Nine Years of Nudity in American Detention

It’s just like old times!

… the CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become Zubaydah’s “God.” They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, “You know what I want,” and then leave.

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side

In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.

JTF-Gitmo SERE SOP, December 10, 2002

Establishing the baseline state is important to demonstrate to the HVD that he has no control over basic human needs. The baseline state also creates in the detainee a mindset in which he learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting. The use of conditioning techniques do not generally bring immediate results; rather, it is the cumulative effect of these techniques, used over time and in combination with other interrogation techniques and intelligence exploitation methods, which achieve interrogation objectives. These conditioning techniques require little to no physical interaction between the detainee and the interrogator. The specific interrogation techniques are:

a. Nudity. The HVD’s clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.

CIA memo describing combined interrogation techniques, December 30, 2004

Nudity: This technique is used to cause psychological discomfort, particularly if a detainee, for cultural or other reasons, is especially modest. When the technique is employed, clothing can be rewarded as an instant reward for cooperation.

OLC “Techniques” memo, May 10, 2005, withdrawn by Barack Obama

Removal of clothing is different from naked.

Douglas Feith, Testimony before House Judiciary Committee, July 15, 2008

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.

Report from David Coombs on treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, March 3, 2011

  1. MadDog says:

    Charlie Savage of the NYT pays attention:

    Soldier in Leaks Case Jailed in Cell Naked, Lawyer Says

    And this part is strange to say the least:

    …First Lt. Brian Villiard, a Marine spokesman, said a brig duty supervisor had ordered Private Manning’s clothing taken from him. He said that the step was “not punitive” and that it was in accordance with brig rules, but he said that he was not allowed to say more.

    “It would be inappropriate for me to explain it,” Lieutenant Villiard said. “I can confirm that it did happen, but I can’t explain it to you without violating the detainee’s privacy…”

    But forcing Manning to remain naked last night and again tonight is not “violating the detainee’s privacy”?

    • emptywheel says:

      Because if he explained it, he’d be telling us what’s in the secret bits of Appendix M.

      Manning’s privacy, state secrets. It’s all the same to these people, convenient lies.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It will be interesting to see when and how the Obama administration’s DoJ pulls out its state secrecy claims to forestall Manning’s defense, but somehow avoids having the case thrown out – as it does when it’s the defendant – because its use prohibits the defendant from mounting a competent, informed defense.

      • MadDog says:

        If it isn’t “punitive”, I’m hard pressed to imagine another reason other than deliberate “coercion” for purposes of making Manning confess.

        • Mary says:

          That’s the one – I never read anything as chillingly evil as that affidavit they filed when they were keeping Padilla in isolation, all about how they had to engage in evil for hours to days to weeks to months, until he became so dependent he would do anything they wanted him to do.

          Jeh Johnson isn’t much to write home about these days, is he?

        • drweevil says:

          It isn’t “punitive” because they say so. This is how low they’ve sunk. This administration is showing itself to be just a bunch of two-bit thuggish despots.

    • VJBinCT says:

      Presumably Manning has a boil on his backside that needs airing, and admitting this would be an invasion of privacy. The brig brass are nothing if not caring persons.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The new brig “commander” is supposed to be a warrant officer, right. That’s below an ensign in rank, the lowest commissioned officer in the Navy. The odds that she’s making these decisions, or even that senior Navy commanders are making them seem modest. This is the Pentagon and Mr. Obama’s doing. It ought to be their political undoing.

    Our war in Iraq and the corrupt muddle of a government we have installed there are not going well. Our war in Afghanistan is not going well; we just mistook a band of boys out collecting firewood for an evil band of brothers and mowed them down from helicopter gunships. Luckily, one of the ten survived. Our undeclared operations in Pakistan are not going well, what with Mr. Davis having become trigger happy or at least getting caught doing whatever we told him to do.

    Who knows what our armchair civilian CIA and outsourced pilots in Colorado are doing with our multimillion dollar drones and their million dollar rocket payloads around the world. Plus, the world is now up in arms about the male rape and rape as a weapon of war thingy. Heck, they should see what it takes to get into Skull & Bones. So let’s let the hippies yank their hair out over a naked kid in the brig, why don’t we.

    I can just imagine administration in-types laughing over that conversation before sauntering over to the Old Ebbitt Grill for happy hour. The old saying is still true: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Is it possible that this is the military or rogue command flaunting their power over and to Obama — that Obama didn’t order this but has to pretend that he’s in command? I mean, has anyone checked the bat cave lately for Cheney and his undead spores?

  3. MadDog says:

    And this from the Christian Science Monitor:

    WikiLeaks suspect: Where Army sees traitor, some see whistleblower

    …The sanctions Manning faces are dire. Military officials have said prosecutors will not seek the death penalty, but it is still possible that Manning could be sentenced to die if Maj. Gen. Karl Horst, the commanding general of the Military District of Washington, recommends it, say defense officials. Horst will oversee the trial.

    Horst “could come back and say, ‘You know what? I dismiss all charges against PFC Manning.’ Or he could say, ‘I will seek capital punishment,’ ” says Shaunteh Kelly, chief of media relations for the US Army Military District of Washington. Horst could also simply “concur with what the prosecuting team has recommended,” which is life in prison, she notes…

    And this:

    …While Manning stands accused of “aiding the enemy,” the Army’s charging documents do not say precisely who “the enemy” is. Some speculate that the enemy could be interpreted as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    If that’s the case, says Ellsberg, Manning’s alleged leaking of documents would have even stronger parallel with his own leak of the Pentagon papers to The New York Times.

    The Army denies Mr. Assange is the unnamed enemy. “It’s not WikiLeaks, OK?” says the Army’s Ms. Kelly, adding that the military is not specifying “the enemy” for security reasons. “Given that this is a national security case during a time of war, identifying this information may potentially compromise ongoing military operations, the safety of our service members, and the criminal investigation,” she says…

    • MadDog says:

      …The Army denies Mr. Assange is the unnamed enemy. “It’s not WikiLeaks, OK?” says the Army’s Ms. Kelly…

      Regulars of Rancho Emptywheel will of course note that Ms. Kelly did not deny it was Mr. Assange, but instead pivoted smartly to say it wasn’t WikiLeaks, so I’m left to wonder how the Christian Science Monitor came up with “The Army denies Mr. Assange is the unnamed enemy”.

    • Mary says:

      geez louise – a secret enemy? It’s time for everyone to pay off. No way could Palin have topped that one.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        I never seem to run out of occasions to post this dead-on recap from the Onion:

        U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We’re At War With

        September 26, 2001 | ISSUE 37•34

        WASHINGTON, DC—In a televised address to the American people Tuesday, a determined President Bush vowed that the U.S. would defeat “whoever exactly it is we’re at war with here.”

        “America’s enemy, be it Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, a multinational coalition of terrorist organizations, any of a rogue’s gallery of violent Islamic fringe groups, or an entirely different, non-Islamic aggressor we’ve never even heard of… be warned,” Bush said during an 11-minute speech from the Oval Office. “The United States is preparing to strike, directly and decisively, against you, whoever you are, just as soon as we have a rough idea of your identity and a reasonably decent estimate as to where your base is located.”

        Added Bush: “That is, assuming you have a base.”

        Bush is acting with the full support of Congress, which on Sept. 14 authorized him to use any necessary force against the undetermined attackers.

        Now that is perfect journalism.

          • thatvisionthing says:

            You need to scroll down to the map “Finding the Enemy” — I’d post the url of the enlarge if I could figure out what it was. It’s just below this:

            “America faces a long road ahead,” McCain said. “We do not yet know the nature of 21st-century warfare. We do not yet know how to fight this sort of fight. And I’ll be damned if one of us has an inkling who we will be fighting against. With any luck, they’ve got uniforms of some sort.”

            “Christ,” McCain continued, “what if the terrorists’ base of operation turns out to be Detroit? Would we declare war on the state of Michigan? I suppose we’d have to.”

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Julian Assange pointed this out himself on Democracy Now, that the US isn’t targeting dangerous leakers per se, but “whistleblowers”:

      AMY GOODMAN: Julian Assange, in a memo, a US government secret memo that WikiLeaks posted in March, marked “unauthorized disclosure subject to criminal sanctions,” it concludes, quote, “‘ represents…in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information.” Can you respond to this?

      JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah. This was a 2008 counterintelligence analysis of us by the US Army…. It goes on to explain examples of why we maybe should be attacked. And those examples are examples which have embarrassed the US military, revelations of abuses at Guantanamo Bay, abuses in Fallujah, and potentially illegal use of small chemical weapons in Iraq. Now, it says that one of the ways of attacking that center of gravity is by publicly prosecuting whistleblowers. It even uses that word, “whistleblower,” not US military personnel or other personnel who are engaging in irresponsible leaking, but rather whistleblowers, people who are blowing the whistle on abuse.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Horst “could come back and say, ‘You know what? I dismiss all charges against PFC Manning.’ Or he could say, ‘I will seek capital punishment,’ ” says Shaunteh Kelly, chief of media relations for the US Army Military District of Washington. Horst could also simply “concur with what the prosecuting team has recommended,” which is life in prison, she notes…

      You know, that’s what I keep waiting for, the ghost in the machine to come out. Even Ashcroft stood up to Gonzales in the hospital room.

      Of what use is the power to crush people by the thousands if one does not also possess the power to free the innocent? The willing suspension of justice shames the powerful far more than it does the weak. It shames and degrades the humanity of us all. — KenMuldrew

      Obama could disinguish his era from Bush and Cheney’s if instead of seeing terrorists in everyone, he saw instead the truth, that everyone is a potential just and decent human being, and went looking for that. Really, that’s what he has to fear — the ghost of American humanity could be in ANYONE, and per @21 all it takes is for one person to start laughing at the naked emperor and his 9/11 OLC unitard finery for the delusion to break. What if, one by one, people start going sane?

      “Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” — Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841

  4. donbacon says:

    Given that this is a national security case during a time of war,

    A war was declared? I missed it. I thought the US was using military force to stabilize a couple countries.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Not a war.

      Our Obligation to Investigate

      Sen. Robert Byrd, Senator from West Virginia

      Posted April 30, 2009

      As the facts continue to come to light about exactly what happened at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram, and other U.S.-run secret prisons around the world, it is increasingly impossible to ignore that the U.S. government violated the basic human rights of prisoners. Not only did these insidious tactics sacrifice our national integrity, but they may also have compromised our security as well.

      The recently leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as the four released memorandums from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), confirm our worst fears. These documents point to brutal, inhumane acts which were repeatedly carried out by U.S. military personnel, and which were authorized and condoned at the highest levels of the Bush Administration. These acts appear to directly violate both the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. Spain and the United Kingdom have already initiated investigations of Bush Administration officials who approved these acts. The United States needs to investigate as well. To continue to ignore the mounting evidence of clear wrongdoing is a national humiliation.

      A national humiliation.

  5. donbacon says:

    So if the US isn’t legally at war how can it have enemies? Saying that this is a time of war, with its enemies, doesn’t make it so. They made it up to suit the circumstances. The US is officially not in “a time of war.”

  6. donbacon says:

    There have to be consequences for skipping the formality of declaring war. This is one of them.

  7. joanneleon says:

    And they take the time to put all of this in writing, and try to make it sound reasonable.

    This is all being done in our name, and funded by every one of us.

  8. pdaly says:


    I think it is overdue that we have a digital ‘time out crib’ where we can deposit our American politicians who are purposely showing bad behavior and taking dumps on our US Constitution. A list of particulars in hypertext form can explain to newbies why the time out is still in effect.

  9. powwow says:

    Compare Bradley Manning’s pre-trial (“presumed innocent”) detention in military custody at the Marine Corps’s 30-cell Quantico brig in Virginia, to the “punitive post-conviction confinement” of the four “war criminals” (four of only six ever tried and convicted, four by plea bargain, by Military Commission in nine years) now sentenced and serving “war criminal” time at the Navy’s Guantanamo prison in Cuba, as recently detailed by the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg:

    These are the war criminals of Guantánamo Bay. They are four convicts — captured as a cook, a kid, a small-arms trainer and a videographer — kept out of sight of visitors in a segregated cellblock of a SuperMax-style 100-cell $17 million penitentiary.


    Yet, military defense lawyers say the convict cellblock at Camp 5 is especially austere and that their clients are doing hard time reminiscent of Guantánamo’s early years when interrogators isolated captives of interest.

    Each man spends 12 or more hours a day locked behind a steel door inside a 12-by-8-foot cell equipped with a bed, a sink and a toilet.

    They get up to eight hours off the cellblock in an open-air recreation yard, a huge cage surrounded by chain-linked fencing. If recreation time coincides with one of Islam’s five times daily calls to prayer, the convicts can pray together. If it coincides with meal time, they can eat together.


    TV time is spent alone, each man shackled by an ankle to the floor of an interrogation room, always under the watch of a special guard force implementing a Pentagon policy for “punitive post-conviction confinement.”


    Now Khadr’s cut off from that group, as a war criminal segregated in circumstances his Army lawyer, Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, calls “horrific and stupid and don’t make any sense.”


    There, for four days out of five military lawyers and paralegals are drilling [“war criminal”] Khadr on a home-school styled curriculum designed by a Canadian college professor — history, astronomy, math, grammar, elocution.

    [Yes, Chuck Todd/MSNBC, please do officially ask and insist on going to visit Bradley Manning at Quantico, with or without the company of one or more of your colleagues and cameramen.]

    • mzchief says:

      Why that MSN piece was very interesting for the WTF-do-we-do-now interaction plus:

      1) Gate’s idea to attack Libya first! in order to establish a no-fly zone

      2) The to-be-expected, complete glossing-over of the pre-trial treatment– yes it’s called torture– of Manning by Geoff “Psycho-babble Nonsense” Morrell.

      So, kewl, Chuck Todd, you’re on. I am looking forward to seeing the broadcast of the raw film footage of the brig and Manning.

  10. orionATL says:


    when, in your memory, has an american soldier been mistreated like this,

    save as a prisoner-of-war by another nation?


    manning is being denied the detention treatment that major nidal hassan has been granted.

    manning is being denied the detention treatment that staff sergent calvin gibbs has been granted.

    private bradley manning is being tortured – yes, unambiguously, being tortured.

    governments torture individuals like private manning for one purpose – to extract confessions from them.

    that behavior is as old as the 17th century british kings that the writers of the american constitution had in mind,

    and as new as american presidents george bush’s and barack obama’s violation of the 5th amendment to the u.s. constitition.

    obama may be the most amoral president the u.s. has had in its history.

    by contrast, george was immoral.

    and bradley manning?

    he, an american soldier, and one of the few deservedly called a “hero”

    is being tortured as if he were an al quaeda detainee caged in guantanamo.

    there will be no end to manning’s abuse until EVERY F***KIN’ one of the responsible individuals has been named and identified publicly.

    talking about manning’s treatment will not get manning relief.

    posting a list of all officers in the chain of command up to dod sec gates WILL get a response,

    particularly when contrasted with the prison treatment of major hassan and staff sgt gibbs.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      governments torture individuals like private manning for one purpose – to extract confessions from them.

      that behavior is as old as the 17th century british kings that the writers of the american constitution had in mind,

      and as new as american presidents george bush’s and barack obama’s violation of the 5th amendment to the u.s. constitition.

      Can I just say thank you for bringing up the Fifth Amendment? Because I happened to quote Justice Brandeis’s dissent in Olmstead the other day, and that was part of it. Olmstead was a 1928 case about whether evidence obtained by govt. illegal wiretapping could be used in court, and Brandeis saw it big, backward and forward:

      JUSTICE BRANDEIS: When the Fourth and Fifth Amendments were adopted, ‘the form that evil had theretofore taken’ had been necessarily simple. Force and violence were then the only means known to man by which a government could directly effect self-incrimination. It could compel the individual to testify-a compulsion effected, if need be, by torture. It could secure possession of his papers and other articles incident to his private life-a seizure effected, if need be, by breaking and entry. Protection against such invasion of ‘the sanctities of a man’s home and the privacies of life’ was provided in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by specific language. Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630 , 6 S. Ct. 524. But ‘time works changes, brings into existence new conditions and purposes.’ Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government. Discovery and invention have made it possible for the government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet. [277 U.S. 438, 474] Moreover, ‘in the application of a Constitution, our contemplation cannot be only of what has been, but of what may be.’ The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire tapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions. ‘That places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer’ was said by James Otis of much lesser intrusions than these. 1 To Lord Camden a far slighter intrusion seemed ‘subversive of all the comforts of society.’ 2 Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?

      A sufficient answer is found in Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 , 627-630, 6 S. Ct. 524, a case that will be remembered as long as civil liberty lives in the United States. This court there reviewed the history that lay behind the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. We said with reference to Lord Camden’s judgment in Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell’s State Trials, 1030:

      ‘The principles laid down in this opinion affect the very essence of constitutional liberty and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case there before the court, with its adventitious circumstances; they apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employe of the sanctities of a man’s home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of the offense; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal se- [277 U.S. 438, 475] curity, personal liberty and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offense-it is the invasion of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of Lord Camden’s judgment. Breaking into a house and opening boxes and drawers are circumstances of aggravation; but any forcible and compulsory extortion of a man’s own testimony or of his private papers to be used as evidence of a crime or to forfeit his goods, is within the condemnation of that judgment. In this regard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments run almost into each other.’3

        • thatvisionthing says:

          and orionATL @45 — yes, it’s really beautiful:

          Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means-to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal-would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face.

          Besides which, I don’t think Manning is a criminal at all. He’s just being held and threatened with death by criminals. I would love to be on his jury.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      obama may be the most amoral president the u.s. has had in its history.

      by contrast, george was immoral.

      and bradley manning?

      he, an american soldier, and one of the few deservedly called a “hero”

      Michael Moore on Larry King Live, July 27th, 2010 (youtube):

      LARRY KING: What’s your reaction to the WikiLeaks of the Afghan War documents?

      MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I think – I think that we have this war machine that was built on a lie a number of years ago, incredible lies that have cost thousands of lives, billions of dollars. And one brave solider by the name of Bradley Manning decided that the truth had to be told. And he said he was willing to do it regardless of the consequences. And he essentially followed the Nuremberg principles, which is when you see something going on like this, when you see war crimes being committed, when you see lies being told in order to bring a country to war, you have to speak out against it. You can’t just line up and be a good German and do what you’re told to do. So, this brave soldier put up on the Internet, through WikiLeaks, footage that was just absolutely incredible and sad and pathetic to watch. And for that now he’s been arrested, he’s in jail. This is – the opposite should be happening. He should be rewarded for saying, “I witnessed a lie and I’m going to tell my fellow Americans the truth.”

      LARRY KING: WikiLeaks will not confirm the source. Now, he’s been arrested, but the assumption is that he’s the source. It is not yet a fact.

      MICHAEL MOORE: Yep. Right.

      LARRY KING: All right, you see him as a hero. How do you see the leaks affecting the Obama administration, which has condemned them?

      MICHAEL MOORE: Well, that’s — that’s a bit of an Orwellian moment because — because you have the Obama administration essentially defending the cover-up and the lying that took place primarily during the Bush years. And so for the Obama administration to take this position is just — you know, he should be saying, “Look, this is exactly who we want in our armed forces. We want men and women of conscience and people who will stand up and fight for the things they believe in.” And that’s what this soldier, this young soldier, 22 years old, has done. And he deserves our support, our gratitude. His legal defense fund now deserves our help, whatever we can do. I’m disappointed the Obama administration doesn’t give him a Profile in Courage award as opposed to the way he’s being treated right now.

  11. orionATL says:

    the other question of great import re: bradley manning’s detention treatment/torture is

    who is it that the dod has brought in recently to manage private manning’s torture?

    might it be former u.s. air force officer james mitchell?

    let’s see the contract between some entity, perhaps mitchell, and dod.

  12. Jeff Kaye says:

    Great collection of quotes, most revealing.

    The torture of Brian Manning in front of the whole world, at the HQ of the Marines Corps, in full sight of FBI Behavioral Unit, is a remarkable moment in U.S. history, albeit one of the darkest.

    Such crimes are like a gauntlet thrown down before the public, a challenge: what kind of country are you? Do you let your leaders torture people? Is this your version of “homeland”?

    The message is clear from the Obama administration. There is no turning back. Either you’re with us or against us. This is what we will do to you. If you’re an uppity worker, we will fire you and destroy your union. If you’re a whistleblower or a dissident, we will torture you.

    Today — last night — this became something less than hyperbole.

  13. Gerald says:

    First I will say that I retired from the Navy, though that isn’t that of much relevance here.

    There are occasions when in prisons, including brigs, people’s clothes are taken for a period or they are required to wear a particularly distinctive uniform or colored uniform and in some cases kept in individual lock-down which is Bradly’s case and in other cases billeted with others of like circumstance and separated from the general population.

    This usually comes about because the individual has been caught doing something that the prison rules prohibit.

    I think they are actually preventing further embarrassment for the soldier.

  14. thatvisionthing says:

    A moment of reflection.

    1. In August 1814, the British invaded and captured Washington DC and burned the White House and the Capitol and other buildings before they retreated to their ships in and around the Chesapeake Bay. The flames were visible 40 miles away in Baltimore. I’m summarizing from here.

    In the days following the attack on Washington, the American forces prepared for the assault on Baltimore (population 40,000) that they knew would come by both land and sea. Word soon reached Francis Scott Key that the British had carried off an elderly and much loved town physician of Upper Marlboro, Dr. William Beanes, and was being held on the British flagship TONNANT. The townsfolk feared that Dr. Beanes would be hanged. They asked Francis Scott Key for his help, and he agreed, and arranged to have Col. John Skinner, an American agent for prisoner exchange to accompany him.

    On the morning of September 3rd, he and Col. Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard a sloop flying a flag of truce approved by President Madison. On the 7th they found and boarded the TONNANT to confer with Gen. Ross and Adm. Alexander Cochrane. At first they refused to release Dr. Beanes. But Key and Skinner produced a pouch of letters written by wounded British prisoners praising the care they were receiving from the Americans, among them Dr. Beanes. The British officers relented but would not release the three Americans immediately because they had seen and heard too much of the preparations for the attack on Baltimore. They were placed under guard, first aboard the H.M.S. Surprise, then onto the sloop and forced to wait out the battle behind the British fleet.

    flashback to a year prior, when a mother and her 13-year-old daughter make a giant flag for the commander of Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, with stars two feet across from point to point.


    At 7 a.m. on the morning of September 13, 1814, the British bombardment began, and the flag was ready to meet the enemy. The bombardment continued for 25 hours,the British firing 1,500 bombshells that weighed as much as 220 pounds and carried lighted fuses that would supposedly cause it to explode when it reached its target. But they weren’t very dependable and often blew up in mid air. From special small boats the British fired the new Congreve rockets that traced wobbly arcs of red flame across the sky. The Americans had sunk 22 vessels so a close approach by the British was not possible. That evening the connonading stopped, but at about 1 a.m. on the 14th, the British fleet roared to life, lighting the rainy night sky with grotesque fireworks.

    Key, Col. Skinner, and Dr. Beanes watched the battle with apprehension. They knew that as long as the shelling continued, Fort McHenry had not surrendered. But, long before daylight there came a sudden and mysterious silence. What the three Americans did not know was that the British land assault on Baltimore as well as the naval attack, had been abandoned. Judging Baltimore as being too costly a prize, the British officers ordered a retreat.

    Waiting in the predawn darkness, Key waited for the sight that would end his anxiety; the joyous sight of Gen. Armisteads great flag blowing in the breeze. When at last daylight came, the flag was still there!

    • thatvisionthing says:

      2. From the USS Repose message board:

      My dad … was stationed at Naval Port Facility Shanghai in 1949. Just before the Red Army’s victory, the ships pulled out, leaving behind my dad, about 16 other enlisted men, and a junior officer. They were captured, stripped, paraded about and tortured daily for about 2-3 weeks. Dad said they were all beaten and burned with pipes and he thought he would be killed at any moment. He also said the officer was mercilessly beaten and dad doesn’t know how the man lived except by the grace of God. Dad said the pain was terrible, but nothing compared to seeing our flag torn down and desecrated. Finally the men were released to the Repose. They were debriefed by Naval Intelligence both on board ship and at NH Yokosuka. The men were directed to not speak of the incident as it was highly classified. After their recovery all were assigned to separate duty stations. Dad was sent to Kwajalein for 9 months. Dad only spoke of this incident a couple of years prior to his death in 2005. However his body bore the scars and he suffered from recurrent nightmares.

      • thatvisionthing says:


        Friday, February 29, 2008 by The Huffington Post

        Why Barack Obama Got My Vote

        by Naomi Wolf

        I just flew back from Australia, where I was speaking about the erosions of our civil liberties. Believe me, the rest of the world is agog at our inaction as what makes us Americans is being set aflame; … They also get more news out in the rest of the world about these depredations than we do here in our media bubble.

        For instance: As the Australian reported earlier this week, New South Wales Justice of the Peace Mamdouh Habib is suing the Australian federal government — which under the Howard administration had colluded with the US in committing various abuses against detainees and due process — for having allowed him to be arrested wrongly in Pakistan in 2001, kidnapped and sent illegally to Egypt. There this Justice of the Peace was illegally imprisoned and tortured for six months. After that the United States held him for FOUR YEARS in Guantanamo. His complaint notes that he is a law-abiding citizen who was swept up under false pretexts. “It turns out that Habib has incontrovertible proof of his good standing,” the Australian noted. “[H]e is a fully accredited Justice of the Peace in NSW. A search of the NSW Attorney General’s Department website reveals that not only Habib, but his wife Maha Habib, is a JP.” To become justice of the peace in New South Wales, the Australian added, “you have to be NOMINATED BY A MEMBER OF THE NSW PARLIAMENT and submit to a full character inquiry, including a criminal records check by NSW Police.” (ALL CAPS mine)

        Get that? A justice of the peace in a developed-world democracy. Had you heard of that?

        Me neither.

        Continuing on Wikipedia:

        Habib alleges that he was beaten and humiliated in Pakistan after his arrest. He also alleges that an Australian official was present at some of these interrogations, but the Australian Government has denied this.[9] Habib also claims to have been suspended to a ceiling by his arms, standing atop a barrel drum, and that when he gave an answer his Pakistani interrogators didn’t believe, they would jolt him with electricity until he fainted.[2]

        Habib was then sent to Egypt for five months.[10] His Egyptian captors allegedly shocked him with high-voltage wires, hung him from metal hooks on walls, and beat him. An Egyptian official stated that he could not comment on these specific allegations, but added that accusations that the Egyptian government was torturing people “tend to be mythology”. However the claims have been substantiated by Moazzam Begg and other witnesses.

        “They outsource torture,” said Stephen Hopper, Habib’s Australian lawyer.[11] “You get your friends and allies to do your dirty work for you.” Habib however, has said that some of his interrogators in Pakistan clearly had American accents, and that one had a tattoo of an American flag attached to a flagpole depicted as a middle finger.[2]

  15. wavpeac says:

    Our constitution…is just a facade. Maybe it always has been…but today it feels we have given up on even the facade.

    It makes me physically ill to read about this issue…and I think too many others feel the same way and so just ignore it. Somehow we have to reach people so that they take a stand. This is our “anti slavery”, our “women’s voter rights”. And if the past is any measure, it’s going to be a long drawn out journey to secure “civilization”.

  16. scribe says:

    Remember how you feel now, when in a year or so the O-Bots come ringing asking you for your vote, your time to volunteer, your efforts or your money.

    In that future time, remember how you now feel and ask yourself:

    Do I ratfiy this?

    Will I give this atrocity my stamp of approval, by giving him my vote? By giving him my time? By giving him my work? By giving him my money?

    Then live your answer, and live with your answer.

    • quake says:

      Remember how you feel now, when in a year or so the O-Bots come ringing asking you for your vote, your time to volunteer, your efforts or your money.

      You’re right of course, except that if the choice is between, say, Palin and Obama there’s no real choice but the latter still seems somewhat preferable, I suppose, although with no great enthusiasm. (My enthusiasm went out the window when Obama voted for retroactive Telcom immunity in 2008. Once that happened we knew the rest was coming.) What ever happened to the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party? It must be around somewhere, someplace.

  17. orionATL says:

    [email protected]

    my wife and i have made that decision early. we are living with it now.

    the decision?

    all money that would normally have gone to

    the democratic national committee,

    the senate democratic campaign committee,

    the house democratic campaign committee

    will go instead to the american civil liberties union.

    our first check sent out in late january.

    only individual democrats in our state whom we are certain support our civil liberties views (and we are blessed with a very fine congressman in that regard) will receive any money or other help from us.

  18. tjbs says:

    As Bradley Manning stands in the buff it is Obama and his minions that have no dignity, no shame and absolutely no shred of humanity. Perhaps that’s a reflection of what we as a nation have become.

    How many of these animals guarding their fellow, un-convicted, brother in arms cut their teeth in Gitmo or the Jr. Torture center Abu Ghrab ?

    The next step in the Torture/ Murder/ Treason slide is? Torture is to murder the soul and when you go to far the body too.

    • prostratedragon says:

      A theme of mine: one’s choice of icon should be made with care, as should the matching of the icon to the location.

      Compare this poem by Rumi, via Horton’s blog.

      We are like beautiful satin
      used to patch burlap. “Come see the dragon I killed,
      and hear the adventures!” That’s what he announced,
      and a large crowd came,

      but the dragon was not dead,
      just dormant! …

  19. eCAHNomics says:

    Hey Michelle hates being First Lady. She’s prolly withholding. O’s gotta get his rocks off somehow, so watching drone snuff videos, videos targeting children from helicopters, and nude Bradley Manning pics come in handy.

    • sadlyyes says:

      her and the kids love all the FLUFF STUFF

      ya know summers with the King and Queen of Spain in the costa esmeralda

      torture stuff…why bother their beautiful minds….wretch

  20. PeasantParty says:

    “It’s for his own good”

    Where is the doctor? Red Cross? Psychologist?

    If he has to be stripped of his clothing for his own good, then something is horribly wrong!

    • sadlyyes says:

      that makes no sense,sorry…humiliation of a very young man….catholic priests domination….no way is this for his good…2 days 14 hrs…bs meter going wild

      • PeasantParty says:

        No, it makes no sense. NONE OF IT!

        Why are they saying it is for his own good and that it will evade his privacy if they say why they are doing it? If there is something wrong with him mentally, bed wetting, tearing clothes, or whatever, then he needs a DOCTOR NOW!

  21. mgloraine says:

    Whereas Barack Obama is the Commander In Chief of the US Armed Forces, and there is clear evidence of torture being used by those Armed Forces against people they are holding as prisoners, should we not be demanding Obama’s impeachment for crimes against humanity? Or are we supposed to let it slide for purely partisan political reasons, because he claims to be a Democrat?

    Just wondering…

  22. workingclass says:

    Emperor Clarence Thomas Obama is showing us who is boss. We can be imprisoned and tortured if we piss him off. We are all subjects of a Fascist Police State.

    What power on earth can free Pvt. Manning? What power can free us all? Only the power of solidarity. Only a united people, one for all and all for one, can throw off Fascist rule. We now have an incentive to give up our petty grievances against one another. The alternative is slavery.

  23. Triad1 says:

    While in High School in the ’70’s, I was told the Soviet Union was our enemy because:

    1. They were a military state that occupied other peoples;

    2. They were a prison state that jailed a large percentage of their population;

    3. A citizen could be jailed w/o trial or a show trial;

    4. Torture was conducted in the gulags in Siberia;

    5. Only one political party existed;

    6. Workers had no right to organize and slaved away for the benefit of the elite;

    7. The press was a tool for the government.

    It appears that elite capitalists have much in common with elite communists.

    • onitgoes says:

      Hear, hear! I was taught that about the former USSR, as well, along with the fact that the former Soviet media was only & all propoganda for the state, and that Soviet citizens had limited access to “real news & info.” That’s why the USA funded “Radio Free America,” which, back in the day, wasn’t a propoganda tool.

      More and more and more, it just seems like the rightwing elites sat around taking detailed notes on how the former Soviets ruled their serfs in order to enact similar programs here in the USA. Seems as if USA elites have been extremely successful at emulating our former supposed “enemies” of freedom, justice & the rule of law.


    • cronewit says:

      I got the same ‘Soviet bad/US good’ indoctrination from (mainly) Reader’s Digest. Another point was ‘Under Soviet rule, people can be persecuted for speaking their minds or reading unauthorized materials, and all the news they get has been pre-authorized by the central government.’

  24. Gitcheegumee says:

    How long before those speaking out against the detention practices involving Manning will, themselves,be accused of aiding “the enemy “?

    • Stephen says:

      I believe this matter is a standing shot across the bow for all to see as a warning in advance of future operations against dissent. It also shows how evil and hard Obama can really be. The real Obama is very dangerous to our freedom. Bush was despicable, Obama is beyond despicable. A very very far cry from “hope and change” and “no one is above the law”.

  25. chetnolian says:

    While you guys are hyperventilating, absolutely correctly, about your country setting out to destroy its own very young soldier, we are keeping up with the Middle East, especially Lybia.

    The International Criminal Court, which obviously the USA doesn’t recognise because half its govermnement would be indicted there, is setting up to charge Gadaffi’s people with being brutal to their own citizens just because they are disloyal. See any parallels?

  26. bluejeansntshirt says:

    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth’s superb surprise

    As Lightning to the Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind—

    Emily Dickinson

    it’s the “gradually” part that troubles me to no end.

    Free Bradley Manning Now!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sadly, that’s like raising the middle finger to a SWAT team member while holding a bank teller hostage. It’s unlikely to help Mr. Manning, and may further his troubles. Anonymous’ goodwill is built on its work, not its self-promotion.

      • fatster says:

        I know what you mean, EOH. BTW, here’s an article by Klare which provides an excellent historical overview of the ME uprisings and oil–the interrelations and probable outcomes. Seems you and I had an extremely brief exchange about this not too long ago. If not, then pardon this (and my memory, too).

  27. Gerald says:

    Margaret, Bradley has representation. Indeed, I think he has many lawyers and they could detail the reasons that the brig has taken the actions that have upset you. Since they (the lawyers) haven’t been forthcoming about these reasons, I assume that Bradley is o.k. with the brig not disclosing to the public the reasons.

    Bradley is a young man in deep trouble. Give him some privacy.

    • tjbs says:


      “Margaret, Bradley has representation. Indeed, I think he has many lawyers and they could detail the reasons that the brig has taken the actions that have upset you. Since they (the lawyers) haven’t been forthcoming about these reasons, I assume that Bradley is o.k. with the brig not disclosing to the public the reasons.

      Bradley is a young man in deep trouble. .”Give him some privacy It’s time to stop TORTURING A U.S. SOLIDER

      WTF indeed

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    One hell of a set of assumptions. Forced nudity is not a therapeutic treatment.

    Unlike his jailers, Mr. Manning’s lawyers are bound by confidentiality rules. Any comment commending their silence and Manning’s consent to it assumes that they have had unrestricted access to their client, who remains mentally able to assist in his own defense. Those conditions do not exist in Gitmo and Mr. Manning is being treated as if he were one of them.