DOD Gives Manning Caveman Gown, Says They’re Not Humiliating Him

With all the attention focused on Bradley Manning’s treatment yesterday because of PJ Crowley’s ouster, DOD has done a lot of pushback on the notion that taking away Manning’s underwear is “ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid.”

The pushback has been so effective that a number of journalists have reported that Quantico no longer takes Manning’s underwear away.

So let’s be clear: Quantico is still taking Manning’s underwear away. But they have now given him a gown to wear.

Josh Gerstein did some actual reporting on these gowns. The more elaborate version is made of two layers of backpack grade cordura nylon.

[Ferguson Safety Products founder Lana] Speer said her company’s smocks are made out of a “backpack-type material that was the strongest stuff we could find that could be washed.” She was also blunt about the items being far from fashionable.

“It’s stupid looking,” Speer said.

No offense to Speer (whose concerns deal with genuinely suicidal people), but the picture Ferguson uses to advertise the smocks–with the caveman looking models–doesn’t help make them look any less stupid.

While it’s unclear whether Quantico is using this particular gown or not, one thing is clear: what Manning is forced to wear is not comfortable. Here’s how he described it.

After apparent outside pressure on the Brig due to my mistreatment, I was given a suicide prevention article of clothing called a “smock” by the guards. Although I am still required to strip naked in my cell at night, I am now given the “smock” to wear. At first, I did not want to wear this item of clothing due to how coarse it was and how uncomfortable it felt. However, the Brig now orders me to wear the “smock” at night.

So for those who have gotten confused by DOD’s pushback: they are still taking away Manning’s very dangerous boxers at night (though they allow him to wear such dangerous items during the day). And then, in a bid to pretend they’re not trying to drive Manning crazy, they basically make him sleep in an uncomfortable duffel bag-like garment.

    • scribe says:

      I guess he got those problems with his refi all worked out, after writing about it.

      One wonders if Mozillo’s Countrywide unit that gave special deals to Congresscritters isstill active, and has added journalists to its list of favored customers.

    • Adam503 says:

      Thats OK. People can think different things are funny.

      I think its freakin’ hysterical that Citibank has chosen Dana Milbank for it’s mortgage torture program.

      Last fall, my wife and I refinanced our mortgage with Citibank. Sixty days later, we received a “cancellation notice” from our homeowners insurance company “for non-payment of premium.”

      Turns out Citibank, which had been collecting hundreds of dollars a month from us to pay the insurer, hadn’t made the payments. It was, I later learned, one of the usual tricks mortgage servicers use to squeeze more cash out of their customers. About a month later, I learned of another trick: Citibank informed us that it was increasing our monthly payment by nearly $300.

      Along the way, a simple refi became a months-long odyssey: rates misquoted, interest charged on a phantom account, legal documents issued in wrong names, a mortgage officer who disappeared for days at a time (first it was his birthday, then his laptop was in the shop), a bounced check from Citibank’s own title company, and the freezing of our bank accounts.

      For me, this amounts to no more than the hassle of arguing with Citibank to fix its “mistakes.” But consumer advocates tell me these are typical of the screw-ups by the big banks that service home mortgages. And these errors – accidental or otherwise – are driving large numbers of people into default and foreclosure when it otherwise would not have happened.

  1. Gitcheegumee says:

    Is there any chance of ashes to compliment the sackcloth?

    (And if Arpaio were a “consultant”, the “smock” would be of a rosy hue.)

        • Synoia says:

          I believe the assertion was

          “He’s an ex parrot”.

          And one has to consider the source of the “pinin’ fer the fjords” statement, as it probably was a ex-Oxford Small Business Owner Conservative (Republican) claim, looking for a subsidy from Harold Wilson’s Labor (Socialist) Government.

          The business British Parrots, was a Subsidiary of British Animals, in turn a Subsidiary of the state enterprise British Merchandising, and supported by the British National Farmers Union (which was and is somewhere to the Right of the Koch brothers, while demanding more Government subsidies every year. /s

  2. Margot says:

    How horrible it must be to try to sleep with that thing on. Which I’m sure is a plus for the brig commander.

  3. Teddy Partridge says:

    Are those supposed to be mental patients in the picture?

    We wouldn’t want to advertise such a horrible garment without also implying that it’s only for use on The Other.

  4. scribe says:

    The thing is, these gowns are actually more dangerous.

    If you get into prison conditions litigation (as I did, in the past) you’ll soon find there’s a whole subset of cases dealing with what clothing and similar items jailers can, and cannot give their charges, the gist of it being that if the clothing/items can be used to tie off and hang the captive in a suicide attempt, they’re probably not proper to be issued. There has, accordingly, developed a whole subpart of the prison-support indistry devoted to providing jails with clothing (and bedding) that provides constitutionally-adequate warmth and dignity while simultaneously being not-flammable and designed to be unusable for suicide attempts (by falling apart when stressed). A lot of it seems to be the sort of throwaway paper clothes the space-age futurists promised us we’d all be wearing while drivingour Jetsons air cars come the year 2000.

    This new suit, made out of cordura, doesn’t meet the fall-apart-when-used for suicide attempts test. It’s entirely too durable. It’s probably more durable than a duffel bag.

    So, now we have these indestructible things being issued to a guy who, the jailers allege, is suicidal and has to lose his underwear every night so he won’t tie off and hang himself.

    Methinks it’s a gay harassment thing. “Make the fag wear a dress.” That sort of thing. It sounds like the mentality of an intelligent Marine. Or a President who’s down with torture.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      I stated essentially the same thing this weekend at the book salon about litigation involving LGBT…i.e. it’s homophobic sexual harrassment ,imho.

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      Exactly. If the idea is to keep Manning from hanging himself with his clothes and bed linens, it’s a hell of a lot easier to make a nice long noose from these gowns than it is from a set of Hanes tighty-whities.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    They’re feeling pressure. Good. And right after Obama actually made a stand in favor of this treatment. Better. And this “improved” treatment has not been enough to get Dennis to back off. Best.

    Boxturtle (Given a choice between naked and gown, I’ll take gown. But it’s still cold here in Ohio)

  6. behindthefall says:

    Youda thunk that there were more ways to harm yourself with a few odd yards of backpack-grade nylon than with a pair of boxer shorts.

    How is this treatment of Manning affecting recruitment into a volunteer military? There’s some expectation of quid pro quo when someone joins, and this doesn’t seem likely to fit into most people’s idea of a suitable ‘quid’. Or ‘quo’. Whichever. What’s the term I’m looking for? “Counterproductive and stupid”?

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Just a thought,but why wasn’t this garment used on the three detainees who committed suicide in Guantanamo a few years back?

      Were they not on suicide watch?

      Remember the detainees returned to their families with their throats missing?

    • ottogrendel says:

      “How is this treatment of Manning affecting recruitment into a volunteer military?”

      Yeah, maybe Manning’s treatment will impress upon a few folks that the military sure as hell ain’t voluntary? Special punishments and prisons? You can’t leave when you want to without being subject to the above? Nothing voluntary about all that. Like the “contract” you sign when you join, it’s bullshit.

  7. Jim White says:

    I think the smock models also have been on POI watch. They look distinctly in need of some sleep.

    Thanks for digging this out, Marcy. I suppose we should have known that someone would be poised to make a buck off yet another form of human suffering, but I’m still astounded when these money-grubbers step up to the bar so readily.

  8. Gitsum says:

    Unbelievable…everyone has a fit when he is stripped naked, then has another fit when he is given a garment standard in many correctionail facilities for individuals who are considered a risk of self-harm (I think California even mandates one of these smocks for suicidal prisoners.)

    Regardless of whether you think he’s a danger to himself, that’s how he’s classified. Wouldn’t you rather he get the proper garment for someone considered a risk to himself than sleep naked?

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      Except no actual medical doctor has had a chance to see if he’s a suicide risk, plus if the whole point is to keep noose-making material away from him, a long gown ain’t gonna do it.

      But then you knew that already, you’re just trolling.

      • Gitsum says:

        Actually, his lawyer’s blog says he has been evaluated multiple times. He even posted Manning’s Article 138 appeal. Most of the time, psychologists have stated they don’t consider him a risk. If you read the news, those psychologists serve as an advisor to the brig commander, but are not the ones with the responsibility to make a decision. The brig commander also relies on input from medical doctors and the people who spend their entire day around the inmates.

        I’d love to hear your method of making a noose out of a non-shreddible smock.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s not a matter of what I think. It’s a matter of what the brig psychiatrist thinks. You know, the one who has recommended Manning be taken off POI over 16 times?

      Because once you realize that, you realize this is all just stupid persecution.

      Not to mention the fact that if Manning’s boxers were such a big worry, really, they’d take them away during the day, too.

      • Gitsum says:

        Again, the psychiatrist is only an advisor to the brig commander, but not the person with blood on their hands if someone dies in the brig.

        I’ve stated before that I’m a Marine, and have friends in military corrections. The reason underwear is taken away from inmates who are considered a self-risk at night is because the guards cannot see through the inmates’ blankets. There have been a few cases in recent military history of people offing themselves under their blankets. A friend told me about an inmate that swallowed toilet paper until he suffocated, all the while under his blanket, which is why brigs don’t allow inmates to cover their heads with blankets.

        I’ll admit, at first I thought the removal of Manning’s underwear was a little much. I brought up a WTF around the firepit one night while having a few beers with some buddies. You’d be amazed at some of the stories these guys have after 15+ years in military corrections.

        • Gitsum says:

          Would you rather him wear a robe, or would you rather him be naked? It’s clear he will continue to spend his evening without his daily garb.

        • alan1tx says:

          For starters, no actual medical doctor has had a chance to see if he’s a suicide risk. Therefore, the good Samaritans would like him to uphold his dignity in a nice suit and tie with a good strong belt to hold his pants up. Maybe a sturdy hat rack for his fedora and turn out the lights at night so he can get a good nights sleep.

        • NorskeFlamethrower says:

          Citizen alan 1tx:

          Don’t take the trolls seriously, citizen…treat ’em like comic relief.

    • NorskeFlamethrower says:

      Citizen Gitsum:

      You might want to ~~~Edited by Moderator. No need to insult other commenters~~~ outta here before ya rile up the home guard…you don’t have the chops ta swing with this crowd, they don’t like trolls much.

      • Gitsum says:

        That’s some mighty fine language you’ve got there. Heaven forbid someone express their opinion in an open forum, especially if it’s not in line with your narrow viewpoint. Grow up.

        Alan1tx…the Article 138 appeal Manning’s lawyer posted on his blog identified a doctor by name, and as a psychiatrist. His/her input to the brig commander is that Manning is not a risk to himself, but the brig commander also receives input from MDs and the Marines that work in the brig. Almost every article in the news has stated that.

        EW…you don’t get to do whatever you want in the military. There is a chain of command and a set of lawful orders. Manning’s lawyer stated it was humiliating for Manning to have to disrobe in front of others, so the brig issued him a smock. Making him wear it is a lawful order if nudity is the alternative.

        • Gitsum says:

          My intent is not to troll, but to argue the other viewpoint. I consider Manning to be innocent until proven guilty. I even applaud his courage (if he did what he is accused of). I don’t necessarily agree with the actions that he is suspected of carrying out, but I do applaud his (alleged) courage.

          As a Marine, I take a personal interest in the fact that there is a group of individuals who doubt the integrity of the Corps. I even thought this might be a case of a “rogue commander” until I spoke Marines that work at other brigs. Everything that has been reported on concerning Manning’s confinement is par for the course when it comes to SOP (standard operating procedure.)

          – Max custody is assigned someone based on the severity of charges, potential length of sentence and potential security risk should that person escape.

          – POI is assigned based on history, risk assessment forms, observations, recommendations and actions by the inmate.

          – No brig would treat a “sarcastic quip” as simply a quip. Manning’s supposed statement would be considered as an indication that he had contemplated ways to kill himself.

          I’ve even contacted the public affairs office at Quantico and spoke to a 1stLt Villiard who explained some of the “discussible” details regarding Manning’s confinement. He did explain that the DoD is restricted on what it can disclose because of the Privacy Act of 1974, protecting service members from disclosure of private/personal information.

          IMO, Manning is being treated fairly. You might not personally agree with his treatment, but that doesn’t make the brig commander or the Marines in the brig bad people.

          That’s the beauty of this country, people can disagree and voice their opinions freely. To attack the fidelity of one of the organizations sworn to defend that right is just wrong.

        • emptywheel says:

          Right. They’re abusing discretion on the POI stuff, pretty obviously, because they can do so and achieve other objectives.

          That doesn’t necessarily mean the Brig Commander is the horrible person who chose to do that. It may mean her commander is.

          Incidentally, do you also agree with the practice of requiring Manning to respond w/”Aye” or “Yes’ as his guards demand of him? Or are good soldiers allowed to say “Yes sir” rather than “Aye sir”?

        • Gitsum says:

          “Aye” is a stadard response in a naval facility. If I receive an order from a senior Marine or Sailor, my response would be “Aye, aye Sir/Ma’am,” meaning “I understand and will comply.” We use yes/no to respond to questions.

          Yes, Manning is an Army soldier, but he’s in a naval facility. When aboard an Army installation I would follow Army protocol, like saluting indoors when reporting to a senior officer, even though I’m not wearing a cover. In the naval services you do not salute if you aren’t wearing a cover.

          I think you are a little off in assuming the Marine Corps has some sort of an agenda when it comes to Manning. This is an Army case, and even the Army has said they have found no direct connection between Manning and Assange. The Marine Corps is just tasked with detaining service members being tried in the DC area.

        • emptywheel says:

          First, no, it has not been reported that the Navy can’t tie Manning to Assange. It has been reported that DOJ can’t. In any case, why wouldn’t that give both a bigger incentive to pressure Manning into revealing his interactions w/Assange?

          You, not I, are insinuating that this treatment arises out of animus from guards. I think it arises from higher than that.

          You appear not to understand the terms of the “aye” v “yes” issue–it happened 6 months into his detention, with additional guards involved (and they were guards not higher officers).

          You incorrectly claim the delay right now is due to a Defense request. Manning’s team filed for a speedy trial in January.

          Ultimately, the question of whether his treatment is appropriate or not all comes down to whether one thinks ignoring 16 different psychiatrist recommendations that he be removed from POI makes the POI arbitrary or punitive. I do. You seem to be more forgiving about it. Given that there’s so much else that is downright illogical on this, I find the most reasonable explanation for the extended POI (which is where Manning’s treatment is not normal) is that it is either punitive or an attempt to get Manning to flip on Assange.

        • Gitsum says:

          “Aye” and “yes” still apply, regardless of enlisted or officer status. If a Marine lance corporal is given an order by a sergeant, the response should be, “Aye, aye sergeant.”

          I read the article about the day in January when “the guards seemed irritated.” I’m willing to bet they’ve always demanded an “aye, aye” or a “yes/no.” While I don’t condone what I perceive, in that instance, to be unprofessional, I’d also be comfortable is guessing it was blown a little out of proportion. A panic attack? Really? Just because you were yelled at?

          Manning has been in a combat zone. I can’t imagine being yelled at was that stressful.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Sounds like an opinion uninformed by being awakened at oh-4-hundred by a D.I. for a chummy chat and a little light exercise before breakfast.

          Besides, the stressors inflicted on this unconvicted prisoner are cumulative. Lack of sleep; solitary confinement; petty, repetitive humiliations; nakedness; no exercise; tight curbs on any form of communication or visits. All are designed to break him psychologically, physically first. It’s inhumane at best. It used to be unAmerican.

        • Gitsum says:

          Don’t assume that I’m uninformed when it comes to the Marine Corps. I started my career as an enlisted Marine 14 years ago and currently wear bars.

          I’ve been yelled at and I’ve done my fair share of yelling. None of that compares with the sound of gunfire, mortars and explosives.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I applaud your service and accomplishments, especially your having moved from enlisted to commissioned ranks, though I suppose that means you “no longer work for a living”.

          Nonetheless, Mr. Manning’s detention remains unique. The government’s claims about them are not credible. Isolation and other techniques developed at Gitmo and secret US torture prisons continue to be applied to him without justification. Yelling and abusive treatment are merely among of them; they work in combination with other techniques, regardless of whether a D.I.’s yelling at a new recruit is as mind-numbing as actual combat.

        • michtom says:

          Now that you have bars, are you aware of Nuremberg Principle IV?

          That is the one that says following orders is no defense against illegal or immoral actions. It is exactly what got Manning in the brig: he followed the principle and was imprisoned and tortured.

          His captors and their subordinates are all doing exactly what NP IV says is not excusable.

        • Gitsum says:

          You assume the orders are illegal or immoral. If the brig is placing Manning under POI because they consider him a risk to himself, the orders are lawful. It doesn’t matter what the psychologists RECOMMEND. The brig commander is the one with the responsibility to make sure he stands trial. If Manning DID commit suicide, you’d be the first one in line to say “The brig commander should’ve known better!!! It was her responsibility, not the psychiatrists’!!!”

          I’ve already discussed immorality in the military. Just because YOU don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it’s immoral or illegal. Those who feel so strongly about an issue that they can not carry out their duties can declare themselves a conscientious objector.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A speedy trial should have followed filing of charges, which should have been filed promptly after his initial arrest. That was quite a while ago. Arrests, as is also true for the much abused “material witness” detentions Ashcroft was so fond of, are meant to follow an investigation and be based on the substantial facts yielded by it. There are not meant to precede it. That’s another abuse.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Mr. Manning’s detention is unique; no other prisoner’s treatment elicited the forced replacement of the brig commander, which, oddly, yielded only continuation and worsening of his treatment, not its improvement. Besides, Mr. Manning could have easily been detained at any number of Army facilities.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You’re right. No executive has screwed up or caused his superiors to experience unwelcome criticism and been moved up and out or otherwise been rewarded for it. Doesn’t happen in the corporate world or in the military, not even for sons of admirals and generals, let alone CWO’s who retaliated against a prisoner by placing them on suicide watch for daring to retain a personality that isolation was meant to undermine.

        • clemenza says:

          How about being asked if he’s alright, which requires a response, every five minutes all through the night? Is sleep deprivation OK?

          They’re obviously trying to break him while sending a message to anyone thinking of speaking out against the status quo.

          Obama hates whistleblowers. He’s big on prosecuting all of ’em, and to hell with the criminal malfeasance they’re reporting.

        • Gitsum says:

          I think you’re misinformed. They don’t wake him up at night unless they can’t see his face to verify he’s breathing. I can’t find the link, but I know it’s been reported.

          As far as asking him if he’s okay every five minutes, that’s because of his POI status. The same would be done to anyone else under POI. SOP is SOP, and Marines are pretty good at following SOP. I’m willing to bet there’s no “SOP in the case of PFC Bradley Manning.” That would not go over well in the event of an investigation, which could happen at anytime in a brig, especially if an inmate died.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Press reports indicate that Mr. Manning must respond verbally to that question every five minutes of the day. If not, they wake him up, to make sure he’s safe.

        • Gitsum says:

          You’re confused….they only wake him up at night if they can’t see his face because it’s covered or they can’t clearly see that he’s breathing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Let’s ask Pfc. Manning and find out whose version is what he experiences. Oh, wait, we can’t.

        • emptywheel says:

          Nudity isn’t the alternative. Sleeping under his blanket is.

          You may be happy with this lawful order. But it is, on its face, logically inconsistent. So you can keep defending it on the basis of the military being entitled to order someone to do whatever they want. But your argument that there is some logical reason for it falls apart.

        • ottogrendel says:

          Are all orders lawful? If not, how does one know when they are not? Is an order lawful by virtue of the fact that someone up the chain of command gave it? Does that rank render irrelevant the thinking of those of those with less rank that have to carry out the order?

          “To attack the fidelity of one of the organizations sworn to defend that right is just wrong.”

          You may be correct. But such an attack may also be an expression of the freedom that the military allegedly defends?

        • Gitsum says:

          Part of our oath is “to follow all lawful orders of those appointed over me.”

          No, not all orders are lawful. If a guard were to say, “Manning, punch Smith in the face,” Manning would have the right and obligation to refuse that order. Clearly,that order is unlawful.

          If the guard says, “Manning, put your issued smock on,” Manning would have been issued a lawful order and is obligated to follow it.

          The military is an interesting environment, because we will often be subjected to the rule of a less competent leader. That doesn’t mean we get to disregard lawful orders. It has been my experience that the incompetent are usually eventually weeded out, as incompetence can lead to the loss of life.

          We don’t get to choose what orders we follow and what orders we disregard. If we disregard lawful orders, we must be prepared for reprocussions, whether administrative or judicial.

          Your do make a fine point…we proudly defend your right to express your opinion of us. Thank you for exercising the First Amendment.

  9. drweevil says:

    Oh, how very clever they think they are. The biggest problem with being a non-believer is that I know they won’t roast in hell. But they should. What pricks.

  10. jedimsnbcko19 says:

    this is beyond stupid

    the OBAMA WH is now trying to make Sarah Palin look intelligent.

    Bradley Manning deserves a lot better than this

  11. Skilly says:

    Hey all,

    I am sure this is just a wacky misunderstanding. Don’t you think that smock has a nice fleece lining that makes it toasty warm and soft as a kitten?

  12. eCAHNomics says:

    Can the people who are going to demonstrate for Manning get ahold of these to wear? I’d make a contribution to buy/rent them.

    • onitgoes says:

      Good idea. Someone who is clever could probably make a mock-up of them. Even if not the same thing, something that illustrates this latest ridiculous step would be useful.

  13. Knoxville says:

    I’m embarrassed that my country is doing this.

    I’m glad there are a few people who are working hard and doing their best to report on it accurately.

  14. onitgoes says:

    Sorry to hear about this new “step,” but it *may* indicate some growing awareness that the prior torture methods at least needed some modification. I’d like to think that’s a step in the right direction but not sure if it is or not.

    Thanks for the update.

    Free Bradley Manning!!

  15. praisegodbarebones says:

    Phoenix Woman @ 19

    ‘Official records kept at the brig, released recently by Manning’s lawyer, reveal that between last August and January military psychiatrists made no fewer than 16 recommendations to their military commanders that Manning should be taken off the PoI restrictions because he was no threat to himself.’


    Also apparently Physicians for Human Rights think that psychiatrists are effectively legitimising Manning’s treatment by continuing to make these evaluations.

  16. Bluetoe2 says:

    The people should demand that all Senators, members of Congress, SC Justices and everyone in the WH administration, including President Bipartisan, be required to wear the Ferguson Smock. These pompous patricians see themselves in the same light as that of the Olympian gods. They might as well dress like them.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      I’d prefer that your list commit suicide instead of wearing suicide prevention garments.

  17. Skellen says:

    I can’t talk with my roommate about this subject, I don’t even like the news mentioning it. He’s a former ranger and big on the military and the first words out of his mouth is always “Good, put a bullet in his head.” Trying to explain that he deserves proper treatment and a trial only leads to “He’s a traitor, I’ll do it for them.”

    So anyway, that’s what I imagine is probably the thinking of the military/DOD.

    • onitgoes says:

      Thanks for that insight. Inclined to agree re the thinking, which is, to say the very least, unfortunate. No one should be held in these conditions under such circumstances unless or until proven guilty. Manning has not been proven guilty (I know I’m preaching mostly to the choir here), and while Military “justice” operates somewhat differently from civilian “justice,” the principal that you’re innocent until proven guilty is supposed to be what happens.

      In this case, emphatically Manning is being held guilty until proven innocent. US citizens – whether in the military or not – who happen to *agree* with this are not upholding the laws of our land (or what they’re supposed to be).

  18. mzchief says:

    The Ferguson website might have the answer to the question as whether the comfort of the person wearing the, um, Safety Smock, is actually of concern (the bold is my emphasis):

    “In 10 years using 15 blankets, 7 smocks and 1 sleeping bag I have replaced only 1 strip of Velcro on 1 smock. These wear like iron and clean like a dream.” – Tina Potts, Laundry Specialist

    So you are naked guy and you have that thing rubbing against your skin? Ouch. At least it is not an oak barrel. Now, what’s the objection to the (probably much cheaper) paper hospital gown that one can actually sleep in as opposed to the obvious solution of giving the guy his underwear?

  19. Knut says:

    IMO, Manning is being treated fairly. You might not personally agree with his treatment, but that doesn’t make the brig commander or the Marines in the brig bad people.

    Do you think being held in solitary 23 hours a day, with no right to exercise, or even put your head under the cover at night is ‘fair treatment’?
    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are unaware of these facts, which are independent of the clothing issue.

    Also, why is he being held so long? Why can’t they bring him to trial sooner? Most of us here suspect that DOD is trying to break him in order to get at Assange. The odds are he has nothing to give, in which case they will just break him and throw him on the garbage dump.

    On a related note, I saw this morning that Agence France Press is picking his case up; they actually reported on Jane’s demonstration. It would be nice (for me at least) if this was in part the result of the letter and attachment on Manning’s case I sent off last week to a person who is deeply involved in France in prison rights. At the present time, she is in Algeria working to secure better health care for Algerian prisoners.

    • Gitsum says:

      – It’s been reported that NO inmates are allowed to exercise in their cells. It’s also been reported that ALL inmates get one hour of recreation time. His restriction to his cell and his movement is because of his classification as max custody, but would be the same for any max custody inmate. There have been other max custody inmates. Seems fair.

      – It’s been reported that NO inmates are allowed to pull the covers over their heads. The same is true at many other brigs. Guards have to be able to see the faces of the inmates to ensure they are breathing. This is likely due to overnight deaths that have occured. Seems fair.

      – It’s been reported it’s taking a long time because the defense requested a delay to determine Manning’s “mental capacity.”

      • hotdog says:

        No. It doesn’t seem fair, because it’s not fair, it’s cruel and unusual. Preventing a person from exercise for 8 months is cruel and unusual. And stating you are preventing someone from injury while you are simultaneously injuring them is the height of hypocrisy and stupidity.

  20. Knut says:

    You obviously struck a vein Marcy. The paid trolls are out in force again today. Like clockwork.

  21. mzchief says:

    There’s another piece here that I am seeing and that I will expand upon. The dark side of medical and mental health care delivery occurs when the practitioners either lose their compassion, or, are overtaken by greed, or, develop a desire for control/power over others’ lives, or, all three. At that point, these folks buy into the notion of a system of human warehousing and imprisonment rather than care delivery. They become mechanical and it’s just a job or they become really slick and it’s a business. I have seen this with my own eyes at the extremely well-paid psychiatrist level all the way down to the low paid, contract home care worker. I have also see the surroundings in which each worked and heard the stories of these people as they and the systems failed in what ostensibly was their mission of care. I contend that Quantico is just another warehousing facility and the folks that work there are bought into that system because it’s how they get their steady paycheck, benefits and retirement. Take away the paycheck, benefits and retirement then what do those folks think? If they had to stand watch over Manning and actually care for his needs, would they do it for free? Would they do it out of honor? Would they have the same loyalty to and sense of honor towards the Marines?

  22. psalongo says:

    I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that this is America. I’m pretty cynical about this government, especially after watergate but still…

  23. hotdog says:

    To attack the fidelity of one of the organizations sworn to defend that right is just wrong.

    There’s more of that backward military logic. Pointing out hypocrisy is not attacking it, it’s tough love. See, you can’t make a correction if you don’t recognize you’re off track. Same thing with the Wikileaks, showing the criminality behind our government is not impugning its character, it’s merely pointing out a lack of same.

    • onitgoes says:

      I agree with what you’re saying. I feel like some are saying that we should never “criticize” either the military or the gov’t, as it’s then perceived as “treason” at the worst, or “attacking” at best.

      How else do we highlight perceived unjust/unfair treatment if we don’t point it out?? Most/all of the posts about Bradley Manning, imo, have been seemingly objective and filled with factual info. At best, the Military is engaging in something that doesn’t follow the purported law of our land. If Manning IS innocent until proven guilty (which most have *claimed* to agree with), THEN why is Manning: a) not being charged?, b) not brought to trial more speedily, and c) being tortured?

      IF citizens do not take the time to point out breache of justice, based on some notion that it’s “attacking” something or other, then we’re truly lost. I don’t really see anyone who post (the main Post, not necessarily some who comment) engaging in an attack.

      I think that’s specious logic employed to deflect any & all criticism in order to do whatever someone in authority deems “necessary.” Sorry, in a so-called Democracy – allegedly “of the people, by the people, for the people” – citizens have a right to *question* what’s being done in OUR name.

      I QUESTION very strenuously what appears to be both unnecessarily harmful treatment (up to and including torture) of Private Manning, and I QUESTION why Manning has not been brought to trial by this time.

      I am merely engaging in my CIVIC DUTY by doing so (along with my humanitarian duty, I might add).

      • hotdog says:

        I’m afraid we don’t have a civilian overseen military, we have a corporate overseen military that is now positioning itself to over-see the civilian population. The MIC is running the show and anything that threatens to reveal that reality is a threat. The State Department is just a PR operation for setting up and covering up crooked deals. We can’t have that exposed – kill wikileaks.

    • onitgoes says:

      maybe and maybe not. If it’s made from material similar to a backpack, then it’s not gonna be that warm. But I’m not sure, so just guessing.

  24. ottogrendel says:

    ” It has been my experience that the incompetent are usually eventually weeded out”
    Really?! That wasn’t my experience in the Army. But maybe we can both agree that the Marines are more . . . high speed? :)

    OK, here’s the crux of the issue: If one doesn’t get to choose which orders to follow, why bother making a distinction between lawful or otherwise to begin with? Or, how does one know which orders are lawful? What is the cost for obeying unlawful orders?

    On another post I mentioned hearing an Army captain in Afghanistan on NPR recently make the statement that on one hand he did not think about the moral implications of his actions. On the other, he was completely sure that he was acting morally because he was following orders from those in positions of much more rank than he. So the problem with this is, if you don’t ever think about moral issues how can you be sure you are acting morally? Deferring to others doesn’t get one off the hook for their own actions. Or does it?

    I have a right to express myself regardless of any defense from any others, indeed especially in spite of such defense. Freedom, by my definition, is an existential question: I either act free, and therefore am, or I am not. Third party defense of my actions is not part of the equation. I don’t see freedom as a commodity that can be defended or bequeathed. You don’t defend my freedom. I either act free or I am not.

    Thanks for being a good sport on this blog and thanks for the insider info above.

  25. Gitsum says:

    “OK, here’s the crux of the issue: If one doesn’t get to choose which orders to follow, why bother making a distinction between lawful or otherwise to begin with? Or, how does one know which orders are lawful? What is the cost for obeying unlawful orders?”

    I need to clarify that statement…we have the option of whether to follow an order or not, but we must be prepared to deal with the fallout. I always train my Marines to ask questions if they don’t understand something if, of course, time and situation permit. If they choose to disregard an order, they better be damn sure the order was unlawful.

    Morality is a hard subject to deal with in the military, as different people have different moral standards. I, for example, am not a religious person. I supported the repeal of DADT. Many of my Marines are uncomfortable with the repeal and find homosexuality to be immoral. Those Marines will, however, be expected to treat soon to be openly gay servicemembers with respect, regardless of their beliefs.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Quite so. If anything, this “gown” (such a friendly misnomer, even no-back hospital gowns look more comfortable and private), reminds Manning more forcibly than nakedness that he has no control over his existence whatsoever.

    Given its appearance and probable extraordinary discomfort – it also looks too loose to add warmth over simple briefs and a t – it’s as much a slap in the face to the public and his supporters as it is to Manning.

  27. flyy says:


    The “caveman looking models” ? They are the owners of the company, Lonna Speer and Dennis Speer.

    Do a google image search on their names.


  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Between last August and January, military psychiatrists have made 16 recommendations that Manning be taken off POI status. They have been ignored. The US continues to break its own rules in an effort to acquire something from this prisoner that it wants.

  29. michtom says:

    Additionally, based on your disingenuous defense of Manning’s treatment, I have no respect for your “service” to what has been one section of a huge criminal enterprise that in a moral world would have led to you and most of your colleagues–especially the upper echelons–in a dock at The Hague.

  30. dustbunny44 says:

    The CIA has invented the Torture Snuggie.

    It’s a blanket, with armholes, and a straightjacket too! You can watch TV while your personality is being deconstructed.