Posts tagged manning
Posts tagged manning
The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, ruled that general issues of motive were not relevant to the trial stage of the court martial, and must be held back until Manning either entered a plea or was found guilty, at which point it could be used in mitigation to lessen the sentence. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier’s legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war.
“This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence,” said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing.
The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. Coombs has devoted considerable time and energy trying to extract from US government agencies their official assessments of the impact of WikiLeaks around the world, only to find that he is now prevented from using any of the information he has obtained.
The purpose of this trial is not justice: it is to publicly punish and excoriate Bradley Manning, in the hopes that it will dissuade any future whistle blowing.
The morality at play in the Manning persecution is mangled beyond belief. It’s perfectly conventional wisdom that the war in Iraq was an act of profoundly unjust destruction, yet normal, psychologically healthy people are expected to passively accept that there should be no consequences for those responsible (a well-intentioned policy mistake), while one of the very few people to risk his life and liberty to stop it and similar acts is demonized as a mentally ill criminal. Similarly, the numerous acts of corruption, deceit and criminality Manning allegedly exposed are ignored or even sanctioned, while the only punished criminal is — as usual — the one who courageously brought those acts to light. Meanwhile, Americans love to cheer for the Arab Spring rebellions —look at those inspiring people standing up to their evil dictators and demanding freedom — yet the American government officials who propped up those dictators for decades and helped suppress those revolts, including the ones currently in power, are treated as dignified statesmen, while a person who actually exposed those tyrants and played at least some role in triggering those inspiring revolts (Manning) rots in a prison after enduring 10 months of deeply inhumane treatment.
If you expressed outrage at the documents that Manning leaked becoming public but stayed silent on what the documents revealed, you are officially part of the problem.
Manning, who has been charged with passing a mountain of digital US state secrets to WikiLeaks, is under a prevention of injury order (PoI) that requires him to be kept alone in a cell for 23 hours a day and checked every five minutes. Since earlier this month, he has also been stripped naked each night and made to parade in front of officers.
Manning himself says the conditions amount to pre-trial punishment provoked by a sarcastic remark he made to guards.
Official records kept at the brig, released recently by Manning’s lawyer, reveal that between last August and January military psychiatrists made no fewer than 16 recommendations to their military commanders that Manning should be taken off the PoI restrictions because he was no threat to himself.
The only people in the military who are saying that this is for Pvt. Manning’s own good are people who are not qualified to make that determination. The people with knowledge and experience in the field insist it is not necessary, and it can be inferred from that information that the POI restrictions are punitive- meaning they’re designed to cause him discomfort. Long term solitary is torture and Obama has admitted that the forced nudity at Abu Ghraib was “unjust” and “something that all of us should be ashamed” of. Why the difference now, if not for political convenience?
Let’s review Manning’s detention over the last nine straight months: 23-hour/day solitary confinement; barred even from exercising in his cell; one hour total outside his cell per day where he’s allowed to walk around in circles in a room alone while shackled, and is returned to his cell the minute he stops walking; forced to respond to guards’ inquiries literally every 5 minutes, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in the corner of his bed or otherwise outside the guards’ full view. Is there anyone who doubts that these measures — and especially this prolonged forced nudity — are punitive and designed to further erode his mental health, physical health and will? As The Guardian reported last year, forced nudity is almost certainly a breach of the Geneva Conventions; the Conventions do not technically apply to Manning, as he is not a prisoner of war, but they certainly establish the minimal protections to which all detainees — let alone citizens convicted of nothing — are entitled.
And I’ll say this again: just fathom the contrived, shrieking uproar from opportunistic Democratic politicians and their loyalists if it had been George Bush and Dick Cheney — on U.S. soil — subjecting a whistle-blowing member of the U.S. military to these repressive conditions without being convicted of anything, charging him with a capital offense that statutorily carries the death penalty, and then forcing him to remain nude every night and stand naked for inspection outside his cell. Feigning concern over detainee abuse for partisan gain is only slightly less repellent than the treatment to which Manning is being subjected.
Is there anyone still denying that what’s being done to Bradley Manning is torture?
Yesterday, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan hosted a segment on the extreme, prolonged isolation in which Bradley Manning has been kept for eight months now, despite having been convicted of nothing. He had on his panel a “Democratic strategist,” a “Republican strategist,” and “a Washington insider.” Ratigan tried without any success to get them to understand why putting someone in a cage alone for 23 hours a day under extremely repressive conditions was unjust and intolerable. Begin at the 1:20 mark — right after Ratigan introduces his panel — and see if you can identify who the Republican is, who the Democrat is, and who the “Washington insider” is; I’d submit it’s impossible. Once your guesses are in, go back and watch the beginning of the segment and grade yourself — on the honor system. It’s the Joys of Bipartisanship
I couldn’t tell. I guessed, but they all parrotted the same thing. Since he was in the military, the government shouldn’t need to be constrained by constitutional mandates like due process, prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the right to a speedy trial. That is the main stream, acceptable viewpoint.