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Obama Calls Treatment of Wikileaks Soldier Bradley Manning 'Appropriate' and 'Meeting Our Basic Standards'

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President Obama assured members of the press today that treatment of Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning, whose treatment has been described as inhumane and compared to torture, was "appropriate" and met "our basic standards."

Watch Obama respond to ABC News' Jake Tapper, AFTER THE JUMP...

Manning Manning spoke out today for the first time since his detention in a letter released by his lawyer:

The most graphic passage of the letter is Manning's description of how he was placed on suicide watch for three days from 18 January. "I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness."

**

When he was told he was being put on suicide watch, he writes, "I became upset. Out of frustration, I clenched my hair with my fingers and yelled: 'Why are you doing this to me? Why am I being punished? I have done nothing wrong.'"

He also describes the experience of being stripped naked at night and made to stand for parade in the nude, a condition that continues to this day. "The guard told me to stand at parade rest, with my hands behind my back and my legs spaced shoulder-width apart. I stood at parade rest for about three minutes … The [brig supervisor] and the other guards walked past my cell. He looked at me, paused for a moment, then continued to the next cell. I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked."

Said Obama of Manning's situation: 

"I have asked the Pentagon whether or not the the procedures that have been taken in terms of his condition are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Bullshit! This man has been being tortured for NINE MONTHS in that brig. For 9 months, he's been in 23-hr/day solitary confinement; barred from exercising in his cell; one hr/day outside his cell to walk in circles alone while shackled; forced to respond to guards' inquiries every 5 mins, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in his bed or outside the guards' full view. As a friend said to me, "can we get a reality check on what he's alleged to have done? If he did leak these documents, I think he is patriot, not a traitor. Shouldn't Americans be more concerned with the fact that any bureaucrat can stamp "classified" on a document and under penalty of death diminish our right to exercise proper oversight over our government? He didn't out spies, or give away troop positions. He exposed lies about civilian casualties in Iraq, and the mishandling of a war prosecuted under false pretenses."

    Posted by: Kevin | Mar 11, 2011 3:12:37 PM


  2. LIES!

    Posted by: EO | Mar 11, 2011 3:17:05 PM


  3. @Kevin,

    Do you how long it can take for an accused to get their trial? And if they can't make bail, they remain locked up in county jail until their trial. Many months normal, a year or more not unusual. Ever hear the expression 'Time Served'? It refers to a defendant being released after adjudication due to the time they already served in pre-trial lock up. Very common.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 11, 2011 3:20:40 PM


  4. Our government clearly has a very different bar for what is "appropriate" treatment of unconvicted, untried suspects than those of most other civilized nations. Hard to muster up a lot of will to dissent when the accused, not the convicted, get treated like this. Land of the free.

    Posted by: turkey | Mar 11, 2011 3:21:19 PM


  5. You may or may not agree with this kid's actions, but this is barbaric and inhumane. And of course, Obama and everyone else is going to cover it all up, and kick the can down the road.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 11, 2011 3:25:08 PM


  6. He shouldn't have been joking about being able to use his clothes to commit suicide or harm himself. They have to take him seriously. Being naked is not torture. We don't know all the facts.

    Releasing the video that he did only aides and fuels the enemy. The narrative that Al Qaeda perpetuates is that the U.S. is at war with the Muslim world. They use it as a recruiting tool.

    We act as though this guy is some sort of political prisoner. He's in the situation he is in for the decisions and judgments he made.

    I can only hope that he gets to trial as soon as possible.


    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Mar 11, 2011 3:30:26 PM


  7. "Appropriate " .....well f*** you Obama.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 11, 2011 3:31:10 PM


  8. I wouldn't actually call these lies...the US tortures, they detain people without charge indefinitely, and assassinate their own citizens without trial or arrest. So yeah, this is pretty much "meeting our basic standards".

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Mar 11, 2011 3:35:55 PM


  9. We also have to remember he's in a military brig, not a civilian jail or prison.

    Different set of rules.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Mar 11, 2011 3:40:22 PM


  10. Dick Cheney would be proud.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 11, 2011 3:40:42 PM


  11. Had Bradley Manning not been openly gay, I doubt there would be much outrage as shown on this thread or in the gay community. This happens ALL THE TIME... you guys outrage are phony at best.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Mar 11, 2011 3:48:36 PM


  12. Being told to get naked is not torture. Humiliating in certain cases, yes. But it is not torture.

    Posted by: Damen | Mar 11, 2011 3:49:30 PM


  13. Let him free, strip of him of his citizenship and deport him to the United Kingdom.
    I do agree Manning has been already been punished enough.

    Posted by: Matt Munson | Mar 11, 2011 3:51:21 PM


  14. Since Bush II, torture and abuse have been perpetrated both by US domestic agents and by foreign proxies on behalf of the Us, even on victims specially kidnapped by the USA for that purpose.
    Torture is now endemic in US legal and political and military culture. It has been expressly sanctioned by Bybee, Woo and other self promoted luminaries.

    So the treatment of an unconvicted prisoner should come as no shock.

    What is shocking is the betrayal of values in US society and in Obama.
    And so little by little the Empire crumbled.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 11, 2011 3:55:50 PM


  15. This whole country is in susch a mess. But we are still lucky in a way we can email these things on a gay blog. Hope to all,
    brothers and sisters from oppression.

    Posted by: terryp | Mar 11, 2011 3:56:29 PM


  16. Hey Obama, how's that shutdown of Gitmo coming along?

    Posted by: Vince | Mar 11, 2011 4:08:57 PM


  17. @ BRIAN IN TEXAS : F**k off.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 11, 2011 4:11:47 PM


  18. This could easily become a scandal. What if they don't find anything? Rules protect all the parties.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 11, 2011 4:34:46 PM


  19. This guy may have single handedly changed the face of our entire world. The unrest in the middle east? I believe it is a direct result of information in the WikiLeaks documents. The people got a rare insight into their own government.

    Manning is a hero. We might not recognize it now, but in 50 or 100 years, his name will be in the history books.

    Posted by: Carla Lewis | Mar 11, 2011 4:37:18 PM


  20. I agree with NY2.0 This happens to hetero military personnel often. Where is the outrage for them? Where is the outrage for the innocent hetero immigrants that have been "detained" in these US confines (read: prisons) for years sitting in limbo waiting for a hearing or to be deported. If Manning was straight no one here would care.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Mar 11, 2011 4:49:31 PM


  21. Looks like George W. Bush got a third term.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 11, 2011 4:50:48 PM


  22. Well, Obama is turning out to be the change you never thought you'd see... I'm so disgusted by this commentary by him! He needs to explain how keeping a prisoner NAKED and without his glasses is appropriate. Just appalling! Don't re-elect this gobshite, he's semi-detached on so many issues, Libya, etc. Makes the USA seem like a bully boy all over again. Shame.

    Posted by: Sean R | Mar 11, 2011 4:57:01 PM


  23. If they ignored his comments about using his clothes to commit suicide and he'd actually done it, then everybody would have been screaming about how his clothes should have been taken away.

    This man signed up to serve in the military. He's well aware of the different set of rules for military justice. He was recorded bragging about betraying his country.

    Boo hoo hoo, Bradley, and rot in jail, traitor.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Mar 11, 2011 5:01:31 PM


  24. Before the intentional Republican dumbing-down and coarsening of the culture, there was no such thing as a conversation about whether torturing someone really is torture. In the old reality, people recognized that not only was torture wrong and didn't debate whether inhumane treatment was inhumane "enough" to qualify as torture. Welcome to the new reality, brought to you courtesy of the Koch brothers and other billionaire monsters.

    Posted by: justme | Mar 11, 2011 5:16:15 PM


  25. @LINCOLNLOUNGER : First, it is the criminals who broke international law (to which America is a signatory) who are the traitors.
    second, have you ever reflected on the obscene way in which Americans glorify their military ?
    Third, military justice is no different from civil justice; they only have different Procedures. Both are subject to the constitution, with such provisions as a right to due process.......that includes a speedy trial in a fair court, not a kangaroo court.
    @FERNLAPLANTE : there has been plenty of outrage at hetros being tortured......or haven't you been listening ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 11, 2011 5:21:41 PM


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