alleged whistleblower bradley manning speaks publicly for the first time since his arrest

by Tim Phillips

Bradley Manning is the soldier accused of the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history. He was arrested in May 2010 and held under particularly insufferable conditions from July 2010 to April 2011. In a Counterpunch article published on Tuesday, attorney Michael Ratner – President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Julian Assange’s U.S. attorney – described these conditions as:

… the nine-month period spent 23 hours a day in a six-by-eight-foot cell where he was forbidden to lie down or even lean against a wall when he was not sleeping – and when he was allowed to sleep at night, officers woke him every five minutes – and where he was subjected to daily strip searches and forced nudity. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture has already found this amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and possibly torture.

Earlier this month, Manning offered to plead guilty to reduced charges. But the military judge on his case – Colonel Denise Lind – hasn’t formally accepted this offer, nor have government officials said whether they would continue to prosecute him for the other 15 counts he faces. These include the charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Today Manning testified regarding his mistreatment by the military. Sadly, he has already been punished far too much for, as Ratner writes, allegedly sending documents “anonymously to WikiLeaks, which published them in collaboration with The New York TimesThe Guardian and other news media for the benefit of the general public, much like the Pentagon Papers were published a generation ago.”