Where Is The Great Writ For Brad Manning?

(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Julian Assange is the big media story, but the unsung hero is probably Brad Manning.  Unfortunately, while Manning suffers in solitary confinement, as he has for the past 7 months, and we scour the leaked material for which he might be responsible, the subject of Manning’s torturous, stringent, long term confinement are noted with horror and contempt, but is anything being done to challenge them?  Put another way, where is the Great Writ, the writ of habeas corpus, for Brad Manning?

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald gave us the shameful details of Brad Manning’s 7-month long, pre-trial detention. He’s been held in Quantico in solitary confinement for five months, and he was held in solitary in Kuwait for two months before that.  Manning you’ll recall is the army private who has been accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks.  Greenwald writes:

From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement.  For 23 out of 24 hours every day — for seven straight months and counting — he sits completely alone in his cell.  Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he’s barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions.  For reasons that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch).  For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs…  

In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado:  all without so much as having been convicted of anything.

But that’s not all.  You have to read about the drugs.  You have to think about the drugs.  As Greenwald explains,

And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.

This to my mind is obviously torture.  The man is in stringent solitary confinement which is enough to drive prisoners crazy and frequently does, and he’s being drugged so that his mental entropy and collapse will be briefly delayed.

What I don’t understand after searching the Internet, is why this horrendous pre-trial confinement is apparently not being challenged in the courts.  I don’t understand why a writ of habeas corpus challenging this clearly unconstitutional, pretrial detention is not reported anywhere.  The closest I can come to the legal test is this handwringing:

“We were aware of those situations and we were hoping that they would improve without applying public pressure through the media,” Jeff Paterson, who runs Manning’s legal defense fund, told The Huffington Post. “His attorney and supporters were hoping that this could be taken care of through the appropriate channels.”

Paterson says that Manning is “very annoyed” at the conditions of his confinement, adding that he is primarily upset at his inability to exercise. “He sits in this small box, for the most part only to take a shower – he just sits and eats and four months have gone by.”

I’m not writing this to criticize Manning’s defense team which appears to be well funded.  I don’t know them.  I’m writing this because all of the horror stories are being discussed and argued on the Internet and MSNBC and, unfortunately, not in the District Court.  Maybe that doesn’t strike readers as odd.  But it bothers me.  This kind of confinement needs to be fought, and it needs to be fought hard.

Brad Manning deserves a petition for writ of habeas corpus.


a revision of a post on The Dream Antilles


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  1. Make the government justify this kind of torturous pretrial detention.

    Thank you for reading.

  2. http://www.usconstitution.net/

    Civilian courts have no jurisdiction to review military cases, with the sole exception of the Supreme Court, which, in 1984, was given appellate jurisdiction over the Court of Military Appeals. The only remaining exception to this exclusive jurisdiction is the habeas corpus process, in which a civilian court can compel the military to show cause to hold a prisoner.

    • Edger on December 17, 2010 at 15:59

    Would you post this on Antemedius? I will promote it all over the web.

  3. Consolidated Media have become extra constitutional institutions, while the other so called branches are now just facilitators. This can only happen from the thirst for power and global conquest based upon the “use” of law to achieve the policies so desired. The law is now a weapon of mass destruction. And this is quite fine with the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches, as they can play the game of governing. And they govern for those who pay them, not for the irrelevant citizen.

    Manning is a threat to these extra-constitutional institutions, and the media is following along. That is their new institutional role. The voice of the citizen is slowly becoming irrelevant in the United States and in many European countries as well. These institutions are concerned with governance, not citizenry. IMO, we may be seeing a reversion to aristocracy and colonialism, but carried out and characterized in a completely different way. The only things that remains the same are the threat and use of prison and the songs of patriotism.  

  4. I’m beat, but wanted to add the guardain link to most things Manning; they seem to know more about what’s happening in th US than our press does; go figure.  I’d also check back with Greenwald at Salon.  The Manning entry at Wiki names the military attorney he supposedly chose; I’m too tired to go grab it for you.With all the comments and links at fdl, no one reallyseemed to know how habeas corpus fits in with military justice, or else I missed the nuances.  

    Maybe as this story gains more traction, we’ll learn more.  On the UK end, activists are working it all.


    Night night,  stardust

  5. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/1

    “Sources say that the administration has yet to determine exactly what sort of plea bargain it is planning to offer Manning for incriminating Assange, but the bidding may well begin with a pillow and sheets, both of which Manning has been barred from having in detention. Amid reports of his deteriorating health, it remains to be seen how the administration may be able to coerce him into cutting a deal.”

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