A supporter of PFC Bradley Manning complained to the UN that his conditions of pretrial confinement constitute torture.  The Guardian reports here that the office of Manfred Nowak, the UN’s Special rapporteur on Torture, confirmed that the complaint is “being looked into.”  As AP reports here, DOD denies that PFC Manning is being mistreated.  And in this interview with MSNBC, Julian Assange calls PFC Manning “a political prisoner in the United States.”

Get our your hip waders.  It looks like the guano is rising fast.

20 Responses to “UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture investigating complaint concerning PFC Manning”

  1. sg says:

    Firstly, who gives a rat’s ass what the UN thinks? With the exceptions of some of the specialized agencies like UNICEF, the UN is a colossal waste of (mostly US taxpayers’) money.
    Get ready for a huge flood of craziness.

  2. Socrates says:

    Guano crazy on the left this time. Lakin and Manning should have a cage match.

  3. Charles Gittins says:

    I am still wondering why he is in PTC at all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am still wondering why he is in PTC at all.

    He’s in PTC because he’s a flight risk. Not just that he would take off, but as these fringe elements advocate on his behalf, it becomes more apparent that he would have extensive support to remain at large if he were to flee.

    We might not care what the UN thinks, but we’ll definitely care about what it does in the event that these developments tend to undermine coalition support in Afghanistan.

    The big difference between the Lakinista Guano Campaign (LGC) and this move by Manning Dungslingers (MD’s-this is really funny because Lakin and his brother were both docs-really, its’ funny) is that the MD’s are using a third-party neutral agency approach in their attack. While I view the Lakin episode as a tragic story of bad judgment compounded by predatory ignorance by Taitz et. al., the MD campaign looks and smells more like lawfare.

    And the question of the day-could the issue of whether this PTC constitutes torture be litigated in any forum other than Manning’s court martial?

  5. publius says:

    Any chance UN special rapporteur does not find 23 out of 24 hours a day in iso constitutes torture?

  6. Cheap Seats says:

    Anonymous 0844 – Have you seen the probable cause/reasonable grounds evidence that Manning is a flight risk? That is the requirement under RCM 305. We can all specualte and say he might go. Is there evidence? If guilty of these offenses, we can bury him BELOW the brig, but he is not yet convicted of anything. Why are we looking to punish him before trial? Now, maybe there is evidence of flight risk. If so, then he can cry me a river. But no one has come forward showing that yet. So for the time being, I am with Mr. Gittens and the others questioning why he is in PTC at all.

  7. publius says:

    Cheap Seats-

    Someone has come forward and demonstrated Manning is a flight risk- first to his CO, then to the IRO. And both of these officials were satisfied that Manning should be in PTC. There’s no requirement that PTC decisions be justified to the public.
    PTC decisions aren’t published in the federal register. That’s the way military justice works. If you don’t like it fine. But it isn’t unique to Manning.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Doubt he’ll be a flight risk now that DADT has been repealed. He’s home.

  9. Cheap Seats says:

    Publius – Slow down, high speed. The Government eventually WILL have to justify the confinement to the court. So yes, you are right that public release of the material is not required. It is just that those of us who have done this long enough have seen plenty of “rubber stamps” at the IRO level. I’m not saying the evidence doesn’t exist as to flight risk or further dissemination. I just think from a PR standpoint, maybe some of that should be released. Otherwise, I will say PTC seems unjustified. If that evidence does exist, then leave him in PTC and ensure he is at trial and not disseminating. Anything harsher is inappropriate until after sentencing. If guilty as alleged, a very LONG sentence.

  10. Socrates says:

    Ahhh…an anti-gay innuendo. Maybe my prediction will come true.

    All you have to do is watch Fox news: He is a “terrorist” (or a “techno-terrorist”). The irresistable hyperbole brings me back to the best essay of the 20th Century, George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

  11. publius says:

    Cheap Seats-

    Essentially you’re saying that since you haven’t seen the evidence and you have participated in a few of what you regard as “rubber stamp” IRO hearings, the US government should release potentially sensitive information to the public. Much as I’d like to return your compliment, that kind of reasoning is most certianly not “high speed”.

  12. sg says:

    Unless Manning brings up the issue of his sexuality, I don’t see how or why it should come up at all. Unless there’s audio or video of Manning saying “I did this because I’m gay ” There’s nothing more to that kind of nonsense than queer-baiting, and it has no place in a trial in the 21st century or in decent conversation.

  13. Cheap Seats says:

    Publius – Fair enough. I guess I’m just trying to bring the discussion back to RCM 305. Too many look at the allegations against Manning and think he deserves anything that is done to him pretrial. Article 13 is also worth discussing. From a basic standpoint, why does it matter when he sleeps? What does that have to do with the authorized purposes of PTC? So you are right about (non)release. The purpose and nature of restraint are worth discussing, however. Should be a fun trial to watch unfold.

  14. publius says:

    Cheap Seats-

    Along the same lines I suppose I’m set against the idea that USG is making the rules up as it goes along re Manning. You weren’t doing that precisely, but there’s a lot of it about. I’m not wading into the art 13 issues, beyond pointing out that CO of the brig and CO MCB Quantico have one job here: keep Manning alive until his GCM starts. Strict conditions of confinement must seem a very effective way to ensure that.

  15. sg says:

    Cheap Seats,
    I want to be clear. I don’t think Manning should be punished or kept in a punishment -type environment while PTC. I do think that for various reasons PTC is justified (speaking entirely as a non-lawyer). The details of his PTC could be disturbing to anyone who hasn’t served in a hostile area I suppose, but to me they seem like the Hilton and I don’t see how they are equated with torture. I’m not saying that to be bloody-minded about it. I really don’t understand.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh…an anti-gay innuendo.Maybe my prediction will come true.All you have to do is watch Fox news: He is a “terrorist” (or a “techno-terrorist”).The irresistable hyperbole brings me back to the best essay of the 20th Century, George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.”

    Terrorist according to Fox News when left-wing or Muslim, kooky loner when right wing. ;)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cheap Seats-Along the same lines I suppose I’m set against the idea that USGis making the rules up as it goes along re Manning. You weren’t doing that precisely, but there’s a lot of it about. I’m not wading into the art 13 issues, beyond pointing out that CO of the brig and CO MCB Quantico have one job here: keep Manning alive until his GCM starts. Strict conditions of confinement must seem a very effective way to ensure that.

    I’m not as quick as you to give the Marines the bennie here. I do wonder why he needs to be in 23 hour iso. If he is a threat to himself has there been a mental health assessment?

    I’m open-minded about it. Torture? No. Article 13 issue? Potentially.

  18. anon says:

    He gets TV, visitors, exercise, and access to counsel. Plus what most non MilJus wonks don’t know is unlike civilians he retains full pay and benefits while in PTC (unless after EAS) so vis a vis a civilian pretrial confinee, I don’t see Manning suffering in any meaningful way.

  19. Charles Gittins says:

    I don’t see Manning suffering in any meaningful way.

    Except that he has been completely deprived of his liberty for several months with no Article 32 hearing scheduled and no access to a federal district court bail hearing (assuming that the DOJ is considering prosecution over the military). I am pretty sure he’s be willing to trade the pay he has been paid for the freedom he has been deprived of.

    One thing I have become pretty confident in over 25 years is that the military keeps too many people in PTC for reasons that are just wrong . . like “we don’t have the capability or personnel to keep a watch on this guy.” The fact that there is no centralized repository or reporting on PTC confinement decisions makes it exceedingly difficult to do meaningful analysis, but my experience tell me that too many military personnel are remaining in PTC where some lesser form of restraint, or no restraint whatsoever, is required to have the client show up for trial.

  20. Dew_Process says:

    A few years ago, I had a client in PTC, accused of “espionage” and unauthorized transmittal of classified documents that started out capital. After 9 months of futile Motions regarding the draconian conditions of his PTC, we convinced the MJ to do a “walk through” of his “solitary unit” and put on the guards who did the solitary “detail” as witnesses as to his “routine” [which contradicted the PAO’s version]. Two hours after the MJ’s walk through,” he was released to Base restriction. He showed up for trial.

    Put an ankle bracelet on him and keep him away from computers, if it’s not punative!