Torturing Bradley Manning

Mara

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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.

(see article for more)

This is disgusting. If this is even remotely true, every single human being who has made the decision to keep doing this to him should be executed for crimes against humanity. It doesn't matter if he committed treason and embarrassed us. That does not excuse long-term torture. I'm ashamed of my country.

EDIT: Mild hyperbole up there because I was upset. Everyone shouldn't be executed, but they should be brought to trial and execution should be on the table as a possible punishment.

EDIT2: In imaginary Mara land, theoretical jerks facing execution would suddenly realize that executing people was bad and agree to stop doing it, and then would not be executed. I sometimes forget that nobody else lives in imaginary Mara land. :)
 
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Don

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Yeah, Mara's got it covered.
 

backslashbaby

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From the article in the OP:
Subjecting a detainee like Manning to this level of prolonged cruel and inhumane detention can thus jeopardize the ability of the U.S. to secure extradition for other prisoners, as these conditions are viewed in much of the civilized world as barbaric. Moreover, because Manning holds dual American and U.K. citizenship (his mother is British), it is possible for British agencies and human rights organizations to assert his consular rights against these oppressive conditions. At least some preliminary efforts are underway in Britain to explore that mechanism as a means of securing more humane treatment for Manning. Whatever else is true, all of this illustrates what a profound departure from international norms is the treatment to which the U.S. Government is subjecting him.

I do think folks have a right to a speedy trial, and I am often discouraged by the government's interpretation of that. Solitary confinement is an awful thing, too, but many prisoners who are at risk in the GP are put in cells alone. I really would be afraid for his safety if he were roomed with other folks.

I have to comment on the part of the OP article that I quoted, though. Consider this situation in the UK fairly recently, just for more perspective. The folks in question are academics doing research. They were also put in solitary; if you read their own accounts it tells more:

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

Arrests and release

In 2008 Rizwaan Sabir downloaded a 1,500-page document connected to his research on militant Islam from the US Justice Department website. The document, known as the Al-Qaeda training manual, is also available in book form from Amazon.[3][4] [5] Sabir was in the process of preparing his forthcoming PhD proposal, and he was being advised and helped by his friend Hicham Yezza who was a member of staff at the university of Nottingham at the time. Sabir often sent Yezza copies of documents and reading materials he was using for his research, and the Al-Qaeda manual was one of them. The document was noticed on Yezza's computer by a colleague and as a result the university authorities notified the police.


On 14 May 2008, Yezza was arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of being involved in the "commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism".[6] When Sabir tried to support Yezza, he was arrested under the same charge.[5][7]


The arrest sparked a debate over academic freedom when it was revealed that the document was related to research at the University.[8]


On 20 May 2008, Sabir and Yezza were released without charge. Upon his release, Sabir stated: "the power of the state hit me as hard as it could",[3] and described his experience as "the most degrading, dehumanising encounter [he had] ever experienced".[9] According to reports by Al-Jazeera, Sabir states he was "subjected to psychological torture" and believes that "If [the UK] is trying to stop the radicalisation of Muslims the way to do that is not by locking away innocent people... That will only exacerbate the problem."[9] Sabir stated that he would continue with his PhD despite the recent events and use his experiences to raise awareness of the draconian anti-terror powers that the government has implemented.[9]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nottingham_Two#cite_note-Alj-8

Aftermath
Following the terrorism charges Yezza faced deportation charges.[10] He was issued with a removal order but the plans to deport him before any judicial review could take place were eventually cancelled.[11] Former British Ambassador Craig Murray suggested that the handling of the incident is evidence of Islamophobia.[12] In 2009, Yezza was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment for Visa irregularities, but was released after five months.[13]


After Sabir was released, Sir Colin Campbell, then Vice-Chancellor of the University, controversially stated:
"There is no 'right' to access and research terrorist materials. Those who do so run the risk of being investigated and prosecuted on terrorism charges. Equally, there is no 'prohibition' on accessing terrorist materials for the purpose of research. Those who do so are likely to be able to offer a defence to charges (although they may be held in custody for some time while the matter is investigated).[3]
The entire incident led to public criticism at the time of Campbell, who appeared unwilling to defend the notion of academic freedom in his response to the arrest. Although, it has been acknowledged that the vice chancellor was acting within the remit of the data protection act and was not at liberty to divulge the information that the protesters sought.[14]


Due to the arrests, the University of Nottingham has come under intense criticism for sacrificing academic freedom and failing to protect the right of its students and staff from conducting research free from the threat of arrest and detention under the Terrorism Act.[15] Criticism for the University of Nottingham was increased when the Politics Department established a “module review committee” that “scrutinises” the “reading lists of lecturers” in case they contain “material that is illegal or could incite violence”.[16]


David Miller, professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde and the convenor of Teaching About Terrorism, said “Nottingham's review policy represented a fundamental attack on academic freedom. The module review committee is a censorship committee: it can't operate as anything else. The university is acting as the police, one step removed."[16]


Critics have argued that the University of Nottingham's stance is setting a very dangerous precedent for research on an issue (terrorism) that is very contemporary and very popular amongst many university students. A lecturer in the school of politics and international relations stated:
“We are greatly concerned by the disproportionate nature of the university’s response to the possession of legitimate research materials. Both the individuals are unreservedly innocent and they and their families and friends and have been greatly distressed by the overzealous police investigation. It is crucial that we do not let concerns for security become the enemy of liberty and academic freedom”[17]
Criticism for the University of Nottingham has increased since the only Terrorism Expert at the institution, Dr Rod Thornton, decided recently that because of the lack of willingness from the university to provide assistance and guidance to him regarding reading lists and terrorist publications and whether they were okay to disseminate and legitimate to hold, he was no longer willing to risk his own security and liberty by teaching terrorism at Nottingham University.[18] As a result, terrorism is no longer being taught at the University of Nottingham.[18]
 

darkprincealain

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A little pesky thing about our extradition treaty with the UK, though ... it says the States can ask for anyone the States want and can extradite anyone we want. There are no similar reciprocal rights for the UK.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article680281.ece
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/factcheck+are+ukus+extradition+rules+lopsided/166700
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50A17FE385C0C778DDDAB0994DC484D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fE%2fExtradition

Although, since Manning has dual citizenship, maybe we will give him up.
 

Swordswoman

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You're right, Mara. That's beyond awful.
I do think folks have a right to a speedy trial, and I am often discouraged by the government's interpretation of that.
Discouraged? Personally I feel sick.
Solitary confinement is an awful thing, too, but many prisoners who are at risk in the GP are put in cells alone.
For five months? Without being charged? Seriously - are you saying the US does this a lot?
Consider this situation in the UK fairly recently, just for more perspective.
Yes, I think I remember that - there was a lot of criticism at the time with which I totally agree. I'm not quite sure of your point, though, since they were only in prison for one week, and there's nothing said here about torture. One was later charged as an illegal immigrant, but was released early and not deported. I'm just not getting the Bradley Manning relevance.

But if you do have a link to anything comparable I'd really like to see it. If the UK is treating anyone as badly as Bradley Manning, then I won't just be 'discouraged' by my country's justice system I'll be totally outraged - and tomorrow I'll be onto my MP. We have laws against that kind of thing.

What's the legal situation in the US, btw? Is there any hope there?
A little pesky thing about our extradition treaty with the UK, though ... it says the States can ask for anyone the States want and can extradite anyone we want. There are no similar reciprocal rights for the UK.
I'm afraid you're absolutely right - and it's true of many other countries too. In our case I think it was plain stupidity and cowardice, but the CIA described in one of the leaked memos exactly how this curiously one-sided arrangement was achieved elsewhere:
To date, the US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and instead, has pursued Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) with other countries to ensure immunity for US nationals from ICC prosecution. The US has threatened to terminate economic aid and withdraw military assistance with countries that do not accede to BIAs.
I can't link to that directly, I'm afraid, but you can download that and a number of others from this page, if you wish - but only if you don't need security clearance now or in the future.​

I suspect a better-balanced treaty wouldn't help Manning much anyway. The UK government is being so disgustingly craven over all this I don't see it daring to even try to help him. I'm utterly ashamed of it.
 

RichardLeon

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But if you do have a link to anything comparable I'd really like to see it. If the UK is treating anyone as badly as Bradley Manning, then I won't just be 'discouraged' by my country's justice system I'll be totally outraged - and tomorrow I'll be onto my MP. We have laws against that kind of thing.

Apparently the laws don't always apply.

See e.g. here - The Parable of Yarls Wood
 

Swordswoman

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Apparently the laws don't always apply.
I'm puzzled, Richard. Your link refers to internment of illegal immigrants who've refused deportation and are awaiting appeal on a plea for asylum. The conditions in that particular camp were vile (and have fortunately long been dealt with) but the inmates could go home at any time. What I don't get is what this has to do with Bradley Manning.

Are you saying you think that (unlike the US and every other country I can think of at the moment) we should have the same protection laws for every citizen, not just our own? An interesting question, if so, and personally I think it would be a great idea to start a thread on the immigration/asylum seeker issue - but I can't see any relevance to the present one.

I think, however, I can finally see a relevance to backslashbaby's post about the 'Nottingham Two'. Sorry if I was being thick about this, but were you referring back to my post in another thread about the US incident when academic research was used as evidence of terrorism? If so, that is indeed relevant. It certainly shows the differences in approach.

In each case the mistake was the same. In Nottingham a man was arrested for being in possession of an Al Qaeda Terrorist Training Manual, which it subsequently turned out was perfectly legitimate and part of an academic programme. In the US, the source:
gives one example of being assigned the task of evaluating the arrest of Iraqis for allegedly publishing "anti Iraq" literature, only to discover that the writings were in fact scholarly critique of corruption in the cabinet of Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki titled "Where Did the Money Go?"
In the UK, the mistake came to light after a week (disgracefully slow) and the prisoners were immediately released. In the US:
"I immediately took that information and ran to the officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding MORE detainees."
It certainly shows the difference. If it still seems off-topic for this thread, then maybe we should ask what happened to the man quoted, the American military analyst who discovered the mistake.

Here's a clue. His name was Bradley Manning, and the above are extracts from the chat-log that forms the primary evidence against him.

Thank you for the link, Rufus. I for one will certainly be clicking it.

ETA - Anyone tracing back the link in my earlier post will find Wikipedia has now edited it out. The cached version can be found here. - but an examination of the 'page history' is anyway rather revealing.
In fact, this reference has now been edited out of every single US link I can find. If you copy the quotation into your browser a search will bring up lots of entries - but when you go to them you'll find it's not there.
I found one surviving entry by doing the usual anti-censorship game of asking for 'pages from the UK'. It's at Ask Jeeves, where the quotation is given in full.

How long the UK net will stay free I don't know, but at least it's still working at the moment.
 
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Shakesbear

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A little pesky thing about our extradition treaty with the UK, though ... it says the States can ask for anyone the States want and can extradite anyone we want. There are no similar reciprocal rights for the UK.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article680281.ece
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/factcheck+are+ukus+extradition+rules+lopsided/166700
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstr...Reference/Times Topics/Subjects/E/Extradition

Although, since Manning has dual citizenship, maybe we will give him up.

The treaty was/is under review and has been/is being changed:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/new...powers-to-block-Britons-from-extradition.html
 

Rufus Coppertop

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"I immediately took that information and ran to the officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding MORE detainees."

If this is true then I'm refraining from the use of pejoratives to describe that officer and the hierarchy that created such policies, not because pejoratives are inappropriate on this forum but because I cannot think of any that are even remotely adequate.
 

Tom from UK

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There's noise about it but I'll believe it's being changed when I see the new treaty.

The UK seems totally unable to act in its own interests if there is even the slightest chance of that annoying the USA. I, for one, am sick of it. I don't expect Obama to sacrifice US interests for us and I don't think it should work the other way round. And the fact that the leaks suggest that our sacrifices in blood and treasure are denigrated by US military and diplomats just makes it worse.
 

backslashbaby

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There's noise about it but I'll believe it's being changed when I see the new treaty.

The UK seems totally unable to act in its own interests if there is even the slightest chance of that annoying the USA. I, for one, am sick of it. I don't expect Obama to sacrifice US interests for us and I don't think it should work the other way round. And the fact that the leaks suggest that our sacrifices in blood and treasure are denigrated by US military and diplomats just makes it worse.

It makes it more clear, imho. It may not be about 'annoying the USA' -- although it may, of course -- but don't forget this part:

The US has threatened to terminate economic aid and withdraw military assistance with countries that do not accede to BIAs.
Those things may be enough of a British interest to influence their decisions. I'm not analysing the decision, but it's important to see what factors influence decisions.

Swordswoman, I'll have to do a bit of research if my post is taken as more of a comparison than I was making. I do think that solitary confinement and cherry-picked deportation proceedings (and imprisonment) for researching terrorism in college is a monumentally scary thing in the subject of habeus corpus and treatment while cases are being investigated. It goes to the quote I exerpted.

Your link goes back to talk about Manning, so I'm confused about its relevence to students and professors.

Manning agreed to restrictions average US citizens do not because he willingly joined the armed forces. He knew the current laws and interpretations of disclosoing classified information, and that's not taking into consideration whether he obtained the information illegally in the first place. He knew there'd be a question of treason, in a military court. He agreed to it. It doesn't make it completely all right, but it's not quite comparable to civilian court.
 

thothguard51

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There are ways to report wrong doing in the Military. You may have to keep plugging away until you find a JAG officer willing to listen, but that is no different than any other corporation or private employer.

As to the transcripts, right now, all we have is Manning says this and that happened. He may be telling the truth, he may be exaggerating for his own reasons, or out and out lying. Only time will tell. I still have to wonder what his motives were in releasing such a large cache of information, many of the things not even related to what he was complaining about. If indeed he is the one who sent them to Wikileaks...

As to his incarceration, he gets to watch TV for about an hour a day, he gets to read books, magazines, and newspapers. He is not allowed to exercise because he is under a suicide watch, or what the service calls a harm self watch. He is also in solitary confinement to protect him from others. The fact that his mental capacity may or may not be deteriorating is important, but does not constitute torture...
 

Torgo

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Thothguard, I think you still need some provision for whistleblowers. You can't always rely on the military, or corporations, to police themselves fairly when their interests are threatened by disclosure. Can you imagine some guy at BP going to his boss to report that he'd found the smoking gun that proved the rig blowout was All Their Fault?