A man is arrested and detained for months without any charges being brought against him. He is being held in deplorable conditions, forced to endure extreme physical and mental distress. He is exposed to the same ‘torture’ tactics that other enemies of the United States have allegedly suffered through.
So why isn’t the Commander-in-Chief taking heat for this travesty of justice?
Because this isn’t the Bush administration.
Firedoglake blogger, David House, has been detailing a recent visit with Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, at a military prison at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia (h/t Weasel Zippers). Of course, House bemoaned the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Manning, describing the toll that months of solitary confinement have taken on his physical and mental well-being.
AFP ran with the story and made it clear that they had no intention of offering a balanced report. In fact, viewing the headline, one would never know that the story came from an extremely liberal website, reading more as fact than a slanted accusation.
This must be more of the ‘inhumane’ treatment that Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reported on when he spoke of ‘a major story' regarding Manning’s ‘cruel’ treatment. Except that, as NewsBuster Ken Shepherd pointed out, the Salon piece bemoans the lack of a soft pillow, whereas, the Firedoglake post is concerned with the torturous nature of a really uncomfortable blanket. House states (emphasis mine):
Manning related to me on December 19 2010 that his blankets are similar in weight and heft to lead aprons used in X-ray laboratories, and similar in texture to coarse and stiff carpet. He stated explicitly that the blankets are not soft in the least and expressed concern that he had to lie very still at night to avoid receiving carpet burns.
No soft pillows or blankets for a man accused of violating federal criminal and military law, and putting the lives of our brave men and women in harm’s way? The horror. Yet, this is quite similar to the Susan Crawford flap from a couple of years ago, in which Gitmo detainees were alleged to have endured certain minor inconveniences by most standards.
To the credit of the left wing blogs such as Firedoglake, AlterNet, and the Huffington Post, and organizations like a Code Pink, or the highly biased AFP, they are simply remaining true to their bleeding-heart roots - less coersion, more coddling for those accused of serious crimes against the United States. But if these tactics are considered torture when they involve terrorists, then it is clearly overkill when it comes to an American citizen such as Manning.
But where is the main stream media on this? Where is their outrage?
For years, they were more than willing to cover the perceived torture of individuals during the Bush administration. For instance, this ABC News report about the possibility of the Obama administration prosecuting Bush era officials for interrogation techniques ironically states:
President Obama suggested today that it remained a possibility that the Justice Department might bring charges against officials of the Bush administration who devised harsh interrogation policies that some see as torture.
Here in the Manning case, some clearly see sleep deprivation and a lack of a pillow pet and a special blankie as torture. So when can we expect the Justice Department to investigate the Obama administration?