Thursday, January 06, 2011

Psychologist Organization Protests to Gates on Bradley Manning’s Solitary Confinement

Psychologists Protest the Torture of Bradley Manning to the Pentagon; Jeff Kaye Reports :: :: informazione dal medio oriente :: information from middle east :: [vs-1]

Psychologist Organization Protests to Gates on Bradley Manning’s Solitary Confinement

Jeff Kaye, FireDogLake, January 3, 2011

Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), a non-profit organization of psychologists committed to social change and social justice, has written a letter
to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, protesting "the needless
brutality of the conditions to which 23-year-old PFC Bradley Manning is
being subjected" at the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia. He has
been accused of unauthorized access to classified material, some of
which he allegedly downloaded to his computer, as well as other computer
and security-related charges.

It is widely speculated that these charges relate to materials turned over to the Wikileaks website, including a video of an Apache helicopter attack civilians in Baghdad, the Iraq War logs, and thousands of State Department diplomatic cables. The military charge sheet
accuses Manning of "wrongfully introducing more than 50 classified
United States Department of State cables onto his personal computer, a
non-secure information system." It also alleges he downloaded a
Powerpoint presentation, and "a classified video of a military operation
filmed at or near Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 12 July 2007."

Manning was held for
approximately three weeks at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait before being
transferred to Quantico, where he has remained in solitary confinement
since late last July. In an article
last month, I reported on PFC Manning’s current psychological state, as
best as I could determine from speaking to David House, who had just
visited him, and on the deleterious effects of solitary confinement in
general. PsySR’s letter speaks at length also about the harsh conditions
of solitary, and notes "no such putative risk can justify keeping
someone not convicted of a crime in conditions likely to cause serious
harm to his mental health."

Isolation is truly a form of
torture, and one often practiced in the so-called civilized world. A
vicious form of solitary confinement known as "Special Administrative
Measures" or SAMs were imposed by the Bush Administration Department of
Justice on Syed Fahad Hashmi,
and renewed by Attorney General Holder under President Obama. The SAMs
meant Hashmi was kept in 23-hour lockdown and isolation before trial for
three long years.

While it is used to break and
control prisoners in America’s Supermax prisons, when used on accused
prisoners, such as the detainees at Guantanamo, it can be used to
"exploit" the prisoner. Such "exploitation" is a key component of
torture programs, as the torture regime seeks not just information, but
ways to manipulate prisoners for political benefit, or for use by
intelligence agencies. Recently, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange told
Sir David Frost on Frost’s interview program that airs on English
Al-Jazeera that he believes the tortuous conditions of Manning’s
solitary confinement are meant to force Manning to implicate him in
supposed crimes against the American government. (See video of the
Assange-Frost interview here.)

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