Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Response Regarding Manning

Earlier this week we wrote about Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of delivering classified information to a foreign media organization and is being held at a marine brig in Virginia. Anonymous sources there raised a concern in the media that Manning is being held in severe conditions guaranteed (designed, in fact) to cause psychological suffering and permanent damage. This led some to speculate whether torture was being used to pressure Manning to give testimony that would help the United States build a case of conspiracy against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

In fairness, we should now point out that the Quantico Marine Corps base has responded to these reports. They claim that Manning is alone in his cell but is not in solitary confinement and that he is allowed to converse with other prisoners. They claim he has access, for one hour per day, to media such as television or newspapers. As for the charge about exercise, they say this is a policy applied to all cells, because exercising in one's cell could cause injury. They say that Manning does have bedding. They even say that he can receive mail and visitors.

There is of course no independent verification of any of this, but they did respond to the concerns.

I have questions.

Do they seriously prevent prisoners from doing, say, situps or pushups in their cells because they might injure themselves?

During their one hour of recreation per day, do they have to choose between reading and physical exercise?

Do they turn out the lights at night? Is the bed something a person can actually sleep on? Is he able to sleep?


j said...

like many, i found manning's plight unacceptable. it is very disappointing, but quite honestly, not surprising, that he is treated this way. may his suffering lead to change for many.

quid said...

My guess, and its a guess, is that he's able to sleep. I'm just not sure he can let himself. He's got to be in deep, deep thinking about what the future will bring.