[HCCN] fw: Daniel Ellsberg on Bradley Manning abuse
judy at robbinsandrobbins.com
Sat Mar 12 20:10:31 EST 2011
Published on Saturday, March 12, 2011 by the Guardian/UK
This Shameful Abuse of Bradley Manning
The WikiLeaks suspect's mistreatment amounts to torture. Either
President Obama knows this or he should make it his business.
by Daniel Ellsberg
President Obama tells us that he's asked the Pentagon whether the
conditions of confinement of Bradley Manning, the soldier charged
with leaking state secrets, "are appropriate and are meeting our
basic standards. They assure me that they are."
If Obama believes that, he'll believe anything. I would hope he would
know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they've been
behaving appropriately. I can just hear President Nixon saying to a
press conference the same thing: "I was assured by the the White
House Plumbers that their burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg's
doctor in Los Angeles was appropriate and met basic standards."
When that criminal behavior ordered from the Oval Office came out,
Nixon faced impeachment and had to resign. Well, times have changed.
But if President Obama really doesn't yet know the actual conditions
of Manning's detention – if he really believes, as he's said, that
"some of this [nudity, isolation, harassment, sleep-deprivation] has
to do with Private Manning's wellbeing", despite the contrary
judgments of the prison psychologist – then he's being lied to, and
he needs to get a grip on his administration.
If he does know, and agrees that it's appropriate or even legal, that
doesn't speak well for his memory of the courses he taught on
The president refused to comment on PJ Crowley's statement that the
treatment of Manning is "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid".
Those words are true enough as far as they go – which is probably
about as far as a state department spokesperson can allow himself to
go in condemning actions of the defence department. But at least two
other words are called for: abusive and illegal.
Crowley was responding to a question about the "torturing" of an
American citizen, and, creditably, he didn't rebut that description.
Prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity – that's right out of
the manual of the CIA for "enhanced interrogation". We've seen it
applied in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. It's what the CIA calls "no-
touch torture", and its purpose there, as in this case, is very
clear: to demoralize someone to the point of offering a desired
confession. That's what they are after, I suspect, with Manning. They
don't care if the confession is true or false, so long as it
implicates WikiLeaks in a way that will help them prosecute Julian
That's just my guess, as to their motives. But it does not affect the
illegality of the behavior. If I'm right, it's likely that such harsh
treatment wasn't ordered at the level of a warrant officer or the
brig commander. The fact that they have continued to inflict such
suffering on the prisoner despite weeks of complaint from his defence
counsel, harsh publicity and condemnation from organizations such as
Amnesty International, suggests to me that it might have come from
high levels of the defence department or the justice department, if
not from the White House itself.
It's no coincidence that it's someone from the state department who
has gone off-message to speak out about this. When a branch of the US
government makes a mockery of our pretensions to honor the rule of
law, specifically our obligation not to use torture, the state
department bears the brunt of that, as it affects our standing in the
The fact that Manning's abusive mistreatment is going on at Quantico
– where I spent nine months as a Marine officer in basic school – and
that Marines are lying about it, makes me feel ashamed for the Corps.
Just three years as an infantry officer was more than enough time for
me to know that what is going on there is illegal behavior that must
be stopped and disciplined.
© 2011 Guardian/UK
Daniel Ellsberg was put on trial in 1973 for leaking the Pentagon
Papers, but the case was dismissed after four months because of
government misconduct. He is the author of "Secrets: A Memoir of
Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers."
more Daniel Ellsberg
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Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/12
"How is the War Economy working for You?" -- Veterans for Peace
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