Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of providing documents to WikiLeaks, can't reasonably complain that the military has him in custody. But the conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Va., are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn't been convicted.The fact is that Obama was a constitutional lawyer. He knows the US Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual" punishment. He knows that the law of the land is that your are "innocent until proven guilty". But Obama is allowing the law to be made a mockery while the military is torturing Bradley Manning before he is found guilty of anything. This is outrageous. Obama promised "change you can believe in" but he is serving up the same old Bush "torture is our national policy" criminality. Shame!
Manning has been charged with unlawfully downloading classified information and transmitting it "with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States." He has been incarcerated at Quantico for five months and has yet to receive the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing.
Nevertheless, Manning is in "maximum custody." Also, under a "Protection of Injury" order, he is confined to his cell for 23 hours a day, even though his lawyer says a psychologist has determined he isn't a threat to himself. His lawyer also says that Manning is denied sheets and is unable to exercise in his cell, and that he is not allowed to sleep between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he is made to sit up or stand by his guards.
Some speculate that by treating Manning harshly, officials hope to induce him to implicate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (though Assange would be subject to civilian, not military, justice). But a desire to secure his cooperation isn't a justification for protracted imprisonment under the conditions imposed on Manning.
Some see Manning as a whistle-blower who deserves leniency for exposing official duplicity; others believe that, like anyone who engages in civil disobedience, Manning, if guilty, should accept punishment for his actions. But regardless of one's view of his alleged conduct, the conditions under which he is being held are indefensible.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Obama Extends the Bush Torture Policy
The LA Times newspaper has come out with a strong editorial questioning the brutal treatment of accused spy Bradley Manning. I've bolded the key bit: