Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! reports on the testimony of government whistleblower Bradley Manning in which he said he thought he was going to die “in a cage.” He was forbidden to exercise in his tiny cell and so danced (dancing was not considered exercise), but then that was characterized as crazy behavior by his military jailers and led to his being further mistreated.
The blurb for the show:
Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has testified for the first time since he was arrested in May 2010. Speaking Thursday at a pretrial proceeding, Manning revealed the emotional tumult he experienced while imprisoned in Kuwait after his arrest in 2010, saying, "I remember thinking, ’I’m going to die.’ I thought I was going to die in a cage." As part of his testimony, Manning stepped inside life-sized chalk outline representing the six-by-eight foot cell he was later held at the Quantico base in Virginia and, and recounted how he would tilt his head to see the reflection of a skylight through a tiny space in his cell door. Manning could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him. His trial is expected to begin in February. He has offered to plead guilty to a subset of charges that could potentially carry a maximum prison term of 16 years. “What’s remarkable is that he still has this incredible dignity after going through this,” says Michael Ratner, who was in the courtroom during Manning’s appearance. “But I think all these prison conditions, sure, they were angry at Bradley Manning, but in the face of that psychiatric statement, that this guy shouldn’t be kept on suicide risk or POI, they’re still keeping him in inhuman conditions, you can only ask yourself, they’re trying to break him for some reason. The lawyer, David Coombs, has said it’s so that he can give evidence against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.” Ratner is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. [Transcript to come. Check back soon.]