Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking sensitive material to WikiLeaks, has been held for seven months in what Glenn Greenwald reports are “inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions.”
Greenwald argues that Manning is being punished without first being convicted, and he speculates that the treatment is meant to intimidate and discourage other would-be whistle-blowers.
Greenwald explains that Manning is held in solitary confinement, unable to leave his cell for 23 hours a day. He is not permitted to exercise in his cell. He is not allowed a pillow or blanket. Greenwald says Manning spends most of his day sleeping, and is now given antidepressants “to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.”
Glenn Greenwald on Salon:
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.