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December 15, 2010

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novakant, if an allied country wants to conduct an independent inquiry, it should do so. It seems reasonable to me that one of the jobs of diplomats to try to intervene in foreign courts on behalf of their citizens - that doesn't mean the courts have to consider those arguments.

Phil, deep breath taken. I've said all I need to say on the issue.

It seems reasonable to me that one of the jobs of diplomats to try intervene in foreign courts on behalf of their citizens

Wow - so much for your respect for the rule of law and the truth. Btw, which citizens is such an intervention designed to protect? Citizens Bush and Cheney?

"Not sure what to make of this, Phil. That the cables aren't truthful and are unreliable?"

One thing to make of it is that the people who work for us sometimes lie even to each other for no justifiable purpose. Which is why it was good the cable got leaked. The fact that some journalists fell for the lie is their own fault, but the mainstream press has been spinning the leaks like mad, so it's not too surprising--

link

sapient: Oh please. Doesn't Manning have an attorney? Why doesn't Greenwald mention him? Why are the blogs the spokespeople for Manning when, in fact, he has a lawyer: David E. Coombs. Why hasn't Coombs complained about this - how about the fact that his mental health is being examined? Is this because his lawyer has asked for this?

Do we really have all of the facts here?

We have even more facts than we had when this was written, including quite a bit from David Coombs, and from another visitor to Manning. (see Greenwald's latest).

I hope that sapient and each poster/reader/commenter in the ObWi orbit has a festive, peaceful, and enjoyable couple of weeks as many of us celebrate Christmas and we all head to a new year.

Oh, dear. Another post from seven days ago I haven't had time to read more than the post.

Will try to catch up on the comments when I can.

Theoretically, I'd love to find some time to write an actual post.

I don't suppose anyone knows anyone in Oakland/Berkeley who can do incredibly simple carpentry, or simply, perhaps, banging a semi-broken drawer back into place? It's taken four hours of my day just to try deal with that, and at this point, I don't think there's more I can do but put the broken drawer somewhere, and the contents somewhere else. Somewhere.

Meanwhile, Donald Johnson posted a link about Manning here, if anyone wishes to pick up the discussion without having to reread, or read, this entire thread.

Nell, great to see you in these parts. There's an open thread over here if you're interested.

Comments welcome anywhere and everywhere they're still open, any time in that two week limit (last I looked; without the password or information from a co-blogger, I'm not sure; presumably Eric knows -- I hope), of course.

Back at you, nell.

Hob:

[...] Blog commenters don't lecture the world - to be able to lecture someone, they have to at least know you exist.
I have not observed this to be true. In my experience, blog commenters have lectured the world hundreds of millions of times.

Who listens is another question, but that's a question as regards every lecture, statement, or communique.

Sapient:

[...] Do we really have all of the facts here?
Nobody ever has all the facts. The question is whether there are enough known to any individual to speak with some reasonable competence to a subject, and then whether there are enough interlocutors who share a commonality enough for conversation to be productive.

Sapient:

[...] It's my understanding that Manning's psychiatric status is being examined. Someone should find out what the normal procedure for that is.
I'm quite sure someone knows. Who would you like to ask?

[...] I just don't think we should take Glenn Greenwald's narrative about Manning as conclusive.
Whose conclusions about anything should we take as conclusive? What point are we defining in an going situation as having "concluded"?

Manning's case obviously isn't concluded, and neither was Glenn Greenwald the first or last person to write about him.

Countme--In:

This:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/12/15/til-its-gone/

[....]

goes here, to a discussion of Egger's Zeitoun.

Sapient:

[...] That soldiers were in Pakistan comes as news to you?
Who was the "you" you were addressing?

Duff Clarity:

[...] Here's what the US Special Envoy to Pakistan told the press last December: "there are no American troops in Pakistan".
Cite, please? Thanks!
[...] When the Nation, last fall, published an article claiming there were US forces fighting on the ground in Pakistan here is how the government responded [....]
Where, when, who? URL, please?

novakant:

Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

Woodrow Wilson

Word!

What timetable do you suggest would be most practical for the world's governments, or, say, just the U.S. government, to move to such practices?

Keeping in mind that we have federal elections every two years.

Phil:

At least this whole thing has given SOME lulz:

Michael Moore was as surprised as anyone when WikiLeaks revealed a US cable asserting that Cuban officials banned his Sicko documentary

Are you referring to this piece by Moore, Phil? What are you quoting from? There are over 281 sources for your quote. Which are you using?

novakant:

I am aware of that, thanks - he was a politician, what do you expect? It's just that this quote expresses my opinion on how diplomacy should be conducted.
See previous query: timetable in mind as when and how your opinion should be implemented? Means?

Is this opinion that can be implemented? If so, what do you have in mind?

Or are you describing a nice fantasy you have? Or something that will happen, in your view, in fifty years or so? When? Which?

Thanks for any response!


Phil:

[...] That it was funny, maybe? I mean, take a step back here. You're about to implode from the stress of this, apparently.
Seems doubtful, or I suspect we've had had reports. It would, I think, make the newspapers.

(That's my dry humor, yes: not me being literal.)

Okay, caught up to the rest of the comments on this thread. Doesn't seem to be anything substantive calling for further response; mostly seems to be variants of "is so" and "is not" and the usual personality conflicts.

Did I miss anything of substance via reading too quickly? Any particular comments? Anyone still asking something?

I read it all, but checking is often useful.

This is directly relevant to the subject of the thread, and requires no response from anyone, but I wanted to get it in here before comments close.

In the course of googling to research who other than Glenn Greenwald made public note of Bradley Manning's conditions of confinement, and when, I came across the Solitary Watch site, a development that I find heartening for more than one reason.

Solitary Watch is an innovative public website aimed at bringing the widespread use of solitary confinement and other forms of torture in U.S. prisons out of the shadows and into the light of the public square.

I encourage those interested in the subject, including those who share sapient's take, to take advantage of the documentation the project provides (starting by reading the rest of the 'About' page).

This is directly relevant to the subject of the thread, and requires no response from anyone

Required or not, my response is "thanks Nell".

Criminal justice in this country is FUBAR. It needs to change.

I agree, Nell. And, by the way, my "take" has never been that I'm fine with the penal system, or that it doesn't need serious reform. And I'm not a proponent of solitary confinement either. I just think that organizations which approach the problem systemically (such as Solitary Watch), are going about the problem in serious and credible way, whereas people who are caught up in the WikiLeaks controversy are conflating the issue with their larger goal of persuading people that Bradley Manning is Obama' domestic political prisoner.

Solitary confinement is a means used by our penal system so that authorities can avoid thinking about more appropriate ways to deal with certain inmates: violent people (who might be a danger to others), people whose safety might be in jeopardy in a general prison population, people who choose it over the death penalty in exchange for a plea bargain, mentally ill people whose behavior is too challenging for prison officials to address thoughtfully, and others whose incarceration presents challenges. There are, no doubt, more humane and constructive ways to manage problems. Calling it "torture," especially when there are attempts made to provide a detainee with daily visits, reading material, etc., is problematic to me. It cheapens a term that in our recent national dialogue has been denied to acts such as waterboarding and the other abuses that clearly have long fallen within its definition, acts that John Yoo was trying to excuse.

Regarding Manning: This is an article written in September, after Manning had been at Quantico for a month. The article quotes a relative as stating that "[Manning] said he was being treated well." Obviously, several more months of those conditions could have changed his view on that, but it's not my impression that his attorney is trying to hurry the procedures toward his court martial.

As I've said before when describing my "take", I am not someone who would like to see Manning rot. But I do think that the crime he is alleged to have committed is serious, and not strictly "political." I trust his attorney's explanation of his case much more than I trust Glenn Greenwald's.

But I do think that the crime he is alleged to have committed is serious, and not strictly "political."

Again, I point you to Article 13. The seriousness of his crime is immaterial to the character of his pre-trial confinement. While he is in pre-trial status, only the good order and discipline of the facility can dictate more rigorous confinement than that required to ensure his presence... and I'm failing to see how maximum custody is needed for good order and discipline.

(For clarity's sake, according to regs, there is no class of crime so severe that the nature of the crime alone dictates maximum custody.)

I agree with you, envy. My point wasn't that the seriousness of his crime justifies the current conditions of his confinement. My point was that I don't think he's a "political prisoner". The September article I cited above states that he was in solitary confinement because he was under suicide watch. His lawyer's web site has a recent post about challenging the conditions of his confinement, and the various steps involved. Judicial review of the basis of confinement can happen, but only after the referral of a case to a court-martial. Apparently, according to the November post about Manning's case, they are waiting for everyone to obtain security clearances before an Article 32 hearing takes place.

This is what due process looks like in the military. Not pretty, but it's grinding right along.

Happy new year, sapient. I'm glad to know you saw my comment before the thread died.

Envy above makes a fundamental point about the irrelevancy of what crime he is accused of to the illegality of Manning's treatment, though much of what is being done to him would be equally abusive if he had been convicted of a serious crime.

Calling it "torture," especially when there are attempts made to provide a detainee with daily visits, reading material, etc., is problematic to me. It cheapens a term that in our recent national dialogue has been denied to acts such as waterboarding...

Try to leave how you feel about Glenn Greenwald and WikiLeaks out of it. Try to avoid minimizing and outright mischaracterizations of his situation ("daily visits"? not so much. "reading material"? Read his lawyer's account of that and reflect on how much of Manning's requests have likely been approved.)

Try, in short, to put yourself in Bradley Manning's place. Re-read Hilzoy's posts on solitary, cited by Eric in the original post.

The most chilling aspect of Manning's illegal pre-trial punishment, the most clearly torturous, is the combination of isolation, control, and sleep deprivation over a very prolonged period. He is not allowed to exercise in his cell. He has to constantly respond to guards. He is being awakened frequently during the night. And this has been going on for at least five months (we know less about conditions of Manning's two months of confinement at a base in Kuwait).

From his lawyer's account at the link above:

PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. 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. [my emphasis]

This is torture. Waterboarding is torture, sleep deprivation is torture, and solitary confinement is torture. The fact that solitary confinement has surged to the point of becoming near-routine in U.S. prisons over the last 20 years, that close to a hundred thousand human beings are being subjected to it on any given day here, has not made it less torturous. What it has done is make some human rights advocates hesitate to focus on it because of the very scale of the problem in the "we-don't-torture" United States of America.

That hesitation, finally, appears to have been overcome. A year ago the National Religious Coalition Against Torture has made ending prison torture, in particular solitary confinement, a specific part of its efforts. The Solitary Watch project began. This past December 10, international human rights day, was the occasion of a significant statement on isolation as torture, part of an international effort to refocus attention on it.

The authorities at the Quantico brig are using an unjustified and prolonged Prevention of Injury order to subject Bradley Manning to sleep deprivation, isolation, and extreme control/observation. [None of us know who authorized this or why, but it is consistent with known U.S. practice for this to be "softening him up for interrogation."]

"softening him up for interrogation."

By which I mean, getting him to say something that will help them to prosecute Julian Assange. I'm assuming that he can only be questioned in the presence of his attorney.

This is what due process looks like in the military. Not pretty, but it's grinding right along.

I'll thank you not to lecture me on this. I am, as I have mentioned, possessed of a more-than-passing professional familiarity with such things.

The fact that the legal challenges to the nature of his confinement are advancing as quickly as is possible does not mean that his confinement as it stands is lawful. It means that it has not been deemed unlawful, because it has not yet been judged one way or another. Hence your defenses of the nature of his confinement, despite appearances that it is not reasonable, are somewhat troubling, when your justification appears to be that if it were illegal, it wouldn't be happening.

That his solitary confinement is justified as protecting him from himself does nothing to lend his treatment an air of legitimacy, if one are at all familiar with the ease with which such measures can be imposed.

Not lecturing you, envy. Due process in the military is grossly insufficient, but people who sign up for the military are doing so voluntarily. As a civil law attorney, back in the day, I worked on an article 15 case and was shocked and appalled at "military justice". But no matter how often I b**ched and complained to military people, they all shrugged their shoulders - they all seemed to believe and understand (and support the fact) that the ridiculous state of affairs was normal, and was what people sign up for.

My feeling is: don't join the Armed Services if you value your Constitutional rights. If you do, don't get in trouble with the law; and especially, don't breach the trust of the United States. But if you want to be miserable, shoot the moon!

According to the time line mentioned by his attorney, Bradley Manning's Article 13 hearing should be happening very soon (within a week or two). Hope it goes well for him.

Welcome to SuperMax.

Nobody should be put in solitary confinement over 90 days.

It's torture.

Read Atul Gawande March 30, 2009:

The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?
Yes. Answers at link.

sapient: My feeling is: don't join the Armed Services if you value your Constitutional rights. If you do, don't get in trouble with the law; and especially, don't breach the trust of the United States. But if you want to be miserable, shoot the moon!

It's hard to read this as anything but shrugging off U.S. military torture, or even approval (of the he-got-what-he-asked-for variety).

The techniques of isolation and sleep deprivation are known to do permanent damage; the likelihood and severity of such damage increases the longer they go on. In this case the abuses have gone on for at least five months, possibly seven. And they could go on for months more.

Manning's lawyer emphasizes that an Article 13 hearing, the only apparent hope for lifting the punitive "protective" order, cannot take place until after the charges are formally referred to court martial. I certainly hope that will happen as soon as possible; I'd appreciate any link (from sapient or anyone else) to substantiate the idea that this is likely to happen within the next two weeks.

"Bradley's pre-trial Article 32 hearing has not yet been scheduled, but is likely to take place in either December or January 2011."

Granted, the source isn't authoritative, but given that on November 1, Coombs published a status update which stated that the classification process was pending and would take another three to six weeks, then security clearances would be provided where needed, the hearing is probably imminent. (The same update was published on Coombs website three weeks later - the lawyer not having changed any of the prospective dates.) Certainly, there will be speedy trial problems if the government can't show diligence in obtaining the security clearances.

But Nell, no, I'm not shrugging off anything. Extended solitary confinement is inhumane. But reasonable expectations about what might happen to a person who commits a proscribed act is part of due process. For example, during the Bush torture regime, acts perpetrated on the victims were beyond the kind of treatment that any of them might have expected, in that nobody could have "signed up" for being waterboarded, being required to assume uncomfortable physical positions for hours on end, etc.

In contrast, the conditions of Manning's imprisonment are part of the system. They may be horrifying and "torture" in some people's view (not as horrifying IMO as the physical pain inflicted during the Bush years), but everyone knows they are a possibility. When Manning decided that he would join the armed services, he knew (or could have known) that he could be subjected to a harsher regime, that he would be giving up certain rights. He then (apparently) voluntarily committed the acts he's accused of, knowing that the acts were considered a serious breach of the law, with serious punitive consequences.

We, as a society, might (should perhaps) say "No way" to longterm solitary confinement generally. (To do so would require not only protest, of course, but a proposal of alternative means of addressing the problems that solitary confinement is supposedly meant to address - such as mental health treatment, including appropriate accommodations, for prisoners, etc.) But since society still tolerates the practice, I think that there's an important distinction between following laws and procedures that may be flawed such as the ones Manning has been subjected to, and trying to go outside the law, and inventing punishments and "interrogation techniques" that no one could have expected, as happened during the Bush regime. When so much of the rhetoric in this case sounds like "Obama's treatment of Manning is another example of his continuing the torture policies of the Bush regime" it feeds into the false equivalencies that will undermine the progress that many of us are working towards.

if prison reform were my particular focus, I would be trying to find a different case to bring attention to systemic abuses.

Thanks, sapient, for the link on the timetable.

Prison reform isn't my particular focus. No one I'm aware of is using the illegal, abusive pre-trial treatment the U.S. military is meting out to Bradley Manning as their feature case for ending solitary generally, exactly because the case has so many unusual features. I brought up solitary and prisons on this thread to make clear that the view that solitary is torture is a scientific fact, not a fringe opinion, and to note the existence of a movement to re-establish that understanding in the U.S.

It's difficult for many people to internalize the reality that "touchless" techniques like sleep deprivation and isolation are torture; they think physical tortures are "real torture", and the rest as "harsh conditions." That's exactly why our government has invested so much effort over the last sixty years in refining "touchless" torture, in which sleep deprivation and isolation are important components.

Alfred McCoy's A Question of Torture documents this history, and the continuity of U.S. torture from one administration to the next. Darius Rejali's Torture and Democracy takes an even broader look at the development of psychological and "touchless" tortures under democracies, exactly in order to take advantage of this popular intuition that only physical tortures are "real torture".

Much of the torture conducted under the Bush administration was classic CIA-model, dread-debility-dependence "touchless" torture. What changed during the Bush-Cheney regime was that torture became an explicit official policy. No one invented anything new at the site of the tortures; what was new was memos by the Office of Legal Counsel "legalizing" it, the Secretary of Defense signing off on a collection of specific torture techniques, and a cabinet-level group meeting regularly to authorize particular tortures for particular prisoners.

That level of official policy support for and involvement in torture has ended in the Obama administration. But the new administration has shown a strong commitment to unchecked and unreviewable executive power, to ever-greater levels of secrecy, and to unusually zealous pursuit of whistleblowers. These are the conditions under which abuses of all kinds flourish.

At the absolute minimum, this administration has countenanced the torture of at least one prisoner, a U.S. citizen in whose case it has a particular interest.

But since society still tolerates the practice, I think that there's an important distinction between following laws and procedures that may be flawed such as the ones Manning has been subjected to, and trying to go outside the law, and inventing punishments and "interrogation techniques" that no one could have expected, as happened during the Bush regime.

As Nell points out, the above statement you make is somewhat irrelevant, as there's no good-faith reason to assert that in Manning's case the military corrections facility responsible for his pre-trial confinement is following existing laws and procedures, flawed or otherwise. Saying "Oh, but he volunteered to enlist and (apparently) volunteered to commit a crime, so he has no grounds for protesting being treated according to the UCMJ", misses the point entirely both for the obvious irrelevance of the second observation (the UCMJ does not allow for assumption of guilt any more than US civilian law; hence the existence of Article 13), and the fact that the whole issue is that he appears to be being treated in contravention of the UCMJ. Saying he has no grounds in complaining about being subjected to rules that he's not actually being subjected to is, um, a spurious defense of his treatment, to say the least...

Nell and envy, there certainly is a "good faith reason" to argue that he is not being treated illegally. Under the UCMJ (and civilian law) when there is probably cause for arrest, a defendant can be detained before trial. There is no bail in the military.

Before the alleged crime ever happened, there were concerns on the part of Manning's supervisor about mental instability. He's clearly had problems in his relationships with fellow soldiers.

After a hearing under the UCMJ, the officer who is legally authorized to determine the conditions of his detention made a decision that he should be placed under POI guidelines. There is no reason to believe that the POI guidelines aren't being followed. The trial delay can be attributed to the legitimate work that his case requires.

There is absolutely nothing apparently "illegal" about his treatment. When he finally gets his hearing, it's possible that certain errors will be found (as happens in many appeals and proceedings). His lawyer discusses the potential remedies available if it is determined that his pretrial detention was punitive.

Where does his lawyer state that he is being treated in contravention of the UCMJ? Where's your link for that? And no, Nell, the Obama administration hasn't "countenanced the torture" of Manning. It simply hasn't reformed the criminal justice system or the procedures under the UCMJ.

By the way, although it's behind a subscription firewall, David Cole has written a thoughtful article about the differences between the Bush and Obama administration in TNR. There are rebuttals to his essay that are freely available. But I agree with him, that blurring the distinctions between their approaches, thereby undermining Obama's support , is counterproductive. If you're interested in human rights, all you have to do is read court opinions by judges appointed by Democrats versus Republicans, to understand who is protecting what. Keep up that circular firing squad!

Just as an example of what Obama has done in pursuit of a more humane justice system, please refer to this article about

[continued from prior comment]

Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

His lawyer believes that there is an Article 13 violation of the UCMJ, and has made clear his intention to make that argument when he has the opportunity to do so.

It's not happenstance that Manning, an Army soldier, is being held at a Marine brig, making it much more difficult to reach the actual chain of command. From Coombs' post of Dec. 21:

The defense has raised the conditions of PFC Bradley Manning’s confinement conditions on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Army Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office assigned to handle this case. Our efforts, unfortunately, have not resulted any in positive results. To its credit, the SJA office is attempting to correct this situation. However, given the fact that Quantico is a Marine Corps facility, it has similarly had no success.

Somebody in the chain of command is determined to maintain pressure on Manning by way of an unjustified and unjustifiably prolonged PoI. The President doesn't have to order it personally to be countenancing it.

I appreciate the link to David Cole's article, which is now apparently in the clear. I've also located a couple of the responses to it.

It would certainly help rebuild the lost trust of his more civil liberties-committed supporters for the president to take the advice of Cole, one of the most fair-minded of these:

...it is precisely the administration’s refusal to be transparent and acknowledge past legal wrongs that fuels the widespread criticism that Obama is merely “Bush Lite” when it comes to counterterrorism. The administration has, in my view, been unjustly criticized. While it has not done all it should, it has nevertheless made real, meaningful changes. But if Obama wants to respond to his critics, reassure the world, and restore the trust so essential to success, he must be willing to look backward, acknowledge wrongdoing, and defend openly the legality of continuing tactics. Obama’s reluctance to embrace these core principles gives credence to both the critics’ complaints and the enemy’s recruitment efforts. Only transparency and accountability can make clear whether Obama has truly turned the page on the disastrous policies of his predecessor.

I'm not holding my breath, but it's a new year. Maybe some of those new inner staffers are giving him this same advice. If not, well, the criticism only becomes more credible the longer the approach of the first two years continues.

"His lawyer believes that there is an Article 13 violation of the UCMJ, and has made clear his intention to make that argument when he has the opportunity to do so."

It's perfectly appropriate that his lawyer should question his treatment and make that challenge. It may be that there is an Article 13 violation, but the lawyer has to prove it. Nothing you've said, or that I have read, proves it - there are legitimate reasons that have been stated for his pretrial detainment. These reasons may be illegitimate, but they haven't been proven so. Lawyers frequently make challenges to procedures, and sometimes win. Under the Bush torture regime, people were denied attorneys and hearings for years. Manning has had hearings, counsel, opportunity to collect evidence, etc., and will have further hearings and trial. It's all called due process.

"Somebody in the chain of command is determined to maintain pressure on Manning by way of an unjustified and unjustifiably prolonged PoI."

Again, whether it's "unjustified" is subject to dispute. That's what the hearing will answer. As to the PoI being "unjustifiably prolonged," I haven't seen any indication, even on the lawyer's web site, that the detention is being purposely delayed. In fact, if it is being purposely delayed, the prosecution's case could be jeopardized on speedy trial grounds. From what I've read, there are security clearances that have to be obtained. Some of what is occurring is a result of the defense having filed motions in the case - in other words, as a result of Manning's lawyer's actions. Obviously, zealous representation requires that these motions be filed, but they take time.

It may be found that there were illegalities in Manning's detention, and (as I pointed out earlier) his lawyer discusses the potential remedies for that circumstance.

As to Obama micromanaging every case that is apparently being handled under the UCMJ or the United States Code, that's an absurd expectation. Is Obama supposed to be offering an expert opinion on Manning's need for a prevention of injury order? Not sure what you're trying to say here.

As to David Cole's criticism, I agree with it in theory, but how Obama carries out the "looking backward" is the tricky part. Anything that requires Congressional cooperation will be dead in the water. (See, for example, his efforts to close Guantanamo and to try detainees in civilian courts.)

In the meantime, the biggest difference that can be made in the shortest time for the many people languishing in inhumane prison conditions is to have better federal judges. Stoking the "Primary Obama because he's just like Bush!" mantra isn't going to get us that.

This will be my last post on the thread, as it seems we're going over already covered ground. I've appreciated your engaging with me.

The Article 13 issue is not the fact of Manning's detention but the punitive conditions of his detention, especially the 23-hour cell isolation, the exercise restrictions, including shackling, the constant forced response to guards, and the sleep disruption including interruptions and forced nudity.

By calling the PoI 'unjustifiably prolonged' I don't primarily mean that the powers that be are delaying Manning's court martial, though we'll have reason to believe that's happening if the punitive conditions continue and there is not a formal referral soon. I mean that conditions known to be damaging if they go on longer than 90 days have continued without letup under the figleaf of a Prevention of Injury order for at least five months. Five months of sleep disruption/deprivation alone -- much less when combined with isolation, lack of real exercise, and constant, impersonal intrusion -- is the opposite of "prevention of injury": it promotes mental damage.

You go back and forth between "nothing to see here" and some admission of punitive conditions with "hey, that's what you get, that's the army".

Obama: Put away the straw about micromanagaing every federal and UCMJ case. If the people in the White House are aware of any details in any case in the country, it's this one. The very public musings of the Attorney General about prosecution of Assange (which could only be contemplated with testimony from someone who had had dealings with him), the hard line the President and his administration were taking in leak and whistleblowing cases even before Manning's arrest, and the military's own zeal to make an example of Manning combine to put the responsibility for his abusive treatment in Quantico all they way along the chain of command, including at the top.

My focus on Manning's treatment has absolutely nothing to do with elections. Nothing. It has to do with whether this government has any commitment to the spirit as well as the letter of the law in the treatment of persons held on charges involving national security issues. (Those in power can always find someone to make the findings necessary to "legalize" what they wish to do, whether in the Office of Legal Counsel or the Quantico medical staff.)

I haven't been active here at ObWi for a year or more, and can't reasonably expect you to know what my politics are (nor even people who "know" me here, to the extent that my take on things has evolved/reverted while away). But you appear to assume I'm part of some faction with which you have issues, apparently because I linked to Glenn Greenwald. I'm not a proxy for anyone. I'm me; I've been aware of and protesting U.S. torture under every administration since Johnson's. That doesn't mean I don't grasp differences among administrations; it means I see the continuities as well as the differences.

Said it more than once before o'er the years, hopefully shall have the occasion to say it again: what Nell said. Up to and including the apparent needlessness of recovering the same ground Yet Still Again.

As I was dreading, the government continues and even intensifies its abuse of Bradley Manning (following a demo protesting his treatment).

A former Quantico commander objects to the way Manning is being treated. This follows letters in the last two weeks from "usual suspects" (ACLU and Physicians for Social Responsibility).

that should be "usual suspects" (Amnesty International and Physicians for Social Responsibility).

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