Stop The Torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning


Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger


The nightmare started back in July of 2010.  Pvt. Bradley Manning was arrested and detained in the Brig at the Quantico Marine Base on allegations that he stole and then leaked classified documents to Wikileaks.  The conditions that Pvt. Manning has been held under have been outrageous from the start. He has suffered shackling, solitary confinement and he has not been allowed normal contact with visitors and the outside world.  His visitors have been denied access to him and now the latest humiliating tactic being used by the Department of Defense is to force Pvt. Manning to strip naked in his cell for hours! 

“All Americans should be horrified and outraged by yesterday’s revelations that PFC Bradley Manning, already being held under Maximum Security and a Prevention of Injury (POI) order, has now been forced to spend seven hours each night and morning stripped naked:  Last night, PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.  The Duty Brig Supervisor (DBS) arrived shortly after 5:00 a.m. When he arrived, PFC Manning was called to attention. The DBS walked through the facility to conduct his detainee count. Afterwards, PFC Manning was told to sit on his bed. About ten minutes later, a guard came to his cell to return his clothing.” ‘ Firedoglake   How can a detainee who has not been convicted of anything and has been an exemplary prisoner be subjected to this kind of treatment?  It appears that this latest degrading treatment is in response to a remark made by Manning when his Article 138 request to be removed from the suicide watch was denied.   David E. Combs, Esq.  

‘“Brig officials notified defense lawyers that mental health providers were not consulted in deciding to strip manning of his clothes.  “This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification. It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated,” Coombs said. “No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.”’  RawStory   We have a situation where the United State government has been holding a prisoner who has only recently been charged with leaking classified documents and more recently the charges were amended to add in a charge of “aiding the enemy”.  This is not some convicted killer that requires some tougher sanctions to keep him under control.  This is a soldier who has been a model prisoner who just wants to be treated according to the law and according to normal military procedures. 

Didn’t President Obama make it a campaign issue that he considered the Bush interrogation methods as torture and that those methods were illegal and that they would not be continued under his administration?  I realize that the claim has been made that those methods have been outlawed at Gitmo, but I wonder why they haven’t been outlawed at Quantico?  If Pvt. Manning is guilty of leaking classified documents, then prove it in a trial or court-martial. 

Is there another reason why Manning has been the recipient of these harsh measures?  Could the Obama Administration and the Department of Defense just be embarrassed that the leaked documents actually showed that they had been lying to the American people by taking official steps to prevent Bush-era torture from being investigated internationally?  Anyone who reads about the horrible treatment that Private Manning has been receiving from our government, should be ashamed and outraged.  What are we going to do about it?

Additional Sources:  Emptywheel

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

157 thoughts on “Stop The Torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning”

  1. Infantryman,
    Thank you for you service. With all due respect, you statement assumes that Manning is guilty when he hasn’t even been tried yet. Your statement also assumes that stripping a detainee or prisoner is a legal procedure. Finally, who was harmed by the leaks? From the reports I have seen, the only “harm” was the government was embarrassed by the disclosures. Thanks for your comments. Stop by again!

  2. OS, My best thoughts for your family and grandson; may he regain his health soon.

  3. Pvt. Manning, is being stripped? Who cares! What about all the people he hurt by leaking the information he leaked! Sometimes you need to feel the pain, to really understand the pain you have caused! Just my thoughts on this matter.
    Bill Bowermaster
    1stSgt USMC (ret)

  4. OS,

    I am so sorry your Grandson is gravely ill, may he soon be well. Peace and Hope, to you and your family during this anxious time.

  5. Otteray Scribe:

    I and my entire family send our best wishes to you and your family and we pray as one for your grandson’s recovery.

  6. OS,

    Copy that on your grandson. As others have expressed, I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

  7. In a news conference today, President Obama was asked about Pvt. Manning and he said he was assured by the Pentagon that the treatment was necessary!! Mr. President, Asking the Pentagon who is ordering this torture if it is proper is like asking the Thief if he stole from you? The President had the opportunity to right a wrong, but he bailed on Manning and the American public.

  8. Thanks, Raff.

    I am working on a diary about the effects of cumulative sleep deprivation. I expect to publish it on DKos in a few days. Right now, I am about to leave for Alabama to see my teenage grandson who is gravely ill.

    When I post that diary, I will link to it here.

    1. Otteray Scribe:

      Please also accept my own best wishes for your grandson and your family. We all hope and pray that he will recover.

      Jonathan Turley

  9. OS,
    Thanks for the great link to the latest fallout from the illegal and oppressive treatment that Pvt. Manning is suffering through.

  10. There is a news item up this morning. British journalist (now a journalism fellow at Harvard) reports that US State Department spokesman has slammed the treatment of Private Manning.

    Greenwald also has the story and a summary is posted on Daily Kos by a blogger who has been following the story. There are several good links in this account.

  11. Gyges,
    Well said! This kind of “treatment” is torture and the experts are pretty much in agreement. The forced nudity is one more part of the process and it was a central part of the Bush torture program and was seen in Gitmo and elsewhere. Yesterday the State Department Press Secretary voiced his opposition to the treatment. Since it is public knowledge, you know the top has approved this treatment. President Obama has a lot to answer for on this one!

  12. Buckeye,

    That’d be a valid point, except for the fact that all of the opinions calling prolonged solitary isolation torture come from well before he was arrested. We didn’t see X and decide that X was torture. We thought X was torture, and then when we saw X happening said “this is torture.”

  13. Elaine,
    That was a great link to Manning’s rebuttal. That treatment is insane and illegal. If the rebuttal is denied, I can’t imagine a Federal judge would allow this treatment to continue.

  14. From David Coombs
    10 march 2011

    Article 138 Complaint
    On March 1, 2011, the Quantico Base Commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike, denied PFC Manning’s request to be removed from Prevention of Injury Watch and to have his custody classification reduced from Maximum to Medium Detention-In. The defense filed the following rebuttal to Colonel Choike’s response. Colonel Choike will now complete his action on the Article 138 complaint, and then forward the proceedings to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, for his final review. If Secretary Mabus denies PFC Manning’s requested relief, the defense will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Army Court of Criminal

    Link to the rebuttal:

  15. Amnesty calls for protests over Bradley Manning’s treatment
    March 10, 2011

    In late January, Amnesty International wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates denouncing the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention as “unnecessarily harsh and punitive” and in “breach the USA’s obligations under international standards and treaties.” In the wake of the prolonged forced nudity to which Manning is now being subjected, Amnesty has escalated its denunciations: as the Associated Press put it today, the group is now “urging people to complain to the Obama administration about the confinement.”

    In particular, Amnesty said that “the conditions inflicted on Bradley Manning . . . amount to inhumane treatment by the US authorities” and “appear to breach the USA’s human rights obligations.” As a result, the group is encouraging as many Americans as possible to demand an end to these conditions (independent of Amnesty, there is a planned protest outside the Quantico brig on March 20, expected to be fairly large in size, with others being planned at military detention facilities around the country for later dates). In case anyone is wondering what Amnesty is: it’s the world’s premiere human rights organization which Democrats once held up as authoritative on issues on detainee abuse circa 2001- January 20, 2009 — remember that?

    Yesterday, the Quantico base commander denied Manning’s formal request for less harsh treatment — including an end to his forced nudity and 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement. That request — which is really a formal complaint of mistreatment — will now be forwarded to the Secretary of Navy, and if he also rejects it, then Manning’s lawyer will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Manning’s counsel today released his rebuttal to the Commander’s decision and it supplies much more detailed information about just how harsh and punitive is Manning’s treatment; Marcy Wheeler documents how similar in language and content is this treatment to many of the core methods of degradation popularized during the Bush administration. But as we well know, caring about what Amnesty thinks is — just like concerns over detainee abuse and indefinite detention — so very 2005.

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