This blog was directly inspired by Glenn Greenwald’s article of 15th December, The inhuman conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention. This article profoundly shocked me, and for two distinct reasons.
I already knew, of course, that Bradley Manning was a young soldier awaiting trial in the US on charges of releasing military and State Department data. I knew that at least some of what Manning was alleged to have leaked exposed significant wrongdoing on the part of the US military, wrongdoing that the world needed to be made aware of.
I also already knew that penal conditions in the United States can be extremely tough, more so than would be tolerated in Western Europe, and that military justice was likely to be even worse, if anything.
What I wasn’t aware of was the exceptional, solitary, higher-than-supermax, regime that Bradley Manning was – and still is – experiencing, even though he has not yet had his trial date set, let alone been convicted of any crime. An increasing number of doctors, psychologists and international legal authorities would be inclined to say that such conditions amount to torture.
I also was not aware of the following:
…because Manning holds dual American and U.K. citizenship (his mother is British), it is possible for British agencies and human rights organizations to assert his consular rights against these oppressive conditions.
There is much more to say about all this. But that was my starting point, just over a month ago.