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Sat Aug 10, 2019, 06:49 PM

Remember when putting Chelsea Manning on suicide watch was "torture"


Anyone else old enough to remember that the worst thing you can do to someone who has shown a tendency or interest in suicide, is to put them on suicide watch?


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Reply Remember when putting Chelsea Manning on suicide watch was "torture" (Original post)
jberryhill Aug 2019 OP
hlthe2b Aug 2019 #1

Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Sat Aug 10, 2019, 07:03 PM

1. Unless you have reason to question this wiki summary of her detention, I take it as counter argument

Her treatment was extreme and not only because of the suicide precautions:

Detention
While in Kuwait, Manning was placed on suicide watch after her behavior caused concern.[174] She was moved from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on July 29, 2010, and classified as a maximum custody detainee with Prevention of Injury (POI) status. POI status is one stop short of suicide watch, entailing checks by guards every five minutes. Her lawyer, David Coombs, a former military attorney, said Manning was not allowed to sleep between 5 am (7 am on weekends) and 8 pm, and was made to stand or sit up if she tried to. She was required to remain visible at all times, including at night, which entailed no access to sheets, no pillow except one built into her mattress, and a blanket designed not to be shredded.[175] Manning complained that she regarded it as pretrial punishment.[176]

Her cell was 6 × 12 ft (1.8 x 3.6 m) with no window, containing a bed, toilet, and sink. The jail had 30 cells built in a U shape, and although detainees could talk to one another, they were unable to see each other. Her lawyer said the guards behaved professionally and had not tried to harass or embarrass Manning. She was allowed to walk for up to one hour a day, meals were taken in the cell, and she was shackled during visits. There was access to television when it was placed in the corridor, and she was allowed to keep one magazine and one book.[175] Because she was in pretrial detention, she received full pay.[177]

On January 18, 2011, after Manning had an altercation with the guards, the commander of Quantico classified her as a suicide risk.[178] Manning said the guards had begun issuing conflicting commands, such as "turn left, don't turn left," and upbraiding her for responding to commands with "yes" instead of "aye". Shortly afterward, she was placed on suicide watch, had her clothing and eyeglasses removed, and was required to remain in her cell 24 hours a day. The suicide watch was lifted on January 21 after a complaint from her lawyer, and the brig commander who ordered it was replaced.[179] On March 2, she was told that her request for removal of POI status—which entailed among other things sleeping wearing only boxer shorts—had been denied. Her lawyer said Manning joked to the guards that, if she wanted to harm herself, she could do so with her underwear or her flip-flops. The comment resulted in Manning being ordered to strip naked in her cell that night and sleep without clothing. On the following morning only, Manning stood naked for inspection. Following her lawyer's protest and media attention, Manning was issued a sleeping garment on or before March 11.[180]

The detention conditions prompted national and international concern. Juan E. Méndez, United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, told The Guardian that the U.S. government's treatment of Manning was "cruel, inhuman and degrading".[181] In January 2011 Amnesty International asked the British government to intervene because of Manning's status as a British citizen by descent, although Manning's lawyer said Manning did not regard herself as a British citizen.[182] On March 10, State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley criticized Manning's treatment as "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid".[183] The following day, President Obama responded to Crowley's comments, saying the Pentagon had assured him that Manning's treatment was "appropriate and meet[s] our basic standards". Under political pressure, Crowley resigned three days after his comments.[184] On March 15, 295 members of the academic legal community signed a statement arguing that Manning was being subjected to "degrading and inhumane pretrial punishment" and criticizing Obama's comments.[185] On April 20 the Pentagon transferred Manning to the medium-custody Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she was placed in an 80-square-foot cell with a window and a normal mattress, able to mix with other pretrial detainees and keep personal objects in her cell.[186]

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