Bradley Manning: Get Him a Nightshirt

Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes, the commander at the Military brig at Quantico says Bradley Manning will continue to be stripped of his underwear at bedtime because he is on a prevention of injury watch (which is different than a suicide watch.)

He is given two blankets. What can he do with a pair of underpants that he can't do with a blanket? And what prompted this? According to Manning's lawyer, David E. Coombs, on his blog today, events went like this. Manning was told his petition to be moved out of maximum custody had been denied due to the prevention of injury watch. Manning, who has been a model detainee, asked what he could do to change it. He was told there was nothing he could do, because of the perception he was a risk of self-harm:

PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were "absurd" and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.


Manning's lawyer says:

“There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours, and then stand at attention the subsequent morning,” he wrote. “This treatment is even more degrading considering that Pfc. Manning is being monitored — both by direct observation and by video — at all times.”

Also making little sense: According to Lt. Villiard at the brig:

Detainees are awakened each morning and immediately come out of their cells. Private Manning cannot be given his underwear back before then, he said, because that would require waking him up ahead of time.

Manning's lawyer makes a good point when he says:

“If a person is at risk of self-harm, then you get them treatment, you get them to a mental health professional and address the issue — you don’t strip them..."

(Nightshirt available from the Vermont Country Store.)

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    I would say this is cruel and unusual (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 12:52:08 PM EST
    punishment, but it seems that this type of treatment is, unfortunately, not all that unusual.  What have we become?  This treatment is more in line with what we would expect from a Soviet gulag.

    Indeed ... (none / 0) (#21)
    by markpkessinger on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 05:36:27 PM EST
    ...And all the more so in light of the fact that Manning has not yet been tried or convicted of anything.

    I do not agree (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 08:39:55 PM EST
    Treatment of this kind would be cruel and unusual punishment if Manning had been tried and convicted.  His pretrial status does not render it any more cruel, or any less lawful.

    It could be the extra glass of wine... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 08:46:15 PM EST
    but I think you might have meant to say that even if Manning had been convicted, the treatment he is receiving would not be any less cruel or any more lawful.

    Feel free to tell me I've had one too many glasses of merlot... :-)


    How is that different from what I said? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 09:01:43 PM EST
    Mark suggested that Manning's treatment was more cruel because he has not been convicted of any crime.  I responded that his pretrial status does not make the treatment more cruel.  Main point being that it would not be permissible, nor any more acceptable, to treat a convicted person this way.  Isn't that the same thing you are suggesting, Anne?  We had a Pennsylvania Redleg Riesling tonight, however, so I'm not sure I can fully de-merlot-ify your response.

    You're right, Peter, (none / 0) (#34)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 09:14:00 PM EST
    and I am going to blame the merlot, if that's okay...the treatment is cruel no matter what Manning's status is, which is a point that is well worth making, even if it seems to fall on deaf ears.

    [That Riesling sounds tasty...and quite reasonably priced - might have to check that out.  Not that I need an excuse, but...between tax season getting into full swing, which means my brain is a little toasted, and getting a little hint of Spring in the air today - in advance of a rainy Sunday, I think - the wine may have packed more of a punch than usual!]


    I don't know what saddens me more (5.00 / 8) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 01:00:18 PM EST
    The fact the standard for human rights in the U.S. have deteriorated to this point or the fact that the majority of people don't seem to care.

    Apparently, we don't worry about such things (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 03:53:03 PM EST
    as human rights anymore, because all that matters is (cue scary music) National Security!

    The people have been deemed to have no right to know anything about what their government is doing, and now know they can face this kind of treatment - or worse - for believing and acting from the premise that we do have the right to know; conversely, there are almost no boundaries that exist anymore that protect our every move, every communication, from the government's prying eyes.  There is no constraint the government can't justify breaching.

    I am truly sickened by what we have become.


    The Democrats do not care (none / 0) (#43)
    by Andreas on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:21:41 AM EST
    It is not normal people who do not care but the Democrats who helped to install the Obama regime.

    He could chew his wrists wide open... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 01:44:41 PM EST
    ...and bleed out if he really wanted to go.  Or smash his head into the concrete wall until it cracks.  

    is there a person with a rational bone in their bodies in this system?

    Evidently (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Kimberley on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:02:30 PM EST
    He can do none of those things.

    Glenn Greenwald reports that Manning is subjected to:

    "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."

    In addition, brig officials confirm that this forced nudity will be an indefinite feature of his imprisonment.

    Disgusting and shameful.


    That's the thing, Kimberley... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:44:00 PM EST
    It makes NO SENSE whatsoever that PFC Manning is now being forced to sleep naked, without so much as the pair of underpants he was previously allowed to wear.

    I mean, if PFC Manning's clothing is not deemed to present a suicide risk during the day when he is awake, why does his underwear pose such a risk while he is asleep? After all, he is watched 24/7 by guards, both remotely and in person. Of course, if PFC Manning were to make that point, the Brig commander might strip him of his clothing at all times.

    This forced nudity is a mind-fu@k, pure and simple -- a step toward inducing learned helplessness, a la Abu Ghraib -- also a step toward having the Brig personnel, and the public, view PFC Manning more thoroughly as a 'terrorist' detainee.


    Watch out, (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by dkmich on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 07:24:11 AM EST
    they could pull his teeth next.   Looking forward on war crimes, torture, and white collar fraud while punishing whistle blowers for exposing it is what America now stands for.   Between Bush and Obama, I don't know which is worse.

    No, just a lot of rationalizing (none / 0) (#19)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 05:23:05 PM EST
    Prevention of Injury Watch vs. Suicide Watch... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 02:39:31 PM EST
    what's the difference?

    PFC Manning's attorney, David Coombs, addresses that question on his blog today (also linked above by Jeralyn): The Truth Behind Quantico Brig's Decision to Strip PFC Manning.

    If I understand correctly, the conditions of a POI Watch allows the Brig commander to make decisions about the terms of a detainee's confinement and Brig psychiatrists only have input.

    On the other hand, the conditions of a Suicide Watch puts the Brig psychiatrists in charge of making recommendations to the Brig Commander.

    So, if Manning were on Suicide Watch the Brig psychiatrists would be the ones making recommendations as to whether or not PFC Manning should be kept naked in his cell overnight. However, under the existing POI Watch, the Brig commander has the ultimate authority to strip Manning naked, even though Brig psychiatrists have clearly indicated that they don't think this is called for.

    Note: I'm making the point that the POI Watch (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:10:34 PM EST
    appears to be more subject to abuse from the Brig commander. It's my understanding that PFC Manning's attorney was making that critical distinction on his blog today.

    By comparison, if Manning were on Suicide Watch he would be under the care of Brig mental health professionals who, evidently, do not believe Manning is a threat to himself, nor do they approve of this forced nudity.


    At least in CA state correctional (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:27:52 PM EST
    facilities, being placed on suicide watch is not a good thing.  Supposed to be w/i constant view of correctional officer.  Kind of a rubber room.  No clothes.  Most unpleasant.

    In Manning's case, he is not even being (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:36:15 PM EST
    allowed to get an uninterrupted night's sleep - crucial to maintaining some kind of hold on sanity:

    From Glenn:

    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.

    He hasn't even been convicted of anything, for God's sake, and this is how the greatest democracy in the world, the beacon of freedom and civil/human rights treats its American-citizen detainees?

    Gosh, I'm just so proud...


    If they could (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 07:34:36 PM EST
    treat José Padilla (a US citizen and civilian, not subject to military "justice") the way they did, to the point where he was diagnosed "mentally unfit" for trial by two defense psychiatrists, and who exhibited "a facial tic, problems with social contact, lack of concentration and a form of Stockholm syndrome" (Link), then I suppose they can do what they want to break down Manning.  It sucks.  Human rights abuses seem to have become standard operating procedure.  I don't even recognize my country any more.  I thought I had seen the worst we could offer, having lived through the Vietnam War era, Watergate, etc, etc.  I was wrong.

    Military in jailed situations (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 08:49:50 AM EST
    have none of the rights that civilians in comparable situations have.  It makes it very scary if you refuse an illegal order.  Your commander can have you jailed and who knows when you will come up for air....and even if you are cleared....you will have gone through hell getting there.

    They have the right to be (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 08:56:11 AM EST
    treated humanely.

    Or at least they used to.


    They have made certain (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 09:12:39 AM EST
    that his treatment is a form of being humane.  They are preventing him from harming himself.  That falls under the definition of humane treatment.  To allow himself to harm himself would be inhumane.  See, they have us all by the short hairs.

    But they don't think he's in danger of (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 10:11:37 AM EST
    killing himself, apparently, because that would mean putting his care under the direction of the psychiatrists, who have already said that they wouldn't go to these lengths...

    They are breaking him as sure as I'm sitting here, and my guess is, they're hoping that by the time he gets a trial - if he ever gets a trial - he will be unable to assist in his own defense and they will pack him off to wherever it is we send what used to be bright, intelligent young men with a conscience after we turn their brains into oatmeal.

    Man, can't you just smell the freedom and democracy?


    In the military, that commander is (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    responsible for his wellbeing.  It is very cut and dry.  It isn't like in the civilian world where something like this isn't necessarily heaped upon a warden of a civilian prison.  All eyes are on Manning.  If anything happens to him it is her scalp.  Sorry, once again this is how the military works.  One of our friends retired out last year as a Colonel.  He was in command of all the upkeep of the helicopters on Fort Rucker.  He literally barely slept for two years here, he was so glad when his command was over and he decided to retire out and works for a contractor now where you don't have that kind of stress.  Everytime a student screwed something up the whole thing was picked apart item by item and if the problem could lead to an improperly maintained helicopter the blame goes right to that command.  This guy is also a West Point graduate too, but when something BIG happens during your command you are responsible and there is very little passing the buck even when your command consists of having several hundred people under you.  You must know all the right people and even then you probably won't get a pass.  There is no passing the buck much when undesirable things in the military, and Manning harming himself would be the very worst thing that could happen to her.  And because he said what he said, he has made her personally responsible if he did anything and she didn't do what she had to the utmost of her ability to prevent him harming himself.  The buck stops with her.

    Her command is free to let her off (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:01:59 PM EST
    the hook though and tell her if he does harm himself it won't be laid at her feet.  Will they?  I doubt it, because then it would be their hides then if he does.  I suppose the President could let everyone off the hook :)

    really, I think you should stop (none / 0) (#67)
    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:14:43 PM EST
    there's no justification for this.  There really isn't.  "That's how they do it" isn't a justification.  Giving up rights to the military isn't a justification.  Frankly, there is no justification for having a POI watch that is separate from a suicide watch except to provide the leeway for these sorts of personal indignities without oversight from the medical community.

    I wish I could find a better word than "indignities" for this treatment.  I'm stuck with three words:  long term torture.


    MilitaryTracy in a word "you were there" (none / 0) (#71)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:26:39 PM EST
    Hey soldier!  These guys and gals on the forum are bright but they "just weren't there."  They haven't a clue.  "You had to have been there."

    You are saying pretty much what I said in my longer post.  To put it in the vernacular, the local command of that brig and her higher ups are doing it by the numbers.  Anything that Bradley or anyone in a similar position has said or done is scrutinized with the eye toward "what will happen or be said if something goes wrong" and the higher ups (and lawyers) come back and see this tiny iota of information and then ask "why didn't you act?" THEY all know that if something bad happens to Bradley, then as a practical matter the least thing that will happen to them is that their careers are over.

    I gave my own example of the sailor on suicide watch.  He basically had bad news from home and tried to kill himself with a drug overdose.  Found out that he had been using badly for a month or two because of his problems at home and then just decided to go all the way.

    He was found and cleaned out as best could be done with our limited means, but he was very resistive and combative, and as said in the old Navy lingo, very "able bodied."  He was also smart.  How do I know this?  Well he worked for me in the engine room back when I was a young guy.  Once this happened though the Captain took over completely.

    The man was bound in some very soft restraints but so completely you might say as a practical matter he was "hogtied" and placed on a smaller faster escort vessel.  They decided not to sedate him because of the crap in his system so the command assigned two sailors to be with him at all times and eventually had each of them keep a hand on an arm watching for any kind of activity or inactivity.  If one had to leave for any reason, a replacement was called.  A medic was also present or immediately available.  (I think now days, they have better kinds of first responder treatment.)

    The escort vessel was diverted to enable a faster pickup by air with a specialist. Our commanders decided that with the exception of turning the group around they would do everything that they could to keep that sailor from dying by his own hand on board one of "their" vessels.  Or again in the vernacular, "on their watch."

    I was left back on my ship hovering like a frantic mother bird praying that the man would get to shore and live, probably for my own sake more than his, trying to think of what to say when and if I was asked "Why the hell didn't you notice something and do something?"  I also didn't want to have to write a letter to his mother.

    Bradley is safer right now than a babe in his mother's arms, but no he isn't very comfortable, and if he is smart enough to get all those files, then he is smart enough to know what would happen if he wised off like he did and in the way he did.  The question is whether he has the habit of thinking before he acts.  I think from what he is alleged to have done that he doesn't think things through very much.

    As for your Col friend, MT, I understand completely.  Later on I had tremendous responsibility and though I wasn't personally involved in every repair or refit or build or rebuild or or purchase or change project or duty assignment and despite what the lower ranks thought about the blame being placed on them, the blame always eventually rises and falls on the commander.  I chose to retire after 31 years though I loved the work and especially (yeah, call me crazy) being at sea, because I spent so much time and worry trying to cover everyone's a** including my own.

    Now I do the same thing for a lot more pay with much less hours and deal with more reasonable bosses and on jobs I choose.  

    As for the sailor who though he didn't have anything to live for, he did live and he remarried a young religious lady.  He was actually a good man who just got involved with one of those evil hearted women that Johnny Cash used to sing about.
    Lost track after that.  

    Again in a vernacular "Praise be!"


    Aw, MT (none / 0) (#57)
    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 10:26:37 AM EST
    I understand that you are a very proud supporter of the military without generally being a brainless cheerleader.  But really, come on.  

    There is no way this treatment is humane.  

    "They are preventing him from harming himself."  

    Excuse me but that's total bullsh!t.  They aren't doing this to keep him safe.  Tney are doing this to punish him.  And in your heart you know that.

    Although after nearly a year of this treatment they might have driven him to point that he'd consider it.  If so, it's a created insanity, not an intrinsic one.


    If you have an argument that is valid (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:39:24 PM EST
    Why isn't it doing anything?  Other people are trying to fight this and they are getting no place because the military has covered its arse.  I wish Manning wouldn't have said what he said, he can't take it back now.  He knows how the military works too, not that that has ever deterred him from his planned courses of action :)

    I would say (none / 0) (#61)
    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:57:43 PM EST
    that the military hasn't so much covered its arse as it is thumbing its nose.  And I don't think it will change either.  As long as these types of things can go happen, publicly, with impunity.  

    It isn't thumbing its nose though (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:58:44 PM EST
    If it were, someone could do something about that

    And who would that someone be? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:17:43 PM EST
    Someone who understands that in terms of the conditions of his detention, Manning is now being punished for not being together enough to self-censor when he reacts to yet another deprivation?

    You don't have to defend them, Tracy, although you may feel some sort of obligation to explain away what is happening; I think there's a very dark and malevolent irony in the base commander shoveling this BS about protecting Manning from himself when it is his jailers - or do I call them "captors?" - who may be doing more harm to him than anyone.

    And please don't hand me the "well, whose fault is that?" line, because no other detainee is being subject to to the same treatment Manning is getting - and I'm not just talking about the nudity.

    "Someone" could do something about it, but apparently "someone" is happily on board with it - which, by the way, doesn't make it right, it just means that inhumane treatment of American military detainees is now fully state-sanctioned.

    This is quite some world we now live in...


    I'm not defending things Anne (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:08:05 PM EST
    Just telling you how it is and the military is not a democracy.

    It most certainly is (none / 0) (#63)
    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:01:18 PM EST
    And some one could do something about that.  He simply chooses not to.

    If you mean the President (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:03:00 PM EST
    Yes, he is probably the only person who could let everyone off the hook and many could have elastic back at night.

    as if... (none / 0) (#66)
    by sj on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:08:57 PM EST
    and many could have elastic back at night.

    ...his treatment was SOP.  Apparently [those more intimately familiar with military justice than I think] it's not.


    Sorry, I meant to Manning...not many (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 04:07:16 PM EST
    I'm not a proud supporter either (none / 0) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 01:43:01 PM EST
    of soldiers having few rights in situations where they have been accused of doing something illegal.  I'm just telling you how it is.  And because a military is not a democracy and never will be and command must always have the control, I don't think this will ever change either.

    Brig psychiatrists have said that PFC Manning (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 05:08:18 PM EST
    doesn't pose any threat of self-harm. They, evidently, see no need for PFC Manning to be on Prevention of Injury Watch NOR Suicide Watch.

    Like other critics of PFC Manning's forced nudity, I am saying that the Brig commander is abusing the authority given to her under the Prevention of Harm conditions which, unlike Suicide Watch, does not give primacy to the opinion of mental health professionals.


    Correct Madame Prosecutor (none / 0) (#42)
    by Rojas on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:35:46 AM EST
    I suspect there are thousands in similar conditions this very second in county and state lockups across the country.

    Unnecessary salutation, IMO. (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:09:31 AM EST
    Stuff (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:04:34 PM EST
    like this does not seem to be American.

    I don't know what has happened to our country.
    I don't know who we are or what we stand for.

    Would be interested in Military Tracy's (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:48:21 PM EST

    Would be interested in Obama's (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 05:27:33 PM EST

    I think we know what Obama's reaction is, (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 06:29:02 PM EST
    unless you think he's not aware of, or on board with, how Manning's being treated.  Honestly, it was hard to write that without a lot of eye-rolling.

    He certainly has the power to order this kind of treatment stopped, so the fact that it is proceeding without presidential intervention tells me that he's okay with it.

    It's all of a piece, as near as I can determine.  When the president makes the decision that we aren't going to "look back" in an effort to hold accountable those who may have committed crimes, it then becomes incumbent upon him to do whatever's necessary to suppress damning information from coming to the public's attention.

    And of course, it also becomes quite important to prevent the public from learning what his role has been in continuing the surveillance of Americans, what his role has been in thumbing his nose at the law, what his role has been in detainee treatment...and so on.

    Obama's reaction?  I'm pretty much thinking it's along the lines of, "so what?  What are you gonna do about it?"


    Well, he might be thinking (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 07:36:35 PM EST
    along the "so what.." lines, but he will have a more nuanced response, if he ever has one.   More like:  look,  when Jeb Bush and me finish our bipartisan team work on "reforming" Miami schools, I plan to lace up my comfortable shoes and march with the Madison middle classes.  After that, I will be getting a briefing from Secretary Geithner on helping stressed borrowers, and then I am scheduled for a report from  Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen on our successes in Afghanistan and our efforts in support of Libya democracy.    However, know that, as Commander-in-Chief, I  will honor the privacy rights of that Private and will not disclose the reasons for making him display his privates.

    Oh, lord, no doubt, Dan... (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 07:52:46 PM EST
    some days I wonder if I might be a whole lot happier - in an "ignorance is bliss" kind of way - if I just stopped trying to make sense of all of this.

    Because it just doesn't - make sense, that is.

    Obama visits a Miami school that Jeb Bush tried to close, and extols the wonder that is the charter school movement - all part of the war against public education.  Which is attached to the war against public employees and unions.

    Bradley Manning is the poster boy for the government's campaign to intimidate and squelch any effort of the people to hold it accountable: "cross us, and this can happen to you."

    If the colonists had tried to gain their independence under the kinds of conditions that exist now, we'd be singing "God Save the Queen" before every sporting event...


    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 07:42:08 PM EST
    It's reprehensible enough to refuse to "look back" on human rights abuses.  It's craven and beneath contempt to deliberately ignore what is going on right this very minute.    

    Worse than ignore, I think (5.00 / 0) (#37)
    by sj on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 02:44:51 AM EST
    He has to have given express permission.  He is committing human rights abuses of his very own.

    Like you, I thought Presidents couldn't get any worse than Nixon.  

    Then came Bush.

    Then came Obama.

    What have we become?  


    Interesting that the (2.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Rojas on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:25:59 AM EST
    Hillbilly Messiah and his Goldwater Gal did not earn a spot on your marquee. If ever there was a clear indication that the civil rights generation had rejected the concept of due process and fundamental fairness it was broadcast live on April 19, 1993.
    The embrace of the joint task force with the rejection of Federal oversight of state law enforcement. The zeal for prison building was only surpassed by passing new laws to enhance the war against the working class and poor.
    You ask what have we become like this is something new. I would submit that this is what we are. And while the few remaining left in this country never lost their soul, the Democratic party did, a long damn time ago.

    If you're talking about (none / 0) (#47)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 03:30:08 PM EST
    Bill and Hill, I agree with you, rojas.  They were never "lefties."  At best, they were centrists, with a definite rightward tilt.  As I keep saying over and over again, I didn't leave the Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party left me.  

    I was talking (none / 0) (#49)
    by sj on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 07:18:22 PM EST
    worse than Nixon.  No way the either Clinton is worse than Nixon.  No matter how critical an eye one casts.

    In Nixon's five years (none / 0) (#72)
    by Rojas on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 09:12:59 PM EST
    the incarceration rate increased by ~5%.
    Clinton's first five years brought an increase of ~28% with a total change over is two terms of ~30%.

    It does not require a critical eye to see that the big dog outstripped tricky dick at the rate of six to one.


    The Branch Davidians? Seriously? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 10:07:07 PM EST
    And "Hillbilly Messiah" and "Goldwater Gal"?

    That's even more ridiculous, ...

    ... if that's even possible.


    Mostly sad...and the fair is in the fall (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 08:59:14 AM EST
    If you are a soldier don't get into trouble, you don't have the same rights that civilians in trouble have.  Definitely don't get in trouble doing something treasonous that the whole world witnesses and now all eyes are on you and everyone around you.  Do I think what they are doing is excessive and something that Manning will experience as abusive?  Yes.  But if Manning harms himself in any way everyone should understand that the higher command will have that Brig Commanders A$$.  It will destroy her career.  That is how the military works, and if you screw up something that is in the spotlight you can almost always call your career OVER.  If you succeed in your mission while in the spotlight you can make your career or at least keep it well maintained.  Soldiering is a serious profession now, as serious as anything else out there.

    Petition in support of PFC Manning... (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 05:40:21 PM EST
    Via FireDogLake, Tell Gates: Drop the `Aiding the Enemy' Charges! This link also goes to a full listing of FDL stories on PFC Manning, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange.

    Bradley Manning's treatment (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Edger on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 07:51:57 PM EST
    is treatment of the whole country. Do not think, rebel, or embarrass or attempt to change the system, or this could be you.

    His treatment is for the same purpose Jose Padilla's treatment was for.

    And eventually, perhaps sooner than later, it will lead to...

     - Libya two days ago (video)

     - Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio...... and Peoria, tomorrow?


    The Extraordinary Events in the Middle East and the Coming Global Tsunami

    The extraordinary events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are the initial high tides of an eventual tsunami that will impact the world that globalists have so fervently promoted for decades, in ways not necessarily to their liking. The first wave has struck and is now retreating from the shore, but will shortly return with redoubled force, and what and who will be swept away and what will be left standing is anyone's guess.


    In the United States, 48 years after Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his stirring "I have a dream" speech at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, 45 percent of young African-Americans have no jobs and the top hedge fund managers are paid, on average, $1 billion a year, a thoughtful American can only expect the mass protests against cuts in services and jobs in Wisconsin to spread.

    And America's propensity for eventual chaos is far higher than the Middle East, demonized in the press as a violent region, when one considers that America's 300 million citizens have between 238 million and 276 million privately owned firearms.

    As a prescient 23-year old from Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob Dylan warned an earlier generation 47 years ago about to embark on its misguided mission to safeguard and democratize in Vietnam, "There's a battle outside and it is raging, It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, For the times they are a-changin'."

    My husband and I (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 08:02:24 PM EST
    (we both participated in anti-Vietnam War protests) have been heartened by the Wisconsin, etc, protests.  We were beginning to despair, because we feared that Americans had become......we weren't quite sure what.  Lazy?  Apathetic?  Approving of intolerable conditions imposed by the various levels of government?  I truly hope that, indeed, "the times they are a-changin'."

    Tom Engelhardt... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Edger on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 08:15:36 PM EST
    ...the other day:

    The nature of this potentially world-shaking phenomenon remains unknown and probably, at this point, unknowable.  Are freedom and democracy about to break out all over?  And if so, what will that turn out to mean? If not, what exactly are we seeing?  What light bulb was it that so unexpectedly turned on in millions of Twittered and Facebooked brains -- and why now?  I doubt those who are protesting, and in some cases dying, know themselves.  And that's good news.  That the future remains -- always -- the land of the unknown should offer us hope, not least because that's the bane of ruling elites who want to, but never can, take possession of it.
    History is now being reshaped in such a way that the previously major events of the latter years of the foreshortened American century -- the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, even 9/11 -- may all be dwarfed by this new moment.  And yet, inside the Washington echo chamber, new thoughts about such developments dawn slowly.  Meanwhile, our beleaguered, confused, disturbed country, with its aging, disintegrating infrastructure, is ever less the model for anyone anywhere (though again you wouldn't know that here).

    Oblivious to events, Washington clearly intends to fight its perpetual wars and garrison its perpetual bases, creating yet more blowback and destabilizing yet more places, until it eats itself alive.  This is the definition of all-American decline in an unexpectedly new world.  Yes, teeth may be in jugulars, but whose teeth in whose jugulars remains open to speculation, whatever General Petraeus thinks.

    As the sun peeks over the horizon of the Arab world, dusk is descending on America.

    First a disclaimer. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 10:37:43 PM EST
    I retired from the military but only had experience with brigs on board ship and that infrequently.  I had contact with one suicide watch and that man was bound and actively held by two sailors at all times until an air-sea rescue unit evacuated him and then he was sedated by personnel that came especially for him.  (There was a drug use problem!)  Our commanders didn't want the paper work or inquiries about a sailor dying in our custody.

    I do know a lot about prisons in America due to the experiences of relatives and acquaintances.

    First off in either the military or stateside prisons a wise mouth is a fool and only brings himself more trouble.  People's clothes or lack of them and their cells are only subject to the needs of prison security or what they say those needs are.

    I believe that Bradley is being watched closely enough to prevent self harm.  Up above someone spoke of biting wrists or running into walls.  I could add more subtle means, but the first evidence of that or even just a word about it from Bradley OR his lawyer will result in him being strapped down on a hard bed unable to move even his arms or legs very much.  Probably a monitor would be attached to him as well.

    The lawyers and the doctors seemingly fought the suicide watch and now there is a worse problem.  Bradley said essentially "I can hurt myself despite your precautions" and they took more precautions. What you have here is the "quicksand problem."  The more you struggle the deeper you sink.  Bradley has a lot of latitude as to responding to questions about Wiki-leaks but none at all about how the brig chooses to hold him if he essentially aids and abets their worse choices.

    However I must say this after hearing of his routine.  I don't think that I would come to attention in the morning for these b****s.  However I would never fight them or choose to not eat.

    Passive resistance is his only weapon inside that brig.

    Except for one thing (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by sj on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 02:48:56 AM EST
    Bradley said essentially "I can hurt myself despite your precautions" and they took more precautions.

    Those aren't precautions.  Those are deliberately dehumanizing actions.  It long term torture.


    He's so high profile too (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 09:10:04 AM EST
    If he did do something to himself, everyone in charge of keeping him free of self harm would be on the hook. Everything that he had said that could have been an indicator will be pulled up and placed front and center when it comes time to blame those who were in charge.  

    i don't believe (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by cpinva on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 01:53:14 AM EST
    pfc manning will ever be tried, in court. he's already been convicted in the eyes of the top brass and pres. obama, why bother wasting resources with a charade of a court martial?

    when next you hear of pfc manning's new confinement, it will be at gitmo, forever. with any luck, he'll soon be forgotten. out of sight, out of mind.

    It Could Be Worse (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by john horse on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 07:36:03 AM EST
    Pvt Manning could have received this degrading and inhumane treatement by a country that doesn't believe in democracy or human rights.  (Sarcasm alert)

    Mr. Manning is 23 years old. He should (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 01:34:13 PM EST
    have kept his thoughts to himself.  But, even if did not exercise such discretion, punishing him for mouthing off is a violation of his civil rights.  

    He's in the military (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 02:02:32 PM EST
    They are allowed to punish people for "mouthing off" are they not?

    Merely asking a question, mind you (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 02:06:11 PM EST
    Surely we agree this is a tad extreme? (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 03:36:23 PM EST
    They are allowed to discipline soldiers. (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Joan in VA on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 04:26:17 PM EST
    They are not allowed to torture soldiers, which they have been doing to him for the better part of a year. Naked humiliation is not acceptable in the military or anywhere else-it was unacceptable at Abu Ghraib and it's unacceptable here. He's in solitary in the brig-though not proved guilty of any crime-does he really need more punishment to make him a good soldier? No, they want to destroy him.

    He's in solitary (none / 0) (#44)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:53:27 AM EST
    Which means no one sees him, right? Except maybe his guards, who would be seeing him in the shower, even if he was in the general population -am I correct?

    I know lots of people who sleep in the nude.  Never thought THAT was considered cruel and unusual.  If you said they were tying his testicles to the bed, then yes, that is certainly cruel and unusual.  But making him sleep nude?  I just don't see it.


    {head desk} oy. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 01:25:43 PM EST
    He is forced to stand at attention, (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Anne on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 03:28:15 PM EST
    outside his cell, for morning inspection in the presence of other brig detainees; he is not allowed to be dressed for this.

    The one and only reason for this is to humiliate him, increase his feeling of vulnerability and dehumanize him; he is no longer a man, or a soldier, he is an object, completely dependent on his jailers for his clothing.

    Maybe this compilation will help you distinguish between one's choice to sleep in the nude, and the nudity that is being forced on Manning:

    ... the CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become Zubaydah's "God." They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, "You know what I want," and then leave.

    Jane Mayer, The Dark Side

    In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.
    -JTF-Gitmo SERE SOP, December 10, 2002

    Establishing the baseline state is important to demonstrate to the HVD that he has no control over basic human needs. The baseline state also creates in the detainee a mindset in which he learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting. The use of conditioning techniques do not generally bring immediate results; rather, it is the cumulative effect of these techniques, used over time and in combination with other interrogation techniques and intelligence exploitation methods, which achieve interrogation objectives. These conditioning techniques require little to no physical interaction between the detainee and the interrogator. The specific interrogation techniques are:

    a. Nudity. The HVD's clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.
    -CIA memo describing combined interrogation techniques, December 30, 2004

    Nudity: This technique is used to cause psychological discomfort, particularly if a detainee, for cultural or other reasons, is especially modest. When the technique is employed, clothing can be rewarded as an instant reward for cooperation.
    -OLC "Techniques" memo, May 10, 2005, withdrawn by Barack Obama

    Removal of clothing is different from naked.
    -Douglas Feith, Testimony before House Judiciary Committee, July 15, 2008

    PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.
    -Report from David Coombs on treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, March 3, 2011

    I hope this helps your understanding of what the big deal is...


    And with continuous video (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 05:31:18 PM EST
    surveillance recordings.