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Three Months Ago Bradley Manning Was Largely Forgotten, But Not Anymore -- What Changed?

With Manning gaining wide attention, it's worth recalling that three months ago he was largely forgotten. Here's what happened.

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The following day, Wired editor Evan Hansen and senior editor Poulsen responded separately. “It’s odd to find myself in the position of writing a defense of someone who should be held up as a model,” Hansen wrote, referring to Poulsen. “But it is unfortunately necessary, thanks to the shameless and unjustified personal attacks he’s faced.” Bottom line: Hansen still refused to print the full chat logs, citing privacy concerns, but said he might do it in the future.

Greenwald quickly responded, again pointing out that Lamo had made claims about Manning’s direct contacts with Assange that were not borne out by the published chat logs. He concluded: “Ultimately, what determines one’s credibility is not the names you get called or the number of people who get angry when you criticize them. What matters is whether the things you say are well-supported and accurate, to correct them if they’re not, and to subject yourself to the same accountability and transparency you demand of others.”

In any event, the exchanges sparked an important update by the Wired editors. They revealed that they had reviewed the chat logs and found no unpublished Manning references to Assange. This seemed to undermine some of Lamo’s claims and might make it harder to prosecute Assange in this matter.

Then, on January 3, Manning’s lawyer Coombs hinted that he would soon file motion to dismiss the charges against Manning due to lack of a speedy trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Two days later, on the Democracy Now! radio program, well-known writer Dr. Atul Gawande, referring to the Manning case, said, “People experience solitary confinement as even more damaging than physical torture.” More than 30,000 people signed a petition on Manning’s behalf.

As charges of cruel treatment of Manning continued, a Pentagon spokesman responded by describing the prisoner’s confinement as “maximum,” not “solitary,” since others were incarcerated nearby and he did get to watch some TV and see visitors—and was being treated like others in the unit. David Coombs challenged this assessment, charging that Manning, in fact, was the only prisoner in “maximum” custody while others were held in “medium” detention.

And the protests continued.   Now: new charges (but no direct link ot Assange in evidence), even harsher punitive treatment, and more Pentagon deceit.

Greg Mitchell is the former editor of Editor & Publisher and author of nine books on politics and history.

 
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