WikiLeaks source held in solitary confinement for seven months

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to the international organization WikiLeaks, has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for the last seven months, reports Glenn Greenwald in an article for the online magazine Salon.

Manning, who was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command July 5, is suspected of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video -- which shows an U.S. Apache helicopter attack which led to the deaths of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists -- and U.S. diplomatic cables.

In isolation, Greenwald reports, Manning is barred from exercising and has been denied access to even "a pillow or sheets for his bed."

Amdist it all, "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."

Greenwald culls expert opinion from sources as diverse as The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and Senator John McCain to argue that such isolation is nothing short of torture.

The primary evidence held against Manning are a series of online chats he had with Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker and government informant. It's alleged that in the chats Manning admits to leaking the "Collateral Murder" video and other documents.

According to the same chats, Manning clearly considered himself a whistleblower. In one of the chats, the soldier writes that the leaked documents "belong in the public domain."

Depending on how you see things, I suppose, you may be less inclined to think of Manning as a whistleblower who has the public good in mind. But does that mean he deserves this kind of cruel treatment?

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