Is Cruel & Unusual punishment ok if your suspect is guilty of treason?

  • Sk8Tex

    Posts: 738

    Mar 16, 2011 4:04 PM GMT
    Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/03/16/kupers.bradley.manning.prison

    (CNN) -- Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned in the Quantico Marine Corps Brig for nine months, suspected of giving highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks. He has not been tried, yet is kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room 23 hours a day and forced to sleep naked without pillows or blankets.

    Human rights groups have condemned his treatment, and even State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke out against it. Crowley has resigned, allegedly under pressure from the Obama administration. Defense officials say Manning is stripped of his clothes nightly to prevent him from committing suicide, yet his civilian lawyer says his client is at no risk.

    The problem with the argument that Manning is being kept in long-term solitary confinement to prevent his suicide is that long-term solitary confinement causes suicide.

    One of the most stunning statistics in criminology today is that, on average, 50% of U.S. prisoner suicides happen among the 2% to 8% of prisoners who are in solitary confinement, also known as segregation. When I tour prisons as I prepare for expert testimony in class-action lawsuits, many prisoners living in isolation tell me they despair of ever being released from solitary.

    And there is an objective basis to their fear: One of the many psychiatric symptoms known to be bred in solitary is mounting anger, plus the dread that losing control of that anger will lead to more disciplinary infractions and a longer stint in segregation. So the prisoner despairs of ever gaining more freedom, and that despair leads to suicide.

    Suicide is merely the tip of the iceberg. Solitary confinement breaks prisoners down and practically guarantees they will never function normally in society again. This explains a troubling rise in the recidivism rate since the advent in the late 1980s of wholesale solitary confinement in "supermaximum"-security prisons.

    Long-term solitary confinement causes many psychiatric symptoms, including mental breakdowns. Even the relatively stable prisoner in segregation experiences mounting anxiety, paranoia, an inability to concentrate, somatic symptoms, despair and anger. But the prisoner prone to emotional disorder falls apart.

    In a 2009 study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 56% of state prisoners reported symptoms consistent with serious mental illness requiring treatment. And we know from much research in criminology that prisoners with serious mental illness are selectively consigned to solitary confinement -- after all, as a group they are not known for their ability to conform to the rules, and in prison, rules pile upon rules.

    The other major stressor leading to suicide or mental breakdown in solitary confinement is the near total lack of contact with loved ones and caring others. Manning's family is in England and cannot visit, and even his visits with his friend, David House, are infrequent or stressful because of the ever-present security precautions that make real connection difficult.

    Visits in supermax prisons are typically problematic. The facilities are far from urban centers, the visitor is put through stringent searches, the visitor and prisoner are separated by an indestructible fiberglass window, and the prisoner is kept in chains, even though he is isolated in a separate and secure room. Many prisoners in these circumstances tell me they discourage visits from their family, including their children, because "I don't want them to see me in chains."

    What goes on in the isolation prison unit is a secret -- unsurprising if visits are discouraged or difficult, and the media is excluded. The government's secrecy about Manning's condition is consistent with the policy on the part of departments of correction to bar the media from interviewing prisoners and to refuse to release information about the use of stun guns and riot guns in solitary confinement units. This kind of secrecy is a necessary precondition for abuse. Indeed, in my investigations of supermaximum-security units around the country, I find unspeakable abuses, including senseless deprivations of clothing and inappropriate beatings.

    Manning is a pretrial detainee. The Constitution requires that innocence be assumed until guilt is proved, and that the defendant in criminal proceedings be provided with the wherewithal to participate in his legal defense.

    The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishment, and repeatedly, U.S. courts have found that overly harsh conditions of isolation and the denial of mental health treatment to a needy prisoner are Eighth Amendment violations. In international circles, for example, according to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (the United States is a signatory), the same violations of human rights are termed torture.

    Clearly, Manning's treatment violates these constitutional guarantees and international prohibitions against torture. Why? Have we permitted our government, under the cloak of security precautions, to set up a secret gulag where conditions known to cause severe psychiatric damage prevail? As a concerned psychiatrist, I strenuously object to this callousness about conditions of confinement that predictably cause such severe harm.

    Before
    PFC-Bradley-Manning.jpg
    After
    Bradley-Manning-Mug-Shot.jpg

    Now I know several people on this site (ironically just the military background folks) wished and pleaded for this guy to be hung, shot, tossed down an elevator shaft, etc.. But is this really how we should treat the only person with balls big enough to tell the truth while the rest of our fucked up govt lies straight to our faces? What exactly are we so proud of here?
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:17 PM GMT
    This is absolutely shameful. I wonder how many people realize that this is the reason that the spokesperson for the US Department of State was forced to resign was because he disagreed with the treatment of Manning (though it was couched in the rationale that he released "classified" information of Manning's treatment):

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/13/state-departments-p-j-crowley-stepping-down/?hpt=T2

    Washington (CNN) – P.J. Crowley abruptly resigned Sunday as State Department spokesman over controversial comments he made about the Bradley Manning case.

    Sources close to the matter said the resignation, first reported by CNN, came under pressure from the White House, where officials were furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks.

    Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials "is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:18 PM GMT
    The penal industry in our Republic is a shambles and a stain upon our nation.

    I am mostly convinced that incarceration in any form is cruel and unusual punishment, both to the offender and to the public (taxpayers) who have to fund the convict's food, water, and shelter.

    I would much rather see corporal punishment such as caning or branding or surgical removal of an offending body part for non-capital crimes, or forced labour/multi-factor restitution for minor misdemeanors.

    And death by lethal injection for capital crimes, and hanging or guillotine for especially notorious capital crimes (especially treason).

    PFC Manning's treatment IMHO amounts to torture.

    He should be subject to a court martial under the UCMJ for whateve articles address treason with the death penalty as a possible sentence..., and disposed of in accordance with whatever verdict the court martial finds.

    Until then, he should be held in a humane manner.
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:25 PM GMT
    And to think that this treatment is going on just 15 miles away from me. When was that second picture taken? I've heard that the human rights groups haven't even been given access to check on his well-being. Did they yet?

    Vic
  • Sk8Tex

    Posts: 738

    Mar 16, 2011 4:45 PM GMT
    wrestlervic saidAnd to think that this treatment is going on just 15 miles away from me. When was that second picture taken? I've heard that the human rights groups haven't even been given access to check on his well-being. Did they yet?

    Vic


    As far as I know he isn't allowed any visitation rights.. and the picture date on the second mugshot im not sure of but the source is newspirates.com which I thought was weird. To me it doesn't even look like him, would be interesting to see if this story ever makes it to mainstream news.
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:48 PM GMT
    Sk8Tex said
    wrestlervic saidAnd to think that this treatment is going on just 15 miles away from me. When was that second picture taken? I've heard that the human rights groups haven't even been given access to check on his well-being. Did they yet?

    Vic


    As far as I know he isn't allowed any visitation rights.. and the picture date on the second mugshot im not sure of but the source is newspirates.com which I thought was weird. To me it doesn't even look like him, would be interesting to see if this story ever makes it to mainstream news.


    The news of PJ Crowley's resignation was widely covered but the reasons behind it were minimized.
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    Mar 16, 2011 6:58 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Sk8Tex said
    wrestlervic saidAnd to think that this treatment is going on just 15 miles away from me. When was that second picture taken? I've heard that the human rights groups haven't even been given access to check on his well-being. Did they yet?

    Vic


    As far as I know he isn't allowed any visitation rights.. and the picture date on the second mugshot im not sure of but the source is newspirates.com which I thought was weird. To me it doesn't even look like him, would be interesting to see if this story ever makes it to mainstream news.


    The news of PJ Crowley's resignation was widely covered but the reasons behind it were minimized.


    Agreed. I think it was bullshit that Crowley resigned.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2929

    Mar 16, 2011 7:55 PM GMT
    Your title says it all: "Is Cruel & Unusual punishment ok if your suspect is guilty of treason? "

    NO punishment is okay if the person is a suspect. We used to believe in this country that a person was innocent until proven guilty. Apparently that doesn't apply any longer. This is an outrage, a very, very sad thing, and it is giving us a huge black eye in the international press.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2929

    Mar 16, 2011 7:57 PM GMT
    would be interesting to see if this story ever makes it to mainstream news.

    No idea about the picture, which doesn't look like him. But this is getting a lot of press in the UK; the Guardian ran an editorial on it a few days back, and the story appeared several times.
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    Mar 16, 2011 8:56 PM GMT
    alphatrigger saidThe penal industry in our Republic is a shambles and a stain upon our nation.

    I am mostly convinced that incarceration in any form is cruel and unusual punishment, both to the offender and to the public (taxpayers) who have to fund the convict's food, water, and shelter.

    I would much rather see corporal punishment such as caning or branding or surgical removal of an offending body part for non-capital crimes, or forced labour/multi-factor restitution for minor misdemeanors.

    And death by lethal injection for capital crimes, and hanging or guillotine for especially notorious capital crimes (especially treason).



    Throw in a few rules about prayer and you have just described Sharia Law.
    icon_eek.gif

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    Mar 16, 2011 10:03 PM GMT
    I have no sympathy for this guy. He's a traitor and put lives at risk. The treatment he has received fits the crime he has been accused of.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 16, 2011 10:08 PM GMT
    The military has their own rules.

    Most Republicans assume that a person is guilty until proven innocent.

    All people who are accused of a crime deserve to be treated fairly, humanely, and equally.

    This guy is definitely on the receiving end of cruel an unusual punishment.
    Torturing him is definitely unacceptable treatment.
    This is one reason why military courts are dangerous and usually unfair.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 16, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidI have no sympathy for this guy. He's a traitor and put lives at risk. The treatment he has received fits the crime he has been accused of.



    You're making some pretty broad assumptions.
    Provide evidence that would qualify him as a traitor.
    How did he put lives at risk ?
    Whose lives ?
    He was ACCUSED of a crime, not convicted of a crime.
    All prisoners deserve humane treatment.

    It sounds as if you've been watching too much Faux News...
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    Mar 16, 2011 10:23 PM GMT
    Webster666 said
    catfish5 saidI have no sympathy for this guy. He's a traitor and put lives at risk. The treatment he has received fits the crime he has been accused of.



    You're making some pretty broad assumptions.
    Provide evidence that would qualify him as a traitor.
    How did he put lives at risk ?
    Whose lives ?
    He was ACCUSED of a crime, not convicted of a crime.
    All prisoners deserve humane treatment.

    It sounds as if you've been watching too much Faux News...


    LOL. The names of informants were on the documents he leaked. The informants lives were placed at risk. He's also military. Military doesn't operate under civilian law. Maintaining unit integrity and discipline always takes precedence over the rights of the individual. Due process in a military court is much less strictly defined than in a civilian court. Last, I rarely listen to FAUX News except to listen to what the Right wingers are saying. I typically listen to CNN.
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    Mar 16, 2011 10:27 PM GMT
    Sk8Tex saidIs Cruel & Unusual punishment ok if your suspect is guilty of treason?
    Depends on the circumstances.
    Some classified stuff should not be classified.
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    Mar 17, 2011 11:11 AM GMT
    Upper_Canadian said Throw in a few rules about prayer and you have just described Sharia Law.
    icon_eek.gif


    Sharia law is quite arbitrary and is widely open to interpretation, depending upon if you are male or female, and a few other factors besides.

    Rather, I am talking of making the punishment fit the crime: minor crimes/misdemeanors like petit larceny being met with restitution, simple assault and battery met with a caning, rape met with surgical or chemical castration, and murder met with an automatic death penalty.

    And treason being a particularly heinous offense wherein it endangers the liberty and prosperity of all citizens and residents of the Republic - should be met with no less a dire deterrent than loss of life.
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    Mar 17, 2011 11:43 AM GMT
    Webster666 said
    You're making some pretty broad assumptions.
    Provide evidence that would qualify him as a traitor.
    How did he put lives at risk ?
    Whose lives ?
    He was ACCUSED of a crime, not convicted of a crime.
    All prisoners deserve humane treatment.

    Webster666 saidThe military has their own rules.

    Most Republicans assume that a person is guilty until proven innocent.

    All people who are accused of a crime deserve to be treated fairly, humanely, and equally.

    This guy is definitely on the receiving end of cruel an unusual punishment.
    Torturing him is definitely unacceptable treatment.
    This is one reason why military courts are dangerous and usually unfair.

    It's funny how spot on you can be, and how much we can agree on most of your points, but then you have to throw in the idea about Republicans not believing in innocence until proven guilty (seemingly for no reason other than not allowing an opportunity to slam them pass by) with no studies or even so much as a poll...

    Aside from that, seems spot on. I would also add that the idea that there were lives put at risk is a crock. If there were a single shred of evidence to tie his actions to so much as a single death I guarantee that the government would have had it in the headlines in the blink of an eye. If, after releasing thousands of "classified" documents they can not point to a single case of murder I would argue that it has not really put much (at least in the way of lives) at risk..

    If anything, this whole case has proven that there is a lot of crap stamped "classified" just for the hell of it. Perhaps if they were to classify important crap like nuclear secrets and not half of the garbage that they presently do I could take the idea that releasing "classified" documents is really worthy of being called treason. Releasing that Saudi Arabia has issues with the U.S and Iran and what some official thinks of the French president is pretty mild (and not really worthy of being called a crime.)
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3274

    Mar 17, 2011 12:43 PM GMT
    catfish5 said
    Webster666 said
    catfish5 saidI have no sympathy for this guy. He's a traitor and put lives at risk. The treatment he has received fits the crime he has been accused of.



    You're making some pretty broad assumptions.
    Provide evidence that would qualify him as a traitor.
    How did he put lives at risk ?
    Whose lives ?
    He was ACCUSED of a crime, not convicted of a crime.
    All prisoners deserve humane treatment.

    It sounds as if you've been watching too much Faux News...


    LOL. The names of informants were on the documents he leaked. The informants lives were placed at risk. He's also military. Military doesn't operate under civilian law. Maintaining unit integrity and discipline always takes precedence over the rights of the individual. Due process in a military court is much less strictly defined than in a civilian court. Last, I rarely listen to FAUX News except to listen to what the Right wingers are saying. I typically listen to CNN.



    Agreed. While we talk about all of this, #1 we are at war, #2 he is the military.

    All of those considerations, he should get the same considerations as say a Geneva convention detainee, as far as I am concerned.

    If his lawyer says he is ok, do we think his lawyer is a puppet?

    This CNN so called story doesn't assert itself as news, Its a opinion piece by a author who is opposed to prison conditions.
    I tend to agree with him in a way. But conditions today are supposed to be more humane than the death penalty ........

    We talk about suicide risk, but he is a risk for murder.... alot of countries were put at risk, and there agents by his leak.

    Frankly, I think he was too stupid to realize what he did. He easily could have called a half dozen willing members of congress sympathetic to his view, and did it the right way. But he gave the information to a foreign national that in a rather Godlike fashion use the information as blackmail against his own legal problems.

    If we let Manning out on "bail" he would be dead during the car ride home. So what do you do with him? Guantanamo Bay?