A military judge ruled today that Private First Class Bradley Manning should get 112 days off of his potential sentence, because he was unnecessarily put on suicide prevention watch while detained at Quantico’s military prison. Manning’s defense had previously asked the tribunal to drop Manning’s charges entirely or greatly reduce his sentence, arguing the pretrial conditions violated the Constitution and international law. But the Judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment don’t apply to pretrial detention. And according to FIREDOGLAKE reporter Kevin Gosztola, she said Manning was not held in solitary confinement for nine months, because he had some human contact. But many legal and human rights experts, including attorney Michael Ratner with the Center for Constitutional Rights, have called the military’s treatment of Manning torture. Ratner told FSRN that the evidence presented at the hearings he attended reminded him of his clients’ experience at Guantanamo.
"Bright lights, stress positions, no sleep, and stripping, you look at what happened to Bradley Manning, you have to say yourself: what they did at Guantanamo they’re doing to Bradley."
What are they talking about?
Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it. The court-martial was supposed to begin this month was been postponed until after the election .
Kevin Gosztola (FireDogLake) blogged the following:
5:20 PM EST Getting rushed off base: here’s a full report on the judge’s ruling. I’ll have more in the next few hours. Check back here later this evening.
4:41 PM EST: Per the Associated Press, “The judge said that Manning’s confinement was “more rigorous than necessary.” She added that the conditions “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”
If you're confused by what's taking place, it's not you. There has still been no court-martial. This is still pre-court-martial testimony, arguments and rulings.
What today found was that, if he receives a sentence, Bradley will get 112 days credit. That means if he were sentenced to 112 days or less, he would serve no time. If he received a sentence of 113 days or more of imprisonment, the 112 days would be taken from the total sentencing.
The words of Judge Lind were pretty surprising. I agree with them, I support them, but I was still surprised she so clearly made the link between Bradley and Guantanamo. Free Speech Radio News is one of the few outlets with that point in their story.
So if you listened to them today, you were informed. Other outlets? Maybe not so much. Elaine's planning to cover this topic (in a way) at her site tonight while Mike will be blogging about Bradley as his site so please check those out. Again, Kat will be back with you tomorrow night.
Here's today's "Iraq snapshot:"