During the health care/insurance reform fight, there were things that were commonly referred to as "zombie lies." Those were the Republican lies about the bill that had both no connection to reality, and wouldn't go away (e.g.: ZOMG death panels). After looking through yesterday's diary on the sarcastic comment that resulted in Manning being stripped naked every night and made to stand naked outside his cell every morning, I noticed that the handful of commenters that were most vigorous in their defense of his (mis)treatment seemed to have their own set of these zombie lies.
There were two main categories. The first was based on the assumption that Manning was guilty of all the charges, which justified the treatment.
Especially when you're in a military prison for stealing and leaking information that may have increased the threats already faced by our men in uniform.
A twofer, actually. The first half is missing the "accused of", implicitly skipping ahead to "guilty of". The second half is a worse lie, as back in October, even Gates had to admit that the leaks "compromised no sensitive intelligence sources or practices". If the people making this claim have any evidence to support it, they need to provide it (and provide the DoD with that information).
...accused of treason...
This one is also really common, even from before the latest set of charges (which still do not include treason) were announced. The worst that he is accused of is the somewhat nebulous "aiding the enemy", which is a separate charge from "treason."
Let's look at the charge itself, though:
(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or
(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct.”
Well, (1) obviously doesn't apply. (2) only applies (at best/worst) in the "indirectly" case, but that seems to have its own problems.
The military’s argument thus appears to be this: (1) Manning stole intelligence from the U.S. and gave it to WikiLeaks; (2) WikiLeaks published that intelligence on the internet; (3) the “enemy” accessed or had access to that intelligence, completing the crime of aiding the enemy.
The problem for the military, it seems to me, is that this argument may not satisfy the definition of “indirectly” aiding the enemy. The UCMJ subdivides 104(2) into two separate offences, “giving intelligence to the enemy” and “communicating with the enemy.” Here is the first offence, according to the Manual for Courts Martial:Giving intelligence to the enemy is a particular case of corresponding with the enemy made more serious by the fact that the communication contains intelligence that may be useful to the enemy for any of the many reasons that make information valuable to belligerents. This intelligence may be conveyed by direct or indirect means.
This offence can be committed indirectly, but it clearly contemplates a situation in which the enemy actually received the intelligence, either by directly receiving it from the defendant or by indirectly receiving it through the defendant’s intermediary. Hence the following sample specification in the Manual for Courts Martial:In that __ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board — location), on or about __ 20 _ , without proper authority, knowingly give intelligence to the enemy, by (informing a patrol of the enemy’s forces of the whereabouts of a military patrol of the United States forces) (_).
It is possible that Manning is guilty of this offence, assuming that the military can prove an enemy of the United States did, in fact, access the information released on the internet; again, indirect conveyance is sufficient and the intent to aid is not required. But that might be difficult to prove; does the U.S. government have access to WikiLeaks’ incoming IP addresses?
despite your emotional appeal to use other unpunished wrongs to decry the treatment of another, it isn't relevant.
how many criminals should be set free by the same rational [sic]?
For context, this one is responding to a "Then why was Cheney never prosecuted" comment. It's also technically true. However, pointing out these sorts of contradictions proves the lie that Manning's treatment is really about the leaks. If leaking were the "real" crime being addressed, then it would be consistently applied.
The second category of zombie lie was based around the idea that it was really because the kind, caring brig personnel were really concerned with him harming himself. Since all of them said pretty much the same thing, I'll just leave a selection here:
If they are concerned about him killing himself, this makes sense. Prisoners do whatever they have available to kill themselves, including using their underwear to hang themselves.
The evidence we currently have is that, given Manning's behavior, this was a reasonable step to make. Mental health professionals will tell you to not disregard even sarcastic mentions of suicide. Not all people who mention suicide will actually attempt to commit suicide, but it's not something that one can reasonably disregard.
since they should try to ensure that a potentially suicidal person can't kill themselves, it's easily explainable! But the lawyer LIED and said that it was "inexplicable". That's one thing we know. Another thing we know, other evidence we have, is that he suggested that if he wanted to kill himself, he had the means already at his fingertips. If you ask any mental health professional, they'll explain to you that ANY comment like that has to be taken as a potential threat that might be carried out.
If you ask any mental health professional, any mention of suicide should be taken as a sign that a suicide attempt might be imminent.
The commander isn't going to take any chances with his star prisoner committing suicide.
I'd just like to draw attention the the fact that they're all referring to Manning as "potentially suicidal." Got it? Good.
Quoting Mannng's lawyer's blog postfrom a few days ago...
On Wednesday March 2, 2011, PFC Manning was told that his Article 138 complaint requesting that he be removed from Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury (POI) Watch had been denied by the Quantico commander, Colonel Daniel J. Choike. Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring over seven months of unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning inquired of the Brig operations officer what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from Maximum custody and POI. As even Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated, PFC Manning has been nothing short of "exemplary" as a detainee. Additionally, Brig forensic psychiatrists have consistently maintained that there is no mental health justification for the POI Watch imposed on PFC Manning. In response to PFC Manning's question, he was told that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm. PFC Manning then remarked that the POI restrictions were "absurd" and sarcastically stated that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.
Without consulting any Brig mental health provider, Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used PFC's Manning's sarcastic quip as justification to increase the restrictions imposed upon him under the guise of being concerned that PFC Manning was a suicide risk. PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk Watch. This is because Suicide Risk Watch would have required a Brig mental health provider's recommendation, which the Brig commander did not have. In response to this specific incident, the Brig psychiatrist assessed PFC Manning as "low risk and requiring only routine outpatient followup [with] no need for ... closer clinical observation." In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning's statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by "a psychiatric condition."
While the commander needed the Brig psychiatrist's recommendation to place PFC Manning on Suicide Risk Watch, no such recommendation was needed in order to increase his restrictions under POI Watch. The conditions of POI Watch require only psychiatric input, but ultimately remain the decision of the commander.
Let's look at that again. The Pentagon admits that he's been an "exemplary" detainee. The brig's psychiatrists have said that there is no justification for the POI watch, which the brig commander insists on keeping in place. The additional restrictions were placed without consulting any of the psychiatrists. Despite claiming that he is a suicide risk, he has not been evaluated for a suicide risk watch. In response to this incident the brig's psychiatrist assessed him as low risk, and that the comment was not a risk. Not to mention the additional absurdity, that at night, when they strip him naked due to supposed "safety concerns", they give him tear-resistant blankets. I can't see any reason why anyone would doubt the motives of the brig personnel, can you?
Then there were a couple that seemed pervasive, but weren't part of the previous two, falling into the "claimant made no attempts to provide evidence when asked" category, and I include them in the off chance that they'll put their proverbial money where their mouths are.
And he also knows that the 3 other times that Manning was under a suicide watch, rather than simply under a POI, he was also stripped naked at night, and so on those occasions, he also had to get up at 5 AM and stand at attention in his doorway naked. Yet he never complained about that in the past - it suddenly became an issue now.
Under a suicide watch, a detainee only gets his boxers during the day - no other clothing - and at night, sleeps naked.
And finally, in the "how on Earth can you make this argument with a straight face?" category...
But he hasn't been held in solitary confinement - how is it possible that you think you know enough about this case to comment upon it, yet you don't know that he's not being held in solitary confinement?
I'll be a little blunter than I usually am in the response to this one. This is, maybe not THE stupidest, but definitely one of the stupidest things I've ever read here. It's a claim that could only be made by someone who has no idea whatsoever of what solitary is, and has no problems at all clearly demonstrating that ignorance. Solitary confinement is the term for holding conditions where a prisoner is not allowed to have physical interaction with individuals other than, perhaps, prison staff. Manning spends 23 hours a day alone in a cell. He is let out for 1 hour a day for exercise (he cannot do anything other than walk), with no non-staff interactions. He's allowed one one-hour visit per week. It's idiotic to pretend that that isn't solitary confinement.
This is the same lawyer that in August demanded a mental health evaluation that should have taken 6 weeks after starting in October. Somehow that 6 weeks has come and gone, and now they're saying that it'll take another 2 weeks from now! That means that the review and evaluation will have taken almost 6 months instead of 6 weeks - that too should give you some pause, and tell you that Manning's mental health status is being looked at closely! (emphasis added)
Something that was supposed to take 6 weeks has been dragged out to 6 months, and it's a sign that it's being looked at seriously? Are you f*king kidding me?
I'm sure there are others. Anyone have anything they want to add to the list?