Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New York Times calls out Obama over Manning conditions

It's still torture, even if done on a Democratic president's watch. Faithful defenders of the rule of law and civilized decency like Glenn Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler have been saying this persuasively since early in the current administration. I sure didn't think the New York Times would join the chorus, but today it has.

The Abuse of Private Manning
Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned for nine months on charges of handing government files to WikiLeaks, has not even been tried let alone convicted. Yet the military has been treating him abusively, in a way that conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects. Inexplicably, it appears to have President Obama’s support to do so.

Private Manning is in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. For one hour a day, he is allowed to walk around a room in shackles. He is forced to remove all his clothes every night. And every morning he is required to stand outside his cell, naked, until he passes inspection and is given his clothes back.

...Private Manning is not an enemy combatant, and there is no indication that the military is trying to extract information from him. Many military and government officials remain furious at the huge dump of classified materials to WikiLeaks. But if this treatment is someone’s way of expressing that emotion, it would be useful to revisit the presumption of innocence and the Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

...President Obama, who has forcefully denounced prisoner abuse, is condoning this treatment.

New York Times, March 15. 2011

Indeed, the President has much to answer for. Or does he only answer to the Pentagon?

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