and how it is being handled since he sent it to a document-dumping site.

          1. Agreed. And there’s always the political pressure that could come later to pardon someone who did it that way.

            1. Exactly.

              Really, whoever gave him the idea of dumping the documents to WL gave him some horrifically bad advice. Just about any other avenue he could have taken would have not gone as badly for him (including giving it to some MSM reporter).

              He chose to use a venue which guaranteed he’d tick off most any person in a position of authority who’d otherwise be willing to support him.

  16. Only Important Government Officials get to act without consequences. Peons like Manning should know better.

    1. If Manning had stuffed his socks and underpants with documents ala Sandy Berger, he’d be under house arrest.

      1. That’s a valid point. Berger got off without imprisonment, yet what he did may have been worse.

        1. IMO the injustice of the difference between the treatment of Sandy Berger and PFC Manning isn’t that Berger was let off lightly.

  17. I’ve lived in conditions nearly as bad as his (and worse in some ways) when I DIDN’T do anything wrong.

    Can we file this with “Waterboardins is just like FratPrankz!!”?

    1. Like you were never tied up and had a girl’s panties waved in your face.

  18. What other reason is there, other than because it’s a convenient mechanism to mistreat this particular prisoner? If there’s a reason for it, the brass could say so.

    State

    Secrets.

  19. People are missing the fundamental difference between civil servant and citizen and member of the military. The two should not be compared one to one.

    (qualifier for the stupid people: this of course doesn’t condone torture so leave your straw man in the barn)

    1. I agree with you in part. But sympathy for Manning isn’t really the important issue here, is it?

      In essence, he’s being punished for a crime he hasn’t been convicted of. That’s something that should concern everyone–people who sympathize with Manning and those that are calling for his head.

      1. Welcome to UCMJ. The rules change when you sign on the line. You are also assuming it is punishment, while I agree with you that it is, it’s still an assumption.

        1. It’s not precisely an assumption. It’s an inference arrived at from lateral thinking. Semantics aside, your point is well taken.

        2. It’s not precisely an assumption. It’s an inference arrived at from lateral thinking. Semantics aside, your point is well taken.

          1. I only hit the post button once. My apologies for the double post.

            1. I hate when it does that!! Someone needs to go waterboard one of the squirrels!!!

              Assumption or inference still dealing with one source that is third party at least. Like I said if it’s true for the reason of punishment I disagree with the treatment.

  20. Remember the two gay guys who blew up the USS Iowa? Then after smearing them the Navy finally had to admit that it made it all up to cover for the fact that the crumby boat was too old to be in service after 50 years?

    Are we gonna hear in a few years that Manning was just a convenient scapegoat to cover for the fact that our secret data is easier to steal than candy bars at the Quicky Mart?

  21. A couple of things,

    1. He has been charged

    2. Once he is charged the speedy trial clock starts ticking. It is only 120 days. This means the delay has been at the request of the defense not the government. He could have demanded a speedy trial months ago and there wouldn’t have been a lot the government could have done about it.

    3. There is such a thing as unlawful pre-trial punishment. As a attorney in the Army I saw a lot of it; guys being locked in their rooms, put in horrible county jails with convicted offenders, the whole lot. If your client is being subjected to it, you can go before the judge and have the judge put a stop to it. Or, if your client is being subjected to it, you can say nothing and wait until trial and ambush the government with it and get all sorts of relief for your client including things like four or five days pre-trial confinement credit for your client. My experience was always that judges were brutal on the government for unlawful pre-trial punishment.

    Looking at the situation, one of two things is happening here. One, the Greenwald is lying or exaggerating and the situation is not as bad as it seems. Since Greenwald is one of the most dishonest people on earth, that is certainly a possibility. The guy is a gay accused traitor. They can’t exactly put him out in the general population. Lots of people in this country are stuck in solitary because it is too dangerous to put them in the general population. If that is the only option available to keep the guy from being killed or harmed, solitary is not going to be unlawful. Would you guys prefer that they put him out with the other pre-trail detainees and a bunch of him beat the shit out of him or kill him?

    Second, he might really be the subject of unlawful pre-trial punishment and is lawyer is waiting to ambush the government with it at trial, in which case he is enduring this as a tactical decision. Yeah, the government is fucking up, but he is not quite the victim Greenwald is making him out to be.

    The problem with this article is that Greenwald is with this like everything else he writes about so willfully ignorant about the military justice system, he doesn’t know what questions to ask to even figure out what is going on.

    Maybe Reason should take someone smarter than Greenwald and send them down to talk to Mannning’s attorney and someone a little higher up than some LT at the diciplinary barracks and find out what is going on. Finding someone smarter and more honest than Greenwald should be pretty easy. I hear Max and Chad are available.

    1. It occurred to me that the not-tried-yet issue could be the result of defense action. It often is.

      1. It has to be. The Speedy Trial clock is 120 days. If you go over that the charges get dismissed and you have to start all over if you are lucky. Every military prosecutor has nightmares about having a case dismissed because of a speedy trial motion.

        The delay is because of defense requests. And he could go to a military judge about the conditions of his confinement. If it really was as egregious as Greenwald makes it out to be, every military judge I have ever seen would slam the government, especially on a really high profile case like this.

    2. I am not going to read an entire Greenwald article because it will make me physically ill, but can someone tell me if Greenwald addresses any of these points that John is pointing out?

      Is his defense team DEMANDING a speedy trial and being refused? Or are they letting the government punish him in the pre-trial phase so that the defense can hammer the government for unjustified punishment?

      I would imagine Greenwald doesn’t address either, but I can’t stand reading that condescending sockpuppet so maybe someone can tell me.

      1. He doesn’t even think of those issues because he is stupid. When reporters write about something you know about, you then realize how ignorant they really are. That is one of the main reasons I hate Greenwald so much. He writes about things I know something about. And it is obvious that he doesn’t even know the right questions to ask much less how to answer them. But he still has their air of condescending smugness about everything he writes no matter how misinformed.

        1. I felt the exact same way every time I read a story about recruiting from 2005 on.

        2. “When reporters write about something you know about, you then realize how ignorant they really are.”

          So often. In my experience guys who do know a lot about a subject will sometimes feed a reporter who clearly knows nothing a line of bull just to see if the journo will publish it without doing any basic research. I’ve seen that happen a few times as well.

          Greenwald’s in the outrage business, though, and this serves his purposes well enough for him not to care what the truth of the matter actually is.

    3. The guy is a gay accused traitor

      Oh, well in that case…

  22. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation….

    It’s like the villains who can bring you back to life, just to they can kill you again.

    How exactly is it legal to drive someone insane, and then wipe out the rest of their mind with drugs?

    1. He joined the military, so now they’re allowed to draw and quarter him if they want. Or something. Don’t u libs understand that the law is the law!!! lololol !!!

  23. A lot of you seem to be pissed because everybody isn’t automatically taking the government’s side on this.

    It’s fair to say that we have to be careful about forming judgements based on Greenwald’s article (I thought John’s response was especially good), but nobody should be surprised that there is vast distrust of the government on these matters.

    If you abuse people and try to cover it up with lies, the plain fact is you get a reputation for doing that. Maybe our glorious leaders need to think about that when they’re “getting tough”, and their cheerleaders need to think about it when they cheer for it or minimize it. The shit you do comes back to you sooner or later. When the day comes that you turn around and the people aren’t behind you anymore, I hope you won’t be stupid enough to be shocked.

    1. Dude, it’s the internets. If we can’t come to hasty conclusions and spout off ill-informed opinions here, where can we do it?

  24. Don’t worry. One day he’ll learn to love Big Brother.

  25. I think Greenwald is off base. As mentioned by many people already, Manning took a military oath. His actions were certainly traitorous, and he could have followed another protocol.

    Still, I think reasonable people might agree that the conditions of his confinement are excessive. Whatever his crime, he’ll be sentenced for it at some point in time, in which case he’ll either be executed or rot in jail for a very long time. He is likely to forfeit any semblance of a real life. We don’t have to give him cable tv and three hours of recreation, or allow him to do an exclusive sit down with 60 Minutes, but the least we can do is provide him with a blanket and a pillow.

    1. “His actions were traitorous…”

      So he’s been convicted already? You’ve seen the evidence? I was under the impression his trial hadn’t started.

  26. Another possibility occurs to me:

    Manning may have some huge secret, one on a level with the Death Star Plans, that is so sensitive the Military doesn’t want him communicating with anyone.
    Sure, said hypothetical secret may already be out there on hard drives but it is (so far) lost in the white noise of the thousands of other secrets. Just a theory.

    1. Manning doesn’t strike me as the type to have some secret fail-safe blackmail file. It is probably just justice moving at the speed of government as usual.

  27. And people try to argue that the military doesn’t have a dehumanizing effect on it’s members.

    1. The Few. The Proud. The Mal-adjusted and Traumatized.

  28. When will people realize that you can despise someone and still recognize their rights at the same time?

    For those of you who believe Manning is a traitor, and guilty – what do you have to go on, other than the word of the benevolent feds and Adrian Lamo (the mental patient)? And even if he is, does that justify mentally degrading and torturous treatment BEFORE HIS TRIAL?!?!? WE CONVICT PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY BEFORE WE PUNISH THEM!!

    Charles Manson was a monster. Doesn’t mean he should have been tortured before being convicted of anything.

    BTW _ Where is the ACLU on this?

    1. TW _ Where is the ACLU on this?

      Maybe wisely keeping their mouths shut because the know they have no case?

      1. If I’m going to raise my voice in objection over the military I’m saving it for drone attacks that kill innocents. Manning can ride someone’s cross but not mine.

        1. Umm…you are aware of the types of things he allegedly helped disclose, the Apache helicopter attack, etc?

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…..raq-attack

          1. Quiet down now, or else I’m going to have to start getting outraged.

  29. Source = Glenn “Sock Puppet” Greenwald.

    ‘Nuff said.

  30. I’m donating $100 to his legal defense fund:

    https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=37428

    Fuck you statist cocksuckers.

  31. And, for all you Greenwald haters out there; let me know when chest thumping American Exceptionalists like Bill Kristol, or Charles Krauthammer, or the Wall Street Journal editorial board speak up in defense of anybody’s rights or freedom.

    1. Exactly. Who cares if Greenwald allegedly used a “sock puppet”? That doesn’t detract from his writing

  32. There’s a simpler analysis here. I can’t speak for what the military’s paperwork looks like, but I am confident that the secrecy agreements are fairly standard. The USG takes great pains to have people sign them when they receive a clearance and again when they receive an “access” to certain categories of special information.

    Whether he’s a traitor or not, is almost immaterial, as it’s pretty obvious that he breached his secrecy agreement, a contract.

    People who support his disclosure who purport to believe in “life by contract” should review their premises to see if they’re thinking consistently. Just a suggestion.

  33. REVEREND LOVEJOY: Once something has been approved by the government, it’s no longer immoral!

  34. One can argue the merits or lack thereof of the nature of the pre-trial confinement, but the other argument that he’s not getting a speedy enough trial:

    It was 11 months between Maj Hassan’s Art 32 hearing (which was just the preliminary one, the court martial still hasn’t happened) and the shootings he’s accused of. It was two years between incident and verdict for Hasan Akbar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasan_Akbar_case

    So it’s not unprecedented and likely quite common. And not something I personally am too worked up about.

  35. alone is a terrible feeling TYF220GDH

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.