Thursday, December 23, 2010

Accused WikiLeaker suffering from inhumane treatment says friend

A U.S. soldier accused of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks is suffering psychologically and physically due to inhumane treatment at a Marine Corps brig, one of the few people who visits him regularly charged Thursday.

David House, an MIT software researcher, told "The Dylan Ratigan Show" guest host Jonathan Capehart on msnbc cable television that Pfc. Bradley Manning has big bags under his eyes, is weak from lack of exercise and has difficulty keeping up with some conversational topics.

House rebutted claims by the Pentagon that Manning under "maximum custody" is in a standard single-person cell and gets exercise, recreation, and access to newspapers and visitors. The Pentagon issued the statement Dec. 17 in response to reports by's Glenn Greenwood and others that Manning is virtually in solitary confinement while awaiting possible court martial.

House, 23, appeared on the cable TV show Thursday after posting a lengthy blog on calling the Pentagon's "public spin from last week sharply contradicts the reality" of Manning's confinement.

House said Manning told him during his Dec. 18 visit that he has never been allowed newspapers during his five months at Quantico.

Manning, 23, is kept in his 64-square-foot cell 23 hours a day, gets a wakeup call daily at 5 a.m., is barred from exercising in his cell, gets to walk in chains an hour a day in and indoor room and is not allowed to sleep between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Read the rest here.

Manning is an American Citizen. That means that he is entitled to his day in court and a presumption of innocence until he is convicted. Nor should he be treated cruelly. That said, if he is found guilty of what he is accused of, he should be jailed for the rest of his life. The military can not function on an "I will obey orders and keep military secrets if I feel like it" basis. What he allegedly did has caused really serious damage to the armed forces, and arguably has endangered lives. So yea. Give him his day in court. But if he is guilty... NO QUARTER.


rabidgandhi said...

I guess you're right. Soldiers who fail to follow military regulations to which they agreed should not be surprised when the military decides to enforce those regulations. Soldiers like, say... Dimitri of Thessalonika.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the technicality that would enable him to have this brave fellow convicted, there is no question and ambiguity about who is morally right.

Aglaios said...

The holding of prisoners under the UCMJ at military bases is very different from civilian prisons.

It is run more like boot camp and in a military prison they can give you bread and water to eat, or they can hold you in solitary.

While soldiers of course do have Constitutional rights, military prisons are much harsher.

Ochlophobist said...

If this Bradley Manning fellow is acting within the usual norms of the tradition of American civil disobedience, he will accept the punishment the law requires for his actions. Those who engage in civil disobedience (with the exception of a very few) are not anarchists in the unfortunate popular sense of that word. They do not reject all rule of law. I hope that this young man did what he did as an act of conscience for the sake of his neighbor and the health and preservation of his republic. His actions certainly could have been, and should have been, done with such motivation. Initial reports of the young man seem to indicate that he may be a bit of an enfant terrible. I hope that is not the case, though even if it is, his actions were of great importance for our nation and the world. He deserves to be treated according to the laws of the land. If those laws are unjust, let us overturn them. If those laws were just (and John’s point that the military needs to be able to expect soldiers to keep their mouths shut seems common sensical) we need to keep in mind that sometimes someone, as a matter of conscience, must break a just law in order to pursue the greater good. According to the logic of the American tradition of civil disobedience, one in such a case should accept the punishment as the law demands. This maintains the rule of just law, while doing what needed to be done for the people. Such an act often requires great sacrifice. I hope that Bradley Manning is a man who lives up to such a calling. God help and protect him either way.

reader joseph said...

can you expand on what damage has been done to the armed forces by these revelations?

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Among all of the inf dumped by wikileaks were documents which identified villages and people in Afghanistan that had provided aid to our forces. Some have already experienced retaliation from the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

this is what happens to traitors, of course to quote one famous spy "treason, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder"