In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is questioning whether Pvt Bradley Manning’s treatment at Quantico includes “personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions,” calling it to end.
This characterization was described by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald.
The letter, addressed on Wednesday, lays out the details of Manning’s current detention at Quantico and questions why, if the Army knew of Manning’s mental condition before being placed in solitary confinement, he is being subjected to such “warped treatment.”
Manning is alleged to have released tens of thousands of classified and sensitive US government documents to Wikileaks that have not only embarrassed the US but caused outrage throughout the world over an Army video in which military personnel operating Apache helicopters killed 12 innocent civilians in Iraq, including two Reuters employees, and wounding two children.
Greenwald refers to Manning as a “model detainee” who has displayed no signs of violence or caused any disciplinary problems, yet he said:
He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a “Maximum Custody Detainee,” the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.
Greenwald also compares Manning’s treatment to that of criminals at the Supermax prison in Colorado:
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
Kucinich makes reference to an article in Wednesday’s Washington Post that reported on Manning’s mental condition before deployment to Iraq as well as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald who first broke the story in December on Manning’s treatment at Quantico.
If the conditions and treatment Manning is currently being subjected to prove to be true, Kucinich calls that a violation of Manning’s Eighth Amendment right that prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In conclusion, Kucinich calls for an end to the treatment:
If these reports are true, the Army must end the extreme conditions of Private Manning's confinement, and provide him with the mental health treatment that the Army recognized he needed even before his deployment to Iraq. At the very least, the Army must explain the justification for confining someone with mental health problems under conditions that are virtually certain to exacerbate those problems and explain the danger he now presents that only these extreme conditions of confinement can avoid.