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. Welcome back OS. You were missed. I feel the same as you about the treatment Pvt. Manning is suffering through. Ever since Bush started this nonsense, they spent enormous amounts of time producing the big lie that it was not torture and was saving lives. I expected more from a Democratic administration.

  2. Thanks everyone. I just came from his bedside. It will not be long. Your support is accepted gratefully.

    But, regardless of what happens to us, we must never lose sight of the bigger picture of the horrors visited on the living. I have been distracted but while driving I have been reflecting on Private Manning and his family. Cancer is a disease and we can accept that no cure is yet on the horizon. Some survive and some do not–that is the way of the vagaries of nature.

    On the other hand, what is happening to Private Manning is deliberate, man-made, wanton and cruel. When I started learning about the precious first ten Amendments back in the fourth grade, I was particularly impressed when our teacher explained why there was a prohibition against cruel and unusual treatment of a prisoner, no matter what they had done. I am old enough to have been riveted to the newsreel and print accounts of the trials at Nuremberg and of the trials of Japanese war criminals for the cruel treatment of prisoners of war.

    What in the name of all that is Holy has happened to our country? Manning might have been shot as a traitor in 1943, following a Courts Martial, but he would not have been tortured or mistreated before trial. In 1946, his jailers would have been given lengthy sentences for war crimes. I have read the accounts of the treatment of the Nazi war criminals before trial. I have a copy of Dr. Gilbert’s book. He was the Army psychologist who gave the pre-trial detainees their tests and he mentions nothing remotely resembling the treatment of Manning. In fact, I think he would have written about it had it been present, because the sleep deprivation and enforced nudity, etc., would have invalidated the tests. He felt his testing was valid and reliable.

  3. Otteray Scribe 1, March 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

    I am so sorry to hear your news.
    There are no words but my thoughts are with you and yours…

  4. Otteray Scribe

    I’m so very sorry to learn that your grandson will not survive. Your family surely has known the worst things that can happen to any family. Please know that my thoughts are with you and yours.

  5. Elaine,
    I saw that story about Crowley being forced out. Thanks for linking to it. It is incredible.
    Swarthmore Mom,
    I agree with Mr. Sullivan that Obama now owns this issue. I hold him personally responsible for the proper care of Pvt. Manning.

  6. rafflaw,

    WH forces P.J. Crowley to resign for condemning abuse of Manning
    By Glenn Greenwald (3/13/2011)

    On Friday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denounced the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid,” forcing President Obama to address those comments in a Press Conference and defend the treatment of Manning. Today, CNN reports, Crowley has “abruptly resigned” under “pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case.” In other words, he was forced to “resign” — i.e., fired.

    So, in Barack Obama’s administration, it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse an American citizen in detention who has been convicted of nothing by consigning him to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing “suicide watch” restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade. But speaking out against that abuse is a firing offense. Good to know. As Matt Yglesias just put it: “Sad statement about America that P.J. Crowley is the one being forced to resign over Bradley Manning.” And as David Frum added: “Crowley firing: one more demonstration of my rule: Republican pols fear their base, Dem pols despise it.”

    Of course, it’s also the case in Barack Obama’s world that those who instituted a worldwide torture and illegal eavesdropping regime are entitled to full-scale presidential immunity, while powerless individuals who blow the whistle on high-level wrongdoing and illegality are subjected to the most aggressive campaign of prosecution and persecution the country has ever seen. So protecting those who are abusing Manning, while firing Crowley for condemning the abuse, is perfectly consistent with the President’s sense of justice.

  7. “That is what makes me so angry at the needless cruelty, insensitivity and unkindness I see when I look at the political landscape around me”


    Tears came to my eyes and as I read you last comment and the worsening condition of your Grandson. This life we lead is so capricious and offtimes cruel, that the only alternative is for humanity to band together as siblings, facing the vagaries of life as one. Life is such a damned crap-shoot that each of us becomes familiar with personal tragedies happening to ones we love.

    As I know your family and friends are, we must all band together, in support of our fellow humans. Yet many see only their personal interests and pleasures as real.
    One cannot diminish the sadness of this affliction upon this young man and for those who love them. There are no comforting words to relieve the pain felt now and later by you all. The best I and we here can do is to allow our sadness and empathy for you touch our own hearts and express the hope that you all will be able to bear this unbearable pain and be strengthened in your bonds by it.

  8. OS,
    I am glad that you got to spend some time with your grandson. Cancer is so scary and so brutal. I know that your presence will give both of you some modicum of peace. Let us know if we can do anything.

  9. “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,”

    Sgt. Bowermaster,

    I respect your service and your sensitivity. As a retired serviceman you are no doubt more familiar with the UCMJ than I, so could you please cite for me where torture is allowed prior to conviction, or after for that matter?

  10. Otteray Scribe, I am sorry to hear your news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. OS, I am so sorry to hear this latest news. My thoughts are with you and your family. I am very glad that you are have been with him.

  12. Otteray Scribe,

    The Cord

    We are connected,
    My child and I, by
    An invisible cord
    Not seen by the eye.

    It’s not like the cord
    That connects us ’til birth
    This cord can’t been seen
    By any on Earth.

    This cord does it’s work
    Right from the start.
    It binds us together
    Attached to my heart.

    I know that it’s there
    Though no one can see
    The invisible cord
    From my child to me.

    The strength of this cord
    Is hard to describe.
    It can’t be destroyed
    It can’t be denied.

    It’s stronger than any cord
    Man could create
    It withstands the test
    Can hold any weight.

  13. Otteray Scribe,

    Robert Mercer, the first husband of one of my dearest friends–award-winning children’s author and illustrator Grace Lin–had Ewings Sarcoma. Grace organized some fundraisers for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to raise money for the Jimmy Fund and cancer research. She and Robert even compiled a book of poems and and of art created by famous children’s picture book illustrators. All of the book’s royalties went Dana-Farber. I have several copies of the book. Email me your address. I would love to send you a copy of the book, “Robert’s Snowflakes: Artists’ Snowflakes for Cancer’s Cure.”

    You can find some information about the Robert’s Snow fundraiser and the book at the following links:

  14. Thanks, everyone, for the support and kind words. I got here a little while ago and spent time with him. I can tell you the clock is winding down for him very rapidly. It is a particular aggressive type of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Hospice is trying to keep him comfortable. He just had his 17th birthday. It will be his last. Sometimes the fates are unkind, which is all the more reason we must be kind to each other.

    That is what makes me so angry at the needless cruelty, insensitivity and unkindness I see when I look at the political landscape around me, and that is the topic of this thread. Thanks again, everyone. Thanks especially Rafferty for posting this and Professor Turley for making this forum available to us.

  15. Infantryman,

    I echo rafflaw in thanking you for your service. Make no mistake, First Sergeant, I know that I am free to sit here at this blog expressing my thoughts because men like you answered the call and served this nation. I trust you will always be given the genuine respect your service deservedly earned.

  16. as some would say OS….Keep the Faith….it is not in anyone’s time but time….know that and run with it…Please keep us informed…

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