Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Will You Please Stop Whinging About Bradley Manning

Because it shows a degree of selective concern that is as hypocritical as it is nauseating.

Manning in Shackles

(2011) Six by Twelve

For over six months Bradley Manning has spent twenty three hours a day in solitary confinement in a six by 12 foot cell, under unrelenting lights, with neither pillow nor sheet, waiting to be tried. Is the U.S. government attempting to compel Manning to make possible false confessions that would implicate Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? Truthout


(2006) Video Is a Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation

“Today is May 21,” a naval official declared to a camera videotaping the event. “Right now we’re ready to do a root canal treatment on Jose Padilla, our enemy combatant.”

Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103. They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr. Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.

Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall to his root canal.

The videotape of that trip to the dentist, which was recently released to Mr. Padilla’s lawyers and viewed by The New York Times, offers the first concrete glimpse inside the secretive military incarceration of an American citizen whose detention without charges became a test case of President Bush’s powers in the fight against terror. Still frames from the videotape were posted in Mr. Padilla’s electronic court file late Friday. More NYT

Eastern State Penitentiary was the world's first true Penitentiary. In order to encourage penitence - or true regret - in the hearts of criminals, inmates would spend their entire sentence in solitary confinement. On the rare occasion when an inmate left his cell, a hood was placed over his head to ensure his identity would remain anonymous. Ideally, no inmate would ever see the face of another inmate.


(2008) Torture in Our Own Backyards: The Fight Against Supermax Prisons
Imagine living in an 8-by-12 prison cell, in solitary confinement, for eight years straight. Your entire world consists of a dank, cinder block room with a narrow *window* only three inches high, opening up to an outdoor cement cage, cynically dubbed, "the yard." If you're lucky, you spend one hour five days a week in that outdoor cage, where you gaze up through a wire mesh roof and hope for a glimpse of the sun. If you talk back to the guards or act out in any way, you might only venture outside one precious hour per week.

You go eight years without shaking a hand or experiencing any physical human contact. The prison guards bark orders and touch you only while wearing leather gloves, and then it's only to put you in full cuffs and shackles before escorting you to the cold showers, where they watch your every move. Hard Hard Time: Supermax Linked


Timothy Earl, Jan 3, 2011 (Comment Truthout)

The mind boggling thing (which has yet to be written about with much fervor for change is the general use of solitary confinement as punishment in American jails and prisons. It's commonplace. Every inmate entering every county facility in the United States is immediately placed in solitary cofinement, whenever the county is wealthy enough to own facilities, or unlucky enough to have politicians who support these mainstream capital initiatives on thecounty level.

When you get to the state penitentiary, it's just the same. Solitary confinement while they decide where to send you. If it is brutal for a month, it is brutal for a day. Its use is unconsidered. Because solitary is so expensive, they typicallly double bunk any intake cell you occupy, but just because you're in the county lockup doesn't mean you won't spend all of that time in administrative segregation -- the phrase used for the practice of solitary confinement.

Just be a problem of any kind at all. Object to having to recite your prescriptions for the jail nurse while in full hearing of every random inmate in the lockup with you. What stalker knows all that shit about you now? So they double bunk. Whenever "possible." That often means you're alone in a cell 23 hours a day with a cellie who pisses and shits feet from your body whenver he must, making your relationship difficult to begin with. Give further the fact that one of the two of you at least is likely to have some sort of chemical dependency, and you've got a truly dangerous and unhelpful situation happening in social isolation.

One pervert and one check dropper in an 8 by 10. Try it. That's how we do ALL the untried people we incarcerate in the United States, often times including children adjudicated as adults or not. It's awful, and the terrible truth is that while privatization also blooms on the deadly jailhouse flower, we hear no outstanding voices on the issue at all. Manning's circumstances are hardly exclusive to him. Thanks

Related: Supermax.com

Footnote: The first step to resolving many of the problems that beset the department of corrections, would be to stop throwing people into jail for smallest of misdemeanours. Effectively reducing the prison population by half I wouldn't wonder. Then to use some of the forty billion dollar budget to educate both inmates and guards.

How likely a remedy of this nature? Read for yourself what happened to California's Proposition Five.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is an outrage that soldiers who killed innocents remain free but the man who exposed them is accused of 'aiding the enemy'