Skip to main content

Over the last week, Bradley Manning's conditions of confinement have been laid bare in court. The military prosecutor, though, has studiously avoided calling these conditions "torture," or even the more comfortable euphemism of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which the Justice Department had actually, by the time of Manning's confinement, authorized (however dubious the torture memos were.)

So a little tutorial to spell it out the torture: solitary confinement/isolation; humiliation/forced nudity; sleep deprivation; sensory deprivation; and stress positions.

As with the torture narratives of all post-9/11 detention, we've heard over, and over, and over again that officials chose to overdo and go beyond that pale. Gitmo cases can't be tried because they're tainted by torture. At least Manning gets a military proceeding (with all its limits), which will hopefully find the he was tortured, meaning he would have to be set free.

(My Tweets are much more graphic and pointed @JesselynRadack.)

List of Torture Techniques Applied to Pfc. Bradley Manning:

1. Solitary Confinement/Isolation

Solitary confinement is strictly prohibited under international law. It is a cruel practice which causes permanent psychological damage. The impacts can range from hallucinations, emotional damage, delusions and impaired cognitive functioning to anxiety and depression. Solitary confinement is outlawed under the Convention Against Torture, ICCPR and the Geneva Conventions.

Manning was in solitary confinement in Kuwait and Quantico for nine months.  He was in a cage (Kuwait) or a small, windowless cell for 23 hours a day.  He was given 20 minutes of "sunshine call" each day, during which he could "walk" figure eights in restraints with guards holding him up. Eventually, he received 1 hour of recreation per day--still woefully below legal standards. His treating military psychologist, Col. Rick Malone, much to his credit, testified that

The ways he was being held was detrimental to his physical and mental health.  His custody status was a stressor . . . He was taken of medications after several weeks because he was symptom-free. . .in complete remission . . .and posed no harm to himself or others.
2. Humiliation Techniques

Bradley Manning, being held alternatively in "suicide risk" and "prevention of injury" status (despite military psychologists testifying that he posed no risk of injury to himself or others) pointed out that

If I really wanted to kill myself, I could use my underwear.
Even though he was under 24/7 observation, the military took his underpants. At the routine count the next morning, he covered himself with the prevention-of-injury sandpaper blanket. An officer asked,
Detainee Manning, Is that how you stand at parade rest?
Manning requested clarification.  He was soon standing completely naked for morning count. Forced nudity is used to induce feelings of humiliation and fear. Manning also had to request toilet paper any time he needed to relieve himself. This was supposedly an anti-suicide measure, which is belied by the fact that he was under constant surveillance.

3. Sleep Deprivation

Upon his initial confinement in Kuwait, Manning's days and nights were reversed, being awoken in the evening and kept up all night.  Sleep deprivation is a very effective torture technique used by torturers because it makes a person more suggestible, reduces psychological resistance and it reduces the body’s capacity to resist pain. It had this very effect on Manning, causing him to have what has been described as an "anxiety attack" and "nervous breakdown." Once he was moved to Quantico, guards awakened Manning multiple times on multiple nights each week, and a flourescent light was always visible from his cell. The Committee against Torture (CAT) has noted that sleep deprivation used for prolonged periods constitutes a breach of the CAT, and is primarily used to break down the will of the detainee. Sleep deprivation can cause impaired memory and cognitive functioning, decreased short term memory, speech impairment, hallucinations, psychosis, lowered immunity, headaches, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stress, anxiety and depression...even though Manning was supposedly in restricted custodial status due to anxiety and depression.

4. Sensory Deprivation

Sensory deprivation is used to instil a sense of fear, disorientation and cause dependency on their captor. Sensory deprivation has also been attributed to increased pain sensitivity and increased psychological stress. The military confiscated Manning's glasses, without which he cannot see.  So all of the isolation he endured, he did so while essentially blind.

5. Stress Positions

Manning was kept shackled in his cell.  He was told he had to stand because he was still "on duty." If he sat, he was not allowed to lean against the wall or lie down. The strangest thing was the "tear-proof smock," which was really a nearly floor-length, rigid, abrasive rubber-and-foam straight jacket. Manning donned this restraint, which he often had to wear with nothing on beneath.  Manning got stuck in this device, which was supposedly for his protection, and had to be extracted by guards.

These physically and psychologically abusive techniques were used to disorient Manning and induce regression, psychic disintegration, and feelings of helplessness that lowered his defenses. He would routinely go through perfunctory "wellness checklists," and didn't start advocating for himself until his amazing attorney, David Coombs, told him to start filing formal grievances contesting his conditions of confinement so he could exhaust his administrative remedies. (These formal grievances led to 3 sham "Classified & Assignment Board" hearing, which Manning testified had already decided to keep him on restricted status.)

These techniques were used not by rogue CIA thugs, but by the military--on someone in pre-trial detention, not found guilty to have done anything.

Originally posted to Jesselyn Radack on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Inherent Human Rights, Bloggers Against Torture, and Occupy Wall Street.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Thumb, paradox, cslewis, Garrett, raboof, RF, Chi, Irfo, filkertom, BOHICA, MadRuth, grollen, ogre, glitterscale, native, SaveDemocracy, tiggers thotful spot, mimi, TechBob, karlpk, tommurphy, Shockwave, LuvSet, Jay C, LEP, Troutfishing, Woody, WI Deadhead, TarheelDem, sobermom, RFK Lives, gjohnsit, MarkInSanFran, Creosote, Heart of the Rockies, Dumbo, RubDMC, Gustogirl, NoisyGong, opinionated, TheMomCat, bronte17, sponson, Einsteinia, susakinovember, Agathena, ask, chuckvw, PBnJ, cosmic debris, gakke, roses, pedrito, taonow, ovals49, Fe, ornerydad, Bill Roberts, Nate Roberts, splashy, revsue, scorpiorising, psnyder, Nag, Ryvr, annan, nancelot, Dr Colossus, Miss Jones, CitizenOfEarth, gerrilea, Damnit Janet, Jujuree, hazzcon, Calidrissp, rlharry, walkshills, AllisonInSeattle, zerelda, jcrit, Dr Seuss, vacantlook, rmx2630, Tirge Caps, sb, rapala, nailbender, joanneleon, humphrey, Bluesee, 3goldens, jrooth, chimene, democracy inaction, OpherGopher, irate, elkhunter, Simplify, craigkg, Valtin, YucatanMan, Unforgiven, Laurence Lewis, Burned, lotlizard, skyounkin, Ice Blue, Steve in Urbana, Sandino, Tool, rb608, Shotput8, Lisa Lockwood, bunsk, peacestpete, Alan Arizona, jay23, Jim R, CJnyc, SoulCatcher, martini, Paul Ferguson, esquimaux, Sanuk, tarheelblue, tommymet, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Kingsmeg, tonyahky, Yellow Canary, fromer, rhetoricus, blueoasis, Blue Wind, triv33, praenomen, eglantine, 4Freedom, gooderservice, Sagebrush Bob, sceptical observer, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, Unitary Moonbat, BlueMississippi, CA Nana, Timothy J, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, fiddlingnero, cherryXXX69, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, chapel hill guy, Compostings, PhilW, Tom Anderson, Bernie68, Eikyu Saha, Little, OHdog, liberaldemdave, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, FoundingFatherDAR, out of left field, bluicebank, A Mad Mad World, PolecatEZ, Habitat Vic, Debs2, LSophia, FishOutofWater, DvCM, deepeco, aliasalias, bnasley, artisan, Aunt Martha, crose, carpunder, hopi13, pioneer111, CT Hank, fallina7, eyesoars, cloudbustingkid, Don midwest, vet, JDWolverton, End game, GANJA, rogerdaddy, Amor Y Risa, GAS, wayoutinthestix, scooter in brooklyn, zerone, Johnny Nucleo, poligirl, Alexandre, limpidglass, elwior, Cat Servant, Akonitum, Spirit of Fighting Bob, Lujane, tofumagoo, Ocelopotamus, davekro, MrJayTee, Wek, alnep, temptxan, ashowboat, petulans, phrogge prince, Uncle Bob, BYw, Al Fondy, HarpboyAK, priceman, nb41, Robobagpiper, 6079SmithW, grsplane, protectspice, rhutcheson, watercarrier4diogenes, David Futurama, CIndyCasella, ZhenRen, forgore, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, Rhysling, cybrestrike, zmom, Dirtandiron, jarbyus, divineorder, don mikulecky, CanyonWren, Zotz, WakeUpNeo, BlueInRedCincy, mkor7, JesseCW, GreenMtnState, dRefractor, petral, RageKage, geebeebee, paintitblue, kevinpdx, histOries Marko, IreGyre, realwischeese, winsock, Leftcandid, sneakers563, Just Bob, rb137, p gorden lippy, flitedocnm, The Jester, Johnnythebandit, David Harris Gershon, mookins, sunny skies, Simple, renzo capetti, Eddie L, gulfgal98, samanthab, pixxer, Lady Libertine, 2020adam, ramara, ffour, Funkygal, Betty Pinson, MsGrin, Nada Lemming, cocinero, progdog, allenjo, xgy2, Lost Left Coaster, StateofEuphoria, afisher, implicate order, La Gitane, m00finsan, ripeorangesound, marleycat, thomask, merrily1000, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, worldlotus, corvaire, peregrine kate, bluedust, PhilJD, VTCC73, Andrew F Cockburn, cailloux, Hayate Yagami, Sunspots, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, BlueDragon, YaNevaNo, quill, mkoz, anodnhajo, lurkyloo, IndieGuy, foucaultspendulum, dance you monster, Joieau, Farkletoo, 420 forever, 2thanks, Ginger1, Horace Boothroyd III, This old man, Mr Robert, Mike RinRI, Tyler R, Rizzo, New Minas, Brown Thrasher, FrY10cK, George3, deconite, tripodisblack, BradyB, Australian2, Chaddiwicker, doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers, jbob, LeftArmed, goodpractice, alice kleeman, MarEng, Demeter Rising, Neurathian Ship, ShockandAwed, Catkin, shinobi9, footNmouth, El Bloguero

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site