The Suggestibility Of Bradley Manning
I haven't written much about Bradley Manning's treatment in his military brig, since Greenwald has done a great job along with many others who are following the story carefully. There seems to be a lot of controversy over whether or not he is being tortured. In my opinion, locking up someone who has not presented any kind of threat to other prisoners and who has not been convicted of a crime for months on end in solitary confinement under tight restrictions is torture. It's horrible enough to do it someone who has been convicted, but using these techniques on someone you are trying to get to testify against someone else cannot be seen in any other light.
As we well know by now, the line between interrogation and torture has become indistinguishable among far too many people and many of these more suspect interrogation techniques are likely to produce the same kind of false information you get from torture. So one aspect of the Manning story stuck out at me as being pretty damning evidence and that's the fact that he's being awakened every five minutes during the day and if the guards "need" to assure themselves that he's ok, they wake him up at night. Keep in mind that this is a guy who's completely isolated and has no access to anything unauthorized, not even a real blanket and pillow. (Apparently, he's got some strange device that makes him miserable.)
Sleep deprivation is well known to enhance "suggestibility" and is commonly used in interrogations:
A person's suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject's suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental.
There's no evidence that they are using white noise or the drugs mentioned, but it sure sounds as if they employing moderate sleep deprivation to increase "suggestibility." And we know what they are suggesting, don't we?
Months and months of sleep deprivation and isolation cannot be justified for security reasons. This fellow isn't a commando. He isn't a professional spy. He's just some grunt who uploaded some electronic files. The only reasonable explanation for his treatment is that they are trying to get him to implicate someone else in his alleged a crime. And that's the oldest reason for torture in the books. In the old days, they wanted their subjects to implicate Satan. Today it's Julian Assange.
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