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Will Bradley Manning Ever Be Considered A Human Rights Hero?

When Glenn Greenwald called the American detainment of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks source, “torture,” the Pentagon promptly responded that claim was ridiculous. But David House’s visit to the Virginia Marine brig where Manning is being held reveals Greenwald’s assertions are pretty spot on: Not only are the claims of being limited to news reports accurate (Manning says he’s not allowed to read newspapers, which seems to be the least of his problems), but his 23 hours of confinement are relaxed during his single hour of daily “exercise” (walking around in a room by himself), and his sleeping conditions (he must wear boxers only, and his blankets have the texture of carpet and the weight of X-ray protective aprons) noxious. House, a friend of Manning, concludes he “is subjected to restrictions far beyond the minimum right of other ‘maximum custody’ prisoners held in the same brig.” As House reminds readers, “Manning is in prison for allegedly uncovering human rights abuses in the course of his duty.” And now this: The United Nations is investigating Manning’s treatment.

 

By:           Max Simon
On:           Dec 24, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 49 Comments
    • GaiusLivius
      GaiusLivius

      No but ASSange will continue to be portrayed as one. All of the glory none of the consequences. Wikileaks is supposedly about making governments take responsibility for their actions. A principle which ASSange refuses to apply to him self.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SouthSideShorty
      SouthSideShorty

      Oh, how wonderfully whiney. Ask yourselves this: Would you care about this traitorous little weasel and his current living conditions—even the slightest little bit—if he were straight?
      Or, even better, what if you discovered he’s actually a Bush-loving war supporter? Would you still defend him?

      Dec 24, 2010 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      Here’s what really happened. Manning signed up when he was just 18, believing he would be protecting and defending his country and the cause of freedom. He soon found himself sent to Iraq, where he was ordered to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.

      The only “crime” committed by many of these people was to write “scholarly critiques” of the occupation or the new people in charge. He knew torture was a crime under US, Iraqi and international law, so he went to his military supervisor and explained what was going on. He was told to shut up and get back to herding up Iraqis.

      Manning had to choose between being complicit in these atrocities, or not. At the age of 21, he made a brave choice: to put human rights before his own interests. He found the classified military documents revealing that the US was covering up the deaths of 15,000 Iraqis and had a de facto policy of allowing the Iraqis they had installed in power to carry out torture – and he decided he had a moral obligation to show them to the American people.

      To prevent the major crime of torturing and murdering innocents, he committed the minor crime of leaking the evidence. He has spent the last seven months in solitary confinement – a punishment that causes many prisoners to go mad, and which the US National Commission on Prisons called “torturous”. He is expected to be sentenced to 80 years in jail at least. The people who allowed torture have faced no punishment at all. Manning’s decision was no “tantrum” – it was one of the most admirable stands for justice and freedom of 2010.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-underappreciated-heroes-of-2010-2168227.html

      Dec 24, 2010 at 10:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      God, you american patriots are nauseating

      My country right or wrong, eh?

      As Dr Johnson said: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”

      Dec 24, 2010 at 10:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jay_max
      jay_max

      Bradley stole hundreds of thousands of pages of highly classified information and gave them to people he knew would disseminate them globally, including to countries that are sworn enemies of the U.S., and knew that disclosure of that classified information would harm the U.S.

      By definition, he is a traitor. And other traitors have been executed for doing far, far less than Bradley.

      I’m not going to give him a free pass because he’s gay.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 11:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Tallskin: These “victims” would kill any American at any opportunity and its our fault that we don’t treat them with kid gloves.

      War is HELL! Its not like we haven’t had our fair share of POWs in every single war we have been in. Its not like Iraqis and their friends didn’t kill our innocent civilians on 9/11.

      This person really does deserve everything he gets. He is a traitor to the USA, and as other posters have said, if he wasn’t gay or a Bush loving conservative we wouldn’t give him any attention.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 11:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      Daez – I don’t know if you’re stupid or what, but you and the other patriots seems incapable of understanding very simple arguments, of which there are two here.

      Argument number one: if the US fails to hold up its values as better than those of the muslims then it may as give up. The “victims” you refer to, are people like us, gays, liberals, ie non-al queida types, who the US handed over to the electric drill wielding nazis in the iraqi security services.

      Argument number two: Bradly Manning is suffering torture in a US prison, now the USA is supposed to be the leading moral light of the planet, the country that holds itself up as example to other countries, the country that extols itself for exceptionalism. If it is behaving as no better than some 3rd world shithole then all its previous shouting about how moral and worthy it has been so much bullshit.

      Is that too difficult for you to follow?

      And a further point concerns all you people who say that you don’t give a shit about how this kid is treated BEFORE HIS TRIAL, HE IS STILL SUPPOSED TO BE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY –

      DO YOU REMEMBER THAT???

      HE HAS HAD NO TRIAL.

      But if all this is of no importance to you people then I really worry about your personal morality.

      Are you perhaps all christians? Is that why? You get your morality from a sky pixie?

      If so that would explain a lot.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • eagledancer
      eagledancer

      My personal hope has always been leaked information that ends up convicting Bush and Chaney as war criminals…

      Dec 24, 2010 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hephaestion
      hephaestion

      No one should be detained and tormented like this in America without any cause. It is shameful that such a detention is taking place in America.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Tallskin: @hephaestion:

      This is a person that leaked information that was detrimental to the morale of USA soldiers and the war effort. He basically threw his fellow soldiers and American leadership under the bus in order to help Iraqis. Where is his morality in doing that?

      Also, he has already admitted to his crimes. Its not really necessary to have a trial at all when someone proudly admits to their crimes.

      The USA is still behaving at a level above the Iraqis and their friends in that this dude wasn’t dismembered piece by piece and then hung. Throwing someone in the hole is a far cry from drawing and quartering them (which is in the background of “enlightened” countries such as every European nation). Sure, its not pleasant or healthy to be that isolated from humanity, but that was a choice he made for himself when he put the country he was born in behind the “rights” of others that were funneling the war effort and hated America (al queida types or not).

      Dec 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeff
      Jeff

      FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

      You know he wouldn;t be there in the first place is the UNITED STATES didn’t do wrong in the first place.

      If Manning should go on Trail. So should the United States for its atrcities that led to this.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Jeff: I absolutely support the trial of GW and DC for war crimes. They lied to the American people in order to get them into a war that the United States would have most likely never entered into without those lies.

      However, where the logic fails is that if people really expected the people that knew about the “torture” of “innocent” Iraqis and did nothing to be tried on war crimes, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would be on trial as well. Lets not excuse the briefing by the Pentagon to Reid and Pelosi about “enhanced interrogative techniques” and their decision to do nothing to stop them.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      Bradley Manning – (Queer) Hero Of The Year – no contest…

      http://www.bradleymanning.org/

      Dec 24, 2010 at 12:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      No.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @Fagburn: Please, I would call Dan Choi gay hero of the year before Bradly Manning.

      Bradly Manning is a blight on the name of gay and lesbian soldiers everywhere.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @Fagburn: Agreed. No contest.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      @Daez

      shame, but I’m afraid you’re not very bright

      Dec 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @Tallskin: Well said.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 2:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 6 · Daez wrote, “Its not like Iraqis and their friends didn’t kill our innocent civilians on 9/11.”

      The fact is that the Iraqis and their friends had nothing to do with 9/11: Osama hated Saddam (Saddam was a secular thug, not a religious fanatic) and the feeling was mutual because Saddam hated anyone who wanted his regime to end.

      The Bush Regime did its best to convince the American public that Iraq was involved in 9/11 as another excuse for a war, and that claim was a bogus as the WMD one (regardless of whether or not Saddam wanted WMD, the sanctions made life difficult enough that he did not have the resources to develop any).

      Dec 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      @Daez: There’s arecentr post from one of your compatriots on The Independent piece there’s a link to above.

      “Bradley Manning, the poster-boy (dare I say, pin-up) for gays in the military. God help us, this socialist crap is going to destroy the USA. Bernie Sanders is an idiot, and the only honest Democrat in the US Congress (on the Senate side), he admits being a socialist. It’s Tea-Party time! And Johann, kiss my rebel-arse, all of Europe would be speaking German or Russian right now if it wasn’t for the USA. I think I’ll start a new political movement here and call it YOYO – You’re On Your Own. Good luck with the unraveling of the EU. Bunch of morons.”

      I love right-wing goons who are such right-wing goons they read like satire…

      x

      Dec 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      @B- I can’t believe you are actually having to spell this out yet again. ie “The fact is that the Iraqis and their friends had nothing to do with 9/11″

      And I almost cannot believe a moron like Daez (I hate to personally abuse anyone on here but such stupid, badly educated idiots need to be slapped down because they influence other morons) are still coming out with utter crap saying Saddam and Iraq was behind 9/11.

      Garghhh.

      Cretins.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jay_max
      jay_max

      To all the Bradley apologists…if his motivations were to expose alleged crimes committed by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, the scope of his documents would have stopped at that.

      Instead, he stole and disseminated tens of thousands of additional documents that have absolutely nothing to do with the Afghan and Iraq wars. If Bradley wanted to stop “war crimes”, he would not have released documents relating to China, Russia, US allies, and others on a variety of subjects having nothing to do with his concerns.

      As such, his “altruistic” attempts to justify his stealing of classified information ring hollow.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      I support the trial of Daez for cyberstupidity.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kaderade
      kaderade

      OMG apparently noone listened. This country is about being innocent until proven guilty. the is NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that he actually did this yet everyone has posted a comment like they KNOW he did it. so far we have a mental patient with an uncorroborated story and alot of FOX News propaganda that i assumed only their loyal viewers would have been dumb enough to fall for.

      PS: This country sucks either way so I really think it’s comeuppance for starting so much shit all over the world. Who’s eye have we not put our finger in?

      Dec 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @Tallskin: If he had only released documents related to those ‘crimes’ I’d see your point. But he didn’t; he released hundreds of thousands of documents. The shear volume of the leak shows that there is no way he nor anyone vetted the documents as to what was relevant to bringing crimes to light and what wasn’t.

      Most of the cables released have nothing to do with threats to the Public Trust; they are secure cabled which deserved their “secret” status and in violating that Manning deserves the punishment he will surely get.

      As for his current treatment; People need to be very careful how they throw the word “torture” around. There is a big difference between cutting off peoples fingers, electrocuting them, raping them and their loved ones, forcing them to eat human excrement, gouging their eyes out etc; and making them sleep in a small room with uncomfortable sheets.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      “I was only obeying orders” – hardly a maxim anyone should think military personnel should blindly adhere to, surely?

      Merry Christmas.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      DavyJones – “Most of the cables released have nothing to do with threats to the Public Trust; they are secure cabled which deserved their “secret” status and in violating that Manning deserves the punishment he will surely get.”

      I’ve read this sentence about ten times and i cannot understand it.

      Can someone please enlighten me?

      And Davy, are you stupid as well? Have you any idea what months and months of being woken up constantly do to you? Of not being allowed to rest.

      I ask if you are stupid because you deliberately refuse to recognise the awful effects of sleep deprivation, which has been used by totalitarian regimes for hundreds of years as a means of torture.

      I think I know the answer to my question. You are stupid

      Dec 24, 2010 at 4:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard Ford
      Richard Ford

      If Bradley Manning is being treated more harshly than the circumstances justify, then that is wrong. He has not been shown to be guilty.

      However, someone is responsible for the leaks. What motivation did that person have? Was it a disgruntled service member engaging in a rebellious and vindictive (Timothy McVeigh-style) act? Was it an extreme idealist who naively believed that leaking these materials would make the world right? Was it neither of the above, both of the above? You are free to ponder the relevance of this question and its answer at your discretion.

      The immutable fact remains that everyone–individuals and governments–needs SOME secrets. Dharun Ravi and a female friend, for example, didn’t believe that, and they leaked Tyler Clementi’s sexual orientation via a video clip of an intimate tryst on the internet, resulting in Mr. Clementi’s suicide. Of course Mr. Clementi (and all other similar suicides and victims) should have simply “gotten over it” and moved on. After all, the whole truth must be told at any cost. Why would Ravi and chum have leaked this information? I would remit the reader to the preceding paragraph for a point of departure concerning possible motivations.

      The entire question of whether Bradley Manning is gay or not is of no real relevance. Neither he nor what he is thought to have done is to be construed as representative of or associated with gay people.

      Nonetheless, this Queerty forum is an appropriate venue for discussion of the larger ethical issue, PROVIDED that the homosex card is not played, either by Manning himself or by contributors to this forum.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      @Richard Ford:
      “The entire question of whether Bradley Manning is gay or not is of no real relevance. Neither he nor what he is thought to have done is to be construed as representative of or associated with gay people.
      “Nonetheless, this Queerty forum is an appropriate venue for discussion of the larger ethical issue, PROVIDED that the homosex card is not played, either by Manning himself or by contributors to this forum.”

      It’s a matter of record that Manning was an out – and a very proud and angry – gay man.
      Did his sexuality have any bearing on what he did?
      Some of his emails suggested he was (amongst other issues) angry about DADT persisting – be interesting to hear what he has to say about this, but we can’t ask him anything right now.

      Queerty and other gay media write stories about gay serial killers and gay sportmen winning Olympic gold medals, and gay men in the news for all kinds of reasons.

      Relevance? Sometimes their sexuality is instrumental to what they did, other times, it’s incidental.

      As rightists like Anne Coulter are using BM being gay to attack all gay men, it’s an issue beyond Queerty.

      As before, I just wish we could talk to Bradley Manning about this…

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ron
      ron

      Typical gay prima donna. Execute him.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      @ron: An Ann Coulter fan there – right on cue…

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @Richard Ford: ”
      The entire question of whether Bradley Manning is gay or not is of no real relevance.”

      There is no question about his sexuality. Bradley Manning is gay.

      [img]http://i56.tinypic.com/2gyafsy.jpg[/img]

      “Neither he nor what he is thought to have done is to be construed as representative of or associated with gay people.”

      Why not? Do you have a list of exactly what gay people can do that can then be “construed as representative of or associated with gay people”? You seem to have appointed yourself the moral arbiter of what defines gay people everywhere. The guy is gay and he did something heroic. I’m proud to be associated with him. If only he were more representative of gay people. Actually, I think he does represent a large section of the gay community. I think a majority of gay people after watching the so-called “collateral murder” video would have done what he did, if we had his courage. The soldiers in that helicopter who gunned down those innocent people from over a mile away don’t represent me and I feel sorry for anyone who feels they represent them. Bradley Manning is a queer hero.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 21 · jay_max wrote, “If Bradley wanted to stop ‘war crimes’, he would not have released documents relating to China, Russia, US allies, and others on a variety of subjects having nothing to do with his concerns.”

      This makes an assumption – that Bradley Manning understood exactly what he is doing, which is dubious. He’s not a highly educated person like Daniel Ellsburg (Ph.D. from Harvard in economics) who had the background to understand exactly what he was releasing and could be selective about what went out. According the wikipedia page about him, he enlisted after dropping out of high school at the age of 16 and working in a pizza pallor, not exactly the sort of background needed to understand what would happen if large numbers of diplomatic cables, selected more or less by chance, were released.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard Ford
      Richard Ford

      Lefty:

      A distinction can (should) be drawn between (a) “gay heroes” who do something heroic that is unrelated to their own gayness or to any commitment on their part to the welfare of gays in general, and (b) those who do something heroic specifically to further the cause of gays in society. I would place Bradley Manning in category (a) and Dan Choi in class (b), although both may have claims to military heroism as well.

      I am pleased that Mr. Manning is your hero and that he is gay and, for that matter, that you are gay. It’s something to celebrate.

      However, I hope you would see the issue clearly enough to realize that you are like the Jew who calls Jonas Salk his hero. It’s true, but Salk’s accomplishment, his heroism, has “no real relevance” to his being Jewish. He is more of a hero to the Catholic mother whose child was spared seeing her son fall victim to polio.

      Dec 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      ^ Fair enough, but I would say that’s a false distinction and the only distinction that should be made is between those who want to distance sexuality from what we ultimately are and what we do (as though sexuality has had no effect on how we see the world and how we act within it) and those who understand that being gay and the way the world has and does react to that has a profound effect on all of us.
      Of course the heroic act doesn’t have to advance gay interests for the person to be deemed a “gay hero” – what Bradley Manning did was to bring out into the open shocking war crimes being perpetrated in our name. War crimes that were, for all we know, perpetrated against gay and straight people alike. He brought these incidents to the world’s attention, presumably in the hope that it makes those crimes less likely in the future. This benefits everyone in a civilised society, gay and straight. We also found out from the leaked documents that gay Iraqis were being kidnapped, tortured and even murdered and the US government knew about it long before it was reported publicly. At the very least, the plight of those gay victims and the silence of the US government about what was really happening to gay Iraqis is now known throughout the world.
      No, I’ve no reservations about calling Bradley Manning a gay hero and I believe his sexuality has every relevance to what he did.
      Being gay has a relevance in everything we do, because we would be completely different people and would see the world in a completely different way if we weren’t.
      Anyway, we seem to agree on the most important point: Bradley Manning is a hero.

      Dec 25, 2010 at 6:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      US journalist David House visits Bradley Manning twice a month and has this to say:

      When Mr House first visited Pte Manning in September, he found him mentally “very alert” and, physically, he looked to be “in very good health”.

      “Over the months, I’ve seen his condition deteriorate. Mentally, he now has trouble keeping up with some topics of conversation. He has bags under his eyes and he appears to be very weak.”

      Dec 25, 2010 at 8:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      The USA is carrying out torture against someone who has not been put on trial.

      I have to conclude that the US is a disgusting country that puts aside human rights considerations when it pleases.

      Dec 25, 2010 at 8:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tallskin
      Tallskin

      http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/14/manning

      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. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not “like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole,” but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.

      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. 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.

      Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture. In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article — entitled “Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?” — the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, “all human beings experience isolation as torture.” By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that “solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture.”

      For that reason, many Western nations — and even some non-Western nations notorious for human rights abuses — refuse to employ prolonged solitary confinement except in the most extreme cases of prisoner violence. “It’s an awful thing, solitary,” John McCain wrote of his experience in isolated confinement in Vietnam. “It crushes your spirit.” As Gawande documented: “A U.S. military study of almost a hundred and fifty naval aviators returned from imprisonment in Vietnam . . . reported that they found social isolation to be as torturous and agonizing as any physical abuse they suffered.”

      Dec 25, 2010 at 8:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      I can understand how some americans can feel very butthurt by what Bradley allegedly did. But it gets better.

      Dec 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      Sorry, Manning volunteered to join the military. He swore an oath and his actions have put American lives in jeapordy. Along with that he has put a huge target on every other Gay solider in the military because you just know the ones who barely tolerated Gays before, now have a “reason” not to trust fellow Gay soldiers………His actions can cause Gay soldiers to be injured and or killed………

      He gets zero sympathy from me, I have no more sympathy for him than I would for a crazed rightwing lunatic nutbag………

      Dec 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Markie-Mark
      Markie-Mark

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: “crazed righwing lunatic nutbag” – you must be referring to Daez

      Dec 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Markie-Mark
      Markie-Mark

      @Tallskin: Thank you! I find it very disturbing that the US continues to torture people. And I find it even more disturbing that some people think it’s ok. Further, Manning is a hero to me.

      Dec 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      @Markie-Mark: I have a question for you and others who are oh so very against the use of torture to gain information from terrorists. Do you think that after the absolute horror show of September 11 2001 that all the terrorists in the world got together and had a moment and declared that the United States had seen “enough terrorism” and they were getting all kumbya on the US and were hoping that we prosper and live well from then on????????

      If you don’t think that each and every day there are plots being hatched by terrorists and thwarted by securing information from fellow terrorists thru torture then you need to run down to the clue store real quick like and buy a bunch of them. Because it is so very clear you do not possess a single one……..

      These islamic subhuman scumbags have declared war upon the United States and proved so by initializing the 9/11 attacks by slicing the throats of flight attendents and pilots of those planes and then killing 3,000 Americans. They are not going to wage their war against us by conventional ways and methods. The Geneva convention means nothing to these scumbags. The sooner you and yours realize that torture is a sad but absolute component of keeping our nation safe the better off we will be………..

      Dec 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fagburn
      Fagburn

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Words fail me – you’re so right wing you are beyond satire…

      Dec 28, 2010 at 3:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS:

      Your whole post seems to be based on two misapprehensions;

      1. That torture is effective.

      This is highly debatable. Anyone with half a brain should be able to work out the reasons torture is ineffective, but seeing as you’re struggling I’ll outline the main points from people who actually know what they’re talking about:

      Ali Soufan, an ex-FBI special agent with extensive experience interrogating Al-Qaeda suspects pointed out in Time that:

      “When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you’re getting is useless.”

      http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1893679,00.html?imw=Y

      But then, with a name like Ali Soufan, I bet you’re thinking he’s an “islamic subhuman scumbag”, eh?
      Well, how about this from the US Army Training Manual’s section on interrogation…

      “…the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

      http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/fm34-52/chapter1.htm

      In fact, despite constant assertions that the use of torture has saved lives, it’s difficult to find any actual supporting evidence. And examples that are put forward have been disproven; like the claim waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed foiled a plot to blow up the Liberty Tower in LA in 2002. It was later proven that in 2002 Mohammed was busy evading capture in Pakistan. So they lied about that. Hmmm, I wonder why?
      Still, George W. Bush says the use of torture saved lives and who are you to argue with that, eh? Some people are just happy sucking up the lies they’re fed, aren;t they?
      Before I move on to the second glaring misapprehension in your comment, I think it’s best to underline the main point by quoting from the 2006 study on interrogation techniques “Educing Information” by the Intelligence Science Board (who provide scientific advice to the US intelligence community):

      “The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.(p130)”

      The scientific community has NEVER established that torture is an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence.
      But George W. Bush and Plays Well With Others clearly no better…

      As for your second misapprehension: I’ll keep this brief as I’m sure this is all a great deal for you to take in.

      “These islamic subhuman scumbags have declared war upon the United States”

      No they haven’t, dear. Your government has just replaced the red menace under your bed with a swarthy towel-head.
      This may be a bit of a stretch for a dear little simpleton such as yourself, but do you think if US soldiers stopped shooting groups of innocent people from helicopters and bombing the shit out of innocent people and occupying their countries and aiding and abetting the torture of Palestinians then there would be less “islamic subhuman scumbags” inclined to take up arms against you?
      It’s not that difficult to understand really, is it?

      The ultimate irony of your comment is your assertion that those who disagree with the use of torture need to “get a clue”.
      Maybe you should spend a bit more time learning about something before you express an opinion on it.
      Maybe you should stop sucking up the bullshit of people like George W. Bush and think for yourself.
      Or maybe you should just go back to those awful attempts at humour we’ve come to expect from you (which, to be perfectly honest, I originally thought was the purpose of your above comment).

      Dec 28, 2010 at 5:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      @Fagburn:
      @Lefty:

      Sorry dears, As per my previous post………There have been multiple attempts to hit this country since 9/11 and so far they have not achieved their goals. Yet again we are facing an entirely different enemy than in history. That of an enemy who embraces death in their attacks. Anyone familiar with my posts knows that I am the furtherst thing from being “right wing”. However in certain instances you need to fight fire with fire. And if you think that by “reaching out” and attempting to find “common ground” with these fanatical lunatics you are so very sadly mistaken. This is a culture that can torture two Gay teens for almost two years with a series of lashes and beatings and then upon release be hung in a public square with thousands cheering their death…………

      Unfortunately we are eventually going to be hit, will the next attack be a dirty bomb, biological, or nuclear? I am certain that what ever these fanatics can get their hands on….I for one am in favor of utilizing every method at our disposal to prevent such an attack………

      PS: If you are feeling so much empathy with these peoples, I urge you to visit any one of their countries, walk down one of their streets and proclaim you are Gay……..Then after the beatings, torture, and imprisonment you will endure and if you are not executed please post here again relating your experiences……………

      Dec 28, 2010 at 6:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS:

      “There have been multiple attempts to hit this country since 9/11 and so far they have not achieved their goals.”

      Wonderful. Now we seem to be getting to some facts rather than just vague echos of GW Bush’s empty lies.
      Can you provide examples of these “multiple attempts” since 9/11 and specifically where it’s been proven that torture helped to foil these plans?

      “Unfortunately we are eventually going to be hit, will the next attack be a dirty bomb, biological, or nuclear? I am certain that what ever these fanatics can get their hands on….I for one am in favor of utilizing every method at our disposal to prevent such an attack………”

      Well, again, you seem to find it difficult to grasp the findings of those who know a bit more about this than yourself:

      “…the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”
      (US Army Training Manual’s section on interrogation)

      “The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.(p130)”
      (US Intelligence Science Board)

      Your final PS is as much an admission that you’ve lost the debate as anything…

      “PS: If you are feeling so much empathy with these peoples, I urge you to visit any one of their countries, walk down one of their streets and proclaim you are Gay……..Then after the beatings, torture, and imprisonment you will endure and if you are not executed please post here again relating your experiences……………”

      No one expressed empathy with “these peoples”, dear (note the alarming tendency to group all muslims together).
      I was just highlighting the obvious contradictions, false assumptions and sad irony in much of what you posted. All of which you’ve conveniently ignored.
      Your sympathy for gay muslims is touching, but it would be a bit more convincing if you didn’t seem to advocate the bombing of their countries or group them all together as “islamic subhuman scumbags” or “these peoples”.
      You seem to veer between McCarthyist paranoia and outright racism. The sort of crap that one hoped was a thing of the past in the US. As Fagburn says, beyond parody.

      Anyway, back on topic… Bradley Manning is being tortured in a US military prison as we speak and he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. Even if you ignore – as you obviously do – the evidence and the testimony of those who actually know what they’re talking about and continue to suck up the bullshit lie that torture saves the lives of Americans, I’m still not sure what torturing Bradley Manning is supposed to achieve.
      Can you tell me exactly what the aim of that is, please?

      Dec 28, 2010 at 6:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      @Lefty: I am not going to get into a day long debate with you on this matter……..Fact is that we are at war with the islamic fundamentalists who operate under a huge umbrella of countries, organizations, religions, etc. These people have proven they have a burning desire to destroy the very fabric of our country. What I am simply saying is that the US has thwarted numerous attempts to kill our citizens in the post 9/11 era. I am 100% in favor or utilizing any method available to gain intelligence that will prevent attacks. Again you and yours seem to view the world as some kind of Willy Wonka fanatasy land………I am not a war loving rightwing lunatic……….I am not saying that the US has behaved as a model citizen, we have gotten into bed with many evil regimes. We can not change the past. We are now in a situation where many people wish to inflict serious harm upon us and they are attempting to exploit every method available and this ain’t our Fathers war…….It has been proven a cyber attack on this countries internet infrastructure could basically grind this country to a halt………Sorry you feel the need to get all touchy feely with those who wish harm upon us. For every study where you can cite torture is ineffective, there is one which says it is………I belive that using every method available to extract info should be used, sorry it sucks but I would rather a single terrorist be subject to whatever needs to be utilized to extract intelligence than have a single citizen of this country harmed in an attack………….I guess we just can’t find “common ground” on this matter…..

      And Manning is not being “tortured”. He is being subject to the same treatment that thousands of other prisoners are. And guess what? If he hadn’t put thousands of fellow Gay soldiers in harms way by releasing the documents and making them targets he wouldn’t be so damm uncomfortable……..

      Dec 28, 2010 at 7:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS:

      “I am not going to get into a day long debate with you on this matter……..”

      How convenient.

      “Fact is that we are at war with the islamic fundamentalists who operate under a huge umbrella of countries, organizations, religions, etc. These people have proven they have a burning desire to destroy the very fabric of our country. What I am simply saying is that the US has thwarted numerous attempts to kill our citizens in the post 9/11 era. I am 100% in favor or utilizing any method available to gain intelligence that will prevent attacks. Again you and yours seem to view the world as some kind of Willy Wonka fanatasy land………I am not a war loving rightwing lunatic……….I am not saying that the US has behaved as a model citizen, we have gotten into bed with many evil regimes. We can not change the past. We are now in a situation where many people wish to inflict serious harm upon us and they are attempting to exploit every method available and this ain’t our Fathers war…….It has been proven a cyber attack on this countries internet infrastructure could basically grind this country to a halt………Sorry you feel the need to get all touchy feely with those who wish harm upon us. For every study where you can cite torture is ineffective, there is one which says it is………I belive that using every method available to extract info should be used, sorry it sucks but I would rather a single terrorist be subject to whatever needs to be utilized to extract intelligence than have a single citizen of this country harmed in an attack………….I guess we just can’t find “common ground” on this matter…..”

      So, still no actual facts.
      I’m not “getting all touchy feely”, dear. I simply asked for something… anything… to support your assertions. None have been offered.
      I asked for facts that would contradict your apparent puppetry of the lies and propaganda of George W. Bush. None have been offered.
      You keep saying that if torture stops terrorist attacks then you’re all for their use. But your claim is a hollow one if time and again it’s asserted by those who actually know what they’re talking about that the information gained under torture is unreliable and can/does ultimately result in time and resources being wasted that could actually be used more effectively to genuinely combat terrorism.

      One of the biggest examples trumpeted by the Bush administration of where the use of torture was successful in extracting valuable leads – Abu Zubaida – has been shown to be one of the worst cases where huge sums of money and resources were wasted pursuing false leads gained under torture.
      You can read GWB’s spurious claims in a 2006 speech here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/washington/06bush_transcript.html?pagewanted=all

      It was finally shown last year that every piece of information Zubaidah gave during torture was eventually found to be false.

      “The [torture] interrogations led directly to the arrest of Jose Padilla, the man Abu Zubaida identified as heading an effort to explode a radiological “dirty bomb” in an American city. Padilla was held in a naval brig for 3 1/2 years on the allegation but was never charged in any such plot. Every other lead ultimately dissolved into smoke and shadow, according to high-ranking former U.S. officials with access to classified reports. “We spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms,” one former intelligence official said”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/28/AR2009032802066.html?nav=hcmodule

      Absolutely everything he gave up which was of value was given before the implementation of torture.
      The recipients of torture, instead of providing facts, will almost always tell their captors what they want to hear. Which is exactly what happened with Zubaida.
      And this is a case that was held up as a cast-iron defence of the use of torture.

      “Since 2006, Senate intelligence committee members have pressed the CIA, in classified briefings, to provide examples of specific leads that were obtained from Abu Zubaida through the use of waterboarding and other methods, according to officials familiar with the requests. The agency provided none, the officials said.”

      Still, who wants to hear facts, eh?

      “And Manning is not being “tortured”. He is being subject to the same treatment that thousands of other prisoners are. And guess what? If he hadn’t put thousands of fellow Gay soldiers in harms way by releasing the documents and making them targets he wouldn’t be so damm uncomfortable……..”

      Well, again, you don’t seem to like (or, indeed, rely on) facts, but the fact is Manning IS being tortured.
      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. Every five minutes he is checked on, even during the night while he tries to sleep. 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). He has to surrender his clothes overnight and sleep in his boxer shorts. As much as he can sleep, anyway. His light is left on all night and he is checked on every five minutes. For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. He just walks a continuous figure eight in a tiny yard, which is the only exercise he gets.
      Extreme solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, lack of mental or physical stimulation.

      http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/14/manning

      This may not be torture to you, but most western nations no longer allow the use of prolongued solitary confinement except in extreme cases – actually even some non-western nations notorious for human rights abuses no longer employ these techniques and recognise them as torture, like Tunisia for example…

      http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2005/04/19/tunisia-pledges-end-long-solitary-confinement

      ‘In 2006, a bipartisan National Commission on America’s Prisons was created and it called for the elimination of prolonged solitary confinement. Its Report documented that conditions whereby “prisoners end up locked in their cells 23 hours a day, every day. . . is so severe that people end up completely isolated, living in what can only be described as torturous conditions.” The Report documented numerous psychiatric studies of individuals held in prolonged isolation which demonstrate “a constellation of symptoms that includes overwhelming anxiety, confusion and hallucination, and sudden violent and self-destructive outbursts.” The above-referenced article from the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law states: “Psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, and psychosis.”‘

      http://www.prisoncommission.org/pdfs/Confronting_Confinement.pdf

      A more recent article in Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (March 2010) states:

      “solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture.”

      http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/03/22/solitary-confinement-and-mental-illness-us-prisons

      A claim even repeated by everyone’s favourite elderly right-wing nutcase John McCain, when speaking of his experience in Vietnam: “It’s an awful thing, solitary, it crushes your spirit.”

      In a widely-praised article in the New Yorker last year, surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, “all human beings experience isolation as torture. By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity.
      He went on… “A U.S. military study of almost a hundred and fifty naval aviators returned from imprisonment in Vietnam . . . reported that they found social isolation to be as torturous and agonizing as any physical abuse they suffered.”

      http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/03/30/090330fa_fact_gawande

      So, that’s the National Commission on America’s Prisons, the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, John McCain and other veterans of Vietnam who experience solitary cnfinement, and even one of the more notorious human rights abusers in the world, Tunisia – what do they all agree on? THE KIND OF PROLONGUED SOLITARY CONFINEMENT BRADLEY MANNING IS BEING SUBJECTED TO IS TORTURE.

      Again, you don’t like facts but your claim that “He is being subject to the same treatment that thousands of other prisoners are” – is false and not supported by facts. The fact is, from the start Manning was a “Maximum Custody Detainee” – which is the highest and most repressive level of military detention. Even though Manning has been a model prisoner, poses no physical threat to anyone and HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF NOTHING.

      “I guess we just can’t find “common ground” on this matter.”

      It’s not that we can’t find common ground, dear. It’s that you seem unable to in any way support the ground you occupy, and that ground seems to get smaller every time you post.

      This is someone’s life we’re talking about here. Do you think it might be wise of you to at least learn about the actual facts of the case before making false claims about Manning and his situation and about the ultimate efficacy of torture?
      You can be bothered acting as a parrot for the despicable and false claims made by right-wing goons, but can’t be bothered actually checking any facts before you do so.
      Disgraceful.

      Dec 28, 2010 at 9:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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