Allegations are flying around on Twitter that Bradley Manning, the incarcerated whistleblower accused of leaking material showing the USA’s wrongdoings in the Middle East, is being tortured.
Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald twittered “a major story brewing is the cruel, inhumane treatment – torture – to which Bradley Manning is being subjected”. According to Greenwald, more is to be revealed later.
Manning is currently holed up in a military prison where conditions are bound to be very harsh. His superiors might see view his actions as treason, giving him an especially rough time.
Bradley E. Manning
Private First Class (PFC) Bradley E. Manning (born 17 December 1987) is a United States Army soldier who was arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of U.S. classified information. He has been held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico since sometime in May 2010.
Manning was an intelligence analyst assigned to a support battalion with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq. Agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command arrested Manning based on information received from federal authorities provided by an American informant, Adrian Lamo, in whom Manning had previously confided.
Lamo said that Manning claimed, via instant messaging, to be the person who had leaked the “Collateral Murder“ video of a helicopter airstrike on July 12, 2007, in Baghdad. Additionally, a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables were released to Wikileaks.
Manning was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with violations of UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 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”.
Bradley Manning was born in Crescent, Oklahoma to an American father and a Welsh mother. His parents had met when his father was stationed at Cawdor Barracks in Wales. Manning spent his early childhood in Oklahoma. When he was thirteen, following his parents’ divorce, he moved with his mother to Haverfordwest, Wales. He had trouble fitting in at school in what former acquaintances have described as a troubled childhood. According to some childhood friends, he first expressed interest in joining the U.S. military while he was in elementary school.
Manning dropped out of school at 16, returned to the United States, and worked at a pizza parlor. He enlisted in the Army at 18, becoming an intelligence analyst deployed in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Contingency Operating Station Hammer in Iraq.
Manning felt isolated in the army, reportedly based on the difficulties of being homosexual under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Before being arrested, Manning had been twice reprimanded, once for assaulting a fellow soldier, and was demoted from Specialist to Private First Class.
Acquisition and leak of classified material:
While stationed in Iraq, Manning had access to SIPRNET from his workstation, from where it is alleged the leaked documents originated.
According to chat logs, Manning brought in CD-RWs containing music, which were subsequently erased and rewritten with the leaked documents. In online discussions with Adrian Lamo, Manning claimed responsibility for leaking the “Collateral Murder” video, a video of the Granai airstrike and approximately 250,000 individual cables, to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.
Manning expressed disillusionment with American foreign policy, opining that the diplomatic documents expose “almost criminal political back dealings” and expressed a wish that the release of the videos would cause large-scale scandals and lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”
Manning has been considered a “person of interest” in the Army’s criminal investigation into the leak of over 90,000 documents to Wikileaks pertaining to the War in Afghanistan as well.
Arrest and criminal charges
Manning was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010 and held in pre-trial confinement in a military jail at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.On 5 July 2010, two misconduct charges were brought against him 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”.
The charges included unauthorized access to Secret Internet Protocol Router Network computers, download of more than 150,000 United States Department of State diplomatic cables, download of a classified PowerPoint presentation, and downloading a classified video of a military operation in Baghdad on July 12, 2007. Manning is also charged with forwarding the video and at least one of the cables to an unauthorized person. The maximum jail sentence is 52 years.
Manning faces a pretrial hearing under Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, following which his lawyer expects a court-martial in the spring of 2011.
Wikileaks have refused to identify Manning as the source of the leaks, but claim that their effort to arrange for Manning’s legal defense was rebuffed, a claim the military has denied. As of 8 December 2010, Wikileaks had not yet followed through on a pledge to contribute to Manning’s legal defense.
Manning has selected former military attorney David Coombs to lead his defense team. Manning has been held at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico in solitary confinement since sometime in May 2010. It has been reported by friends and supporters that he is not permitted to exercise and that his mental and physical health are deteriorating and that the suicide watch on him has been lifted.
A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning
PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.
His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length.
The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.
The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning. Given the nature of their job, however, they do not engage in conversation with 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. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.
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.
He cannot see other inmates from his cell. He can occasionally hear other inmates talk. Due to being a pretrial confinement facility, inmates rarely stay at the facility for any length of time. Currently, there are no other inmates near his cell.
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 receive letters from those on his approved list and from his legal counsel. If he receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.
He is allowed to have any combination of up to 15 books or magazines. He must request the book or magazine by name. Once the book or magazine has been reviewed by the literary board at the confinement facility, and approved, he is allowed to have someone on his approved list send it to him. The person sending the book or magazine to him must do so through a publisher or an approved distributor such as Amazon. They are not allowed to mail the book or magazine directly to PFC Manning.
Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch:
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.
He receives each of his meals in his cell.
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 not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.
He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.
He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.
He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.
When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.