Bradley Manning , who has just turned 23, is the US Army Office who was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source”. Although not proven, or accepted, it is widely thought that Manning is a Wikileaks source. Circumstantial evidence would suggest that this may be the case as Wikileaks has offered to fund his legal defence. Manning does not go to court martial until sometime in 2011 – in which time he remains in solitary confinement.
Before his arrest it is understood that he wrote that he hoped his actions would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. He is also alleged to have written “I want people to see the truth regardless of who they are because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public”
For someone who has not been found guilty, and is a US citizen, he spends 23 hrs a day in solitary confinement, forbidden to nap or take exercise during the day, and every 5 minutes he must confirm verbally that he is OK. This level of social isolation and sensory deprivation is tantamount to torture. The Military maintain that they are keeping him safe and secure for the trial, and that the conditions are no different to other maximum custody detainess – that does not make it right, or acceptable.
Visitors to Manning have, of late, noticed a deterioration in his psychological condition, which is not surprising given the conditions. It is becoming such an issue that the UN’s anti-torture envoy, Manfred Nowak, is to look into the complaint.
Whilst the US Government may not call it torture, to a reasonable person it is – it is not civilised. It is clearly designed to break him down and to try and get him to confirm that he is the source for Wikileaks, and therefore implicate Julian Assange, amongst others.
Depending on where you sit on this, he is either a state criminal, and should be tried for treason, or a hero. If he is a hero, he is the only one who can take that title. Whilst he is enduring appalling conditions in the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Julian Assange is enjoying his stay at Ellingham Hall, Vaughan Smith’s country seat, hoping that Manning does not crack, and ruing the day that his liking for Swedish women got the better of him.
…and where is the liberal, transparent Barack Obama on this – or did that disappear when he was elected?