U.S. official criticizes treatment of Army private in WikiLeaks case

Los Angeles Times
By James Oliphan
March 11, 2011

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley’s remarks about Pfc. Bradley Manning spark speculation about a rift in the government over the prisoner’s handling.

… P.J. Crowley told a forum in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday that Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment by the Defense Department in a jail at the Marine base in Quantico, Va., was “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.”

According to Manning’s lawyers, he is kept in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement and has been forced to sleep and stand at attention while naked. He is reportedly on suicide watch.

President Obama was asked at Friday, during a news conference, about Crowley’s comments.

“I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are,” Obama said. “I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Pvt. Manning’s safety as well.”

Manning, 23, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, has been charged with 34 counts, including illegally obtaining from a military database an estimated 250,000 secret U.S. government cables and 380,000 records related to the Iraq war.

He also has been charged with aiding the enemy, a capital offense, although prosecutors have said they do not plan to seek the death penalty. …

Read more: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/11/nation/la-na-wikileaks-manning-20110312