After new charges, Manning faces further questionable treatment
Earlier this week, the U.S. Army announced that it was adding 22 new charges to those of transferring classified data to a personal computer and communicating defense information to an unauthorized source in the prosecution of Bradley Manning. Manning — the Army soldier accused of leaking to international whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.org of thousands of diplomatic cables and video of a 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which an undisclosed number of Iraqi civilians were killed — has been held in solitary confinement in the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps Brig since July 2010. The new charges include one count of “aiding the enemy,” an offense punishable by the death penalty, though military prosecutors have said that they intend to seek life imprisonment.
And late Thursday, more news in the Manning case followed that of the additional charges. David Coombs, a former military judge who has served as Manning’s lawyer during his confinement, released a statement on his website announcing that Manning was stripped naked overnight on Wednesday and called to attention while still unclothed at 5 a.m. He was later told to expect the same treatment the following night, though there is no word on whether this indeed occurred. A Marine Corps spokesman confirmed Coombs’s story to The New York Times, but he would not comment further, citing privacy concerns.
Marcy Wheeler, a blogger for news site Firedoglake, writes that this is not the first time military prisoners have been forced to strip naked with little explanation. She cites informal and official government protocols authorizing the stripping of prisoners as part of “interrogation techniques” dating back at least to 2002.