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Manning’s Confinement

What Is Extreme Solitary?

Bradley Manning’s solitary confinement has been called ‘excessive’ or ‘extreme.’ But what are the conditions like? And does any prisoner really deserve it?

Three years after U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq and accused of providing WikiLeaks with 700,000 intelligence documents and videos, many of them classified, his court-martial has begun. Manning, 25, faces life in prison if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, along with 21 other charges related to what has been deemed the largest leak of classified information in American history. Looming over the testimonies and accusations that are sure to fly between prosecution and defense during Manning’s trial is the knowledge that whatever sentence he receives will be cut down by 112 days—not much against the potential time he faces—because back in January a military judge deemed Manning’s pretrial detention treatment “excessive.”

Manning Wikileaks

Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Maryland, on June 4 after the second day of his court-martial. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

So what, exactly, is excessive or extreme solitary confinement, and what does one do to deserve it? Experts say that while the technically undefined “extreme” versions of solitary confinement are rarely applied, prisoners across the country are often subjected to exaggerated isolation conditions. These are so severely harmful to their mental health, the experts say, that they may spark the violence they were created to prevent while also violating a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment right to be spared cruel and unusual punishment.

After Manning’s arrest on May 29, 2010, he was transferred to a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, where, during his nine-month stay, he was reportedly held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk. Manning’s treatment while in prison sparked as intense a public outcry as his arrest itself—drawing comparisons to the conditions of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay.


The Man Who Turned In Manning

Adrian Lamo, the hacker Bradley Manning confided in about the WikiLeaks docs, testified at his trial Tuesday. From their LGBT connection to suicide, Ben Jacobs on what he said.

In 2010 Army Pfc. Bradley Manning passed a trove of classified material to WikiLeaks, including hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables. Now Manning is on trial on 12 different charges relating to his unauthorized disclosure, including aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act (Manning has already pleaded guilty on 10 lesser charges of misusing classified information).

Manning Wikileaks

Adrian Lamo gets in a car after testifying in a military hearing on Army Pfc. Bradley Manning in December 2011. (Cliff Owen)

On Tuesday, Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker who turned Manning in, testified.

Lamo was a prominent “gray-hat computer hacker” with criminal convictions for hacking the websites of prominent companies like The New York Times and Microsoft whom Manning turned to as an online shoulder to cry on about his life and the documents he’d given to WikiLeaks.


Bradley Manning Is My Hero

On day one of the WikiLeaker's trial, Bradley Manning's fans gathered to show support for the man who redefined the war on terror. Miranda Green reports.

Protesters flooded the courtroom and its available satellite spaces at Fort Meade military base Monday morning for the first day of the full court-martial proceedings against Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks and has been held awaiting trial since July 2010—the longest pretrial detention of a U.S. soldier since at least the Vietnam War.

Manning Wikileaks

Protesters march during a rally in support of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on June 1 outside Fort Meade in Maryland. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

More than 30 Manning supporters filled the available public space offered by the courtroom, a surrounding movie theater, and available trailers on base to watch the court’s proceedings live or through TV screens.

Outside the main gates of the suburban military base 27 miles north of D.C., four protesters were left to represent the rally as the trial commenced.


Prosecutor: Manning Gave Info to Enemy

Prosecutor: Manning Gave Info to Enemy Patrick Semansky/AP

Defense says he was trying to improve the world.

Was WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning recklessly risking the lives of countless soldiers or a well-intentioned trumpeter of government transparency? On Monday, this debate began at Manning’s court-martial trial, with the military prosecutor saying he was no ordinary leaker, and “systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents” and dumped them into enemy hands. His defense lawyer countered that Manning was “naïve” but selective, and “only released documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place.” The trial is expected to last 12 weeks, and Manning has already pleaded guilty to 10 charges, which could carry up to a 20-year sentence.

Read it at The New York Times

Game Changer

The Bradley Manning Trial

The U.S. Army private’s court-martial finally gets under way today, nearly three years after his leak to WikiLeaks unmasked the war on terror’s secret diplomacy. Eli Lake reports.

On Monday, the military court-martial begins for Bradley Manning, the military-intelligence analyst who is accused of sending 700,000 U.S. documents and at least one video to a drop box in cyberspace belonging to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks. His trial, three years after his arrest, will provide a fresh account of how a young U.S. Army private laid bare the secret diplomacy underpinning the global war on terror and whether the disclosures caused grave harm to America’s ability to fight that war.

Bradley Manning Wikileaks

Protester in support of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning outside Fort Meade, Maryland, June 1, 2013. Manning, who is to face a court-martial beginning June 3, is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified records to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

For Manning’s supporters, he is a whistleblower and a hero who endured cruel and unusual punishment from the military even before his trial. For the U.S. military, Manning is akin to a spy. He faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act, crimes for which he could receive life in prison.

But many Americans are hearing about him for the first time.

Former WikiLeaks employee James Ball, a subject of the Alex Gibney documentary ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,’ on what happened behind the scenes at Julian Assange’s controversial company.

It’s now been more than three years since the world saw the horrifying footage of the “Collateral Murder” video: civilians mown down in a ghastly battlefield error. Their would-be rescuer—a father taking his children to school—similarly shot to pieces by a U.S. helicopter gunship, its pilots chatting and laughing as if playing a video game.

Australia Julian Assange Ecuador

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

And for those who kept watching, an aspect of the footage often forgotten: a Hellfire missile fired into a building, with no regard of the passerby just outside. Waiting a mere few seconds longer could’ve kept him safe—but no. Amid the revulsion at the earlier horror of the clip, this became a mere background detail.

That footage was just the start of a string of ever-larger WikiLeaks document releases, reporting, and revelations that shook the faith of many around the world in the U.S. government’s activities—from revelations of death squads operating in Afghanistan, through complicity in torture in the Iraq documents, to evidence of spying on U.N. diplomats in U.S. Embassy cables.

Taking the Stand

Navy SEAL to Testify in WikiLeaks Trial

Navy SEAL to Testify in WikiLeaks Trial Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Against Bradley Manning.

A man presumed to be part of the Navy SEAL Team 6 that raided the Osama bin Laden compound will be allowed to testify at the trial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan battle reports to WikiLeaks. The witness supposedly collected digital evidence proving that bin Laden was provided with documents that Manning has admitted to sending to WikiLeaks. The hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Read it at Stars and Stripes


Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty in WikiLeaks Case

Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty in WikiLeaks Case BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

But denies most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges against him in the WikiLeaks case on Wednesday, admitting that he helped engineer the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. But the Army private denied that the leaks directly benefited al Qaeda—the most serious charge in the case. A military judge will now decide whether to accept the guilty plea, though prosecutors could still pursue the 12 remaining charges. The 10 charges he admitted to carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, but Manning could face a lifetime sentence if convicted of aiding the enemy.

Read it at Reuters


Judge: Manning Punishment Illegal

Judge: Manning Punishment Illegal US Army / AP Photo

Due to 'illegal pretrial punishment.'

Military Judge Col. Denise Lind ruled Tuesday to reduce the potential sentence of Bradley Manning, an Army private accused of releasing classified documents to the infamous WikiLeaks website. Lind's ruling stems from her belief that the former soldier was subjected to "illegal pretrial punishment" during his nine months of confinement. She called Manning's treatment—which consisted of solitary confinement in a windowless cell, often without clothing, for 23 hours a day—"excessive." The 25-year-old is to face 22 charges when his trial begins March 6. Due to Tuesday's ruling, if he is given a prison sentence he will receive 112 days off of whatever it is.

Read it at Associated Press

About the Trial

On May 29, 2010, 25-year-old Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq for leaking over 700,000 documents to the website WikiLeaks. While Manning has already pled guilty to 10 lesser charges, military prosecutors have pressed on with additional counts including "aiding the enemy," which carries a potential life sentence. After nearly three years of pre-trial confinement, his military trial began Monday, June 3rd, 2013 and is expected to last three months.

"We Steal Secrets"

Inside Wikileaks

Exclusive: Former WikiLeaks Employee Tells All

Exclusive: Former WikiLeaks Employee Tells All

Former WikiLeaks employee James Ball gives his behind-the-scenes take on working with Julian Assange.

Celebrities Are Bradley Manning

In this video posted on the 'I am Bradley Manning' YouTube page, celebrities including filmmaker Oliver Stone, musician Moby, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg lend their support to the Army whistleblower currently on trial for leaking documents.

Obama’s War on Journalism

Obama’s War on Journalism

Because they tend to share his broad outlook on politics, too many journalists for too long have been in the tank for Obama, writes Nick Gillespie.

From the Archives

Manning's Long Fight

Catching the Next WikiLeaker

Catching the Next WikiLeaker

New big-brother software is giving America’s spies confidence to thwart the next big government leak.

Wikileaks Ringleader

All About Assange

The Assange Bamboozle

The Assange Bamboozle

The media slobbered over the latest Julian Assange “revelations” of already-public documents, while another much more important investigation based on true reporting was largely ignored.

U.S. News