Revolution #227, March 20, 2011

Obama: Brutal Fascist Torture You Can Believe In

At a March 11 White House press conference, Barack Obama openly defended the U.S. military's torture of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who has been imprisoned in almost total isolation since his arrest in May 2010, without being convicted of any crime. Obama said, "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."

Manning is accused of providing classified information to WikiLeaks. One of the charges against him, "aiding the enemy," could result in a death sentence. Manning is confined to a 6' x12' cell for 23 hours a day, given one hour of "exercise" daily consisting only of walking in an empty room. In the latest act of brutality, the brig commander at the Quantico base has ordered Manning to be stripped of all clothing each night. Then, according to Manning's lawyer, he "lies in a cold jail cell naked until the following morning, when he is required to endure the humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call." Amnesty International has called these conditions "inhumane treatment by the U.S. authorities."

What does Obama's shameless defense of torture say about what he represents? What does this upholding of torture say about the American empire's "basic standards"? And what political and moral response does this outrage from the highest level of the government demand of all people of conscience?

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