Socialist Worker Online
Issue: 2233 dated: 8 January 2011
News posted: 5.30pm Tue 4 Jan 2011
by Simon Basketter
Bradley Manning, a 22-year old US army private, is being tortured by the US state.
He is accused of leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks website. Manning has been held at the US Marine jail in Quantico, Virginia, for five months—and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait.
The US is torturing Manning to get him to say that he gave secret files to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This will make it easier to prosecute Assange for espionage.
Assange is on bail in Britain as the Swedish government attempts to extradite him on charges of rape, which he strongly denies.
There were protests in defence of him and Wikileaks outside the court in London at the end of last year.
Manning is held as a “maximum custody detainee”, which is the most repressive level of US military detention.
According to his lawyer, “He is being held in intensive solitary confinement.
“For 23 out of 24 hours every day—for seven straight months—he sits completely alone in his cell.
“Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he’s barred from exercising and is restrained if he attempts to exercise.
“He’s being denied a pillow or sheets for his bed and access to news reports in any form.
“He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.
“If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.
“He does receive one hour of ‘exercise’ outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk.
“Private First Class (PFC) Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.
“When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards.
“His clothing is returned to him the next morning.”
Manning is sleep deprived and is now taking anti-depressants.
He was arrested after allegedly confessing in an online chatroom to leaking a video of a US air raid in Iraq.
The graphic and disturbing video shows the events of 12 July 2007.
As a group of men stroll down a Baghdad street, two US army helicopters open fire, repeatedly shooting at them and gunning one down as he tries to flee.
They killed 12 people, including two journalists who worked for the Reuters news agency. Two children were wounded.
One shooter says, “Ha, ha, ha, I hit ‘em.” Another comments, “Look at those dead bastards.”
“Nice,” another responds.
Later a van comes past and Iraqis stop to try to help one of the wounded.
The helicopter opens fire again. Two children inside the van were wounded and their father was killed.
When US ground troops arrive they discover the children.
One of the crew says, “Well it’s their fault for bringing kids into a battle.”
The army claimed the dead were all insurgents and that they had been killed in battle.
But a supposed rocket-propelled grenade was in reality a camera lens. What the US claimed was an AK47 was in fact a camera.
This is just one example of the violence of US imperialism.
The US has committed countless atrocities during its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. But getting the information out has led to Bradley Manning being jailed.
The other information Manning is accused of leaking includes a video of a 2009 US airstrike in Granai, Afghanistan, which killed as many as 140 civilians.
The US suspects he leaked a cache of nearly 100,000 field reports from Afghanistan, about 260,000 diplomatic cables and as many as half a million documents relating to the Iraq war.
Politicians globally professed gradations of outrage at the publication of the material.
Some in the US even called for Wikileaks to be treated as a terrorist organisation.