Per BBC World News, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley defended the continued detention of PFC Bradley Manning, saying Manning “is in the right place.”

Responding to questions from his audience at M.I.T., however, Crowley lambasted Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Asked if his remarks were on the record, Crowley replied “sure.”

It will be interesting to see whether DoD has any comment about the remarks.

15 Responses to “State Dept. spokesman defends confining Manning but blasts his treatment”

  1. Butch Bracknell says:

    Fratricide, anyone?

  2. Peanut Gallery says:

    Not the first time someone from the Executive Branch called something “stupid.” It didn’t go over well the first time.

  3. Stewie says:

    Well, based on everything I’ve read, stupid is an accurate word to describe it unless you think there is a legitimate reason why the kid has to be naked at night but can wear clothes during the day.

    What does he have vampiric suicidal tendencies?

  4. soonergrunt says:

    Army Times says he’s getting a ‘suicide-proof smock’ to sleep in at night, and the whole standing at attention naked thing happened once because he did it, not that it was required.
    Probably something like this:
    http://www.preventsuicide.com/

  5. Stewie says:

    When the allegations first surfaced, the confinement facility did anything but deny it, they confirmed it. If they’ve graduated to the suicide smock then awesome.

    This boils down to the fact that Manning did something really bad and folks really don’t like him. Understandable, but not how our system is supposed to function.

  6. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    JMTG–

    Looks like DoD won;t have to defend itself, “President Barack Obama says he’s been assured by the Pentagon that the Army private suspected of giving classified information to the WikiLeaks website is being held in conditions that are “appropriate and meeting our basic standards.” See here

  7. Butch Bracknell says:

    No Man — maybe, maybe not. Now you have an empowered representative of the government taking issue with the conditions of Manning’s confinement, which heartens all the interest groups criticizing Manning for treating the pretrial detainee the same way we’ve treated pretrial detainees for years, with ample judicial review over the brig SOPs. Even though Secretary Crowley’s comments have been somewhat neutered by the President, they aren’t helpful as DoD continues to deal with AI, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the ACLU, etc.

  8. Mike No Man Navarre says:

    BB–

    No offense, but if I were the CO of MCB Quantico I wouldn\’t give a rats a*s about what those groups say/think and, more realistically, probably wouldn\’t even have time to take stock of what they said/thought if I did care. My boss is a 1-star, his boss, etc, Gen. Amos, Sec. Mabus, POTUS.

  9. Some Army Guy says:

    MNMN — While you might not care what those outside groups say, your boss the 1-star, his boss, Gen Amos, Sec. Mabus, etc., all may care.

    People are often fired because of the reaction to the story, not the story itself. Go ask GEN (Ret) McChrystal or CAPT Honors.

  10. Stewie says:

    “the interest groups criticizing Manning for treating the pretrial detainee the same way we’ve treated pretrial detainees for years”

    Seems to me you’ve made your decision on what’s going on (or not going on) already too, just like the interest groups you criticize for making their own decision.

    If the moral is, wait until the judge sorts this out, I’m down with that, but otherwise, there is at least some evidence that at the very least this treatment is atypical even if it ends up being wholly justified.

  11. Butch Bracknell says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_us_wikileaks

    PJ Crowley resigns over comments re: Manning treatment at brig.

  12. Butch Bracknell says:

    Stewie, here’s the distinction — government actors are entitled to a presumption that they are following the law, absent evidence to the contrary. Inspection after inspection of that brig has revealed no disparity of treatment, and no harassment. Every measure that has been taken with regard to this detainee has been to guarantee his safety and availability for trial. The problem arises when interest groups come in and make up their own facts, or examine instances of treatment in a vacuum. Some of these groups are the same people who characterize mild sleep deprivation at Guantanamo as torture. Waterboarding is torture. Sleep deprivation is no more severe than parenthood.

  13. Stewie says:

    The facts that have come out suggest that those inspections are problematic at best. These are facts that are not only undisputed, they are admitted by the facility.

    There is no reason he needs to be naked at night. None. There is no reason for all of the other various other things like the solitary confinement or the inability to exercise in his cell, or all of the other things that I have never seen done to a pretrial confinee before, and have rarely seen done to a prisoner.

    The guys on death row in Leavenworth have more freedoms than Manning does right now. And no, I think there is a difference between your first statement, a rebuttable presumption, and the rest of your statement that you personally know that “every measure that has been taken has been to guarantee his safety and availability for trial.”

    If he’s such a suicide threat, then where is the psychological counseling? Like I said, I can buy the wait until the Article 13 hearing to make the final call, but the idea that every single thing is so clearly in the right here as you assert, sorry, not buying it.

  14. Butch Bracknell says:

    OK, then, assuming Manning is being abused in the brig — why? What is the Marine Corps interest in hazing this kid in the brig? It’s not even a Marine Corps case, so the Marine Corps doesn’t have a convening authority with an axe to grind against some kid working mischief in his unit, like a drug dealer or a barracks thief. Do you really think the brig officer (likely a CWO-3 or CWO-4) and the Base Commander (an O-6) really care down deep in their hearts about Manning’s alleged misconduct as the source of the Wikileaks documents, such that they are effecting pretrial punishment on some sort of misguided moral grounds? Or are they merely responding to the orders of superiors in some bizarre, grassy knoll-type grand conspiracy against an Army Private? The more likely answer is that they are taking NO chances that he won’t be available for trial because he hung himself with the elastic drawstring to his underwear. Don’t forget the Marine Corps lost a pretrial detainee in that brig to suicide about a year ago: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/02/marine_quantico_brig_death_020410w/ So I imagine the Base Commander has heightened sensitivity to another suicide in his brig.

    The bottom line is that this case needs to get arraigned so the defense can make an appropriate case for relief to the military judge, rather than waging an irregular warfare campaign designed to bring political pressure on the administration and the Marine Corps…

  15. Stewie says:

    Why is anyone ever abused? That’s like saying assuming this rape victim is lying, why? Why would she lie about being rape?

    I can’t answer why, because a) I don’t know for sure it is abuse, and b) if it is abuse, then there are a thousand different reasons for which I can only guess at.

    I don’t think “the Marine Corps” is doing anything. I think a set of Marines are doing something which is either going to be found to be valid or invalid.

    I do think yes someone there might care that he’s, for all intents and purposes a traitor who indiscriminately released sensitive classified material, and I think his sexual status could be a trigger for some too.

    It also doesn’t require a “grassy knoll” conspiracy, merely a few bad actors…which, and this might surprise you, sometimes even includes Marines.

    As for the defense, the attorney there, whom I’m not a big fan of for other reasons, is doing what he is supposed to do, advocate for his client and try to get his conditions improved, and that doesn’t mean sit around for months and wait for the case to, finally, get referred.

    He wears clothes during the day IIRC so seems to me they are only concerned about elastic in the night hours. The suicide risk angle doesn’t explain all of the other conditions/restrictions that have nothing to do with that and are extremely unusual for a pretrial confinee.

    The bottom line is that his conditions/restrictions shouldn’t be more onerous than the ones the guys on death row face, and from all appearances, they are…and yes, this case needs to be referred already so this issue can finally be addressed.