Are you guys aware of Private First Class Bradley Manning?

manning display

Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old US Army private accused of handing classified information to WikiLeaks, has been subjected to conditions since his arrest that would constitute torture in many nations - despite never having been convicted of any crime.

According to an article by commentator Glenn Greenwald at, Manning is reported to have been a "model prisoner" since his arrest in May - and yet has been been subjected to conditions Greenwald says are "likely to create long-term psychological injuries".

Manning, who served in Iraq, is accused of passing classified documents to whistle-blowing web site WikiLeaks, including video footage of a US helicopter airstrike that the site termed the "murder of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists".

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - himself currently in custody in the UK - has refused to identify the source of the leaks, but has said that if Manning were responsible he would be an "unparalleled hero".

In an outspoken attack on what he calls "the dark side of American exceptionalism", Greenwald claims that Manning has been "subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation."

Manning has been held at the US Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, for five months. Before that, he spent two months in a military jail in Kuwait. From the outset, he has been declared a "Maximum Custody Detainee" - the most restrictive level of US military detention.

Reports from a number of sources directly familiar with Manning's conditions indicate that from the beginning of his detention, he has been kept locked up in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Conditions inside his cell are also heavily restricted. Manning is not allowed to exercise. And despite never having been on suicide watch, he is allowed neither a pillow nor sheets on his bed.

Quantico brig official Lt Brian Villiard has denied reports that Manning is prevented from accessing any news or current affairs programmes during the one hour each day he is released from his confinement. But sources close to the case confirmed that Manning is now being regularly prescribed anti-depressant medication to mitigate the effects of his inhuman treatment.

Greenwald cites the opinion of surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande, expressed in a 2009 New Yorker article, that "all human beings experience isolation as torture".

He also points to medical research conducted in 1992 on Yugoslavian prisoners of war kept in solitary confinement for an average of six months - around the length of time Manning has so far served - which uncovered evidence of severe brain abnormalities months after their release.

"Without sustained social interaction," the report concluded, "the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury."

Historically, US civilian courts have taken a dim view of solitary confinement, with a landmark 1940 decision in the case of Chambers v Florida labelling the practice "torture".

Manning is expected to face a military court-martial early in 2011.

If found guilty, he may face the death penalty.


Is Bradley Manning being tortured?
Could the USA be that stupid?

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.'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.

Nonetheless, any unjust and unfair treatment of Bradley Manning will cause an outcry around the world and damage the image of the USA even further. An interesting question is whether the treatment of Manning might jeopardise a case the US brings against him.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange is being held in Wandsworth Prison, where he is apparently subject to "the most ridiculous censorship," as The Guardian quotes his lawyer Mark Stephens. Assange is not allowed to watch TV, use the library or read magazines - a complimentary copy of Time Magazine featuring his noggin on the front page was even destroyed by prison staff.

On top of it all, he's being observed by CCTV around the clock, subjugating him to worse treatment than Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang received at Stuttgart Stammheim prison.

*Update Julian Assange has been released on bail according to He is on house arrest and must wear an electronic tag.


BBC News: Profile: Bradley Manning

US soldier Bradley Manning lip-synced to Lady Gaga while he downloaded thousands of classified documents from military servers, according to a computer hacker he befriended. Now, the 23-year-old is facing decades in jail.

As an intelligence analyst in the US Army, Bradley Manning was given access to a large amount of highly sensitive information.

But as a private first class, he was very low-ranking with a relatively meagre wage.

According to his friends, he had become frustrated with a military career that appeared to be stagnating.

And his personal life appears to have hit a downward spiral after he was posted to Iraq last year.

Pte Manning joined the army in 2007 after drifting through low-paid jobs.

He had been brought up in Crescent, a small town in Oklahoma. His father, Brian, had reportedly spent five years in the military.

But his parents divorced when he was a teenager, and he moved with his mother to Haverfordwest in south-west Wales.
'Funny little character'

Accounts emerging in the media in the UK and US portray his teenage years as difficult.

He was said to have been a hothead who was often teased for being a geek.

"He would get upset, slam books on the desk if people wouldn't listen to him or understand his point of view," a classmate from Oklahoma, Chera Moore, told the New York Times.

A friend from his schooldays in Wales, James Kirkpatrick, told the BBC he was a "funny little character, really on the ball" who was obsessed with computers.

"Obviously the [US] Army has got very good technology and good training for computers so I can see why he may have joined it, but you never would have expected him to do so," said Mr Kirkpatrick.

Some reports say he had a difficult time in Wales, and suffered abuse for being gay.

After finishing school, he returned to the US and joined the army. Friends say he enlisted to help pay for college.

He went to Iraq in October 2009. But messages he posted on Facebook suggest he was far from happy.

"Bradley Manning is beyond frustrated with people and society at large," his status read on 5 May 2010.

The next day, he posted: "Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment."

A week earlier, he had written: "Bradley Manning is now left with the sinking feeling that he doesn't have anything left."

Some of the postings appear to refer to a recent breakdown of a relationship.

But weeks later his words appeared prophetic when he was arrested by military investigators on suspicion of stealing secret information.

Self-confessed computer hacker Adrian Lamo told the world's media how Pte Manning had confessed to the data theft during conversations they had on the internet.

"Listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history," Pte Manning wrote, according to a transcript of their messages published on the Wired website.

"Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis… a perfect storm."

Mr Lamo says he went to the authorities with the messages.

On 5 July, the private was charged with several offences relating to stealing secret information.

He was accused of handing Wikileaks video footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.

At the end of July, shortly after Wikileaks had released tens of thousands of documents relating to the Afghan war, the US military refused to be drawn on whether Pte Manning was a suspect in a wider investigation.

But since then, he has been widely named as the prime suspect.

Friends and supporters of Pte Manning have launched a campaign to have him released, arguing that the leaks were justified.

But some politicians have suggested he should face the death penalty if it is ever proved that the disclosures caused fatalities.

Wikileaks has now disclosed thousands of sensitive messages written by US diplomats and is causing growing embarrassment to the US government.

Meanwhile, Pte Manning remains in his cell in Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, awaiting a court-martial hearing that could see him jailed for more than 50 years.



word - are you guys aware of private first class bradley manning?

math - are you guys aware of private first class bradley manning?

So now you've read a bit about him I've a few questions from you (especially Americans).


Is this justified: So far he's been locked up for two months in Kuwait and five months in Virginia, from the beginning of his detention, he has been kept locked up in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Conditions inside his cell are also heavily restricted. Manning is not allowed to exercise. And despite never having been on suicide watch, he is allowed neither a pillow nor sheets on his bed.

Is this not against his human rights?

Personally I think it's OK America takes the world police role but really you should lead by example.

Treatment like this is what I would expect of Iran or China not a first world country that prides itself on being a world leading superpower and "home of the free".

He may have seen that the land of the free and home of the brave was being over-run by lies ,greed evil and deceipt. In which case he is a True American Hero for putting his life on the line by attempting to wake up the dumbed down fluoride/fox fed masses. Like the Matrix some don’t want to wake up, they are afraid to take the Blue pill and see how far down the rabbit hole goes.

Or maybe he thought that it would prevent bombing weddings in the future. Thus, saving the lives of our soldiers.

I fear for him, he is a sacrificial lamb, and I’m none too enamoured by his so called hacker mate, who grassed him up to the military authorities, presumably to avoid the heat by association, what a Judas.


  • Math
  • December 16, 2010, 9:16 am
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  • 9

    1) I am American and I have been aware of him and his role in Wikileaks, though I wouldn't be suprised if most Americans didn't.
    2) His hacker "friend" is a total dick.
    3) Some of the descriptions of his imprisonment seem to use very dramatic language, which brings me to question their bias. They may be telling the truth, but my gut says that there may be more to it, or that they are exaggerating certain aspects of it. However, I do not think that the super high restricion level is entirely needed considering the only threat he could pose requires him to have access to classified material, and I don't think even the lowest restriction level prisoners have access to that.
    4) These articles seem to have varying definitions of torture; do they mean that he has been waterboarded or electrocuted, or are they simply refering to the solitary confinement?
    5) He is in a military prison, military prisons suck. They do not operate under the same guidelines as civilian prisons, and the guidelines they do operate under are pretty antiquated.
    6) I do find it well within the realm of possibility that the guards at his prison, due to their own personal feelings and preconceptions, have unofficially decided to make his stay more miserable. If that is the case then it would be not only grossly unprofessional, but would show an outrageous lack of personal discipline on the part of the guards.
    7) Everyone needs to calm down. I mean everybody, the guards, the journalists, the politicians, everybody. People need to wait untill all of the evidence regarding his involvement has been assembled. From what I gathered from the articles, the only real testimony to be released to the public is from his hacker "friend" blaming the Pvt. for the leaks. The whole role of a government in keeping secrets is a hot button issue, and has been a source of debate for a very long time. People are obviously going to have very strong feelings regarding this issue and we cannot allow those feelings to muddy the waters, not in the media or anywhere else.

    If you wish to know my stance on the issue of the leaks themselves, then look up my comments under Ruleb's post about Wikileaks. I'm not sure how to post a link, but if you just put the word "Wikileaks" the search bar, you will find it.

    after i read dick i stopped and made this comment lol
    - gryxng December 27, 2010, 10:08 pm
    I wonder how many people actually read the whole thing.
    - sickness December 27, 2010, 10:26 pm
    im pretty sure everybody read like 2 sentences and said "OK, I get your damn point +1 for you"
    - gryxng December 27, 2010, 10:30 pm
    I did. I think its funny because his falling out with the military started because of don't ask, don't tell (he's gay) which has been repealed.
    - ExtremePrejudice December 27, 2010, 10:33 pm
    Yeah, I guess I wrote a long comment to a long post, but I like to be thorough. Math had like 5 news articles in there and that is alot of information to digest.
    - BobTheJanitor December 28, 2010, 7:39 am
    I read your whole comment, I meant the post.
    - sickness December 28, 2010, 11:53 am
    It took me forever to read his post! There was so much I actually re-read it to make sure I understood, I hate making an argument only to find out I misunderstood something.
    - BobTheJanitor December 29, 2010, 5:07 am
  • 3

    Guys, whether you like it or not, he is a member of the United States Armed Forces. And like it or not, we are governed under a different set of laws and rules, known as the UCMJ or Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Why? Because we are held to a higher standard than the civilian populous. Why? Because we are expected to. Like it or not, what he did was highly illegal according to UCMJ standards. Its considered ESPIONAGE. He knew what he was doing was illegal, and trust me. Us in the military are definitely made aware of the consequences of doing something as bad as espionage. He knew what he was doing, so therefore he deserves the punishment. Even if it is death. Just like everyone knows that murder is bad and we know the consequences of that, he knew the consequences of espionage.

    As for his treatment, funny how people complain about him being in solitary confinement when this country has been doing it in prisons across America for decades with very little outcry. Especially since many other nations do a lot worse to their prisoners.

    well said, all true.
    - johnecash December 28, 2010, 11:21 am
    True, except our legal definition of espionage is very outdated. In fact, our laws dealing with espionage haven't been changed since WW2, and usually refer to hard copies being transfered to people outside the government, not things like computer files. It's only a technicality as far as a legal definition is concerned, but it's one that could potentially be used to get him off the hook, or at least drag the conviction process on for years.
    - BobTheJanitor December 29, 2010, 5:41 am
    I concur with bacon. That kid could potentially have put my life and the lives of my teammembers in danger when we go overseas. Not to mention the Soldiers and our Marine brothers already over there. I think he should get the maximum sentence possible, be it death or life in military confinement. When I see something like this, it makes me sick as to how weak our military has gotten. People like PFC Manning have no place in our military. I wouldn't trust him to watch my back or have my life depending on him ever.
    - DeviousCow December 29, 2010, 12:04 pm
    not anymore. there is a new law governing removable media as well as "hardcopies" being introduced into the military. this new procedure is being enforced by president barack obama himself
    - sephirothnatis January 15, 2011, 1:14 pm
    People have been telling the govermnent to change those rules for decades, and now that they have finally been screwed over by their inaction, they get their asses in gear. Better late then never I suppose...
    - BobTheJanitor January 16, 2011, 5:24 pm
    I agree with Bacon, and Cow 100%. He is a traitor.
    - yourmomisawhore January 18, 2011, 4:41 am
  • 1

    As it happens, when you join the U.S. military you agree to give up your human rights in lieu of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So no, his rights are not being violated, because he doesn't have any. Although I'm not entirely sure what the UCMJ says on all this.

    As for my opinion, I have to admit that, regardless of the rules, I think his treatment is out of line considering that (a) he hasn't been convicted and (b) none of the released secrets pose any threat to national security or, as far as I know, anyone's life. They're embarrassing, sure, but not dangerous. But please correct me if there's anything I'm missing.

    Some of the secrets are only just embarassing, and I have no problem with those being released. However, specific information regarding US informants and infastructure like subways and oil pipelines have also been released. that information could be used to directly harm US citizens, kill current informants, and discourage potential informants. Aside from that, I agree with you.
    - BobTheJanitor December 29, 2010, 5:14 am
    Oh. Well, I guess I stand corrected. Good to know.
    - luminosity December 29, 2010, 6:47 am
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