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I'll be very interested to hear how people who argued so long and loud on Daily Kos that there was nothing amiss with Bradley Manning's detention conditions at Quantico will react to this news. Of course, many of them argued that David E. Coombs is not a credible source on Manning's detention conditions, since he is Manning's attorney. If that is your position, then you are free to dismiss the following information as well. However, I am gratified to see that things have improved for Manning.

Before I continue, a disclaimer: this diary is simply to share information about how Bradley Manning's detention conditions have changed. In no way am I arguing in this diary that the essential injustices committed against Manning have been resolved. I'm still suspicious that Manning's 6th Amendment rights are being violated by this long detention. I am not a lawyer, though. David Coombs is; let's hear what he has to say about Manning's detention at Fort Leavenworth.

First, a recap: on April 20th, Bradley Manning was transferred from the Marine brig in Quantico, VA, where he had been held since July 2010, having been transferred there from Kuwait, where he was first arrested. The conditions of his detention at Quantico have been well-covered here at Daily Kos and elsewhere.

Now that Manning is being held at Fort Leavenworth, the conditions of his detention have changed remarkably. According to a blog post by his attorney David Coombs:

Unlike at Quantico, PFC Manning cell has a large window that provides adequate natural light.  His cell also has a desk, a bed, and a toilet.  The cell is approximately 80 square feet.  He is provided with a normal mattress, sheets and a pillow.  None of his clothing is taken away from him at night.  PFC Manning is able to have all of his personal items in his cell, which include his clothing, his legal materials, books and letters from family and friends.  He is also able to have a pen and paper at all times in his cell, and is able to write whenever he chooses.

PFC Manning is housed in a special area of the confinement facility, along with other pre-trial detainees. Each pre-trial area (including PFC Manning’s) has four cells, and each pre-trial detainee is assigned to his own cell.  The cells are connected to a shared common area, with a table, a treadmill, a television and a shower area.

Mr. Coombs also provides a link to an Army website that gives an overview and photos of the facility at Fort Leavenworth where Manning is being held. According to this website (typo in original):

The Special Housing Unit is a multi-floor design with 48 individual cells. The correctional specialist's control panel is located in a secure observation booth. There are four areas of four cells each designated for pretrial prisoners awaiting trial.

This is where Pfc. Bradlwy Manning will be located. The pre-trial living area and daily activities are separate from the general population. Pre-trial prisoners are also segregated from general population prisoners for all meals and recreation.

However, pre-trial prisoners like Manning, are able to interact with each other in a common area just outside their individual cells. Pre-trial prisoners also receive three hours of recreation daily and are able to watch television, read or engage in other personal activities while in their housing unit.

In other words, the conditions of Manning's confinement have shifted to be much more in line with what you'd expect for a pre-trial detainee being held on non-violent charges: he's in medium security, free to interact with other pre-trial detainees every day, with multiple hours of rec time and much more access to common areas than before.

Now, I find this a little jarring, because I learned from so many comments on Daily Kos that Manning clearly was being held in isolation at Quantico because other detainees would harm him for his allegedly treasonous acts. But it seems that the Army does not share this view, as they allow him much more freedom of movement now that he is out of the custody of the Marines.

Also, are we to believe that, after months and months of being held on prevention of injury watch at Quantico, Manning suddenly turned a corner and is no longer a threat to himself? Maybe...but it seems plausible that outside pressure, including from Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the United Nations, may have played a role in vastly improving the conditions of his detention.

On April 29, the New York Times reported in a brief item that a panel of experts has determined that Manning is competent to stand trial. Per this report, no date has been set yet, but this may show that some forward progress on his trial will come soon.

I am glad that Manning's detention conditions have improved, and I am hopeful that he will go to trial soon. However, we still need answers: why was he held at Quantico under such deplorable conditions for so long? If he really was a threat to himself or otherwise merited the treatment he received at Quantico, why all of the sudden could his detention conditions change so dramatically? Why is the Army still refusing to answer questions from the UN, and why can't Congressman Kucinich visit?

Originally posted to Lost Left Coaster on Wed May 04, 2011 at 08:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by oo, The Amateur Left, Inherent Human Rights, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Anyone else find it somehow impossible... (0+ / 0-)

      that he could've been recently 'moved from solitary confinement' if 'he wasn't in solitary' as so many of our ardent defenders of authority here at DKos were fond of telling us?

      More and Better Democrats

      by SJerseyIndy on Wed May 04, 2011 at 11:05:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And I thought (19+ / 0-)

    he needed to be in the brutal conditions because he was a threat to himself? Clearly, almost a year in solitary improved his mental health.

    Thank you PJ Crowley, Amnesty, Firedoglake, and everyone else who helped to shine a spotlight on his treatment. This is a victory. Now if only the government would give him a fair trial and stop the persecution of WikiLeaks.

  •  Manning may be too crazy now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, stolen water, Nulwee, Tookish

    . . . to assist in his own defense or profit by the changed condition.

    If I were that long isolated and naked, I would tear my own throat out with my fingernails. I would be mentally gone.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed May 04, 2011 at 09:13:30 AM PDT

  •  I recall reading this exact excuse last week: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lost Left Coaster, glitterscale
    Also, are we to believe that, after months and months of being held on prevention of injury watch at Quantico, Manning suddenly turned a corner and is no longer a threat to himself?

    The line of thinking was, "Well of course they moved him to Ft. Leavenworth because brig psychiatrists did an evaluation of him and they found him incompetent to stand trial."  The logic therefore goes that Manning was a threat to himself or driven crazy enough to be incompetent to stand trial while in Quantico, so they moved him, and in just a matter of days, he's become sane again.  Never mind that brig personnel completed a medical and mental evaluation of him only two days after moving and found him fit to stand trial.

    •  maybe this "threat against himself" argument (0+ / 0-)

      by the military can inadvertently end up helping manning in the end. a lawyer can try to argue manning was unstable even before he got to the brig (though detention made it worse,) therefore he should be awarded leniency or claim it as mitigating circumstances because he was mentally unstable when he leaked those documents.

      or something along those lines.

      dictators & plutocracies are the biggest terrorists of them all. ...

      by stolen water on Wed May 04, 2011 at 09:32:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  dunno about that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stolen water, Lost Left Coaster

        If he were mentally unstable, then naturally, he would probably have to be locked away from other prisoners because he would be a threat to them or himself.  That's obviously not what they're doing at Ft. Leavenworth.  The Quantico brig psychiatrists said repeatedly that he shouldn't have been put on POI watch, so I don't think they could or even necessarily should go that route.

  •  a notion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    that occurred to me but one that's probably entirely too cynical; obama knew the bin laden mission was in the works before manning was moved. now that bin laden is dead, obama doesn't need to bend over backwards to prove how tough he is.  

    wonder in what other ways having bin laden executed won obama political capital.

    dictators & plutocracies are the biggest terrorists of them all. ...

    by stolen water on Wed May 04, 2011 at 09:22:52 AM PDT

  •  Something To Consider (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone who makes any claim other than Manning is a hero for exposing the lies of our Government should not be on DailyKos.

    •  I wouldn't go so far (8+ / 0-)

      to say that people who don't consider Manning a hero "should not be on Daily Kos."  I welcome a range of opinions, even ones that conflict with my own.

      For my part, I think that whistleblowing and exposing war crimes are honorable and admirable things to do, and if Manning was indeed the source that brought the vast trove of WikiLeaks documents to light, then I would consider that heroic.  But I'm not going to say that others who disagree cannot post here.

      Besides, even those who don't think Manning is a hero can still object to how he's been treated by our justice system.

      •  I Welcome A Range of Opinions Too (0+ / 0-)

        But that range has its own boundaries.

        That women exist SOLELY for the creation of men is an opinion, one that has many proponents, scholarly work, and cultural history behind it, yet I would not never honor this opinion as valid or worthy of consideration.

        I will also not honor an opinion that is anything less of glowing, effusive praise for telling the truth and standing up to established power. If I did I'd be a conservative.

        •  I'm not saying.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DianeNYS, bluelaser2

          that you have to take all opinions seriously.  Some are more worthy of respect than others.  Some are worthy of no respect at all.  Having said that, I still wouldn't advocate that people who don't view Manning as a hero shouldn't be allowed on Daily Kos.  As I said, one need not necessarily view him as a hero to stand up for his civil liberties.  And, of course, there's always the possibility that they could later change their minds.

          Besides, those who don't think he's a hero might be wrong, but I'd rather see the opinion aired rather than suppressed, even if only to get a glimpse of how often it's voiced on the comment boards.

          •  Consider This: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade

            There is a large group of Kossacks that advocate banning people / HRing people for saying anything nice about the greens, for advocating the primarying of bad Democrats, for being 'anti-Obama' and a whole litany of other 'offenses' which apparently run antithetical to the this site's mission. In fact this same group loves to pile onto diaries al-la the Digg conservatives to ban people who are not effusively loyal enough to the Democratic party.

            Now if they want to play that way, then I think it is only fair to hoist them by their own petard and ban them for things which ARE objectionable, for things which ARE morally repugnant.

            Manning is a whistle-blower, a patriot, and a hero for generations of young people. Any dissent from this - no matter how well reasoned - is morally abominable because it is an attempt to shield wrong doing by our Government which is acting in OUR NAME, from the eyes of justice.

            I feel that is a much better reason for censorship than blind worship of the Democratic party.

    •  There've always been (4+ / 0-)

      Ellsberg Democrats and authoritarian Democrats: the latter group increases considerably in number when a Democrat is in the White House.

      •  i wonder if identity politics was at play (0+ / 0-)

        when clinton was president.

        dictators & plutocracies are the biggest terrorists of them all. ...

        by stolen water on Wed May 04, 2011 at 09:42:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We had the DLC remember? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stolen water

          Pushing for "centrist" views (which was really code for "Let's go back to being racists!"

          All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. Mohandas Gandhi

          by glitterscale on Wed May 04, 2011 at 11:43:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  lol (0+ / 0-)

            dictators & plutocracies are the biggest terrorists of them all. ...

            by stolen water on Wed May 04, 2011 at 04:02:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We still have them (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            glitterscale

            they are in their present incarnation called The Third Way. Obama's administration is chock full of them along with another odious think tank that passes themselves off ass moderate The Hamilton Project. what they are is the Democratic version of The Hertage Foundation and the neocon PNAC all framed up as moderate and centrist the third way no ideology of right left or democratic governance just corporate free market neocon fundies from both parties.  We've now got a new CIA director who reflects this. The DLC on by-partisan steroids.    

    •  I considered it (5+ / 0-)

      And I found your opinion unacceptable.

      You're rather new to Daily Kos, judging from your UID number.  May I make a suggestion?  Stick around awhile and get to know the place before you try to suggest banning people because they disagree with you.

    •  I don't mind the big tent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, opoponax

      at Daily Kos. I welcome debate. But I am firm in my convictions regarding Bradley Manning, and I think it is important to share this information and argue this side of the story with anyone who will listen, here at Daily Kos and elsewhere.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Wed May 04, 2011 at 09:52:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are you to say (0+ / 0-)

      who should be here and who should not ?

      anyone should be here who is reasonably respectful of other people, regardless of their opinions and positions.

      Out of my cold dead hands

      by bluelaser2 on Wed May 04, 2011 at 10:42:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Glad to hear this (10+ / 0-)

    and I am glad that a robust public response produced a result. That is encouraging.

    A few things though:

    First, it took a HELL of a lot to get to this point.  Some three hundred lawyers, some of them prominent law professors, had to object strongly in writing in order to budge this administration.

    Second, the protests didn't look good for someone who is gearing up a reelection campaign.

    Third, this took way too long.  We don't know how much permanent damage has been done.

    Fourth, why did they have to move him to Kansas in order to give him fair treatment, treatment that he is entitled to under the law?  I do hope that this isn't just for show, and that he is not now out of sight, out of mind.

    Fifth, he was arrested almost a year ago, last May.  How about a trial?

  •  It shows that public activism (4+ / 0-)

    works, and so does getting into the President's face at campaign events and protesting at the WH.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Wed May 04, 2011 at 10:38:16 AM PDT

  •  Republished to my group. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lost Left Coaster

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Wed May 04, 2011 at 10:38:31 AM PDT

  •  Obama is a crafty SOB (0+ / 0-)

    He will never admit he is/was wrong, but the man learns and learns fast.  Manning was a becoming a millstone, way more trouble  than treating him badly he was worth, and within a few weeks, lo, the problem is solved.

    I'm not in love with the fact that he is still basically a very conservative man, but he makes it very hard not to respect him.  

    His utter pounding of the GOP last week, plust the total destruction of Trump, is just another demonstration that you just can't take him lightly.    

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Wed May 04, 2011 at 10:41:10 AM PDT

    •  when will the learning kick in about Indefinite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      Detention ? Or Rendition? Or quashing the prosecution of torturers ?
      I think the results of Sen. Levin's report about the massive fraud committed by the top firms on Looters Row should spark some learning,... if one is listening.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Wed May 04, 2011 at 12:39:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Killing OBL (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        is worrisome to me as it has stirred up the nationalist ugly side of Americans, revived the Shock and Awe and USA, we kicked some Muslim butt, bolstered the war on terra and generally gave credence to the national security state.  The vengeful 'patriotic' malaise of run amok nationalism and cruelty, makes it hard to imagine that this administration has any intention of not continuing down this road. I find it hard to be a Democrat under these terms.  

        I think they listen but could give a rats ass about the people who are democratic, there are enough authoritarian loving testosterone driven violent types along with Democratic free market idiots to keep them in power. Really depressed these days but hey...... I am still a democrat and a lefty and there are still a lot of us around but we ave no representation no access, no cohesive movement.  We're as redundant as the civil and human rights they seek to abolish,  in DC, we give aid to 'the enemies of the state'.

         Bradly Manning is the lesson we should all learn, this is what happens to those who try and challenge this sick nasty reality. I guess were not supposed to notice that the real criminals and their crimes against humanity and abuses of power are not only walking around free but that their 'policies' and agenda are being built on for our 'winning the future' . Not a future that I can support, here or globally.            

  •  Has his friend be able to visit him? KS (0+ / 0-)

    is a long way from VA.

    All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. Mohandas Gandhi

    by glitterscale on Wed May 04, 2011 at 04:20:05 PM PDT

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