hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011
Allen McDuffee - Investigating Manning: A Tale of Two Editorials

. . .Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations Col. David Lapan, who wrote a line-by-line account of Manning’s status.

Quantico is a military brig, not a prison, and it is not a maximum security facility. http://www.quantico.usmc.mil/activities/display.aspx?PID=588&Section=SECBN
Manning, however, is considered a maximum custody detainee. He is not "under isolation 23 hours a day." Here are the facts of his pre-trial confinement:

PFC Manning is not in solitary confinement. He has a single-occupancy cell, like all of the other detainees.
PFC Manning is not in isolation.
PFC Manning is a maximum custody detainee in a prevention of injury status.
PFC Manning is not currently on suicide watch.
PFC Manning is being held in the same quarters section with other pre-trial detainees
PFC Manning is allowed to watch television and read newspapers.
PFC Manning is allowed one-hour per day to exercise.
PFC Manning is provided well-balanced, nutritious meals three times a day.
PFC Manning receives visitors and mail and can write letters.
PFC Manning routinely meets with doctors and his attorney.
PFC Manning is allowed telephone calls.
PFC Manning is being treated just like every other detainee in the brig.

Also, there is no 'daily disrobing and various other humiliations.' In recent days, as the result of concerns for PFC Manning's personal safety, his undergarments were taken from him during sleeping hours. PFC Manning at all times had a bed and a blanket to cover himself. He was not made to stand naked for morning count but, but on one day, he chose to do so. There were no female personnel present at the time. PFC Manning has since been issued a garment to sleep in at night. He is clothed in a standard jumpsuit during the day. . .

comment by Eric Jaffa:

Manning is only allowed to have visitors on weekends.

There are no prisoners close enough for him to talk to.

The one-hour-per-day he can watch TV or exercise or shower is the same hour. He doesn't get an hour for each.

Saying a prisoner "is not in solitary confinement" is misleading when there is no one close enough for him to talk to in his cell & he isn't allowed to be around other prisoners.

The "exercise" outside his cell he's allowed is walking in circles while wearing shackles.

Manning is not being treated like any other detainee at Quantico. David Coombs (Manning’s lawyer):

David E. Coombs - Response to Pentagon Press Secretary

” . . .PFC Manning is the only detainee at Quantico that is being held both in Maximum custody and under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch. The POI watch is being continued over the recommendation of mental health professionals . . .The conditions imposed on PFC Manning under the POI watch (which have been ongoing for 8 months) are unduly harsh and punitive in nature. . .”

” . . .Briefly, under POI watch, the guards check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay; PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner . . .”

“Other detainees typically are removed from Maximum custody and from POI watch once they demonstrate, through their behavior, that the conditions are no longer warranted. Under Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 1649.9C, Maximum custody and POI are intended to be used sparingly and for a limited duration of time. Despite the Navy Instruction, PFC Manning remains subject to unduly harsh confinement conditions”

I’d think doing this every 5 minutes every waking hour for 8 months would be dangerous for anyone’s mental health, bad for the detainee and bad for the guards forced to carry out these orders.

David E. Coombs - A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning

"He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop."

I can't think of any legitimate reason to prevent him exercising in his cell.

I wouldn't necessarily call it it "torture", I would call it treatment deliberately designed to mess with someone's head. I don't understand why the Quantico leaders don't take the recomendation of their staff psychiatrists, lift the POI watch, and put a stop to this.

Radley Balko - Bradley Manning and the Ones Who Walk Away From Obama

. . .Manning is getting far worse treatment than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Loughner, or your run-of-the-mill serial killer. It’s important to remember here that Manning didn’t covertly leak classified information to a foreign enemy. He leaked classified information to a website knowing that all of it would eventually be published. That’s an important difference. Manning knew that the U.S. government would know what information was leaked, and that it would know who would have access to the leaked information (everyone). The U.S. government has also conceded that it’s unlikely Manning’s leaks did any substantial harm.

That’s a much less serious offense than that of, say, Aldrich Ames, who secretly turned classified information over to a hostile nation, and whose treachery resulted in the deaths of CIA assets. Moreover, the government didn’t know the extent of the information Ames had sold, making the actual harm quite a bit worse. Yet Manning is also getting far worse treatment than Ames ever got. . .

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