The Very Serious People at the NTimes and the Washington Post haven’t mentioned Bradley Manning since reporting last week that his lawyer was protesting the increasingly punitive conditions of his incarceration. So I have to agree with Glenn “Too Many Words” Greenwald:
The real purpose of this Quantico episode seems clearly to be to deny Manning his only real visitor, thus making his already hellish solitary confinement that much more unbearable, in turn increasing the likelihood that it will crack him and thus induce the anti-WikiLeaks testimony from him that they need. But it’s also critical to note that the last time House went to visit Manning was in December, and afterward, he went on MSNBC to describe the deterioration of Manning’s physical and mental condition; now he’s been banned, at least for today, from seeing Manning again:
Greenwald further linked to Juan Cole’s “Bradley Manning and Mohamed Bouazizi” (do click over, it’s worth reading in full):
… Manning’s treatment as though he were a terrorist contrasts to the lionization of other kinds of dissident. If it is true that Manning turned State Department documents over to Wikileaks, then he played a small role in the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution, which overthrew the brutal and grasping dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whom the US government had been coddling and the French government actively supporting. Ben Ali’s cruelty to political prisoners is now emerging, as they are being released and telling their story.
Desperation at the policies of the Tunisian government had driven college graduate turned vegetable peddler Mohammad Bouazizi to set himself on fire in protest. The government had supplied him no job, then had confiscated his vegetable cart, then slapped and humiliated him when he protested. Bouazizi was driven to desperation, knowing that the Tunisian system was closed so tight that it offered him no recourse, no hope for reform. His only means of protest was to start a fire and sacrifice his own life. His protest set off public disturbances throughout the country. In the midst of this “Jasmine Revolution,” a leaked US embassy cable about the corruption of President Ben Ali came to the attention of the Tunisian public, lending legitimacy and urgency to their efforts to unseat him. It may have been leaked by Manning.
And as probably the oldest front-pager here, may I add that I find the cheap cynicism of “what do you expect from someone like Hamsher” and “yes, but the authorities were totally within their rights technically” a disgrace to (at the very least) the civics training of the rising generations.
“America — arguably no worse than the average soviet kleptocracy or banana republic!” is not the kind of patriotic rallying cry I have been taught to respect for the last fifty years.