The torture of Bradley Manning

Why is this whistle-blower being driven crazy and treated inhumanely?

The author is a retired Butte County Behavioral Health counselor with 20 years of experience providing advocacy and support to disadvantaged people. She is an active member of the Chico Peace and Justice Center.

Pvt. Bradley Manning is a 24-year-old man who has been imprisoned in the Quantico brig for nine months. He has been kept in extreme solitary confinement and was deteriorating psychologically even before charges were pressed against him.

Recently a military court levied 22 charges against him that could result in the death penalty. Since that day, Manning has been forced to stand absolutely naked outside his cell for up to seven hours on numerous occasions.

This inhumane treatment seems like “cruel and unusual” punishment and beyond the norms of a civilized society, especially for someone who has not been proven guilty of anything.

Manning is the alleged whistle-blower who is said to have released military-intelligence materials to WikiLeaks. Some of those materials contained information about injustices to the civilian Iraqi and Afghani people by the U.S. military. Prior to the release of these materials, Manning attempted to express his concerns to his superiors about the issues, but was told just to be quiet and do his job.

WikiLeaks, in conjunction with newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian in England, has released thousands of documents pertaining to U.S. relations abroad that expose disrespectful treatment of representatives of other nations as well as inhumane incidents of what is now standard in “modern” warfare. This has caused the United States some embarrassment in the diplomatic world.

The information that has been released by these sources has been at the foundation of the revolutionary zeal in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other parts of the world where people have been oppressed by corrupt leadership.

The United States intends to make Bradley Manning the scapegoat for pulling away the cloak of secrecy and exposing the emperor with no clothes. It is important to avoid shooting the messenger and look clearly at who is to blame for the protracted and disastrous American policies that have broken our economy and diminished our status in the world as a just democracy.

Bradley Manning is a symbol of individual responsibility as it relates to international law under the Nuremburg Accords, which are part of U.S. law. It is only We, the People who can support his basic human rights to fair treatment and trial.

To protect Bradley Manning as a whistle-blower, contact and, locally, the Chico Peace and Justice Center, or 893-9078.