ATTENTION: The Boards will be closed permanently on May 28th, 2014. Posting will be disabled on April 28th, 2014. More Info

The Wrongful Imprisonment of Brian Manning

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Dec. 16 2010, 6:19 pm

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/14/manning/index.html


Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime.  Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.  Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning's detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.


Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems.  He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.


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.



In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado:  all without so much as having been convicted of anything.  And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.


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.  In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture."  By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity.  A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."


For that reason, many Western nations -- and even some non-Western nations notorious for human rights abuses -- refuse to employ prolonged solitary confinement except in the most extreme cases of prisoner violence.  "It’s an awful thing, solitary," John McCain wrote of his experience in isolated confinement in Vietnam. “It crushes your spirit."  As Gawande documented: "A U.S. military study of almost a hundred and fifty naval aviators returned from imprisonment in Vietnam . . . reported that they found social isolation to be as torturous and agonizing as any physical abuse they suffered."  Gawande explained that America’s application of this form of torture to its own citizens is what spawned the torture regime which President Obama vowed to end:


This past year, both the Republican and the Democratic Presidential candidates came out firmly for banning torture and closing the facility in Guantánamo Bay, where hundreds of prisoners have been held in years-long isolation. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain, however, addressed the question of whether prolonged solitary confinement is torture. . . .


This is the dark side of American exceptionalism. . . . Our willingness to discard these standards for American prisoners made it easy to discard the Geneva Conventions prohibiting similar treatment of foreign prisoners of war, to the detriment of America’s moral stature in the world.  In much the same way that a previous generation of Americans countenanced legalized segregation, ours has countenanced legalized torture. And there is no clearer manifestation of this than our routine use of solitary confinement . . . .


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



Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here.  But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico.  He describes palpable changes in Manning's physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he's been visiting him.  Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.



The plight of Manning has largely been overshadowed by the intense media fixation on WikiLeaks, so it's worth underscoring what it is that he's accused of doing and what he said in his own reputed words about these acts.  If one believes the authenticity of the highly edited chat logs of Manning's online conversations with Adrian Lamo that have been released by Wired (that magazine inexcusably continues to conceal large portions of those logs), Manning clearly believed that he was a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives, and probably was exactly that. 



Manning: i mean what if i were someone more malicious- i could've sold to russia or china, and made bank?


Lamo: why didn’t you?


Manning: because it's public data


Lamo: i mean, the cables


Manning: it belongs in the public domain -information should be free - it belongs in the public domain - because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge - if its out in the open… it should be a public good.


That's a whistleblower in the purest and most noble form:  discovering government secrets of criminal and corrupt acts and then publicizing them to the world not for profit, not to give other nations an edge, but to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms."  Given how much Manning has been demonized -- at the same time that he's been rendered silent by the ban on his communication with any media -- it's worthwhile to keep all of that in mind.


But ultimately, what one thinks of Manning's alleged acts is irrelevant to the issue here.  The U.S. ought at least to abide by minimal standards of humane treatment in how it detains him.  That's true for every prisoner, at all times.  But departures from such standards are particularly egregious where, as here, the detainee has merely been accused, but never convicted, of wrongdoing.  These inhumane conditions make a mockery of Barack Obama's repeated pledge to end detainee abuse and torture, as prolonged isolation -- exacerbated by these other deprivations -- is at least as damaging, as violative of international legal standards, and almost as reviled around the world, as the waterboard, hypothermia and other Bush-era tactics that caused so much controversy.


End of article.


Now let me be clear about the title of this thread. I phrased it in a manner to be deliberately provocative in order to elicit a response such as “why of course he should be imprisoned”.


 


The point is not whether there is probable cause to believe that Manning violated the law, or whether he should be tried for doing so. The point is that his imprisonment should be considered wrongful because of the conditions under which he seems to have been placed. That the government’s response to whistle blower who was in part motivated by his objections to people being wrongfully tortured is to engage in actions that arguably amount to torture vindicates the actions of Manning. Clearly, any and all non-violent acts to end such practices are legitimate. Do we have to wait until we are the ones subject to such arbitrary treatment before we finally acknowledge that there is something very basically wrong here?


 


For those who might argue that the treatment Manning is receiving is fully consonant with the Code of Military Justice, I would argue that the Code of Military Justice then needs to be amended.


 


For those who would object that my sources are “biased”, then I would ask them to provide clear and convincing evidence that such bias has resulted in a mis-statement of the facts.


 



 


Brian Manning


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Dec. 16 2010, 7:07 pm

this guy got off easy in an earlier day he would have been executed

___Lucifer___

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1142

Report this Dec. 16 2010, 10:29 pm

Sounds pretty cut and dried to me, since the documents in question were classified.

Stories like this frighten me on some level. If some 22 year old punk can get access to and leak classified documents, it's scary to think what a foreign spy would be able to do.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 5:59 am

Quote: UNTRugby @ Dec. 16 2010, 7:07 pm

>this guy got off easy in an earlier day he would have been executed


In an earlier day we had kings ruling by royal fiat, slavery, etc. What was done in earlier days does not make it right to act in such a manner today.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 6:03 am

Quote: ___Lucifer___ @ Dec. 16 2010, 10:29 pm

>Sounds pretty cut and dried to me, since the documents in question were classified. Stories like this frighten me on some level. If some 22 year old punk can get access to and leak classified documents, it's scary to think what a foreign spy would be able to do.


A sound argument for trying and imprisoning him, not for subjecting him in prison to what they have done to him (assuming the cited description is correct). Remember, he has received no trial.


 


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 6:41 am

Quote: caltrek2 @ Dec. 17 2010, 5:59 am

Quote: UNTRugby @ Dec. 16 2010, 7:07 pm

>

>this guy got off easy in an earlier day he would have been executed

In an earlier day we had kings ruling by royal fiat, slavery, etc. What was done in earlier days does not make it right to act in such a manner today.


how do you think enemies of the US should be treated? when we catch osama should we put him and brian in a cell with a few small time crooks and they can spend the day playing spades and ps3?


this would be different is he was claiming innocence but he has admitted that he did it.

covertness

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 95

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 7:41 am

The point is not whether there is probable cause to believe that Manning violated the law, or whether he should be tried for doing so. The point is that his imprisonment should be considered wrongful because of the conditions under which he seems to have been placed. That the government’s response to whistle blower who was in part motivated by his objections to people being wrongfully tortured is to engage in actions that arguably amount to torture vindicates the actions of Manning. Clearly, any and all non-violent acts to end such practices are legitimate. Do we have to wait until we are the ones subject to such arbitrary treatment before we finally acknowledge that there is something very basically wrong here?


Pfc. Manning was charged on July 5 with four specifications under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for violating Army Regulation 25-2 (Information Assurance Policy), and eight specifications under Article 134 for violating federal statutes related to the receipt of classified information (18 U.S.C. 793) and wrongful access of a government computer (18 U.S.C. 1030

I won't try to educate you as to the UCMJ issues. You seem to think that his violation of his security clearance is legitimate since he disagreed with the contents of the memos he was privy to and those he illegally accessed. Under the terms of the Code of Conduct, he had a chain of command to follow if he had a problem. He should have reported it to his immediate supervisor then that person's supervisor, and so on until he was either satisfied with the response or was removed from the situation. That's how it works in the military. You can also go directly to the Judge Advocate General's office to report things you think are illegal. There's a system in place for this and he ignored it and is suffering the consequences for that error.

I'd be all for putting him in the general population during his pre-trial confinement. Of course he'd be dead within 24 hours. He's in a military prison remember, housing criminal members of the military. They might be crooks but they still wear the uniform and I promise you he wouldn't last 24 hours in their presence.

And lastly, anybody who has not worn the uniform and is wholly ignorant of the Code of Conduct and the UCMJ has no business criticizing it. Manning violated the most sacred creed of any Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine; "Never shall I fail my comrades". His actions put others in jeopardy and he is suffering the consequences of those actions. Cry me a river if you don't like it. I'll be happy when death makes his eyes go white and his body starts to bloat in decay.

___Lucifer___

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1142

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 4:26 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Dec. 17 2010, 6:03 am

...A sound argument for trying and imprisoning him, not for subjecting him in prison to what they have done to him (assuming the cited description is correct). Remember, he has received no trial


Enlighten me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that US servicemen were subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, not the Constitution.

I'm sure someone in the military will find a way to spin this into a case of terriorism, so that they can use that as an excuse for their mistreatment of Manning. I'm surpised they haven't shipped him down to Guantanamo Bay.

Doc Boomstick

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 178

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 4:49 pm

I don't think you can complain about his imprisonment when he has already admitted the crime. His argument is that he was justified doing it, which is nowhere near reasonable. His time served before his conviction will no doubt be credited toward his sentence. As for the conditions of his cell, I don't really think they are inhumane. He's hardly in "the hole" at all. There just isn't anyone in a cell with him. The no pillow thing seems a little odd so I wouldn't mind hearing that explained, but I hardly think any of this constitutes torture or inhumane treatment. We don't actually know where this info came from so I'm not going to get out my "save Manning" poster yet.

I've yet to hear one legit explanation for how Manning is not guilty of this crime. He willfully disobeyed standing orders and violated rules regarding classified information only so he could release something that serves no other person than to undermine the US gov't and damage its credibility. What were his goals if not malicious? His justification for his intentions was that he didn't sell them to anybody. So what? They got them for free.

Mirror Founder

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 327

Report this Dec. 17 2010, 5:35 pm

We can at least take comfort in the fact that this will never happen again as soon as Bush is out office.

covertness

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 95

Report this Dec. 18 2010, 5:17 am

Quote: ___Lucifer___ @ Dec. 17 2010, 4:26 pm

Quote: caltrek2 @ Dec. 17 2010, 6:03 am

...A sound argument for trying and imprisoning him, not for subjecting him in prison to what they have done to him (assuming the cited description is correct). Remember, he has received no trial
Enlighten me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that US servicemen were subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, not the Constitution. I'm sure someone in the military will find a way to spin this into a case of terriorism, so that they can use that as an excuse for their mistreatment of Manning. I'm surpised they haven't shipped him down to Guantanamo Bay.


You are correct. Service members are subject to the UCMJ and do not enjoy all the freedoms contained in the Constitution. Price you pay for serving.

No this isn't terrorism. It's espionage regardless of who the recipient of the product was.

covertness

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 95

Report this Dec. 18 2010, 5:19 am

Quote: Mirror Founder @ Dec. 17 2010, 5:35 pm

We can at least take comfort in the fact that this will never happen again as soon as Bush is out office.


Dude, Bush has been out of office for two years. Think you spilled some of your kool-aid there sport.

caltrek2

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2654

Report this Dec. 18 2010, 6:29 am

None of what has been stated here goes to the point of my argument, that Manning should not be subjected to the kind of psychological abuse that he is being made to suffer.


Let me review:


Point: Manning has confessed to the actions he took.


Counter point: That still should not deprive him of a hearing in which he is allowed to put forward a defense. A posssible defense could include:


1) Protection as a whistle blower.


2) An argument that he had an obligation under the principles established in the Nurmberg trials to expose war crimes and other violations of international law.


That a military tribunal is apt not to have much sympathy to these arguments is irrelevant. He is entitled to make such arguments.


Point: Being placed with other prisoners would endanger his own life and safety.


Counterpoint: He is also being deprived of contact with outside individuals who would want to visit him. There is no excuse for depriving him of social contact in a manner that threatens his long-term mental health.


Point: This is happening under Obama.


Counterpoint: As the Commander in Chief, Obama has ultimate responsibility for Manning's treatment. That I prefer Obama's policies on other issues does not mean that I would argue that his policies on these sorts of issues are any better than that of Bush. He is a better president than was Bush, he is not a perfect president.


As Americans, we sometimes suffer from too much pluribus and not enough unum. - Arthur Schelsinger, Jr.

Mirror Founder

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 327

Report this Dec. 18 2010, 7:18 am

Quote: covertness @ Dec. 18 2010, 5:19 am

Quote: Mirror Founder @ Dec. 17 2010, 5:35 pm

>We can at least take comfort in the fact that this will never happen again as soon as Bush is out office.
Dude, Bush has been out of office for two years. Think you spilled some of your kool-aid there sport.


 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

UNTRugby

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1212

Report this Dec. 18 2010, 7:59 am

>>Counter point: That still should not deprive him of a hearing in which he is allowed to put forward a defense.


he will be getting a hearing once the investigation is concluded


>>1) Protection as a whistle blower.


he is NOT a whistle blower as covertness has shown the proper procedure for "whistle blowing" in the military. He STOLE classified documents and put them out for public access. They'll call that treason.


>>There is no excuse for depriving him of social contact in a manner that threatens his long-term mental health.


hes under charges of leaking govt secrets, letting him have "social" contact could facilitate his crimes. This is a kid crying for attention and if they let him talk to anyone he would tell as many secrets as he could just so people would listen heres how a childhood friend described him: "When he was a kid, people wouldn't listen to him," Moore said. "He would get upset and slam books on the desk if people wouldn't listen to him or his point of view." 

Forum Permissions

You cannot post new topics in this forum

You cannot reply to topics in this forum

You cannot delete posts in this forum