Bradley Manning: The Forgotten Person in the Wikileaks Affair

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Across the Pond: This week, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was released on bail from a London prison. Assange will remain under “mansion arrest” at the 600-acre estate of Vaughan Smith, a London restaurateur and former war correspondent. He plans to fight extradition to Sweden where he would face sex crimes allegations.

Back Here at Home: Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U. S. Army intelligence specialist who has been accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, has been held in solitary confinement at the marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, for five months. Before being transferred to Quantico, Manning was held in a military jail in Kuwait for two months. Manning will face a court martial on charges that he provided Wikileaks with classified information in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Bradley Manning is being kept under constant surveillance and is “under a regimen of authority-administered anti-depressant drugs.” He is reportedly not permitted to have a pillow or sheets—and not permitted to exercise. He is allowed out of his cell for just one hour a day.

According to MSNBC, Manning is being held under harsher conditions than “Bryan Minkyu Martin, the naval intelligence specialist who allegedly tried to sell military secrets to an undercover FBI agent.” Minkyu, who is awaiting trial, is not being held in solitary confinement.

From Glenn Greenwald: “Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture.”

 All this harsh treatment—and Manning hasn’t even been convicted of the crime for which he has been charged.

 For further reading on a related topic: DOJ Says Pentagon Isn’t Properly Protecting Whistleblowers (Turley Blawg)


The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention by Glenn Greenwald (Salon)

Forgetting Bradley Manning by Laura Flanders (The Notion: The Nation’s Group Blog)

Bradley Manning’s Personal Hell (MSNBC)

 Boston Globe

Photo of Bradley Manning courtesy of the Bradley Manning Support Network

136 thoughts on “Bradley Manning: The Forgotten Person in the Wikileaks Affair

  1. The vote on the repeal of DADT is on c-span now. Since the topic is about the military, I thought it might be okay to bring it up. I hope McCain is not able to defeat it but he certainly is trying.

  2. What FFLEO said.

    Also we should look to see if the Fascist Government of the United States uses this incident as a rationale for imposing restrictions on the free press – which is what they want to do anyway. They can’t have knowledge of their crimes being made public. Not if they want to avoid prison or getting that Marie Antoinette haircut.

    ‘The consequences of (Assange’s [and Manning’s]) behavior for the American press could be stark and painful’

  3. …It’s difficult to make the jump from self-preservation to pursue truth wherever it might take you.

    My heart goes out to this guy.

  4. I don’t know much about the Wikileaks story, partly due to other distractions, but mostly because in hearing its’ detractors and knowing who they were, I was convinced that Wikileaks was on the side of angels, so the minute details didn’t hold my interest. This whole story including Assange’s ridiculous arrest and Mr. Manning’s illegal incarceration is perhaps the most important of recent memory.

    We have a failed, corporatist dominated press that serve as mere propaganda outlets for the loose knit oligarchy that rules us. Were it not made up of such selfish sociopaths things would be even worse and we would discover the true meaning of feudalism.

    Wikileaks and other currently unbridled online sources (such as this blog) serve as vehicles to get the true stories out to the public. The hope of all people who dream of a just society rest on their ability to quickly disseminate information. If that becomes blocked than for most of us life will become bleaker than Orwell’s vision of “1984.”

  5. Mr. Spindell,

    Perhaps a good way to understand a particular society is by observing how they treat those who reveal unpleasant realities.

    We’re not doing so good from the top of society down. But I feel completely at ease when I observe from the bottom of society up.

  6. Elaine,
    This is a story that needed telling. It doesn’t get any main stream press. If anyone can be held like this without a conviction or a trial, the mass media bells and whistles should go off. That is not the case here because our journalists are owned by big business!

  7. I have read elsewhere that the type of drugs being administered to Manning are of the same class as drugs administered to some detainees at Guantanamo and Bagram AFB (that are treated in the same manner as Manning) and obviously for the same reason. The people in charge of the incarceration know exactly what the effects of this kind of incarceration is and want to keep their prisoners useful, not insane. In the case of the prisoners that are foreign nationals, calling their treatment a war crime is appropriate.

    What do we call it when it is an American, on American soil? Somehow “torture” just doesn’t seem repugnant enough anymore. The very fact that we speak so openly and frequently about our government’s embrace of this method of dealing with people has cheapened the word or desensitized those of us that discuss it.

    What about the doctors and medical personnel that oversee the health of these prisoners? Where are their ethics? Keeping people healthy enough to continue being tortured makes them as complicit as the actual torturers. Good Germans, so many good Germans, just following orders…

  8. I’m on the Daily Beast e-mail list I got this :

    by Denver Nicks Info
    Denver Nicks

    Denver Nicks is an editorial assistant at The Daily Beast.


    Bradley Manning, who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, turns 23 in jail Friday. The Daily Beast’s Denver Nicks, in an exclusive interview with Manning’s attorney, reports on his solitary confinement, what he’s reading (from George W. Bush to Howard Zinn), and his legal strategy.

  9. About 25+ years ago I read an article about the mental health of American POW’s in Vietnam. They were often kept in solitary confinement also. The article dealt with a study done for the government or by the government, I don’t recall which but it was startling.

    Prior to Vietnam most POWS were aggregated into groups and held in group. The classic WWII scenario we picture when we think of POW’s. Prisoner of war camps were the norm. People that were outwardly directed, worked well in groups and drew some measure of their identity from their group affiliation did well in such a situation even under extremely harsh conditions.

    The reverse proved to be the case in prisoners in Vietnam under isolated conditions. The ‘outsider’ personality did better that the mentally group-oriented prisoners. Prisoners that weren’t joiners, were inwardly focused and didn’t rely on group identification for some level of personal validation were better able to handle the stress of isolation and suffered fewer mental disorders as a result.

    Manning doesn’t look like a ‘lone wolf’ personality to me.

  10. From ABC News (12/17/2010)
    Freed and Defiant, Assange Says Sex Charges ‘Tabloid Crap’
    Wikileaks Founder Denies Rape Charge, Said He Never Knew Bradley Manning

    Speaking to “GMA” (Good Morning America) in front of the sprawling English mansion where he is staying with a friend now that he has been released on bail, Assange is already mounting a defense against possible U.S. charges under the Espionage Act. He claims not to know Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence private who is allegedly behind the leak of the trove of classified diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.

    “I never heard the name Bradley Manning until it was published in the press,” Assange said. According to Assange, WikiLeaks is set up to provide the “leaker” of documents complete anonymity. Assange denied that he encouraged Manning to send the documents and likened his role to that of a reporter who discovers information.

    “Security officers have a job to keep things secret, the press has the job to expose the public to the truth. So that is our job. We’re doing it. The fact that state department was not able to do their job is a matter for them,” he said.

  11. “under the Espionage Act. He claims not to know Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence private who is allegedly behind the leak of the trove of classified diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks.”

    What is this mission impossible?

  12. The government just seems to be trying to “break” Manning with the solitary confinement and the drugs. If they break him then his defense will be hampered and more “truths” cannot be disclosed in the trial,if they ever have one.

  13. A twenty two year old kid took advantage of a huge hole in the State Department’s security apparatus to reveal to the world who we really are and what we really do.

    Our government, in its zeal to reassert its dominance and to cover its embarrassment has focused all its destructive, tough-guy power on this one kid. All by himself he took them down and by god, they’re going to grind him into dust.

    Oh, we’ll see him one day but he’ll be nothing more than a walking vegetable unable to take part in his own defense or tell us why or how he did it. The Gulag has him and the frostbite of America’s Siberia will destroy his mind.

    In spite of all the propaganda our State Department churns out … this is who we really are and this is what we really do. Bradley Manning will soon be nothing more than an inanimate exclamation mark.

    Unless there is a group of Americans out there who stand up and yell loudly enough for the whole world to hear … “THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE; THIS IS NOT WHAT WE DO! And then fight to wrest Bradley Manning from the claws of the Gulag.

  14. It is my understanding that Manning is not in solitary confinement. He is in a cell, by himself, but is not isolated from others.

    Which marine do you want him to share a cell with? Would he not have reason to fear his cellmate(s)?

    Let’s take a guy who released classified information, the release of which is said to put the lives of other service members in additional danger, and put him in a cell with a treined killer. I think the old adage of “be careful what you wish for” would be applicable here.

    There is both good and bad to Mannings release of classified material. There is no way that he could have read through the plethora of information that he decided to release. For that, I consider him to have operated in reckless disregard of the negative and potentially life threatening effect it would have on innocent people. Releasing evidence of a crime that was being covered-up under the guise of being classified is one thing, but he went well beyond that.

  15. BBB,

    Here are two excerpts from the article by Glenn Greenwald:

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


    UPDATE: 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 prescribed 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.


  16. BBB,

    “I, Bradley Manning, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

    This is one of those amazing and rare individuals that had the balls to keep his oath.

    How many people did the lies that he shed light on – kill?

    How many people did his own actions kill?

  17. Elaine M.,

    I’m pretty sure it was the Pentagon who released a report subsequent to the article at in which it was clarified that, though Manning does not have a cellmate, he is not in solitary confinement. I’ll hunt it down and post a link.

    Here’s another report:

    “PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.

    His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.

    The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

    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.

    At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). 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.

    He is allowed to watch television during the day. The television stations are limited to the basic local stations. His access to the television ranges from 1 to 3 hours on weekdays to 3 to 6 hours on weekends.

    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.

    From 7:00 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., he is given correspondence time. He is given access to a pen and paper. He is allowed to write letters to family, friends, and his attorneys.

    Each night, during his correspondence time, he is allowed to take a 15 to 20 minute shower.

    On weekends and holidays, he is allowed to have approved visitors see him from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

    He is allowed to receive letters from those on his approved list and from his legal counsel. If he receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.

    He is allowed to have any combination of up to 15 books or magazines. He must request the book or magazine by name. Once the book or magazine has been reviewed by the literary board at the confinement facility, and approved, he is allowed to have someone on his approved list send it to him. The person sending the book or magazine to him must do so through a publisher or an approved distributor such as Amazon. They are not allowed to mail the book or magazine directly to PFC Manning.

    Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch:

    PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

    The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

    He receives each of his meals in his cell.

    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.

    He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.

    He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.

    He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

    He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

    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.”

    Posted by Army Court-Martial Defense Specialist at 10:40 AM

  18. Correcting Glenn Greenwald’s Claims Regarding Bradley Manning

    “To clarify: Villiard noted that, while Manning is in a solitary cell (i.e., he doesn’t have a cellmate), it’s not like he is in a hole somewhere. Villiard stated that he had toured the facility where Manning and other detainees were being held. While he doesn’t have 24/7 access to the detainees, he was able to tour the space, talk with those directly responsible for his care and confinement, and see the cell where Manning is housed.

    Villiard stated clearly to me that Manning has access to psychological, spiritual, and medical care. When I asked him if Manning would be able to access care during the 23 hours of his “solitary confinement,” if needed, Villiard gave an unambiguous confirmation that Manning’s access is not denied. Villiard added that he is able to speak with other cellmates in cells adjacent to him – i.e., while he’s in his own place, he is not isolated any more than others in the maximum custody area.”

  19. BBB,

    Who is “Benintn?” The correction may be correct–but I always like to know the author of an article or a blog post when I’m citing the individual as a source.

  20. Blouise, “…and the frostbite of America’s Siberia will destroy his mind.”

    Daaaamn girl, that is a vivid image, strikingly painted. You wield a mighty metaphor Blouise; I like that a lot.

    I have often thought that our government is beginning to resemble nothing so much as a mirror image of the Soviet Russian state during the cold war. Guantanamo and Bagram and the far flung hell-holes we ship prisoners of war to for the purpose of torture is no more than our gulag. It’s updated of course with the dirty work contracted out to allies, a nod to the corporate way of doing government with a veneer of deniability for the evil being done.

  21. Elaine M.,

    The “Benintn” story seems to coincide with the account of Col. Dave Lapan.

    Much of what is being reported is spin. Like whether or not the lights are left on. The people asking the question already know the answer, and they want to spin it into something that it is not. The answer to the lights question is that some lights are left on. They are left on in order to permit those charged with his care to check on him. Manning remains on a suicide prevention watch. The amount of lighting is reduced, but it is not dark or anywhere close to it.

    Much of Manning’s treatment is to protect him. In a military brig, Manning would be seen by others as being as vile as a child sex predator.

  22. From article posted by BBB: “The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.”

    There it is. That’s the way it’s done. Think about doing your reading, meditation, TV watching, letter writing, or whatever and being interrupted every 5 minutes. Made to be awake 15 hours a day and do a call and response every 5 minutes.

    Being awakened every time he pulls a blanket over his head or curls up toward the wall or presumably obstructs a guards view of him in any way.

    So they are using sleep disruption techniques and using a technique to require a response every 5 minutes to shatter his ability to concentrate or focus on a sustained thought. All for his own good of course.

    That’s torture.

    Sounds like a variant on the constant loud music and ever-lighted cells used on the prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

  23. The effect of sleep deprivation is something I know quite a bit about, along with the effects of torture. I have hesitated to weigh in on this discussion until I read the account by Lottakaz, just above.

    Whether one thinks PFC Manning is a hero or villain in immaterial in a country that claims to be civilized and claims to follow the rule of law. The notion of pressuring a defendant to this degree is unconscionable. The deliberate deprivation of sleep is a form of torture. It may not leave bruises or scars, but is as real as the rack. If we do an analysis of the effects of the sleep deprivation described above by Lottakatz, the following is to be expected:

    * Day 2: Difficulty focusing eyes–things will seem to move in and out of focus. The first signs of astereognosis will appear; that is, he will begin having difficulty recognizing objects only by touch.

    * Day 3: Moodiness will increase, specifically with the mood of melancholy and depression alternating with giddy or “high” feelings. The first signs of ataxia will appear. There will begin to be difficulty pronouncing some words, especially if they are polysyllabic.

    * Day 4: Irritability and cranky attitude. Will begin to display oppositional and uncooperative attitude. There are increasing memory lapses and difficulty concentrating. Episodes of delusions may appear for the first time.

    * Day 5: More hallucinations. They may see people that are not there, or the cell may begin to look like a forest glen.

    * Day 6: Slow speech and difficulty pronouncing words getting more pronounced.

    * Day 7 and 8: Irritability and crankiness getting worse. Speech and memory problems increasing.

    * Day 9: Flights of ideas appear. Difficulty keeping thoughts organized. May start sentences but cannot finish them because he cannot remember what he started to say.

    * Day 10: Paranoia beginning. This may incorporate delusions of irrational persecution, such as that his thoughts are being broadcast for all to hear, or that others are inserting thoughts into his head.

    * Day 11: Flattened affect. That is, he has an expressionless appearance. Speech is slurred and without inflection or intonation. Becoming mute and it is hard to get him to talk or respond to questions. Memory significantly worse.

    There will begin to be changes in organs by the first day or two, but more pronounced as time goes on. Permanent organ damage can occur. If sleep deprivation continues, death can ensue. There is a condition called fatal familial insomnia that is 100% fatal and always results in a horrible death due to lack of sleep.

    Folks, we have here the making of a false confession. No more, no less. I just testified in a murder case to this effect and in that case the defendant was subjected to much less sleep deprivation than Private Manning.

  24. If someone on suicide watch covers their head with a blanket, they are awakened and told to uncover their head. They do this because other detainees have killed themselves by shoving their blanket or sheets down their throats while covering their head.

    I think the part about asking him if he’s okay every 5 minutes was probably taken out of context or misunderstood. Not only because it would be considered harassment of Manning, but because the two guards watching him and the others in his block for eight hours at a time would get pretty sick of it too.

  25. BBB: Sorry, this is not a suicide watch. And of course it is harassment. IT is designed that way and is a combination of punitive and a way to break him psychologically. This is beyond harassment, and transcends to torture. As for whether the detention staff finds it onerous, that is irrelevant. They can work in shifts. Manning has no choice–he is stuck there day after day, with his circadian cycle deliberately disrupted. The details of his confinement are probably being leaked as a deterrent and warning for anyone else that might be contemplating giving documents to WikiLeaks or news media.

    If it were a suicide watch, they would be observing him but not interrupting his sleep. Lighting would be subdued and not excessively bright. Keep in mind they are also preventing him from exercising or reading. This is about breaking a man psychologically and physically, and they do not give a rat’s patoot if he eventually dies from the treatment or not, as long as he does not die before they get what they want.

  26. There need to be independent observers assigned to this “watch”. It could involve several government physicians or psychiatrics who must sign logs under penalty of perjury.

  27. FFLEO: I agree, but good luck on that plan. They have no intention of allowing outside observers to see violations of constitutional rights, violation of the Uniform Code or violation of basic human rights. This is all about power and control. And about a scapegoat. I read a news account earlier today that the CIA has set aside five million dollars for the legal defense of anyone charged with torture or war crimes as a result of their “enhanced interrogations.” They are willing to spend almost any amount of money to CYA and protect their criminal behavior from legal scrutiny.

  28. BBB

    “If someone on suicide watch covers their head with a blanket, they are awakened and told to uncover their head. They do this because other detainees have killed themselves by shoving their blanket or sheets down their throats while covering their head.”


    According to Glenn Greenwald (see Elaine M.’s comment at 4:00 pm):

    “(he is not and never has been on suicide watch)”

  29. “…he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.”

    from the link supplied by Nal


    Glenn Greenwald was on MSNBC yesterday and said that Manning hasn’t had a mental health evaluation yet, because the various parties haven’t been able to agree on who should conduct the evaluation. So they’re have him on POI watch…

    They don’t want him to hurt himself. But it’s all right for them to “hurt” him…

    Sure. Makes sense to me. (And that’s sarcasm, just to be clear.)

  30. As Blouise said, “Welcome to Dick Cheney’s America.”

    So at the moment, we have Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and, possibly Openleaks… Those with knowledge of what’s going on domestically have to be scared witless. They’ll do almost anything, I would imagine, to keep their domestic “games” from coming to the fore.

    “Good Germans, so many good Germans, just following orders…”

    As I’ve said before, I don’t recognize our country anymore…

  31. From (12/16/2010)
    Bradley Manning’s health deteriorating in jail, supporters say
    The intelligence analyst suspected of leaking US diplomatic cables is being held in solitary confinement

    His friends and supporters also claim they have been the target of extra-judicial harassment, intimidation and outright bribery by US government agents.

    According to David House, a computer researcher from Boston who visits Manning twice a month, he is starting to deteriorate. “Over the last few weeks I have noticed a steady decline in his mental and physical wellbeing,” he said. “His prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to [prison] regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness.”

    Manning, House added, was no longer the characteristically brilliant man he had been, despite efforts to keep him intellectually engaged. He also disputed the authorities’ claims that Manning was being kept in solitary for his own good.

    “I initially believed that his time in solitary confinement was a decision made in the interests of his safety,” he said. “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.”

    House said many people were reluctant to talk about Manning’s condition because of government harassment, including surveillance, warrantless computer seizures, and even bribes. “This has had such an intimidating effect that many are afraid to speak out on his behalf,” House said.

    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.”

    When the Washington Post tried to investigate the claim, an army criminal investigation division spokesman refused to comment. “We’ve got an ongoing investigation,” he said. “We don’t discuss our techniques and tactics.”

    On 3 November, House, 23, said 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, said House. He added: “If Manning is convicted, it will be because his individual dedication to human ethics far surpasses that of the US government.”

  32. Bradley Manning, rest assured that you have done this country and our Constitution an invaluable service by exposing the lies and hypocrisy of our corrupt leadership. You, sir, are a hero in the spirit and tradition of our Founding Fathers. If I ever get the chance to thank you in person, it will involve a steak and drink of choice – minimum. A man of principle deserves no less. And those who would persecute and prosecute you to further their criminal activities under the color of authority deserve nothing but scorn and their comeuppance.

  33. FF LEO….I could not agree more….

    RAF….it is my understanding….the UCMJ… an oxymoron…there is nothing just about the military….They may take as long as they wish or as short as they wish….they the JAG asks the Defense are they ready for trial….and you better be ready within 24 hours….it does not matter that they may have taken 3 years to get ready……Its more or less a dog and pony show….

    So when some of the terrorists were tried in civil court, I was like hey a change at some real justice……but that was short lived……

    SWM…..I am unsure if any agreement like that would be enforceable….

  34. “Perhaps a good way to understand a particular society is by observing how they treat those who reveal unpleasant realities.”

    You are right on the money with this statement. People gain/maintain power in societies by selling the public on powerfuls myths. This could range from how much freedom they have, or don’t…to…xenophobic targets. When these myths are challenged the challenger becomes a threat to the power of those who promulgate, or ride upon the mythology. From the elite’s perspective the threat of truth, therefore its its agent, must be crushed. Ergo the torture of PFC Manning and the arrest and disparagement of Mr. Assange.

    Can’t you see by history, that whenever embarassing government secrets are exposed the fall back position is that unnamed lives were put at risk, in an effort to downplay the embarrassing and myth-busting effects of the disclosures? THe ability of human minds to justify an entities/their actions are limitless. The man is being tortured because he has helped to expose the hypocrisy of US actions versus the mythology supporting them.

  35. The forced medication with apparently no medical diagnosis and treatment is to my mind torture, regardless of whether it’s authorized under the USMJ. And aside from the immorality of the treatment, it’s very stupid. Literally, the whole world is watching. If his keepers had a brain they’d bend over backwards to insure that Manning could never make any claim of mistreatment or neglect.

    And, I don’t buy the idea that he’s being treated this way for his own protection.

    Also, why the delay in charging him?

    This is very very bad.

  36. Elaine,

    Yes, welcome to Barack Obama’s america.

    Remember Jose Padilla? He came out of three and a half years of detention just a shell of himself. It doesn’t matter if the person is a US Citizen or not (Padilla and Manning both are), or if the person is guilty of a legitimate crime or not. This is no way to treat a fellow human being. I wonder if we have always been this evil, or do we just find out now?

  37. Mike Spindell,

    If all Pfc. Manning released was evidence of criminal activity being covered-up under the guise of national security, I’d be sitting squarely in his corner. Unfortunately, that is only part of the story. Manning also released classified information that was not evidence of any criminal cover-up. That’s the part I have a problem with, and the reason that I cannot, in good conscience, lend him my support.

    There are many stories about the treatment of Pfc. Manning that are exaggerated or untrue. We have Glenn Greenwald saying that he is being held in solitary confinement, and that he has never been on any kind of suicide watch. We have three other accounts that indicate he is not in solitary confinement (completely isolated from others). Manning’s close friend, who visits him regularly, says that he has been on a suicide watch. The military says that he is on a Prevention of Injury (POI) watch. Somebody is lying and I have no reason to think it is his friend.

    I spent 3 months TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty) to Navy Brig, Seattle, WA (actually NAS Sand Point). I’m pretty familiar with the operations of a brig. The guards there were extremely professional. All of them were enlisted men and women holding ranks of E-5 or above. The detainees on suicide (or POI) watch were not harassed, but they were required to follow a very strict protocol. They were not permitted to sleep during the day. (Why should the detainee be permitted to sleep during the day, when their brethren were working and standing duty?) The light was left on to permit observation, but it was not a bright light shining on them. Most detainees acclimated to the light and were able to sleep uninterrupted within a day or two. They also were not permitted to cover their heads with a blanket or sheet. The cells are small. There is room for a bed and a combination sink-toilet. That leaves about 18” of walkway from the front to the back of the cell. The bed must be made every morning (if I recall correctly, the detainee was not permitted to sit on the bed during the day. If they wanted to sit, they used the toilet seat.) The cell door is solid with about a 6” by 18” wire-reinforced window. The cell also had a back window of about the same size with the same wire reinforcement. The detainee was only permitted to have one book at a time.

    With the exception of the alleged ‘are you ok’ every 5 minutes (which I think is likely not an accurate account), Pfc. Manning is not being treated differently than any other detainee who would be considered a risk to himself, and at risk of reprisal from fellow detainees.

    Charges: Pfc. Manning has been charged. The delay in going forward with prosecution is probably being effected by the enormous amount of classified information that was released. What information was contained on each page, and what effect the release may have, could lead to additional charges.

    I can sympathize with the guy who robs a store to feed his family. It’s when the guy also steals a case of beer and some girlie magazines that he loses my sympathy. Manning went too far. He didn’t just do what needed to be done, he went beyond that.

  38. BBB: You posit that Private Manning is being held in identical conditions with which you are familiar. That may be so, and maybe it is not. We are all aware there are, for lack of a better term, detentions with “special conditions.” You also make a flat statement that, “Manning also released classified information that was not evidence of any criminal cover-up.” Please keep in mind that he has not been convicted of anything yet. He is a pre-trial detainee and must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.

    As for the conditions of his detention, if the allegations described in this thread as well as elsewhere on news and legal web sites is incorrect, I want hear a disclaimer. Let the Secretary of the Navy or the President make a public statement on the record the allegations are untrue. Or let an independent body such as Amnesty International, Red Cross or the ACLU make regular unannounced site visits. I am willing to make site visits myself if requested by defense counsel, but only if allowed as much time as I need and if the interviews, ability to observe, etc, are kept completely private and confidential with no “minders” looking over my shoulder.

  39. BBB,

    Bradley is indeed guilty of the letter of the law. But the spirit of the law is meant to protect people. Who pays for 1,000s and 1,000s of lives lost – and the repercussions in our own little lives for being party to it, whether knowingly or unknowing, willing or unwilling?

    A lowly E-3 for daring to reveal them to the world.

    And us too – through the turmoil we’ve all been party to in one way or another.

    Perhaps life is just after all.

    I salute PFC Bradley.

  40. You’re absolutely correct, Elaine M. It is indeed Barack Obama’s America now. And it’s yours and mine, as well. With regard to Dick Cheney, while he might not be in power anymore, he’s not off the hook — not by any stretch of the imagination.

    Thanks for this article and for bringing so many links and resources together. Insightful, informative comments, as well.


    I “salute PFC Bradley”, as well.

  41. Nate
    1, December 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm
    Anon Nurse,

    There’s a place that justice has yet to visit.

    The top.



    You’re absolutely correct, and it’s time for that visit…

    You also said, “Perhaps life is just after all.”

    I hope so…

  42. Anon Nurse:

    Based on close to 40 years of working in various detention facilities, I doubt seriously that he gets any time outdoors. The only time that might happen is if he is being taken from one building to another, and for all we know, those kinds of transfers take place at night. The natural light in a cell is limited at best, and in some prisons there are cells that have no windows. Based on what has been leaked about his detention conditions, he is under sensory deprivation, so the chances of him getting any kind of physical, sensory or mental stimulation is minimal. They do not allow him to exercise and if he tries to do sit-ups or push-ups, he is stopped. The conditions are punitive, even though he has not been convicted of anything. I always thought the punishment was supposed to come AFTER adjudication, not before.

    This is about breaking him, just as they broke Jose Padilla.

  43. OS,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Their treatment of Manning is stopping just short of more active torture techniques like waterboarding. He had the fortitude to do the right thing in accordance with his oath to defend the Constitution. I just hope he has the fortitude to come out of the sensory deprivation with his wits and willpower in tact.

  44. OS,
    Great job. Hearing it from someone like you who has worked in the detention field, the treatment is even more disturbing.
    AY, thanks for the information on the UCMJ.

  45. anon nurse,

    Nal left a link earlier to Manning’s lawyer’s website. Here’s an excerpt from his lawyer’s description of a typical day for Manning:

    He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

    He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

  46. Monitoring America

    by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin

    “Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

    The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

    Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

    This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.

    Today’s story, along with related material on The Post’s Web site, examines how Top Secret America plays out at the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.

    The months-long investigation, based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents, found that:

    * Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.

    * The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.

    * Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.

    * The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.”

    Read the rest at:

  47. “It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.”

    (from the excerpt of “Monitoring America” posted by Buddha)


    The report might have been titled, “Wake up, America.” (I don’t recall seeing this piece of the original report, but it’s not surprising. It certainly confirms what I already know.)

    We have a system that’s out of control. Beyond that, crimes are being committed.

    As is the case with Bradley Manning, the system is going after individuals in our communities and attempting “to break them” in any number of cruel and sadistic ways. But, as I’ve said before, who would ever believe it?

    We’ve seen a massive concentration of money and power in our security apparatus. And the result is truly Orwellian.

    Julian Assange said, “By year’s end, lights on, rats out.” We sorely need the light… and the rats are multiplying.

  48. Buddha,

    Glenn Greenwald talks about the WAPO article in his piece at Salon today.

    From Glenn Greenwald (12/20/2010)

    But what makes all of this particularly ominous is that — as the WikiLeaks conflict demonstrates — this all takes place next to an always-expanding wall of secrecy behind which the Government’s own conduct is hidden from public view. Just consider the Government’s reaction to the disclosures by WikiLeaks of information which even it — in moments of candor — acknowledges have caused no real damage: disclosed information that, critically, was protected by relatively low-level secrecy designations and (in contrast to the Pentagon Papers) none of which was designated “Top Secret.”

    It’s crystal clear that the Justice Department is engaged in an all-out crusade to figure out how to shut down WikiLeaks and imprison Julian Assange. It is subjecting Bradley Manning to unbelievably inhumane conditions in order to manipulate him into providing needed testimony to prosecute Assange. Recall that in 2008 — long before anyone even knew what WikiLeaks was — the Pentagon secretly plotted on how to destroy the organization. On Meet the Press yesterday, Joe Biden was asked whether he agreed more with Mitch McConnell’s statement that Assange is a “high-tech terrorist” than with those comparing WikiLeaks to Daniel Ellsberg, and the Vice President replied: “I would argue that it’s closer to being a high tech terrorist. . . .” “A high-tech terrorist.” And consider this pernicious little essay from Eric Fiterman — a former FBI special agent and founder of Methodvue, “a consultancy that provides cybersecurity and computer forensics services to the federal government and private businesses” — that clearly reflects the Government’s view of WikiLeaks:

    In the WikiLeaks case, a fringe group led primarily by foreign nationals operating abroad is illegally obtaining, reviewing and disseminating American intelligence information with the stated intent of hurting the United States (WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange himself made this declaration). That not only meets the definition of aggressive, hostile and war-like activity, but squarely targets America’s diplomatic positions and intelligence interests while inflicting collateral damage against our financial institutions and service providers who cut-off their relationship with WikiLeaks. This, folks, is war.

    That’s the mindset of the U.S. Government: everything it does of any significance can and should be shielded from public view; anyone who shines light on what it does is an Enemy who must be destroyed; but nothing you do should be beyond its monitoring and storing eyes. And what’s most remarkable about this — though, given the full-scale bipartisan consensus over it, not surprising — is how eagerly submissive much of the citizenry is to this imbalance. Many Americans plead with their Government in unison: we demand that you know everything about us but that you keep us ignorant about what you do and punish those who reveal it to us. Often, this kind of oppressive Surveillance State has to be forcibly imposed on a resistant citizenry, but much of the frightened American citizenry — led by most transparency-hating media figures — has been trained with an endless stream of fear-mongering to demand that they be subjected to more and more of it.


    UPDATE: Two related points:
    (1) Joe Biden not only voted for the Iraq War, but was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2002 as the Senate authorized that attack, one which resulted in the deaths of well over 100,000 innocent human beings and which was launched under the strategic banner of “Shock and Awe,” designed explicitly to terrorize Iraqis out of resisting through the use of a massive display of urban devastation. Julian Assange has never authorized any violence, never killed anyone, never advocated killing anyone, and never threatened anyone’s death. Yet the former can accuse the latter of being close to a “high-tech terrorist” without many people batting an eye — illustrating, yet again, what a meaningless and manipulated term “Terrorism” is; to the extent it means anything, its definition is this: “those who impede or defy American will with any degree of efficacy.”

    (2) Of all the surveillance state abuses, one of the most egregious has to be the Government’s warrantless, oversight-less seizure of the laptops and other electronic equipment of American citizens at the border, whereby they not only store the contents of those devices but sometimes keep the seized items indefinitely. That practice is becoming increasingly common, aimed at people who have done nothing more than dissent from government policy; I intend to have more on that soon. If American citizens don’t object to the permanent seizure and copying of their laptops and cellphones without any warrants or judicial oversight, what would they ever object to?

  49. I read Orwell’s ?1984″ when it was first published back in 1949. My reaction to it was that “it cannot happen here.” We had just fought a war against oppression. I recall the stories of the secret police and Gestapo stopping people in the streets, demanding they “show their papers.” And people were even expected to rat out their neighbors. Children we expected to tell the authorities if their parents were reading the wrong books or listening to the wrong radio programs. I thought that horrible then and I still think it flies in the face of all we have held dear as a democracy.

    Well, we had a great country while it lasted.

  50. If I travel by air or out of the country, I plan to take only a cheap laptop that has nothing on it except the most basic word processor so that I can do my work. Same for flash drives. If they are confiscated or scanned for any reason, there will be nothing there except the blogs or news pages I follow. Not that I have anything incriminating, but because what I have on my computer is none of the government’s damn business. I have been advised by my geek friends to use a cheap laptop because if it is seized for any reason–or no reason–I lose very little.

    Do NOT buy one at a pawn shop because for all you know, a forensic scan of the hard drive could reveal something like the previous owner’s cache of kiddie porn or worse.

  51. OS,

    “Based on what has been leaked about his detention conditions, he is under sensory deprivation, so the chances of him getting any kind of physical, sensory or mental stimulation is minimal.”

    What standard are you using when you say that “he is under sensory deprivation”?

  52. I had a college friend who was of Japanese descent. His parent had been sent to the internment camps – the good old days.

  53. BBB,
    I have worked extensively in government at the municipal level. Most information that was considered (in municipal terms) confidential, was information being hid from the public to prevent embarassment of particular officials. Past history has shown that the Feds have used “classified” mostly as a means of covering up their own ineptitude or villainy. When her husband gained their disapproval the Bush administration had no qualms about releasing Valerie Planes work, which really did put her in potential danger. “Classified” is mostly a racket that our government uses to keep the rest of us misinformed. See Pentagon Papers and Church Committee findings.

    AS for this soldiers torture you’re right exagerations may be occuring, but aslas we have Guantanamo to give lie to that.

  54. When my jewish father-in-law returned to Chicago after serving in World War II, he could not find a place to live. The signs on the rental properties said, “no jews or dogs”. When were the “gold old days”?

  55. Also, the house committee on un-american activities did not focus their attention on the Klan. I am definitely not saying things are good now, but I am not sure the old days were so great, either.

  56. Elaine M.
    1, December 20, 2010 at 9:33 am

    “Glenn Greenwald talks about the WAPO article in his piece at Salon today.”

    “That practice is becoming increasingly common, aimed at people who have done nothing more than dissent from government policy; I intend to have more on that soon. If American citizens don’t object to the permanent seizure and copying of their laptops and cellphones without any warrants or judicial oversight, what would they ever object to?”


    American citizens won’t object en masse. As long as life is fairly comfortable for most, little will change. And we’re good at shooting the messengers — we’re very effective at marginalizing and discreding those who seriously challenge the status quo. We’re eating our own, but no matter…

  57. BBB: I am using a professional standard. I am a forensic scientist specializing in behavior and psychological problems. I know what I am talking about.

  58. Swarthmore mom wrote: “I am definitely not saying things are good now, but I am not sure the old days were so great, either.”

    Of course you’re right about this — it’s good to be reminded.

  59. The “good old days” is an illusion propagated by those who would see the progress of liberalism as espoused by the English and French Enlightenment and embraced by our Founding Fathers rolled back – either out of fear of change and/or a desire to retain control. The “good old days” were simply the “old days”.

  60. OS,

    “I know what I am talking about” is not an answer to my question.

    I asked you what standard (or definition) you used to determine that Manning “is under sensory deprivation”. Please answer the question.

  61. Off Topic:

    Senator Al Franken addresses Net Neutrality in his article in the Huffington Post today. It’s an issue that has had me worried for some time. I think the subject is of great import—yet it gets little coverage in the MSM.

    From Huffington Post (12/20/2010)
    The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time
    By Al Franken

    That’s why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable.

    Although Chairman Genachowski’s draft Order has not been made public, early reports make clear that it falls far short of protecting net neutrality.

    For many Americans — particularly those who live in rural areas — the future of the Internet lies in mobile services. But the draft Order would effectively permit Internet providers to block lawful content, applications, and devices on mobile Internet connections.

    Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).

    It gets worse. The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.

    It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.

    What’s more, even the protections that are established in the draft Order would be weak because it defines “broadband Internet access service” too narrowly, making it easy for powerful corporations to get around the rules.

    Here’s what’s most troubling of all. Chairman Genachowski and President Obama — who nominated him — have argued convincingly that they support net neutrality.

    But grassroots supporters of net neutrality are beginning to wonder if we’ve been had. Instead of proposing regulations that would truly protect net neutrality, reports indicate that Chairman Genachowski has been calling the CEOs of major Internet corporations seeking their public endorsement of this draft proposal, which would destroy it.

  62. At the same time, it seems to me that we’re very good at convincing ourselves that it really isn’t that bad…. that things haven’t changed that much. We’re very adept, it seems, at holding onto the idea that “it can’t happen here.”

  63. Mike Spindell,

    It’s not the stuff that is “classified” that bothers me as much as the stuff that falls under the category of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). That is where I think most of the embarassing stuff goes to hide at the federal level.

  64. For one, I’ve been saying all along (with many of the other regulars here) that not only “it can happen here” but that “it is happening here”.

    Denial is a strong mechanism when the truth is so dire.

    But like any retreat into fantasy, ultimately futile.

  65. From Huffington Post (12/20/2010)
    WikiLeaks: Yemen Nuclear Material Was Unsecured

    CAIRO — A storage facility housing Yemen’s radioactive material was unsecured for up to a week after its lone guard was removed and its surveillance camera was broken, a secret U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks revealed Monday.

    The message, dated Jan. 9, relates the worries of a Yemeni official, whose name was removed, about the unguarded state of a National Atomic Energy Commission facility. He pushes the U.S. embassy to urge his own government to secure the material.

    “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” the official is quoted as saying in the cable, which appeared on the website of the British Guardian newspaper.

    Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, hosts a particularly active branch of Al-Qaida that has not only repeatedly attacked the Yemeni government but attempted several attacks against the U.S. including last year’s failed plot to blow up an airliner in Detroit on Christmas.

  66. McCarthyism on Steroids: Monitoring Jesselyn Radack
    on December 20, 2010 ( The Whistleblogger / 2010 )

    “At fusion centers, SARS are then forwarded to the nearest FBI terrorism unit, which would immediately enter it into the “Guardian database.” Most often, the FBI makes no specific determination, which means that the SAR sits in the database where other pieces of information about the person–employment, financial and residential histories, phone numbers, and anything else in government or commercial databases “that adds value”–is added to it.”

    “This is the new domestic terrorism prevention. It used to be called McCarthyism. Or, more accurately, the Stasi–getting everyone to spy on everyone else. . .”


    And, the money is flowing… to those who are all-too-willing to assist the state in fighting the war on terror. People are getting homes, cars, educations and cash, compliments of the state. Informants and snitches are being used in unprecedented ways…

    It doesn’t stop with information gathering. Homes are being entered surreptitiously; personal property is often vandalized; thefts are common; defamation and job-interference are another piece of it; and the list goes on. It’s a new form of McCarthyism. Those involved are to destroy and/or break people. For now, they’re going after those who are most vulnerable… It’s state-supported, domestic terrorism in America. The state is targeting people for destruction, making the claim that it’s ferreting out domestic terrorists. It’s a vicious circle… and it’s feeding the national security beast.

    Those who try to blow the whistle on any aspect of it, like Russell Tice and others, are dismissed and discredited. Of course, they must be “crazy”…

  67. Well, as it’s been said, there are no accidents… I hadn’t intended to post all of that — I was editing…

    One correction:

    “Those involved are to destroy and/or break people.” SB

    The process is designed to destroy and/or break people.

    Anyway… it’s just another day in America. “Happy Holidays” to all of us.

  68. And while the state is looking for “the bad guys” in all the wrong places, we’ll have another crisis… which will only spur on the beast.

    (Buddha, I think I’d better order those H&D’s chocolates, so that I can eat, drink and be merry…)

  69. Elaine M.,

    Thanks for the link.

    After reading the entire story, I am left with the understanding that a site where no nuclear material was left to be guarded, was subsequently left unguarded. And the reason this became a story is that someone inquired as to why it was left unguarded.

    It must be a slow news day. :)


    “Metro’s announcement Thursday that the transit system will immediately start random inspections of passengers’ bags and packages to try to protect from attack doesn’t give commuters much time to prepare for the new reality, but it’s here. The plan is to pull aside every third person at locations where checks are going on, and they will occur at various spots among the system’s 86 rail stations and 12,000 bus stops.

    Riders, this could potentially impact a lot of commutes. That’s where you come in. We want to know what you’re seeing and experiencing out there. Is this causing big delays for travelers, or are you not even noticing any hiccups? What are the searches like? How are people reacting? Tell us below, and we’ll help get the information out to your fellow commuters. And tweet what you see with the hashtag #wmatasearch.”

  71. To answer the question raised earlier about sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation is on a spectrum that ranges from being left alone in a bare room to complete deprivation of any stimulus. The technique was used by West Germany as early as 1972 with the creation of the “dead wing” at Cologne-Ossendorf prison. The cells were painted white and soundproofed. There was no natural light and with the white background it was difficult for the prisoner’s eyes to focus properly. The techniques were adopted by the CIA as an alternative to more harsh techniques that are a clear violation of war crimes laws. The techniques were used on Jose Padilla who was not allowed to see natural light and was kept in isolation. The CIA’s more recent thinking is to do a more subtle version of keeping the subject isolated, a minimum of external stimulation such as reading materials and no exercise. The results of sensory deprivation over time are well known, including loss of memory, cognitive function, loss of problem solving ability and loss of critical thinking skills. The latter is especially important because the subject becomes more suggestible. The chances of useful information coming from someone kept in the degree of isolation that Private Manning is kept is minimal at best and completely wrong at worst.

    For your reading “enjoyment” take a look at the two articles linked below. The writer who uses the pen name “Valtin” is a clinical and forensic psychologist of my acquaintance. He is an expert on torture and the psychological effects thereof:

    And take a look at what Dr. Marvin Zuckerman’s experiments showed.

  72. BBB,

    Quoting from the article:

    On Jan. 7, Yemeni Foreign Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told the ambassador that “no radioactive material was currently stored in Sanaa and that all ‘radioactive waste’ was shipped to Syria.”

    According to the cable, the radioactive material was used by local universities for agricultural research, Sanaa hospital and by international oil companies.

    The facility’s lone guard was removed on Dec. 30, 2009, reported the cable and its single closed circuit TV camera had been broken for the last six months.


    Yemeni officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the cable.

    The cable said the embassy would push senior Yemeni officials to provide an accounting of its radioactive materials and ensure storage facilities were secure.


    I guess it’s a slow news day depending upon how you read the article.


  73. OS,

    Why didn’t you just say that Manning’s treatment does not comply with any accepted definition of sensory deprivation? If you could associate Manning’s current conditions with any accepted standard in which those conditions would meet the criteria for sensory deprivation, you would have done so instead of redirecting the readers of this blog.

    Manning is permitted to read books. He gets to watch TV. He is permitted to have visitors. He is even doing yoga. Walking (even in a figure eight pattern) is exercise. He is not kept in the dark, nor is he held in a sound proof room.

    Natural light: We have currently have a large number of people in out military who don’t get to enjoy natural light. We call them “submariners”.

    “The CIA’s more recent thinking is to do a more subtle version of keeping the subject isolated, a minimum of external stimulation such as reading materials and no exercise.”

    Please tell us where you came up with that piece of information.

    “The chances of useful information coming from someone kept in the degree of isolation that Private Manning is kept is minimal at best and completely wrong at worst.”

    What useful information? I haven’t seen any reports that indicate Manning to be the subject of interrogation. He has been charged.

  74. Elaine M.,

    I have radiocative material in my house. I don’t have surveillance cameras. Nor do I have a guard posted when I leave.

    Are you scared yet? :) Would you feel safer if I loaded the material into my car when I leave?

    Much like the article presented, my ambiguity is likely to give you reason to feel unsafe. If I was to disclose that the radioactive material I was talking about was the cathode ray tubes in some old televisions and the radium dials on some old watches and clocks, you probably wouldn’t think twice about it.

    Did the article say what kind of radioactive material had been stored at the facility?

  75. BBB: I get the impression you are either trying to play the devil’s advocate or are being deliberately obtuse.

    What we know of Manning’s detention does indeed fall within the boundaries of clinically significant sensory deprivation. I do not know where you got the impression that it does not. And as far as where I get my information, this is not legal discovery and I do not reveal my sources of information. BBB, you are not discussing this with an amateur. I first became professionally interested in sensory deprivation in the 1960s when, as a graduate student, I read of experiments on SD at McGill University.

  76. “What we know of Manning’s detention does indeed fall within the boundaries of clinically significant sensory deprivation.”

    Then you should be able to point us to some peer reviewed article that shares your opinion.

    “And as far as where I get my information, this is not legal discovery and I do not reveal my sources of information.”

    Seeking refuge, are we?


    “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.”

  78. This is interesting. It explains the tactical leaks of otherwise official and closely held documents regarding charges against Assange by the Swedes.

    “Rove’s hand seen in Julian Assange prosecution, sources allege”


    “For at least 10 years, Rove has been connected to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik. More recently, Fredrik, who is known as “the Ronald Reagan of Europe,” has contracted Rove to help with his 2010 re-election campaign.

    Rove was said to have fled to Sweden during the prosecution of former Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, who believes his prosecution to have been politically motivated.

    “Clearly, it appears that [Rove], who claims to be of Swedish descent, feels a kinship to Sweden . . . and he has taken advantage of it several times,” the source added.

    Shuler’s source speculated that Rove could be trying to protect the Bush legacy from documents that WikiLeaks may have. “The very guy who has released the documents that damage the Bushes the most is also the guy that the Bush’s number one operative can control by being the Swedish prime minister’s brain and intelligence and economic advisor.” ”

  79. “For one, I’ve been saying all along (with many of the other regulars here) that not only “it can happen here” but that “it is happening here”.

    “It has happened here” is my only quibble, with a post that I otherwise totally agree with.

  80. BBB,

    From the article:

    “The official, whose name was removed, presses the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa to urge his own government to secure the material.”

    Evidently, a Yemeni official was concerned. Maybe the official was a whistleblower.


    Also from the article:

    “Matthew Bunn, a Harvard University expert on nuclear theft and terrorism, said the material in Yemen included some “very nasty” substances and could be far more dangerous if “dispersed” in a terrorist attack.

    “But I believe it has since been removed to a secure location,” he said.”

    Let’s hope Matthew Bunn is correct–and that no one with evil intentions got hold of any of those “very nasty” substances.


    BTW, you can keep those cathode ray tubes of yours in your house…in your car…in your garage–I’ll still sleep at night.


  81. Elaine M.,

    “BTW, you can keep those cathode ray tubes of yours in your house…in your car…in your garage–I’ll still sleep at night.”

    It’s when I decide to put them in the trash can that you should be concerned. :)

    If you want to read something that should cause you to be concerned; read this:
    (It’s ok to accept the certificate. It’s just out of date.)

    The study claims that the Radium 228 is due to “natural erosion”. (Page 3)

    What they don’t tell you is that there was a big mess (a spill of radioacive material -Radium 228) at Keyport in the early 1980s. The Radium was used to create all those neat glow-in-the-dark dials used on Navy ships (clocks, guages, etc). It was all over the place and the cleanup took quite a long time.

    I guess the radium must be just naturally eroding from the places that it remained after cleanup. :)

  82. Elaine M:
    I did not know about the two link limit. I have a comment with four links waiting for the moderator. The links are to some articles that I hope will be of interest regarding sensory deprivation research going back to the early 1950’s.

  83. here is enough research literature on sensory deprivation to fill a library. We are not talking about sensory deprivation experiments as a kind of natural high or therapy, which Dr. John Lilly studied. I am talking about SD as a means of punishment and/or coercion. Here is a paper going back to Operation Artichoke in the early 1950′s. PDF document warning, may be slow loading.

    This next item is by Dr. Ewen Cameron on sensory deprivation as it might problems in space flight, among other things. The significance of this study is not sensory deprivation as a part of corrections, but the kind of sensory deprivation that might be experienced in space flight. As a side note, the Army Air Corps became concerned as far back as WW-II. Pilots ferrying single engine planes for long stretches began to hallucinate after several hours. the point is, sensory deprivation can occur as a side effect of simply working in an environment with little sensory stimulation and a lot of boredom.

  84. Curiously, scholarly articles on the American Psychological Association web site indicating possible complicity between the APA and certain government projects have disappeared. Here is Dr. Jeff Kaye (aka Valtin) with what he learned:

    Or consider this publication by Dr. Hernan Reyes. This is moderately long at 27 pages.

    Many articles that I would have liked to link to are behind subscription firewalls. They are easy enough to find if one knows where to look and have a credit card handy. I think I am done with this. The reason I have spent this much time on this thread is that I think this is an important subject.

  85. Otteray Scribe,

    Thank you for your contributions to the thread and others.


    Otteray Scribe displayed his credentials, would you do the same?

  86. Please ignore the previous link. I was trying to embed an interview with Julian Assange. (The interview can be found via the Huffington Post link cited in my comment at 10:58.)

    From the same link:

    Despite claiming he had never met Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange jumped to the jailed U.S. Army intelligence analyst’s defense in an interview with Cenk Uygur on MSNBC.

    While discussing Manning — who is said to have provided WikiLeaks with access to the confidential documents which continue to emerge online — Assange responded, “If we are to believe the allegations, then this man [is] a political prisoner in the United States.” On reports that Manning is being kept in solitary confinement with limited access to exercise and even sleep, Assange went on to note, “He’s been a political prisoner without trial…this is serious business.”

    Currently being kept on house arrest in England, where a court battle is being waged over rape charges filed by two Swedish women, Assange also shot back at critics such as Joe Biden, who called the WikiLeaks founder a “high-tech terrorist,” and Sarah Palin, who suggested Assange be pursued with the same urgency as al Qaeda.

    “It’s clear that whoever the terrorists are here, it’s not us,” Assange said, calling the growing U.S. case against him “arguably unconstitutional.” He then added, “All members of the press and all the American people who believe in freedom and the good founding principles of the Revolutionary fathers have got to pull together and resist this attack on the First Amendment.”

  87. “Curiously, scholarly articles on the American Psychological Association web site indicating possible complicity between the APA and certain government projects have disappeared.”

    Otary Scribe,
    As a former member of the profession I have no doubt that the APA had dealings with the government that they would not like known. One of the reasons I stopped doing psychotherapy was because many members of the profession I have known lacked ehtics in their dealings, either knowingly, or by self-deception.

  88. Many of those involved in this country’s torture program are presumably enjoying the holidays with their families. The same cannot be said, of course, about Bradley Manning…

    Manning’s message on Christmas Eve: ‘I greatly appreciate everyone’s support’ By Stephen C. Webster

    Friday, December 24th, 2010 — 2:44 pm

    “I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time,” he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer.

    “I’m also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense,” Manning continued. “I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions.”

    “Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”

  89. Anon Nurse, young Private Manning is showing more grace and kindness than those who would imprison him. I saw the Raw Story article and as I read it, my impression was that he is going to be harder to break than than those who hold him may expect. He displays the same sort of kindness toward those who hold him that Jesus spoke from the Cross, forgiving them for what they do.

  90. Otteray Scribe,

    Beautifully articulated, on your part…

    Private Manning’s definitely showing true “grace under pressure” and, as you indicated, his kindness towards his “captors” (for lack of a word) is quite remarkable.

  91. No sunlight for Bradley Manning in four weeks.

    Not a surprise… Confirms Otteray Scribes’s conclusion in an earlier comment.–_courageous_whistleblower_%27physically_deteriorating%27?page=2

    (possibly already posted…)

    Manning reported last weekend he had not seen sunlight in four weeks, nor does he interact with other people but a few hours on the weekend.

    The human nervous system needs a certain amount of sensory and social stimulation to retain normal brain functioning.

    The effects of this deprivation on individuals varies, and some people are affected more severely or quickly, while others hold out longer against the boredom and daily grind of dullness that never seems to end.

  92. RT interview with founder of

    ‘Spy services feed info to whistleblowers to keep tabs on site visitors’

    “ was publishing classified and secret documents long before WikiLeaks made headlines. Cryptome co-founder John Young told RT such sites are allowed to stay online so that spy services might keep an eye on their visitors. There is no secrecy on the Internet, John Young warned.”

    Of course, most are well aware of his last point…

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