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Manning Supporters Detained by Quantico

2011-01-23 38 comments

February 6 update: David House was able to visit Bradley recently. Here is his account of the visit on MSNBC (YouTube)

Quantico VA (January 23, 2011) – David House, supporter and personal friend of Bradley Manning, traveled to Quantico with journalist Jane Hamsher to visit Manning earlier today. Though House is an approved visitor, he was prevented from seeing Manning. They were detained for over 40 minutes.  House and Hamsher communicated their detainment via Twitter status updates.In addition to visiting Manning, House was planning to deliver a petition with 42,000 signatures calling for the humane treatment of Bradley Manning. Military officials demanded Hamsher’s Social Security number and prevented her from leaving the base. Their car was then searched and impounded.  House was unable to visit Manning.

Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement and confined to his cell for 23 hours per day for 7 months, conditions which many have likened to torture and have resulted in enormous public outcry.  Manning’s lawyer has formally protested the conditions. For two days earlier this week, Manning was placed on “suicide watch” against the advice of two psychiatrists, only days after 150+ protesters gathered at Quantico. During that time, he was stripped of all clothing except his boxer shorts, his prescription glasses were confiscated and he was held in his cell for 24 hours per day.  The UN special rapporteur on torture is investigating allegations of mistreatment and Amnesty International has a written a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates protesting Manning’s pre-trial confinement conditions.

Jeff Paterson, steering committee member for the Bradley Manning Support Network, responded:

“Having experienced solitary confinement in a military prison personally, I can tell you that denying Manning his one opportunity for a personal visitor is nothing short of cruel. I am concerned that Quantico’s actions today are retaliatory in nature as a result of the criticisms and recent public protests against Manning’s confinement conditions. Quantico is sending a message to supporters: if you speak out against these conditions, we will make things harder on Manning. “

Kevin Zeese, who also serves on the steering committee of the Support Network, added:  “These tactics by the military will only result in a wider outcry and more action on the part of Bradley Manning’s supporters.”

Note: this is a developing story. Check back for updates.

UPDATE: 1:08 PM Pacific: Raw Story is providing coverage: Click here to read more.

UPDATE:  1:29 PM Pacific: House confirms: they were held for about 2 hours total and released at 2:50 PM – 10 minutes before the end of visiting hours.  House was unable to deliver a petition.  Formal statements to post soon.

UPDATE: 1:32 PM Pacific: Firedoglake posts statement of events. Timeline as provided by House and Hamsher, via Firedoglake.

Between 1:00 – 1:30 MPs took their IDs and made them sign a form that they could not deviate to the brig or else they would be considered trespassing. At this time, one of the MPs asked for Hamsher’s auto insurance card. MP Gunnery Sgt. Foster informed Hamsher that her car would be towed after declining to accept a digital copy of Hamsher’s insurance card. House and Hamsher offered to drive off the base but were denied, despite being detained only ten feet inside the base’s perimeter. The MPs then took the Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses of House and Hamsher.

Around 1:40 the tow truck arrived and MPs instructed House and Hamsher to leave their vehicle, informing them that their vehicle would be searched. At 2:00 pm House observed military officers arriving and entering the MP outpost which oversaw their detainment. House expressed concern that he would miss Manning’s visiting hours but was told that he could neither exit nor move forward to the base. No explanation for House and Hamsher’s detainment was provided until 2:50 when they were informed they could leave the base. They were detained for two hours up until Manning’s visitation time period expired at 3:00 pm.

In past visits, Hamsher and House have had no problem driving onto the base to visit Manning. This is the first time House has been denied access to Manning. House and Hamsher’s detainment comes on the heels of Amnesty International calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has also announced that the UN will be starting an investigation and Manning’s attorney has filed an article 138 complaint citing inhumane and overly harsh conditions on part of the Brig. Now House, Manning’s primary visitor outside of his attorney, who has provided public testimony about Manning’s deteriorating conditions as a result to his solitary confinement, has effectively been denied access to Manning.

Click here to read more.



  • Adam Michael Luebke

    This truly affects all of us. I feel helpless in this situation, and I’m not even directly involved. Our government is out of control when its people are demanding a fair trial (fair justice) for one of its citizens, but are being ignored.

    I will continue writing about the horrific and torturous treatment of Bradley Manning, and I will support others who are doing so, such as Glenn Greenwald.

    2011-01-23 16:18
  • ES

    This is intimidation in the ugliest form however “we are linked directly” to Manning…if something happens to him you can best bet that we are all in danger if we aren’t already…”it may not happen immediately, but it damn well will happen to them”.

    I quoted * Juan Bocanegra North West Labor and Employment Law Office

    THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE – 1999 ANTI-WTO demonstration see 5:00 min.

    2011-01-23 17:34
  • Temper Bay

    House and Hamsher believed in and trusted the system, and perhaps still do; their mistake. For those without power Freedom and Justice in America are fairytales – and neither House, Hamsher, or Manning have any real power. Manning is being punished – he may be tried, and either convicted or set free – but he will be punished first.

    2011-01-23 18:00
  • Art Brennan

    The US Marine Corps does itself no honor with this sort of brutal and stupid behavior. Bradley Manning is a pretrial detainee. He has not been convicted of anything. He should be in an environment that allows him to be mentally and physically prepared for a trial. After all, we can be sure that the of power of the US government will be harnessed to ensure a finding of guilty and the prosecution will be physically and mentally prepared. I am a veteran and a retired judge and I am ashamed of this behavior by our government. President Obama and the Department of Defense should be ashamed of themselves.

    2011-01-23 18:52
  • Naomi Colvin

    This is shocking behaviour from the Marine Corps, reaction to the entirely legitimate action of those who are concerned about the conditions of Manning’s detention. We have to make sure that people are made aware of this.

    2011-01-23 19:58
  • Liz Arnone

    It looks to me like they’re clearly trying to send a message. But I think Kevin Zeese is right when he says this will only result in a wider outcry. That’s what we need to do. We need to let our gov’t know they are not above the law.

    We the people have a right to know what our gov’t is doing in our name and with our tax money.

    I pray that Manning can stay strong while we do what we can to set him free.

    And I applaud all the courageous people who are support these efforts.

    2011-01-23 21:09
  • Kenny S

    This is obviously an attempt to blackmail us into shutting up and not demonstrating. If we demand he be treated like a human being, they will degrade him further. I’m not the first to say it, but the United States military organization is mind-boggingly bad at winning hearts and minds. I was born in this country, I have a US passport and vote in US elections, but I despise our military. Every time I see airmen from Andrews walking around in their BDUs, I’m reminded that these scum consider themselves heroes for being part of it. Disgusting.

    2011-01-24 03:58
  • George O

    Why isn’t Amnesty International already taking action? In any other land they get in to action in no time. Calling for an investigation into the conditions of Manning’s confinement is NOT enough. Can we start an oldfashioned postcard action? Virtual action is good, but bags of cards make better pictures and newscoverage.

    2011-01-24 04:32
  • lequy

    Thanks for saying the most important, and also for supporting freedom, human rights and Bradley Manning.

    As a French witness, I can only be disgusted by such stupid military reactions. Where is the subtle difference with other totalitarian and blindfolded systems ?

    What’s good, what’s bad, and who wants to spread terror over this world ?

    Brad’s case, along with many other political decisions, should now lead more and more US citizens to stand up for their true identity and values.

    It’s now time for more action, as Brad’s story clearly proves more and more US institutions alienation.

    You can’t fool ALL people ALL the time …


    2011-01-24 16:15
  • Thomas N.

    I am an Air Force Veteran. I am disgusted in the treatment of Bradley Manning. The attack on the civilians was horrific and if he did expose it, it was right. The army and other people responsible for this will have their day of reckoning soon.

    The worst thing is how stupid the military is acting again after all the Bush torture years, Now the US will erode what is left of its reputation in the rest of the world.

    Well good riddance!

    2011-01-24 23:39
  • Michael

    Freedom for Bradley, prison for George W. and Brian!

    Time has come that we stand close together against those corrupt and criminal governments, which do not serve the folks, as they should, but only their own interests and that of their friends in the higher society.

    So tell your kids not to join this army and be the utility of those rich and mighty. Bradley has recognized the truth about those wars and done the only thing a brave soldier should do in this situation.

    Respectful greetings from Austria.

    2011-01-25 16:37
  • Charon

    Truly, what they’re doing is breaking Mr. Manning. They’re doing what any low-ranking police detective would do to anyone they suspect of commiting a “crime” – using psychologically-damaging mental tactics and physical depravity to assail a confession, a link, a tie to the crime they’re alleging him of. Anyone who has ever experienced this method of coercion to admission(myself included) will easily identify with my comparison.

    Also, with the recent probes of WikiLeaks-related individuals’ social netwoking info, the obvious and overbearing attempts to connect WikiLeaks and Mr. Manning, as well as the facilitation of torture and media manipulations against Mr. Manning(i.e., the near-complete omission of Mr. Manning and his story from mainstream news media outlets), I can no longer view any of this as a punitive action being carried out through the military; so much as an opportunity for the U.S. government to cling on to the last straws of authority they possess – the hypothetical nature of bureaucracy.

    In the past, many governments have made it extremely difficult to speak out against the actions that affect their citizens on an everyday basis through bureaucracy or propaganda, including The United States of America. Now, people like Mr. Manning are using the “Information Superhighway”, as it was once aptly named, to convey something he has seen first hand, and wishes for others to see, so that unadulterated violence and corruption can be cripped whilst in their prime.

    Regardless of the laws and regulations of the military, Mr. Manning should be viewed as enabling more of us to speak out, to stand up, to do what our Founding Fathers intended us to do – stand up for the ideals we’ve all worked so hard to establish, and carry out said ideals with vigor and integrity. Your actions have stirred me from my complacence, Mr. Manning.

    Thank you.

    2011-01-25 16:42
  • Chuck

    Regarding the detention of Manning:
    the following is from the UCMJ

    (a) No provost marshal, commander or a guard, or master at arms may refuse to receive or keep any prisoner committed to his charge by a commissioned officer of the armed forces, when the committing officer furnishes a statement, signed by him, of the offense charged against the prisoner.
    (b) Every commander of a guard or master at arms to whose charge a prisoner is committed shall, within twenty-four hours after that commitment or as soon as he is relieved from guard, report to the commanding officer the name of the prisoner, the offense charged against him, and the name of the person who ordered or authorized the commitment.
    No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.
    (a) Charges and specifications shall be signed by a person subject to this chapter under oath before a commissioned officer of the armed forces authorized to administer oaths and shall state–
    (1) that the signer has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set forth therein; and
    (2) that they are true in fact to the best of his knowledge and belief.
    (b) Upon the preferring of charges, the proper authority shall take immediate steps to determine what disposition should be made thereof in the interest of justice and discipline, and the person accused shall be informed of the charges against him as soon as practicable.
    Punishment by flogging, or by branding, marking, or tattooing on the body, or any other cruel or unusual punishment, may not be adjudged by a court-martial or inflicted upon any person subject to this chapter. The use of irons, single or double, except for the purpose of safe custody, is prohibited.
    908. 108. Military property of United States– Loss, damage, destruction, or wrongful disposition.
    Any person subject to this chapter who is guilty of cruelty toward, or oppression or maltreatment of, any person subject to his orders shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    Any person subject to this chapter who–
    (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;
    (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
    (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;
    shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    It would seem the commander of the Brig is in violation of the UCMJ

    2011-01-25 19:02
  • Ed-M

    He’s lucky they didn’t take away his boxers! <:-O

    2011-01-26 03:16
  • david hicks

    Can we write to BM? or his lawyers? He’s a courageous person, heroic and doing what’s right–too rare these days, especially among those complicit in his incarceration and treatment.

    2011-01-26 17:30
  • r. Price

    don’t be fooled… this is not about American justice…. this is all about AmeriKKKan “Just Us”

    2011-01-26 18:45
  • Dawn Reel

    Solitary confinement is torture. This 2009 well-written article in the New Yorker describes the conditions Manning, and so many others, have and are experiencing. Good piece for organizing.


    The U.S. government is using solitary confinement and other torture designed to render Manning incapable of participating in his own trial and resisting the U.S. government’s cover up in the Middle East (and esp. Iraq and Afghanistan). This is what was & is happening in Guantanamo.

    Stay strong, brother, we are working for you and are with you in spirit.

    2011-01-26 18:45
  • Memo

    This is a good example why every citizen in the USA should have the right to own a gun.

    2011-01-26 21:52
  • todd saed

    It will take a big war like Viet Nam, and another draft to create the urgency for mass demonstrations and a possible seizure of power this time. Conditions seem to be developing for a third American revolution,
    and victory is certain. War with CHina, Russia, and Europe would hasten the onset, but a crashing dollar and 30% unemployment will necessitate it. The army will join the people , as in China and Russia, post WW l and ll and there are numerous groups , and a majority of informed, armed, and good people , veterans, ready to lead it. Just a matter of when, the sooner the better they say, unfortunately it will probably take crises, instead of moving in with surprise with unstoppable guerilla tactics,
    general strikes, and mass demonstrations before the crises come.

    2011-01-26 22:39
  • Ed-M

    @Memo and tood saed,

    You do not realize just how far from what this country is SUPPOSED to stand for this military has strayed. The dominant religion in the armed forces is “Evangelical Christianity,” read: Fundamentalism. And Fundamentalists these days think they have a god-given right to dictate to the rest of us down to what we should even think.

    If push comes to shove and we have a crisis, the military will pry our guns from our cold dead fingers… unless they lose the ability to access resources FIRST. THAT will take a global repudiation of the US and a refusal to trade with this country until it starts paying down foreign debts of all sorts, leaving most of our troops stranded abroad.

    2011-01-27 11:37
  • Ashif

    What this courageous soldier needs is more courageous Americans to stand up with him. The status of american “law” is that it has been corrupted by a few to benefit a few. This will eventually lead to the “soft” enslavement of american society who will only be allowed to live and work within a limited choice framework.

    2011-01-27 15:45
  • Syntrixx

    Coming from the Netherlands, I’m telling you this is going to be a worldwide revolution. TPTB will PAY for their crimes against humanity.

    2011-01-27 21:46
  • Frank J

    During a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I read an article in the Bangkok Post in which Bradley Manning was hailed as a hero and a whistle blower who helped to disclose unlawful behavior by the US government, who promoted transparency in government, and he was compared to Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Paper whistle blower. This shows again that the US government is ignorant of how people in other countries feel and how much it alienates these people. I read very little in the US press in defense of Bradley Manning and how he is viewed abroad and I think the press doesn’t do its job by simple repeating the US government’s position.

    2011-01-29 09:54


    2011-01-30 13:16
  • Ed-M

    The global repudiation ~ or should I say refudiation in Sarah Palin’s lingo ~ of the US has spread from Tunisia to Egypt! People are sorely pissed… except most of the American people who are thoroughly propagandized by our media.

    2011-01-31 14:30
  • C Karen Stopford

    @ Claudy I would agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, and it saddens me to realize that most Americans are so brainwashed that they actually believe that they live in a democracy. I have spoken to people from many other countries who say we should be grateful that we have such freedoms, but the psychological erosion that results from being repeatedly lied to and punished in subtle ways for not believing the lies takes its toll on Americans who know in their hearts that something is very, very wrong with this so-called democracy that would torture its own citizens, let its own people die or eat plastic so that the rich could get richer, and decide the fate of foreign nations based upon whether they could add to our national treasury.

    Bradley Manning is a small light in a dark hour for the US. He is a symbol of what is wrong with our country, and what is RIGHT with the few who stand up and fight against the “benevolent dictator.”

    2011-02-01 07:35
  • Steve Newcomb

    The front line in the fight for global justice (and for every other good thing) is exactly where truth is being revealed. Where truth is being revealed is exactly where the front line is.

    Desire truth. Be willing to know truth. Pay attention. To do these things is to worship God.

    Think for yourself. Test your thinking by sharing it with others, and listening thoughtfully to what they say. You might be wrong, and you might be right! It’s OK to be wrong, if that’s what it takes to get to where you’re right. (How else?)

    When you’re sure you know the truth, trust the truth. Act. Act not because you will be rewarded; you won’t. Act because it’s the right thing to do. The benefits will accrue to all human beings. (You will receive one benefit, for sure: you will know who you are. That’s pretty nice!)

    I don’t know anything about Bradley Manning, but his treatment at the hands of the U.S. military can be seen as evidence that he is guilty of worshipping and serving the God of Truth. That’s a religion that U.S. soldiers cannot be permitted to practice. It’s a religion that undermines morale and discipline, especially when war crimes are being committed. Soldiers who serve Truth must be treated in a fashion designed to dissuade all other soldiers from serving Truth. A policy of intimidation is operating here; that much is obvious. It is aimed at Manning’s supporters, but, more importantly and more fundamentally, this intimidation is aimed at all U.S. soldiers.

    I remind Christians that the Gospel of John says that Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Truth is Jesus’s middle name. Truth is Jesus. One of Rome’s officials once famously asked, “What is truth?” as he washed his hands. At that time, truth was seen as being contrary to Roman interests. Things are no different today; the Wikileaks affair continues to reveal — very explicitly — that American officials regard truth as being inimical to American interests.

    But that’s not the truth. The truth is that Truth is the friend of the American people. Truth is our ONLY reliable friend. Truly!

    2011-02-02 10:33
  • bill van vugt

    Why is manning in jail while scooter libbey is free? apparently exposing a cia agent is less important than some of the trivia revealed by manning. meanwhile, manning is being guarded by marines who are incompetent for combat duty and instead are assigned to guard duty. for a parallel of this treatment, read “unbroken” by laura hillenbrand.

    2011-02-03 09:38
  • Violet White

    I’m with you on this, Steve, and all right minded people of faith will be upholding Brad in their prayers, with immense gratitude for his faithfulness, for, truly, whatever he has or hasn’t done, to be this victimised has to mean he has offended what is evil.

    And we surely have, too, a tremendous debt of gratitude to David House for standing on the front line here in the name of all us.


    2011-02-03 12:30
  • BRAUCKMANN Michael

    FREIHEIT für Brad Manning. Er ist ein Held.
    FREEDOM for Brad manning. He is a hero.

    Michael Brauckmann, Husum, Germany

    2011-02-10 17:47
  • josephine foreman

    hi, a 3/4 of an hour of tv program at 8:30pm on the national broadcaster in australia tonight has put Brad into the minds and hearts of many fair-minded people like myself. we will be watching NOW !!! more strength to you all

    2011-02-14 09:52

    I am appalled at the treatment of the US Government and all the facets of that Government at the cruel and unusual punishment of its (and other countries viz Australia) citizens. Surely sensory deprivation and its consequences is not perpetrated by a sane group of people whatever their job and whatever their nationality. At this point all things American are sufficient to make me feel uncomfortable.

    2011-02-15 04:54
  • Dawn Cooke

    How sad. I will pray for you everyday, until you are released. Just talking about it here isn’t enough. Only 42,000 signatures on that petition. Isn’t there any news media organization brave enough to stand up and tell us the truth. We are as sheep being led to the slaughter. We must WAKE UP. before it’s too late. I can’t get to Quantico, but I will be there in spirit. My mother has been telling me all about this she gets so upset I worry about her. But now seeing it all for myself. I have to stand with her. We must all face the TRUTH. Before it’s too late. God bless us all. What will we do next?

    2011-02-23 17:47
  • Bryce Anderson

    The USA is out of control… the government is NOT going to get away with trying to dominate the whole world.
    The USA has to understand that they are a minority in more ways than one.

    I am boycotting the USA, their products and I will NEVER visit the USA again until there are some MAJOR changes.

    Grow up.

    2011-02-26 18:25
  • Thomas O'Brien

    The imprisonment of Private Manning is extremely bad. However I believe that Julian Assange does not even understand the scope and gravity of the information that he has received from the alleged leak from Private Manning.
    It may be needless to write that the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. I am certain that most reading, unless they’ve been comatose, are aware of this. What is not as apparent is that United States Government officials were aware of the impending attack months before it happened. The Diplomatic cables leaked, most likely, expose the evidence that high ranking officials of the United States Government were well aware of the impending attack. The same officials overtly chose to allow the attack upon the WTC to happen.
    I believe that the political ramifications of the leak of the Diplomatic Cables can bring down the Government of the United States. This is the reason behind the mistreatment of Private Manning. The exposed War Crimes are just the tip of the iceberg.
    The World Trade Center was not named by accident. It was the actual center of world trade before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the basement of the WTC twin towers was Gold that belonged to scores of foreign nations. When transactions between foreign nations occurred, one foreign nation’s vault was opened, a specified amount of Gold was loaded upon a cart, then the vault was sealed, then the cart was physically rolled to another foreign nation’s vault, then that vault was opened, then the Gold was deposited into that nation’s vault, then that nation’s vault was sealed. Thus a physical transfer of Gold occurred between the two foreign nations involved in a particular trade.
    For “some reason” some very powerful person, or some group of powerful people, in the United States, decided in July or August, 2001 that the Gold was no longer safe stored in the basement of the WTC. So an order for the physical transfer of Gold from the basement of the WTC to the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was affected. Thus the transfer of the physical Gold occurred at some time in the middle of August, 2001 right up until the time of the attacks on September 11, 2001. There were numerous metric tons of Gold stored in the basement of the WTC. The transfer to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was a logistical nightmare at best. Everyone involved is under a legal “hush order”. No one will speak about it, or are allowed to speak about it, for fear of criminal prosecution. However I am not under any hush order. I was not involved in any of it.
    Now I know about the transfer of the Gold because I knew that the Gold had been stored in the basement of the WTC through my readings of the National Geographic Magazine. I know from public statements that most of the Gold had been moved from the basement of the World Trade Center before the attacks occurred. Then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, informed traders that the Gold was not destroyed and ”… had been moved to an undisclosed location”. He made this public statement after the attacks and before the financial markets reopened. So I am certain that it happened.
    I believe that one (or more) country’s intelligence agencies informed the United States Government about the impending attack on the WTC well before it happened. I believe that those foreign officials did not wish to see their own country’s Gold vaporized as a direct result of the attack. I believe that the information to validate my hypothesis is within the leaked diplomatic cables. Thus the price of Gold did not spike, as I had expected that it would, as a result of the attacks.
    I believe that is the most damaging information that Julian Assange has. That is the damage that the alleged acts of Private Manning might just unleash.
    This does not justify the Unites States Government’s behavior in any way, sort or means. It is something that everyone needs to be aware of.

    2011-03-01 12:56
  • Ralph Rahm

    I am an honorably discharge US Air Force veteran. My dad was a WWII army combat vet. Military service was always an honorable tradition in my family. However, the reprehensable treatment of Bradley Manning is not in any way what our service stood for. To me, it seems primarily a case of embarassed and guilty government functionaries wreaking vengence on a “whistleblower” who had the courage to do the right thing. The more that they torment and try t break him, the stronger my resolve to support him.

    2011-03-03 20:45
  • Al Davis

    The military justice system may actually suprise every one, it did me in 1968, but it could go the other way also.

    Money will help this effort, but bringing attention to collateral murder every chance you can get, show it to everyone, will get what needs to be done.
    Wikileaks is the only hope, Bradley Manning, a real patriot!
    The talking heads/politician have all positioned themselves on this issue, we know who they are, use the information against them.
    Show your grama the collateral murder, show your radical right friends!! They can;t deny the obvious! Tell them why Bradley is in prison instead of a Jay Leno talk show!

    Bradley Manning is getting the treatment of the Oklahoma City bomber!

    2011-03-06 21:34
  • Steve Newcomb

    Which pundits and which politicians have taken a position on Manning’s treatment? I haven’t noticed anyone taking a position. Maybe they’re all on Fox News, which I rarely watch. It might be useful to make a little list, right here. If you see someone taking a position, make a note of the date and time, the communications channel, and what he/she said.

    (I have often seen public figures speak as though the Guantanamo prisoners are guilty, which is denies them the presumption of innocence, but similar remarks about the Manning detention would take such misbehavior to a whole new level. BTW, Al, I think you understate the truth: the Oklahoma City Bomber was certainly treated more humanely than Bradley Manning is being treated.

    What we’re seeing here is something that has been growing for many decades: the use of term “war” to excuse illegal behavior. The War on Drugs excuses, among many other things, the oppressive RICO Act, under which private property is unreasonably seized by government authorities without due process, on the theory that the property committed the crime, and property has no claim on due process. The War on Terror excuses the murder of myriad civilians in the middle east, the theory that persons detained abroad (as in Guantanamo or the CIA’s black site facilities) have no right to due process, Bradley Manning’s pretrial punishment, and the physical abuse of Ray McGovern by Hillary Clinton’s security people, and the unreasonable search of all electronic communications by the Bush and Obama administrations, among many other things.

    But the central truth about our fascination with war is much worse than any of that. In the U.S., evidently *any* kind of war — even the war between Republicans and Democrats — excuses the high moral crimes of bearing false witness, election frauds, etc for which there never seems to be any accountability. We cannot hope to find our way if we keep blinding each other and/or sabotaging our policy-making processes. The saying “In war, truth is the first casualty” is at least 2500 years old, but we Americans have found a clever way to exploit that insight in the Information Age: “To kill the truth, have a war.” If there isn’t any war handy, just claim that there is one, and that everybody knows it. There will be one soon enough.

    If truth is our friend, then war is our enemy. And that’s a fact!

    2011-03-07 12:02

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