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Feb-21-2013 11:00printcomments

Solitary Confinement: a Day in the Life of Bradley Manning

After 1,000 days in prison, shocking new material reveals full extent of state-sanctioned brutality toward Private First Class Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning
Members of Anonymous carry image of Bradley Manning

(WASHINGTON DC) - Charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 with aiding the enemy, Private First Class Bradley Manning faces life imprisonment for allegedly leaking classified government documents, including the infamous "Collateral Murder" gunsight video to WikiLeaks. Around the world, the act of one man urges us to ask: Do we have the right to know what our government is doing?

February 23rd, 2013 marks 25-year-old Bradley Manning's 1000th day of pretrial detention. For one year of his nearly three without trial, Manning had been kept in solitary confinement, despite Quantico Brig and independent psychiatrist testimonies saying he posed NO suicide risk.

To draw attention to and investigate The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower (Verso Books, April 23, 2013), Chase Madar presents a riveting account of Manning's imprisonment, including exclusive never-before-revealed material in a no-holds-barred analysis of the punitive secrecy regime the US government imposes on the world. In The Passion of Bradley Manning, Madar shows numerous cases of whistleblowers being inappropriately pathologized; their governments refusing to consider noble political motives, no matter how overt and obvious. In Manning's case, the focus has been on his sexuality as well as his emotional, psychiatric and pharmacological state.

In March 2011, State Department spokesperson P. J. Crowley condemned Manning's treatment as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." Two days later he resigned. After a 14-month investigation into the treatment of Manning, UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, concluding that "imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence."

Few doubt Manning's treatment is designed to serve as a warning to other prospective whistleblowers. It has also been used to try to break him in the hopes of crushing his spirit sufficiently enough to force him to implicate Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in espionage charges. If this were done to a US soldier held captive in North Korea or Iran, no one would hesitate to call it torture.

The military's ongoing, harsh and inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning at Quantico Brig joins Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as emblems of Washington's post-9/11 sadism and military dishonor.


Solitary confinement: a day in the life of Bradley Manning

(as described by his attorney)

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length. The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet. The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning. Given the nature of their job, however, they do not engage in conversation with PFC Manning.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up. Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

He cannot see other inmates from his cell. He can occasionally hear other inmates talk. Currently, there are no other inmates near his cell.

He is allowed to receive letters from those on his approved list and from his legal counsel. If he receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.

Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch: PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

He receives each of his meals in his cell.

He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets.

He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.

He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell.

The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.

He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push- ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

He does receive one hour of "exercise" outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in theroom for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no longer feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.

In March 2011, they began stripping Manning naked, depriving him of his glasses as well. 


CHASE MADAR is available for interview and comment.

THE PASSION OF BRADLEY MANNING will be published by Verso Books on April 23, 2013. For interviews, review copies, excerpts or to commission opEds, contact Jessica Turner / 718.246.8160

CHASE MADAR is a civil rights attorney, and a Contributing Editor at the American Conservative. He reports and reviews for the London Review of Books, Le Monde diplomatique, CounterPunch, Al Jazeera, and the TLS.

The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the WikiLeaks Whistleblower by Chase Madar


Publication date: 23rd April 2013


Paperback / 256 pages /$14.95

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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christine February 24, 2013 5:56 am (Pacific time)

sorry for being a nitpicker but Bradley is 25 Years old

Editor: Thank you very much, accuracy is key.

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