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This Christmas my thoughts are with Bradley Manning.


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"Ever since, the harsh conditions of Manning's imprisonment – untried and unconvicted – have been causing growing concern, culminating in Hillary Clinton's spokesman Philip Crowley telling a Boston seminar audience at the weekend: "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence." He was promptly forced to resign.


House too feels the displeasure of the US military when he pulls up at the Quantico guardhouse: "Recently it's become really hard. The brig seems to have done playing nice. I have to pull over. They ask for ID, and radio ahead. They pop the trunk, these guys with shotguns. Then I have to wait sometimes 20 minutes for an escort. Two black SUVs arrive and they take you into the base, for two or three miles, very slowly with police lights going. It nowadays takes about 30 minutes."


Manning is allowed visits only on Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the week he is kept in his cell 23 hours a day, fed a daily diet of antidepressant pills, forbidden to exercise in his cell, and forcibly woken if he attempts to sleep in the daytime. He is continually subject to what is called "maximum custody", and also to a so-called "prevention of injury" order, which among other things, deprives him of his clothes at night and also of normal sheets and bedding in favour of a blanket he describes as being like the lead apron used when operating x-ray machines. He is allowed no personal possessions."


Problems increased after a small demonstration at the Quantico gates. He was then abruptly placed on a further "suicide watch". He wrote in a letter of protest, submitted by his lawyer, a reserve lieutenant colonel in the military: "I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness." He writes: "I became upset. Out of frustration, I clenched my hair with my fingers and yelled: 'Why are you doing this to me? Why am I being punished? I have done nothing wrong.'"


The suicide watch was lifted after protests, but following the refusal of an appeal to downgrade his status to that of a normal prisoner, more indignities appear to have been invented. Manning says he made the mistake of saying sarcastically that he could no doubt harm himself with the elastic of his boxer shorts at night. The shorts were then taken away and he was made to parade naked.


Having arrived under escort at the 20ft razor-wire fence surrounding the squat one-storey building housing the brig, House is searched and required to hand over all his own possessions. "They take your cellphone, your pens, your IDs." He points to his bracelet, made of looped black parachute cord. "They take this bracelet and everything except the clothes off your back. They wand you and you go into the waiting area – and they call lockdown in the brig and I can hear all these hydraulic doors shutting way in the back. It goes really quiet for a while – and then you hear chains . . .


"You can hear Bradley coming from a long way away because of the chains – his feet have chains on them, they go to a leather belt around his waist. His hands go into them and he has no free movement of his hands."



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may be harsh and yes its bad the way that he's been treated but, in effect what he has done is treason.

he used his position of power to leak information.

he's lucky to have not received the death penalty.


and i'd imagine with how blindly patriotic america is, many would see this as betrayal of the highest order. a soldier who abused his position and betrayed the oaths he made when becoming a member of the armed forces

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