Pvt. Brad Manning: Seven Months of Solitary So Far

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Private Manning has never been tried for a crime.  He has never been convicted of a crime.  Yet he has spent the past five months in solitary confinement at the Marine brig in Quantico, VA, and the preceding two months in prison in Kuwait.

There are no sheets or a  pillow on his bed.  He is not permitted to exercise in his cell, and closed circuit television monitors him to make sure he doesn’t sneak in a prohibited push-up or sit-up.  

For one hour a day he is allowed out of his cell, perhaps to exercise or watch television, though whether or not he is allowed to watch the news is in dispute.

He is being given anti-depressants to offset the effects of solitary confinement.  It must be that the folks manning the brig at Quantico are aware that the facts are in concerning the cruel torment that solitary confinement is, and the long-term mental health problems it induces: it drives people mad.

WiredScience.com interviewed psychologist Craig Henley who has studied the long-term effects of such incarcerations.   Asked if it is torture, Craig relied, “For some people it is.”

“First let me note that solitary confinement has historically been a part of torture protocols. It was well-documented in South Africa. It’s been used to torture prisoners of war.

There are a couple reasons why solitary confinement is typically used. One is that it’s a very painful experience. People experience isolation panic. They have a difficult time psychologically coping with the experience of being completely alone.

In addition, solitary confinement imposes conditions of social and perceptual stimulus deprivation. Often it’s the deprivation of activity, the deprivation of cognitive stimulation, that some people find to be painful and frightening.

Some of them lose their grasp of their identity. Who we are, and how we function in the world around us, is very much nested in our relation to other people. Over a long period of time, solitary confinement undermines one’s sense of self. It undermines your ability to register and regulate emotion. The appropriateness of what you’re thinking and feeling is difficult to index, because we’re so dependent on contact with others for that feedback. And for some people, it becomes a struggle to maintain sanity.

That leads to the other reason why solitary is so often a part of torture protocols. When people’s sense of themselves is placed in jeopardy, they are more malleable and easily manipulated. In a certain sense, solitary confinement is thought to enhance the effectiveness of other torture techniques.”

I’m quite sure the authorities would like Manning to be malleable when they try to learn more about his part in the downloading of classified documents he then uploaded to Wikileaks.

This pdf was given to the 2005 Commission on Prisons, formed to inquire into the safety and abuse of US prisons.  Psychologist Stuart Grassian, M.D. reports on various mental responses to long-term solitary confinement including delusions, psychotic breaks and the inability to integrate into society afterward.

The US is one of the few nations that permits such isolation of prisoners; the poster child for this form of imprisonment is the Supermax Facility at Florence, CO.  There the inmates are subjected to fluorescent lighting in their cells for 24 hours a day, and other inhumane conditions, and it’s said that Florence houses ‘the worst of the worst.’  I know that’s not strictly true, but that’s another story.

Private Manning has not been tried.  Private Manning has not been convicted.  Call the White House if you think this is just plain wrong, just plain ugly, and just plain inhumane, call the White House at 202-456-1111, or email the President http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact  

This is simple revenge.  This is being done by this administration that is still prosecuting whistleblowers who leaked damning information on the Bush regime that lied us into war, approved torture and rendition, and set up an entire national system of wire-tapping and monitoring our communications.

Sorry to wimp out so quickly on the HTML; here are the links.  I’ll try to do better next time, but I won’t guarantee a thing.  ;o)

Greenwald on the News or Not update:


Wired science on solitary confinement:


Psychologist Stuart Grassian, M.D. to the Prison Commission 2005:



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  1. I can’t find an edit button.  I’d forgotten to say “cross-posted at MyFDL and Dagblog.com”

  2. …. because they are forcing him to stay in the cell 23 hours a day out of 24 without moving. They have camera surveillance on him constantly to enforce it.  He is allowed to sit, or eat or sleep.  Not move.

    That is the equivalent of being “chemically shackled.”

    That’s torture.  Combined with the solitary confinement.

    He won’t be “malleable.”  He will be crazy.  

    Manning is also a citizen of the UK, which surprised me, I didn’t realize that.

    This time the current Democratic President is now holding a foreign national again under conditions which are barbaric.

    Combine this with the MSM Foreign Press cheerfully printing up reams of these secret diplomatic cables, some gossipy silly, others disturbing, while threatening govt. employees NOT to read any of this, even on their home computers, and the message from the Obama administration is clear:  talk to the press about anything that doesn’t paint us in a flattering light, while the WAPO or the NYT or the foreign press, even Haaretz or Al Jazeera make a bit of a profit off of it, and we’ll consider doing this to YOU next.

    Lots of noise chatter about Assange, but precious little given to Manning.

  3. Drugged and solitary confinement. This state gets more rogue all the time.  

  4. The accused (Brad) has been arrested and is being held pending a hearing in a military jail.  You would think that by now his lawyers (who are collecting about $100,000 to defend him according to the support web site) would have filed a writ of habeas corpus pertaining to the conditions of his pre-trial detention.  I’ve looked all over google and elsewhere, and I can find no indication whatsoever that they’ve attempted to resist the solitary confinement and drugging of their client or to have a court determine whether this kind of tortuous restraint can be permitted.  I concede that I might be missing something, but I have seen nothing about attempts to test the legality of this kind of stringent, punitive, unjustifiable pre-trial detention, and I don’t understand for a nanosecond why this is permitted to go on without an enormous hue and cry.

  5. from the beginning.  

    This young man, of obvious conscience, who, I firmly believe, acted in accord with his built-in moral standards and, in reality, did nothing immoral by exposing the truth to a “source” is now treated like a spy, an espionage agent, etc., which, as we know, IS NOT the case — the truth is the TRUTH and he revealed the TRUTH to a source, which is now being tormented for having released the TRUTH!  

    Had our media, such as it is, informed the American citizenry of the TRUTH, none of this may have come about!  

    As some of you may or may not know, Private Manning, was honored by a major city in California, for his courage (haven’t the link handy right now).

    It seems to me we should launch a campaign for Private Manning, who, as I have learned, is a UK citizen!  That, in and of itself, kinda’ baffles me, but, then, think Guantanamo!  

    We NEED TO HELP PRIVATE MANNING, TOO!  Michael Moore and others — MAYBE????

  6. Subjecting a detainee like Manning to this level of prolonged cruel and inhumane detention can thus jeopardize the ability of the U.S. to secure extradition for other prisoners, as these conditions are viewed in much of the civilized world as barbaric.

    Moreover, because Manning holds dual American and U.K. citizenship (his mother is British), it is possible for British agencies and human rights organizations to assert his consular rights against these oppressive conditions.

    At least some preliminary efforts are underway in Britain to explore that mechanism as a means of securing more humane treatment for Manning. Whatever else is true, all of this illustrates what a profound departure from international norms is the treatment to which the U.S. Government is subjecting him.

    …emphasis and format changes mine…

    You need to hunt and s croll a bit on the site, but it’s here.


  7. But this just sucks.  

    There never was in our history this concept of a permanent “enemy combatant” until a few years ago.

    If someone was captured from the military of another country, he was held indefinitely until the war was over.  But this concept of war without end makes for a lifetime prison sentence just for being a member of a foreign military.

    Several years ago I wrote an article on a long forgotten part of the US constitution about the “laws of nations.”

    In it I explain the history of this clause and what it means for enemy combatants vs. non-sovereign combatants like pirates.

    Non-sovereign combatants, such as pirates, were always charged with crimes in a civilian court of law and had the right to defend themselves in a civilian court of law.  My view was that all of Al Qaeda were non-sovereign combatants and should have been treated as such and tried in the civilian courts not the military courts.

    If what Manning did was treason, he should be charged in a military court or a civilian court but he should be tried quickly and not left to rot.

    And certainly long periods of solitary confinement raises the question of cruel and unusual punishment.  I am sure there have been many cases on the question of whether solitary confinement violates the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, but we have an executive branch that does not seem to care what the courts think about such quaint notion.  Very similar to the situtation with President Andrew Jackson, whose administration lost a case in the Supreme Court against the Cherokee.  He famously made the quip (paraphrasing) that the Supreme Court had made its ruling and now they could enforce it.

    My article if anyone cares to read it:


  8. Thank you all so much for caring so much, for the good comments and links.  I am a bit of an old dog, and all this new software look makes my eyes and brain lock a bit, so I can’t figure out where to respond and whatnot.  Looks like you are doing a superb job without any help from me.  (grin)

    We can all thank Glenn Greenwald; upon further and closer reading online yesterday, it seemed that all the sites that had this news were based on his original story.  Good job, Glenn.  And nice site, budhydharma.

  9. … makes me think that most people in Western politics and media are somewhat less than sincere in their celebration of Liu Xiaobo.

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