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Is Bradley Manning Really Being “Tortured”?

I know I run the risk of alienating a lot of my readers, but I have to call it how I see it. We must be living in a Twilight Zone, really. If you Google the words “Bradley Manning” and “naked”, you will get over 6 million hits. It may be true that the last 4 million of those hits will be pornography, but is it any different than the first 2 million hits? Everyone seems to be thinking about Bradley Manning standing naked. I knew the internet was full of people who only think about naked people, but the names on these results aren’t your usual suspects. They are liberals who probably paraded around naked at Woodstock and called it freedom. I would have been one of those people, if I had been old enough to go to Woodstock. And a whole lot of the hits you will see if you Google those words will include the word torture or imply it in some way. Is it really torture to make a person accused of a crime stand naked for 3 minutes in a prison cell (a brig)? In my humble opinion, it doesn’t even come close to torture. I’ve spent some time reading about his detention and found the 11 page letter that Bradley Manning wrote about his detention. What he says doesn’t even come close to what Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher have been saying to get those oh-so-wonderful clicks that put more money in their pockets. I found this on his lawyers website and have snipped it up, go read the whole thing…(dated December 18, 2010)

The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

He is allowed to watch television during the day. The television stations are limited to the basic local stations. His access to the television ranges from 1 to 3 hours on weekdays to 3 to 6 hours on weekends.

From 7:00 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., he is given correspondence time. He is given access to a pen and paper. He is allowed to write letters to family, friends, and his attorneys.

Each night, during his correspondence time, he is allowed to take a 15 to 20 minute shower.

On weekends and holidays, he is allowed to have approved visitors see him from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

He is allowed to have any combination of up to 15 books or magazines. He must request the book or magazine by name.

Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch:

At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.

He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell.

Torture? Really? From all that I’ve read, and I spent a lot of time looking into it, I haven’t seen anything that constitutes torture. Matt Osborne at OsborneInk, about the only other person on the left who sees what bullshit this whole “nontroversy” really is, has this to say about it…

Like Bradley Manning, I have processed through a MEPS center and been inducted into the US Army. I had to get naked in the basement so a doctor could examine me for anything out of the ordinary. Was Bradley Manning being “tortured” then? Like Manning, I also went through Basic Training where I showered with lots of other naked men. Were we being tortured? We thought so at the time, but mostly because we were constantly being harassed into exercise by drill sergeants. Many of us had already been naked-showering with other guys since Junior High P.E.

Manning has allegedly been “tortured” by not being allowed exercise, but this charge turned out to be untrue as well. All of these charges have come through his attorney, David Coombs, and been amplified by the growing Greenwald-Hamsher chorus. The latest outrage: Bradley Manning is required to strip naked each night, which is exactly like waterboarding him. See how that works?

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March 21, 2011 - Posted by | Politics | ,

19 Comments »

  1. There’s no evidence of him actually being tortured. For example if someone who is a threat to himself and mentally unstable is deemed to be forced to be in the nude at all times legal I fail to see what Manning is going through as being illegal. I’m sorry but they have yet to show any real evidence of torture AT ALL.

    Comment by Jeff | March 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’m about to go all out on Glenn Greenwald and his lies.

    He is feeding people a bunch of lies and they are believing him and making fools of themselves by saying shit that isn’t true.

    Example: They keep saying he is being made to be naked in his cell for up to 7 hours at a time. For one thing, it isn’t true… he is given a smock to wear before bedtime and two blankets. If you read Glenn Greenwald, you would think he is laying naked on his bed shivering all night. Actually, you wouldn’t even know that it was during his sleep that he is naked by reading Glenn. That would make people go, “oh, you mean he really isn’t naked for 7 hours at a time and he has two blankets” and of course, where is the outrage in that?

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 21, 2011 | Reply

    • prisons do that to those who are mentally ill… I wonder why Greenwold isn’t expressing his outrage about that? BTW I read the same things that your reading haven’t found anything yet that describes torture.

      Comment by Jeff | March 21, 2011 | Reply

      • I don’t know if you ever listen to “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” on NPR, but I think it was last Thursday, Glenn Greenwald was on talking about this subject. It was pretty awesome because he didn’t get the chance to dominate the conversation and they had people on who know about military procedures and talked about the reasons for what they did to him. And they also presented the truth, which kind of took all the wind out of Glenn’s sails. I’m sure he is going to keep right on lying about it, but on that program, the truth made its way out. Here is a link to it if you want to check it out. I may use some of it when I post about this subject next. The link

        http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/03/17/wikileaks-and-bradley-manning

        Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 21, 2011 | Reply

      • I liked it this guy seems to know a lot of about military prison and the law. Greenwald sounded like an idiot and just anti-government with a huge agenda.

        Comment by Jeff | March 21, 2011 | Reply

      • sorry I wanted to add something (couldn’t do edit feature). One he’s saying that he hasn’t been convicted yet but that doesn’t matter. Prisoners can be held without being convicted especially if they believe he’s a flight risk and yes they can put you in solitary confinement if your a danger to yourself or others or are just a complete asshole.

        Greenwald is also being deceptive and using propaganda to get a point across. Its easy to see how people are being misled by this guy though. He seems articulate and reasonable but behind it there seems to be an agenda that is very anti-government. Trust me when I say that this guy is an ideologue no amount of reason or proof will prove to him that Manning is being treated humanely.

        He also used a moment to advertise one of his books which bothered me some. Is this a moment for him to try to sell his books and material through radio? I don’t think he gives a flying shit about Manning but rather a means to an end.

        Comment by Jeff | March 21, 2011 | Reply

      • yea, the “hasn’t been convicted yet” idea is true, he hasn’t been convicted yet. There is a lot of evidence that he actually did it and he is being held as he should be, a spy. Another name for it might be “whistleblower” – and I support the Whistleblower Protection Act – but when you do something like leak hundreds of thousands of documents, some of it may be “whistleblowing”, (which is defined as illegal acts) and most of it isn’t exposing any illegal acts but exposing methods and practices, diplomatic secrets, and potentially exposing agents and informants…well, then whistleblowing is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? :)

        Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. Jim, OsborneInk wrote a piece a while back about Manning, and I think you’d like it.

    I agree, I haven’t heard or read anything to convince me it’s torture. Greenwald is just doing his usual song and dance, and it’s primarily about opportunism. JMHO, of course.

    Comment by Nicole473 | March 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. I have to respectfully disagree, at the very least on the notion that this is a nonstory. Even if the word “torture” can be considered too extreme to describe Manning’s treatment, there’s far too many discrepancies in the way Quantico has handled Manning’s status.

    And as far as I’m concerned, his forced nudity is probably the least worrying of Manning’s treatment. What is far more disturbing is that he’s been held in solitary confinement (and yes, it is solitary, as much as Quantico wants to quibble over that) for 23 hours a day for 8 months straight or however long it’s been. Television and magazines are no substitute for regular and sustained human contact.

    Comment by gussiejives | March 22, 2011 | Reply

    • yeah? Than why aren’t you angry at all the prisoners this happens to? Oh and btw Greenwald was lying when he said this only happens to people who have been convicted. It can happen to anyone who gets arrested.

      Comment by Jeff | March 22, 2011 | Reply

      • Oh, I don’t think it should happen to people in the penal system either. At least not for this duration.

        Comment by gussiejives | March 22, 2011 | Reply

    • As far as solitary confinement goes. Dictionary.com defines it as…

      solitary confinement
      –noun
      the confinement of a prisoner in a cell or other place in which he or she is completely isolated from others.

      Not even close to being what Manning is going through. “completely isolated” I don’t think I have to define “completely” for you. He can talk to other prisoners…maybe yell to be honest, but he can. He is also allowed visitors for 3 hours on the weekends. Yes, being in the brig isn’t that much fun, which is why he probably shouldn’t have leaked all that stuff and then talked about it to people, who then turned him in. He could have avoided the whole mess pretty easily, in my opinion if he had either not done it, or been more selective about it instead of a massive data dump of stuff that wasn’t “Whistleblowing” at all. And then, of course, talking about it to strangers….Duh, losing.

      I’m not saying I think whistleblowers should be stopped, but what Manning did was more than Whistleblowing from what I can tell. And if you do the crime, you pay a price. I certainly hope someone didn’t goad him into doing it like Assange or Greenwald for that matter, because he clearly didn’t know what he was getting into when he did it. When you go into the military, they make it pretty clear to you that you better be loyal, you are working for and representing the United States of America’s defense department. They don’t look too kindly on traitors…or whistleblowers for that matter…I’ve never been in the military but I know enough people who were to know that military justice is a bit different than civilian justice.

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 22, 2011 | Reply

      • I think Manning should face the punishment for what he did through the courts, absolutely.

        But keep in mind, that dictionary definition doesn’t actually cover what real solitary confinement is in the penal system either. One of Greenwald’s posts had a great article from the New Yorker that described almost exactly the same conditions Manning was in: 23 hours a day in a cell, magazines, TV, even the ability to talk to prisoners. And he still was mentally crippled by the experience: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/03/30/090330fa_fact_gawande

        I get the impression, and I could be wrong, that a lot of the pushback on this story from progressive sources tend to be those who hold Glenn Greenwald and FireDogLake in particular contempt. Is it possible that your preconceptions of those sources are clouding the issue? Because it’s not just them that are calling foul on this. Several prominent newspapers around the world have agreed with the assessment that Manning’s treatment is abusive, if not torture.

        Comment by gussiejives | March 22, 2011 | Reply

      • Someone can also get placed in solitary confinement without being convicted of any crime. For example when I was jail once this guy mouthed off to a guard, he ended up getting thrown into solitary confinement. Oh and btw at one point in time (might depend on state) you could be thrown in solitary for long periods of time.

        Military prison is probably some what like civilian prison. Oh and the problem with Greenwald is that he’s not a lawyer much less a military lawyer so he doesn’t know shit.

        Comment by Jeff | March 22, 2011 | Reply

      • I don’t like what happens in our penal system at all. I’ve occasionally watched MSNBC on the weekends and have also heard enough stories to know that it is screwed up.

        Now the brig at Quantico isn’t a very pleasant place, I assume, but a lot of what was in the New Yorker piece was Maximum Security, violent, out of control people who, from what I read, didn’t get 3 hours on the weekend to visit with people, in person. It mentioned the occasional phone call and chat with a prisoner in an adjacent cell. Bradley manning has television part of the time, magazines, books, newspapers. It isn’t like the solitary confinement I’ve seen on MSNBC…that’s some shit. Complete isolation.

        On the Glenn Greenwald thing…in a way, I’m giving credit to Greenwald and Hamsher for elevating the Manning “torture” issue to the level it is. But they’ve totally exaggerated what is actually going on. Greenwald paints a picture of a naked, shivering, Bradley Manning sleeping on a cement slab in a cold prison cell. He is wearing a smock, with two blankets while he sleeps. He has to give the smock back in the morning, so he stands there naked as he takes his clothes for the day. Now you go read how Glenn describes it, he’s a serial exaggerator and peppers everything he writes with loaded language, he operates very much like Fox News…in technique only. Either way, it’s dishonest.

        Comment by ExtremeLiberal | March 22, 2011 | Reply

      • You’re very correct about the prison system. I for one am very much against the death penalty for example. I know it can be abused and sharply feel that it is used way too much over very stingy evidence. Even if the guy is guilty I am unsure if the death penalty is the solution.

        I am also no big fan of solitary confinement which is another thing that can be abused way too much. Greenwald however I feel is doing this for purely political reasons.

        Comment by Jeff | March 23, 2011 | Reply

  5. How on earth can you think that the way how they treat him is not torture?
    1 Disturbing his night sleep isn’t torture?
    2 He is not allowed to do any exercise in his cell where he is most of the time?
    3 Only walking in an empty room?
    How can you be so lost from yourself? This is barbaric!

    Comment by Chachaprem | March 23, 2011 | Reply

    • I don’t understand why he can’t exercise in his room, but that isn’t torture. Sorry. And they wake him only when they can’t see him clearly, I wake up several times a night because of my CPAP machine, it’s not torture dude.

      Exactly how nice should it be in the brig? Maybe he should have thought a little more about the consequences of his actions before he risked the lives of his fellow service members and diplomats.

      Comment by Extreme Liberal | March 23, 2011 | Reply


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