Anguished Bradley Manning Speaks Out on Prison Torture - “Why Are You Doing This to Me? Why Am I Being Punished?”

Since July 2010, Bradley Manning has been held in solitary confinement at Quantico marine base, stripped naked nightly -- extreme tactics that have reportedly pushed his mental state to the brink and which experts have long called a cruel form of torture. Now, Manning has spoken out about his abuse for the first time in an 11-page letter sent out by his lawyer, and his words are predictably grim and devastating.

In a report published by the Guardian, Manning describes being pushed to the brink during his constant isolation, "left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody." As if being held in a cell for 23 hours a day was not enough, Manning says he is routinely humiliated in other ways. While put on suicide watch last month, for instance, he was stripped naked and his eyeglasses were taken from him. “I was forced to sit in essential blindness," he says. In shades of Abu Ghraib, the guards are also reportedly using nudity as a form of humiliation:

He also describes the experience of being stripped naked at night and made to stand for parade in the nude, a condition that continues to this day. "The guard told me to stand at parade rest, with my hands behind my back and my legs spaced shoulder-width apart. I stood at parade rest for about three minutes … The [brig supervisor] and the other guards walked past my cell. He looked at me, paused for a moment, then continued to the next cell. I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked."

Manning was said to be unstable even before he was imprisoned, but one can imagine the horrific effects of this type of treatment on even the most mentally rock-solid human being. In one of the most heartbreaking points of his statement, he wondered to prison guards why he was being put on suicide watch at all. "I became upset. Out of frustration, I clenched my hair with my fingers and yelled: 'Why are you doing this to me? Why am I being punished? I have done nothing wrong.'"

What is, in fact, wrong, is the torture and humiliation of a US citizen in a military prison paid for by taxpayer dollars. Read more at theGuardian.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at March 11, 2011, 4:09am

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