WikiLeaks Suspect Faces Long Stay in Pretrial Solitary Confinement

by | July 31, 2010

“The Army private charged with leaking an airstrike video and downloading documents remained in solitary confinement Saturday,” according to CNN. “Military officials told CNN that Pfc. Bradley Manning is also the prime suspect in the latest leak of documents to the WikiLeaks website.”

The 22-year old military intelligence analyst was arrested in Iraq in May for leaking the video, and has been held in military detention in Kuwait. On Thursday he was transferred from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico Brig in Quantico, Virginia. There, according to a military spokesperson, Manning “was routinely processed…The suspect is in solitary confinement and is being observed in accordance with normal operating procedures.”

“Manning remains in pretrial confinement pending an Article 32 investigation into the charges preferred against him on July 5. Manning was transferred because of the potential for lengthy continued pretrial confinement given the complexity of the charges and ongoing investigation,” a spokesman for the military said in an email to reporters. As CNN reports:

Manning’s legal future is complex. He has already been charged with leaking a 2007 airstrike video and downloading documents from classified military systems. And he is suspected in the latest leak of thousands of Afghanistan field reports to the Wikileaks.org website…

Manning could go before a military judge in August in Washington, but given the complexity of the case it could likely be delayed, the military official said. Investigators are gathering evidence on the initial charges, which they will present to a military judge who will approve a court martial if the case adds up, the military official said.

What all this strongly suggests is that Bradley Manning can look forward to a long period in solitary confinement before he is convicted of any crime. Considering the charges, it would be surprising if he were not also subjected to severe restrictions on his communications with the outside world and even his family, along the lines of the Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, that have been widely used (and abused) against terrorism suspects. Complete isolation will be key to silencing this man who knew too much, and who shared what he knew with the American public.

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Jean Casella and James Ridgeway

James Ridgeway (1936-2021) was the founder and co-director of Solitary Watch. An investigative journalist for over 60 years, he served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice and Mother Jones, reporting domestically on subjects ranging from electoral politics to corporate malfeasance to the rise of the racist far-right, and abroad from Central America, Northern Ireland, Eastern Europe, Haiti, and the former Yugoslavia. Earlier, he wrote for The New Republic and Ramparts, and his work appeared in dozens of other publications. He was the co-director of two films and author of 20 books, including a forthcoming posthumous edition of his groundbreaking 1991 work on the far right, Blood in the Face. Jean Casella is the director of Solitary Watch. She has also published work in The Guardian, The Nation, and Mother Jones, and is co-editor of the book Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement. She has received a Soros Justice Media Fellowship and an Alicia Patterson Fellowship. She tweets @solitarywatch.

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