Crime and Punishment

Bradley Manning’s Leaks Didn’t Actually Hurt Anybody But Let’s Torture Him Anyway

It’s no blood, no foul when it comes to Bradley Manning. This week his lawyers stated that the alleged WikiLeaks culprit and confirmed Queerty reader didn’t actually cause any damage by releasing classified government documents. After the White House and the Defense Department reviewed the actual information, they found that it was outdated, already public, or not highly classified.

And it’s not just his legal team coming to Manning’s defense. The European parliament has sent an open letter to President Obama and members of Congress expressing concern over how Manning is being treated in prison including worries over possible torture. The letter reads:

We have questions about why Mr Manning has been imprisoned for 17 months without yet having had his day in court. We are troubled by reports that Mr Manning has been subjected to prolonged solitary confinement and other abusive treatment tantamount to torture. And we are disappointed that the US government has denied the request of the United Nations special rapporteur on torture to meet privately with Mr Manning in order to conduct an investigation of his treatment by US military authorities.

Last year, the Pentagon defended putting Manning under maximum custody and making him sleep on bedding similar to “stiff carpet.” Obama claimed he was being treated no differently than any prisoner in maximum security. But earlier this year Hillary Clinton attacked the Pentagon for Manning’s harsh conditions. He was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and stripped down to his birthday suit nightly.

Manning’s first hearing is set for December 16. He faces charges on 22 counts including downloading and transmitting classified information, fraud, and aiding the enemy. The last count carries the possibility of the death penalty but the Army has stated it will not go for that.

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  • Riker

    Is there still anybody who thinks Pfc. Manning’s detention without trial is justified? They just want to break him because he hasn’t actually hurt national security like they sayhe has.

  • DavyJones

    There is a very big difference between solitary confinement, and torture. Even the big exposé done a few months back where they cited ‘screaming contradictory orders at him’ is a longs ways of torture. We throw that word around far to often these days. As fathers watching their sons getting raped in front of them what torture is, ask victims of the Egyptian Secret Police what torture is…

    I don’t know whether Bradly Manning is getting a far shake, and neither do most of the people commenting on this board; we’re all on the outside looking in. But I can tell you, he’s not being tortured; to say he is, is to compare his stay at Quantico to real torture being endured by people around the globe right now and that’s just flat our offensive.

  • Cam

    The issue is, The U.S. govt. has taken to classifying EVERY document practically. Whether they have anything to do with security or not. They do this so there is no chance of any freedom of information requests coming in and finding docs that could be embarassing. The problem is, the classification system was NOT put in place to hide docs that could be simply embarrassing but was supposed to only be used for docs that were part of national security.

    Now the fact that they have classified EVERYTHING is why somebody with as low a rank as Manning even had to HAVE a security clearance.

    They try to play these games and then go into panic mode when it backfires.

  • DavyJones

    @Cam: The issue here is releasing classified information, full stop. PFCs do not get to decide what does and does not get classified; even if the information should never have been classified, releasing it is a crime. Otherwise, there would be large scale releases of sensitive information by people who ‘think the public should know’. There is a chain of command, and process through which people with security clearances can raise objections; releasing information to the public is not in the process.

    His lawyers might make a case claiming whistle blower status; however, given the large scale of the release (most of which had nothing to do with human rights violations) that would be a difficult case to make.

    The substance of the releases isn’t directly at issue, it’s the act of releasing confidential information (among the other charges).

  • Emma

    DavyJones: Solitary confinement has been shown to lead to extreme depression and sometimes suicide in prisoners. Are there worse forms of torture? Sure. But to claim we should work toward eliminating ALL forms of torture I find highly cynical, at the least. Just because you can find a worse example doesn’t make a bad thing good. I think that’s pretty basic reasoning. Not all torture is physical. Psychological torture can also lead to permanent damage, and has been condemned by the United Nations, and is condemned by the U.S. when it serves their interest.

  • Emma

    I meant to say “to claim we *shouldn’t* work toward eliminating ALL forms of torture I find highly cynical”

  • Riker

    @DavyJones: There were other issues too. Having his glasses confiscated so he could sit in blindness for days, no blankets or bedding, being made to stand naked outside his cell, limited access to his lawyer, and being fucking held for 17 months without even a court date. Which, by the way, is a violation of both the US Constitution and military law.

  • dcviper

    @DavyJones: You, Sir have hit ye olde nail on ye olde head.

  • YouKnowIt!

    I can’t think of any better way for the gay rights movement to persuade others to support us other than to endorse the actions of Pfc. Manning. He took an oath to defend his country and he served…Julian Assange, honorably.

    I say this dedicated soldier should be reinstated, with perhaps a promotion to a national security adviser-type position to Secretary of State Clinton.


  • Riker

    @YouKnowIt!: He served the people with honor.

    Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    The crimes that Pfc. Manning has exposed were certainly not committed with my consent. How can we consent to something we don’t know is happening?

  • sic!

    Yey USA! You’re sometime behaving like Belarus in Europe.

  • Phil

    Honestly, if the documents have no purpose in being classified, then there should be no problem releasing them. What happened to ~transparency~?

  • Bill Ford

    The damage that he did is unmeasurable and will be felt for some time to come. We still do not know how many lives he has put in danger or even ended by his actions. Hopefully, he will never see the light of day, and the death penalty will be utilized to discourage other traitors from similar activities in the future.

  • YouKnowIt!

    @Riker: Riker, thank you for the lesson on the Constitution. You forgot one important detail: We do not live in a democracy; we live in a Constitutional Republic. You’re right that their power is derived from us, and by voting on election day, we give our consent for that individual to make decisions for us.

    This is not Switzerland, thank God.

  • Lefty

    @Bill Ford: “We still do not know how many lives he has put in danger or even ended by his actions.”

    It’s more accurate to say that no one – in all this time – has been able to provide any evidence that the leaks lead to any deaths whatsoever. Strange, that.
    It’s “immeasurable”, btw. :)

  • Lefty

    @YouKnowIt!: “This is not Switzerland, thank God.”

    Indeed. They pay way too much respect to all that innocent-until-proven-guilty nonsense, don’t they?

  • Riker

    @Bill Ford: So, you think you know better than the Pentagon what damage was done? What qualifications do you have?

  • DavyJones

    @Riker: Manning’s defense attorney claiming the White House and DoD said something is not the same as the White House and DoD saying something.

  • RVH

    @DavyJones: To say one should wait around for the chain of command before acting in favor of truth is one of the most cowardly things anyone could say. If it weren’t for people like Bradley Manning we would all be living under a military dictatorship now because all the little weasels like you would cry “we have to respect authority!”

  • RVH

    @YouKnowIt!: Sounds like Iran is more your type of country, where they’re very good at keeping military and government secrets. You should give living there a try, I’m sure they’ll treat you very well.

  • Cam

    @DavyJones: said…

    “@Cam: The issue here is releasing classified information, full stop. PFCs do not get to decide what does and does not get classified; even if the information should never have been classified, releasing it is a crime. ”

    That is ALWAYS the defense used by the govt. and large corps. However, that defense isn’t always valid which is why Whistle blower protections are enforced so draconically.

    The fact that much of the information released showed that there were extreamly dangerous situations out there…like PAkistan giving information about our troops to the Taliban and that the nuclear reactor in Japan was known to be dangerous etc… the defense could easily make the case that hiding this information was harming our troops.

    That is precisely what the Whisleblower protections were put in place for.

    Remember, the fact that PAt Tilman was killed by friendly fire was “Classified” the military tried to use the classification to shield that information. It didn’t hold water.

  • Interesting

    Again, the case sounds as I linked to earlier states “very weak.” The point of the prosecution, I have read, is really about getting at Wikileaks. Now, they can’t do that, and they have egg on their face, they are pursuing the case anyway. This kind of thing happens with prosecutors all the time.

  • Ian

    @DavyJones: Since we’re all on the outside looking in, as you point out, how can you definitely say he’s not being tortured? You can’t. From my research, some of his treatment borders on “enhanced” techniques. (Look into the Bradley Manning Support Network for links and info) The fact that he’s been held without charge or access to a court and the government’s stonewalling should be enough to make us all cry foul.

  • Disgusted

    DavyDumbfuck’s rhetoric is a perfect example of the sort of flaccid-brained flopping for fascism that has transformed this once-great country into a bankrupt, debt-ridden puss-pile.

    1) Manning did not “take an oath to serve the country.” He took an oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    2) If you don’t think being stripped and physically/mentally abused along with sexual abuse is torture, why not endure it yourself for a couple weeks?

    3) Where is the constitutional right to “classified information?” Hint: it’s in the same part of the constitution that defines bribes by corporations to politicians as “free speech,” nullifies the first amendment when protestors go against what the mayor of NYC wants to hear, and that allow banks to commit hundreds of billions in fraud without any prosecutions.

  • Disgusted

    @Riker: The crimes that Pfc. Manning has exposed were certainly not committed with my consent. How can we consent to something we don’t know is happening?

    Goldman Sachs and General Dynamics ARE the government, peasant. Accept it, traitor!

  • Keifer

    It’s time we called Bradley Manning what he is, a Political Prisoner. An American Political Prisoner being held illegaly in an American gulag.

  • B

    No. 4 · DavyJones wrote, “@Cam: The issue here is releasing classified information, full stop.”

    Sorry, but Cam has a legitimate point – the more you classify, the more people you need
    with security clearances, and the higher the chances are that something leaks, if only by accident.

    What Cam said is not in any way dependent on what Manning did (if he is in fact the guilty party). what Cam said is more like, “if you don’t want someone to steal or damage the crown jewels, then maybe don’t let every tourist who wanders by handle them.”

    The problem is that, if you classify a lot of trivia, then the people who need access to the trivia end up also having access to things that really needs to be classified, so classifying documents just for the hell of it actually decreases national security. It’s not a question of “right or wrong” but of risk mitigation.

  • Seaguy

    The treatment he is being given is unAmerican and wrong. Yes he messed up in taking classified files and leaking them but he did no hard and to me that means his intentions were not to bring down the government. Had he sold the secrets to Al Quida then the treatment he is receiving might be justified.

  • Dennis

    How could Queerty possibly know whether these leaks resulted in deaths? If intelligence sources have been killed, or if they have been forced to flee, the US certainly isn’t going to publicize this, nor would it ever confirm the identity of any informant. This piece is so typically stupid.

    What we do know from just 2 actual Wikileaks cables is that at least one intelligence source in Iran was identified and that internal strategies to negotiate with Iran for the release of 2 US hikers were made public, thus destroying those strategies and prolonging the suffering of the hikers. That is just the stuff that one can spot easily. God only knows how much suffering this vile tranny caused. And he never even read the cables that he was leaking. This was not about exposing wrongdoing. It was about pure tranny mental instability and malice.

    Convict him. Tie him to a post. Let gay troops get first crack at volunteering for his firing squad. Then finish him.

  • mike

    Dennis you are making things up.

    For people with questions about solitary. The UN torture investigator who is trying to meet with Bradley has said that his review of the practice is that under no conceivable circumstances should it be conducted in excess of 22 hours a day for 14 days because you start to get psychological damage. They held Manning 8 months in solitary for 23 hours a day at Quantico. Those are facts that both sides agree on.

  • JayKay

    I agree, we should stop “torturing” him.

    Just send the traitorous little shit off to the firing squad and be done with it already.

  • Ronbo

    This is a sign of the decline of democracy. Our nation (and the world) is in a sad state of disrepair. I hope #OWS continues to show signs of a comeback.

    Too bad several of the commenters here value blind allegiance to power over true democracy.

  • NormalCE

    @Greg: While you’re taking out your hatred of feminine people, let’s keep in mind that many self-hating LGBTs are meat heads and alpha douchebags who pee themselves at the thought of anyone knowing they want to touch another man.

  • RVH

    @JayKay: Don’t worry, with so many people like you around you’ll get the military dictatorship you’re asking for.

  • Hephaestion

    The shabby lack of justice in the Bradley Manning case will go down in history as the biggest fuck-up of the Obama Administration. It is shameful and inexplicable.

  • Bender


    prolonged solitary confinement IS a form of torture. It’s not me saying that, it’s Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

    “Long term solitary confinement in excess of 15 days could amount to torture and should be banned.”

    And if that’s still not good enough for you, why don’t YOU volunteer to be locked up naked in a cold, windowless cell with no blanket for 23 hours per day, no human contact except to be yelled at by guards if you try to sleep during day hours, for a few months and then tell us again how that’s not TORTURE.

    Seriously man, your casual, callous inhumanity and indifference to what is obviously torture is repulsive.

  • Bender

    Unlike the people who run our government, Manning took his oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” seriously, at great personal cost. He’s a hero who should be given a medal, and in my book, he’d should be made the fucking PRESIDENT.

  • B

    No. 37 · Bender wrote, “in my book, he’d should be made the fucking PRESIDENT.”

    Really? You might want to read Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires, among other things, that a president be at least 35 years old.

  • Ed F

    It is utterly preposterous to assert that Manning’s leaks caused no harm. With the sheer volume of sensitive material compromised, only the most naive would not conclude that severe harm, including death, has resulted and will continue to result from this malicious and criminal act.

  • RVH

    @Ed F: I’m really sickened by the attitude that so many of you who love police states and hate humanity have. “Malicious and criminal act”? You mean like the content of the first video that Bradley Manning released which showed sadistic soldiers gunning down unarmed reporters from a helicopter? In all military dictatorships, those guns will eventually turn on civilians at home, just like yourself.

  • Martin

    There can never be any justification for the harsh treatment of Manning. All this abuse humilliation and keeping him in uncertainty about his fate serves only to punish him and make an example of him. Might i suggest that the US government just goes all the way and break him on the wheel like we used to do in Europe in the good old days…

    Theres a reason the individuals rights were constitutionally protected from violation from the state when we abolished absolute monarchy…

    I also think wikileaks is silly and dangerous and Julian Assange is most likely a pompous swine, but with these actions the US government loses all claims to call itself just or fair. Im glad its not my country…

  • James

    Isn’t it great how people are always willing to throw away America’s long held civil liberties all for stronger security to protect the rights and freedoms are enemies hate so much??? LOL!

    Think about it! Every year, more of our rights are disappearing. This week, the majority of Republicans and 16 Democrats voted to allow INDEFINITE detention of American citizens w/o trial. Anyone can be declared a terrorist and then be disappeared into a secret prison anywhere around the world where they could face torture or execution. All in secret.

  • Ryan

    I don’t know how this website can say that gays who go AWOL should be left out to dry and gays i the military shouldn’t do porn because of the damage it does for the image but that gays who releases thousands of pages of classified documents should get a pass. That’s inconsistent, poor thinking.

  • Ed F

    @RVH: You seem to know me quite well to know that I “love police states and hate humanity.” It must be that same omniscience that leads you to conclude that the release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents caused absolutely no harm. Grow up.

  • RVH

    @Ed F: Releasing documents never cause harm. The only harm that is ever caused is when governments carry out atrocities. Making them known only gives us ammunition to not be fooled again. I’m living in the real world. You deserve the police state that you’re advocating for.

  • Ed F

    @RVH: “Releasing documents never cause harm. The only harm that is ever caused is when governments carry out atrocities.”

    I’m just going to let the overwhelming naivete of that statement resonate for a minute. Because making public the names of people around the world who might have helped or communicated with the U.S. in places where it is deadly to do so never causes harm. Because providing tactical and strategic advantage to people whose primary goal is to kill others never causes harm. Because only governments EVER cause harm.

    You have no idea what I’m advocating for, because you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. But I’m guessing that won’t stop you from talking anyway.

  • RVH

    @Ed F: You’re right, anyone who dares question governments are naive. I’m so foolish not to have seen the error of my logic, since only the advocates of big government secrecy understand things. Can I just apologize to you or is there someone in government you had in mind that I should bow down to? Or maybe it would just be best to cheer along with the bloodthirsty crowd when they execute Bradley Manning.

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X

  • RVH

    @Ed F: Also, I’m done debating you. If I keep trying to follow your so-called logic my neurons will begin shutting down.

Comments are closed.