As I type these lines, on June 3, 2013, Private First Class Bradley Edward Manning is being tried in a sequestered room at Fort Meade, Maryland, for the alleged crime of telling the truth. The court martial of the most prominent political prisoner in modern US history has now, finally, begun.
It has been three years. Bradley Manning, then 22 years old, was arrested in Baghdad on May 26, 2010. He was shipped to Kuwait, placed into a cage, and kept in the sweltering heat of Camp Arifjan.
"For me, I stopped keeping track," he told the court last November. "I didn't know whether night was day or day was night. And my world became very, very small. It became these cages... I remember thinking I'm going to die."
After protests from his lawyers, Bradley Manning was then transferred to a brig at a US Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA, where - infamously - he was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of his captors - a formal finding by the UN. Isolated in a tiny cell for twenty-three out of twenty-four hours a day, he was deprived of his glasses, sleep, blankets and clothes, and prevented from exercising. All of this - it has been determined by a military judge - "punished" him before he had even stood trial.
"Brad's treatment at Quantico will forever be etched, I believe, in our nation's history, as a disgraceful moment in time" said his lawyer, David Coombs. "Not only was it stupid and counterproductive, it was criminal."
The United States was, in theory, a nation of laws. But it is no longer a nation of laws for Bradley Manning.
TVNL Comment: This is a MUST READ and MUST DISTRIBUTE article. Read it all the way through and wonder what has happened to justice in the United States.