By Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Olbermann
“So if [Leon Panetta] is trying to remind us of the lying and the cheating, which I participated in, in the previous Administration, more power to him.” ~Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former State Dept. Chief of Staff, on Leon Panetta’s latest lie to the troops that we invaded Iraq because of WMDs and 9/11.
In addition to the propaganda, Col. Wilkerson discusses the unconscionable treatment of Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
Bradley Manning visit refusals “break UN rules”
By Gladkov Vladimir
Voice of Russia
The case of Bradley Manning still haunts the American government despite the transfer of the Army private to a military prison with less strict conditions. Juan Mendez – the UN’s chief torture investigator – accuses the US of violating international rules by refusing him an unmonitored access to the prisoner. The UN is still eager to investigate the details of Manning’s detention at Marine Corps Base Quantico and this could become a serious problem for the White House, especially on the eve of upcoming elections.
The questionable decision to treat Bradley Manning in the same way as the most dangerous world terrorists is still hard to explain. Manning – an intelligence analyst, accused of passing hundreds of thousands secret military and diplomatic US documents to the WikiLeaks, was placed under unreasonably severe conditions at Quantico Facility. According to his advocates he was held in a tiny cell with no windows, forbidden to communicate with other prisoners and exercise, put on antidepressants and forced to sleep naked. The Pentagon tried to explain the measures by Manning’s suicidal tendencies. However such treatment would rather cause suicidal thoughts than prevent them. Even the former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley had to describe Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”. This statement led to the Crowley’s resignation.
Juan Mendez – a UN special rapporteur on torture was seeking an unmonitored meeting with Manning during his Quantico detention, but his claims were refused. Now, after Manning’s transfer to Fort Leavenworth – a military prison with much better conditions, Mendez continues his attempts to visit Manning without military monitoring. However the US military still insists on monitoring all conversations with the prisoner.
The motives of the US officials could be easily explained. According to Mendez himself, his main goal is to determine whether the conditions of Manning’s detention at Quantico amounted to “torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. “For that, it is imperative that I talk to Mr Manning under conditions where I can be assured that he is being absolutely candid,” said Mendez.
It is not hard to guess that American military is not interested in the revelations of such details and would hardly approve the unmonitored conversations. But it also means that the pressure from the UN, liberal politicians and human rights advocates would only escalate, putting the US government into unfavorable position.
This endless scandal could easily damage Obama’s plans for the re-election. The promise to close the Guantanamo prison and deal with the human rights violations of the Bush era became one of the main elements of Obama’s campaign. Now, at the end of his first term, the Guantanamo has not been closed, and the case of Bradley Manning has become a clear demonstration that the prisoners’ rights violations still occur in the US. Obama has already made a serious mistake, speaking at a fundraising event in San Francisco about his position on Manning’s imprisonment.
“That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release… information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … He broke the law.” – said Obama. His statement was immediately used by a group of Manning’s supporters, led by the British politician Ann Clwyd.
It’s “an amazing thing for the president of the United States to comment on when the man hasn’t stood trial yet”, – said Clwyd, -“If there has to be a trial, it should be in public and not a closed military trial.”
With Manning’s case American government designed a perfect trap and managed to walk straight into it. Now, when the international pressure keeps escalating, it is unclear how the White House intends to get out.