Whistleblower Bradley Manning: “I thought I was going to die in a cage.” (Democracy Now!)

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.]

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4 Responses

  1. Two things need to be said about Bradley Manning. The first is that he is not a “whistleblower.” Whistleblowers by definition reveal evidence to uncover particular government, coporate, or nonprofit malfeasance, illegal activity, or other egregiously unsavory activity. Manning simply downloaded hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents without even knowing what was in them, and then gave them to Wikileaks. Wikileaks then posted them on the web. Manning knew he was violating the trust placed in him by virtue of the position he held, and he willingly violated that trust, but he was not a whistleblower.

    The second thing to be said is that his statement: “I thought i was going to die in a cage,” sounds like self-serving hyperbole one would expect him to say, upon the advice of his attorney. To listen to Manning and his attorney, one would think he came face to face with Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition.

    • Bradley Manning is a whistleblower. Important evidence on the Baghdad murder of the Reuters journalist and several kids, the Collateral Murder video, as well as documents related to the Ishaqi massacre are enough to qualify him for that status, if he is indeed proven to have leaked them. A traitor or spy would have sold the information to foreign governments, Manning is accused of leaking them to journalists.

  2. Maybe that “whistleblower” definition comes out of the same lexicon as “Unlawful Enema Combatants (UECs)”?

    Since it appears that the migration and morphing of the meaning of words and the coining and advent of neologisms like “UECs” is (double-standard) fair play for the apologists for power and the generators of the Narrative and other propaganda? And since so many people consider Manning, who was apparently aware of some of the God-awful hypocritical fraudulent illegal-acts smoke-blowing content of what he is charged with passing along to WikiLeaks and as many have noted, that included a lot of really ugly stuff that blows holes in the Myth Curtain that obscures what’s really going on, to be a “whistleblower?” And since the Players don’t yet have the ability to “1984”-compel all of us to toe some dogmatic lexical line?

    We all know that the Game is supposed to be conducted in a double-blind secret-room partitioned maze, to be sure that the beneficiaries of the “kindnesses” and “protections” granted by the Experienced players to the mopes who slave-labor-fund and cannon-fodderize the Energized Multilevel Paraphasic Networked Playspace do not see the real nature of all the banal and venal and stupid and evil that’s done with their wealth and “in their names” and, well, TO them. So that dreck does not get exposed to the light of day and critical thought and comment.

    Far as I can see, he performed a necessary service. And is taking far more than his share of lumps for it.

  3. Mike, if you read up on it a little bit, you’ll discover that Manning is most famous for releasing to the public the cockpit video of our guys shooting civilians for the fun of it. That fulfills your definition of whistle-blowing.

    He was selective with his material, so a lot of naughty little things we’ve been doing came to light. Documents that he released are credited with setting off the Arab Spring. You might want to read up on that.

    He spent almost a year in conditions designed to destroy his mind. Endless solitary turns a person into a vegetable after nine months. Add to that having his sleep interrupted every five minutes, and you have an example of torture. Add to that being forced to sleep naked and stand at attention naked in the morning. He was being punished.

    He came face to face with the gonzo commander of one of the nation’s toughest military brigs.

    It always helps to read up on these things.

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