Monday, 14 March 2011

The US: The Maltreatment of Bradley Manning

The truth was how he stated it

I start this blog with a direct quote from a source because it just lays the ground for what I am about to write, this quote came from the Foreign Policy website and it says.

State Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley resigned on Sunday afternoon, only two days after he was reported to have called the treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” [Quoted source [1]]

However, P.J. Crowley’s concern, possibly humanity and dare I say his compassion for another human-being who he believed was being persecuted and maltreated has cost him his job. The position he held definitely must have made him privy to the conditions that Bradley Manning was being kept under and he probably had quietly tried to get something done about it before he made public record of what we along suspected was happening to the man.

The rebutter

Now, a Colonel David Lapan who has the impossibly convoluted non-substantive title of Pentagon Deputy Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations which is very much like two Deputies assisting an act has offered us the set prop or probability that Manning is not being humiliated [2].

Just in case we fail to understand what Colonel Lapan had to say, we are given short comprehensible paragraphs with clear indications of what conditions Private Manning or PFC Manning is being kept under.

It is pertinent that I reproduce here exactly what was published and I will intersperse each of those paragraphs with my comments placed in {}, just to ensure I am not adrift of the message being communicated.

A brig is a prison

Quantico is a military brig, not a prison, and it is not a maximum security facility. http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/activities/display.aspx?PID=588&Section=SECBN

{The link attached is quite enlightening, The Brig is a place of confinement that can house 120 prisoners spanning all custody classes from minimum to maximum security requirements – I suppose that means the Brig is a prison that can be used as a maximum security facility.

The layman’s definition of brig [3] when it is not a two-masted ship is jail or prison.}

Manning, however, is considered a maximum custody detainee. He is not "under isolation 23 hours a day." Here are the facts of his pre-trial confinement:

{So, if Manning is a maximum custody detainee, I suppose it implies he would a candidate for the maximum security facility and it is unlikely that he would be placed in a minimal custody setting if he had the designation as stated and corroborated by the spokesperson of the authorities.}

Semantics of deception

PFC Manning is not in solitary confinement. He has a single-occupancy cell, like all of the other detainees.

{It makes me wonder when solitary and single-occupancy meant different things and surely a cell is a place of confinement. The Brig webpage says “Confinement sharply limits the confinee's privileges, freedom of action, and opportunities for personal satisfaction. Therefore the member is confined as punishment and not for punishment.”}

PFC Manning is not in isolation.

{If I may refer again to The Brig webpage, “Confinement is punishment because it denies members their liberty and separates them from family, friends and most normal activities.” Now, how that means he is not in isolation escapes me. }

PFC Manning is a maximum custody detainee in a prevention of injury status.

{After the earlier consideration, we can now agree that he is a maximum custody detainee and once we have signed that off we can also see that being in a single-occupancy cell, the prevention of injury status can only pertain to the impression that he might harm himself.}

PFC Manning is not currently on suicide watch.

{It makes one wonder if there is no contradiction here, it does not need extrapolation that the prevention of injury status implies he might well be suicidal – the checks being made on him might not be too frequent but regular enough to ensure that he has come to no harm, part of which would involve disturbing his peace to arouse him to confirm he is still with us.}

To be thankful for

PFC Manning is being held in the same quarters section with other pre-trial detainees.

{How that changes his status from being in a single-occupancy cell where he cannot interact escapes me, but if he is a pre-trial detainee, why is he being punished already, as The Brig website infers.}

PFC Manning is allowed to watch television and read newspapers.

{We must be thankful for creature comforts.}

PFC Manning is allowed one-hour per day to exercise.

{The corollary of which infers he is kept confined for 23-hours, we are not told if he is allowed to see the sun, run around, get a sense of being human in that setting.}

PFC Manning is provided well-balanced, nutritious meals three times a day.

{Welcome to Brig Gourmet, I suppose it comes with 3 Michelin stars too.}

His amazing privileges

PFC Manning receives visitors and mail and can write letters.

{According to his lawyer [4], he did receive birthday greetings from his family in December but they could only visit him in the weekends, he has made requests for books and apparently received such.}

PFC Manning routinely meets with doctors and his attorney.

{According to The Brig website, they require 48-hours notice to coordinate these visitations.}

PFC Manning is allowed telephone calls.

PFC Manning is being treated just like every other detainee in the brig.

{Apart from the fact that The Brig span “all custody classes from minimum to maximum security requirements” and he is on the extreme end of this scale where “It means loss of status and disapproval of the individual offender by the military society.

He was observed naked

Also, there is no 'daily disrobing and various other humiliations.' In recent days, as the result of concerns for PFC Manning's personal safety, his undergarments were taken from him during sleeping hours. PFC Manning at all times had a bed and a blanket to cover himself. He was not made to stand naked for morning count but, but on one day, he chose to do so. There were no female personnel present at the time. PFC Manning has since been issued a garment to sleep in at night. He is clothed in a standard jumpsuit during the day.

{Now, it would mean despite the disapproval of the individual officer by the military society and the punishment by confinement, the loss of status as a prisoner he suffers no humiliations. I however read that his undergarments were taken from him and it would appear all his apparel as contained in the Confinee Gear List [5 - PDF file] had been impounded that he did have to appear naked.

We have read that that PFC Manning had sexual identity issues [6] such that the presence of male personnel when he was inspected as nude would have just been as disconcerting as having female personnel present.

Either by commission or omission that event can be duly presented as a humiliation of PFC Manning and the reading shows that some corrective action was taken to give him a garment to sleep in at night.}

For months we have been regaled with tales of the harsh treatment of Bradley Manning, a simple Google search would provide a list of appalling acts of cruelty many of which I have read that makes my stomach churn.

Insulting our intelligence

One can only wonder what Colonel Lapan’s statement was to achieve apart from confirm what P.J. Crowley suggested and then attempt to obfuscate the by sleight and insult our intelligence with the premise that we cannot read and comprehend the very simple statements and bullet-points proffered.

Never has anyone been so brazen as to with impunity attempt to suborn due process to justify reprehensible activities in a country that purports to support and advocate the protection of human rights and offer the presumption of innocence until declared guilty.

Disgusted and appalled does not begin to describe that outrageous acts of inhumanity meted out to Bradley Manning and all those involved in this activity will never find exculpation in these despicably heinous acts ot travesty.

Sources

[1] Crowley resigns over Manning remarks | The Cable

[2] Pentagon: Manning not being humiliated | The Cable

[3] brig - definition of brig by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia

[4] Bradley Manning's Life Behind Bars - Yahoo! News

[5] Confinee Gear List PDF file

[6] Was Wikileaker Bradley Manning Betrayed By His Queer Identity?

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