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Obama Must Halt Inhumane Treatment of Bradley Manning

All Americans should be horrified and outraged by yesterday’s revelations that PFC Bradley Manning, already being held under Maximum Security and a Prevention of Injury (POI) order, has now been forced to spend seven hours each night and morning stripped naked:

Last night, PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.

The Duty Brig Supervisor (DBS) arrived shortly after 5:00 a.m. When he arrived, PFC Manning was called to attention. The DBS walked through the facility to conduct his detainee count. Afterwards, PFC Manning was told to sit on his bed. About ten minutes later, a guard came to his cell to return his clothing.

This degrading and deplorable treatment comes on top of months of solitary confinement, shackling, and severe restrictions on Manning’s contact with the outside world.

Manning has neither been tried on any count nor convicted of any crime. While we cannot say exactly why the US government has chosen to make this escalation in his harsh treatment coincide with the introduction of a slate of new charges, the idea that Bradley Manning’s treatment is measured or necessary strains credulity. Inside the brig at Quantico, Manning has not proven to be a danger to himself or his jailers, and his behavior has been noted to be exemplary.

That the Obama Administration continues to go down this road is unfathomable. The same president that campaigned condemning torture and pledged to close the US detention facility in Guantanamo within a year has now imported GTMO-style abuse to a government facility inside the continental United States. It is not only shameful, but sweeps the legs out from under any moral superiority this administration can claim over its predecessor.

We at Firedoglake stand with supporters of Bradley Manning and human rights advocates and call on President Obama to either come clean on their objective in treating Manning in this cruel and unusual way, or move to end such treatment immediately. Anything less is an abdication of duty and an annulment of every Americans’ constitutional rights.

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Sign the petition: Tell Secretary Gates to Drop the Ridiculous “Aiding the Enemy” Charges Against Bradley Manning.

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Gregg Levine

Gregg Levine