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Stop the torture of American soldier Bradley Manning

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Crescent, Okla. native Private Bradley Manning
Fertile Ground Compost Service
OKLAHOMA CITY -- For a number of months now, we here at Red Dirt Report have been following the saga of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Crescent, Okla. native who is being held in the Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia under conditions that many would consider torture. In fact, nearly two months ago, we covered an Oklahoma City Peace House protest that called for passing drivers to "Honk for Oklahoma's Bradley Manning."

Yes, many say he is a traitor. But many also call him a hero. Regardless of where you stand on the information that has come forth, we as Americans and people of good conscience should agree that Bradley Manning should be treated fairly and humanely.

And it is ironic that this young soldier, who served in as an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army while in Iraq and  Kuwait, is accused of leaking damning videos to WikiLeaks and is now being forced to sit naked in solitary confinement, not unlike the conditions exposed back in 2004 during the Abu Ghraib scandal.

But the abuse of power and psychological torture continue for Pfc. Bradley Manning who may as well be in some hot box at Guantanamo Bay. But it appears that they have not yet broken Manning's spirit in the bowels of Quantico Brig. He is speaking out and his superiors are apparently ramping up their efforts to crush him so he will spill the beans about everything he knows. Of course this will all go back to WikiLeaks and the strange character Julian Assange.

And then the charges came. And they're pretty hefty.

As reported by CBS and the Associated Press on Thursday: "The Army filed 22 new charges against 23-year-old Pvt. 1st Class Manning, including causing intelligence information to be published on the Internet. The charges involve the suspected distribution by the military analyst of more than 250,000 confidential State department cables, as well as a raft of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. Thousands of these documents have been posted on Wikileaks.

Although aiding the enemy is a capital offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Army prosecutors have told the Manning defense team that they will not recommend the death penalty"

But in the mean time it appears the military is going to make Manning's stay at Quantico Brig as uncomfortable as humanly possible.

Fortunately, Manning's attorney, David Coombs, has been keeping the world informed about Manning's deteriorating condition. This past week he wrote on his blog, armycourtmartialdefense.info, that "The Brig has stripped PFC Manning of all of his clothing for the past three nights, and they intend to continue this practice indefinitely. Each night, Brig guards force PFC Manning to relinquish all of his clothing. He then lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call."

It turns out that this latest insult to Pfc. Manning's dignity is due to a supposed "sarcastic remark" Manning allegedly made after his reuest to "be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (suicide) Watch."

Coombs wrote that after Manning was denied this request to downgrade his situation: "PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were 'absurd' and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or his flip-flops."

So, the Quantico Brig's Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes decided that Manning's quip was enough to "increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk," wrote Coombs.

Strangely, notes Coombs, Manning is allowed his underwear and flip-flops during daylight hours and that there is "no apparent concern that he will harm himself during this time period."

And stranger yet, Manning has not been taken to the brig psychiatrists so that a full analysis can be made about his true mental state. No, this is like something out of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Concludes Coombs: "There is no justification, and there can be no justification, for treating a detainee in this degrading and humiliating manner."

We agree. Manning may have been charged with these crimes and "aiding the enemy," As the blog Firedoglake noted this week "Abusing someone's mental health classification in order to subject them to torture 'for their own good' is sick and sadistic, reminiscent of Soviet gulags."

In the meantime, we shall see if "hacktivist" Anonymous will actually "avenge Manning, and wage a media war with the U.S. military" as noted this week at TheTechHerald.com. The story continues, saying Anonymous "will wage a media war with those responsible for Manning's conditions. Not only will those at the Brig be singled out, but those who reported Manning to the authorities will find themselves in the crosshairs as well. While the actions will be non-violent, the repercussions could be severe for those caught up in the fight."

While we at Red Dirt Report do not condone hacking we do understand the frustration of many Americans and many around the world who do not understand why Private Manning is being treated in such a sadistic manner.

And for further info on the shameful treatment of Bradley Manning, check out this post.

Copyright 2011 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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