Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
On the Humiliating Treatment of PFC Bradley Manning
The Honorable Robert M. Gates
100 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) remains deeply concerned about the solitary confinement conditions under which PFC Bradley Manning is being held at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. When we wrote you on January 3, 2011, we warned of the severely deleterious effects on the psychological wellbeing of those subjected to solitary confinement. We also expressed alarm over PFC Manning’s subjection to cruel and potentially harmful treatment during this lengthy pre-trial period when he has not been convicted of any crime and is presumed innocent by our Constitution and justice system.
We write you again today because news reports, including those in the New York Times, indicate that PFC Manning’s conditions of confinement have recently become even more severe. According to these reports, which quote officials in charge of PFC Manning’s care, PFC Manning is now being deprived of his clothes at night and is forced to stand naked for inspection in the morning. This is apparently being justified as a "precautionary measure" to prevent PFC Manning from injuring himself.
As an organization of psychologists and other mental health practitioners – many of whose members have worked in mental hospitals, the criminal justice system, and with veterans – PsySR can state unequivocally that removal of clothing is not an accepted or reasonable procedure for avoiding self-injury.
There is no publicly available information suggesting that PFC Manning is at heightened risk of self-harm. However, if this is a real concern of the military officials, it is imperative to recognize that forced nakedness (and solitary confinement) is designed to induce helplessness, humiliation, and shame – all of which are potential risk factors that increase the possibility of self-harm. We note that forced nakedness is so disturbing that it is banned for use by military interrogators in the 2006 Army Field Manual.
We are also concerned that the confinement conditions and treatment experienced by PFC Manning may interfere with the right to a fair trial. Literature on the harmful psychological consequences associated with the abuse to which PFC Manning is being subjected suggests that his ability to assist in his own defense may be compromised.
Our country and the entire world were shocked by the pictures of Iraqi detainees being kept naked at Abu Ghraib. PFC Manning’s treatment, because of its needless and destructive cruelty, also shocks the conscience. Mr. Secretary, Psychologists for Social Responsibility calls upon you to rectify the inhumane and harmful treatment of PFC Bradley Manning immediately. Given your purported concern regarding PFC Manning’s suicidality, we also urge you to release him from solitary confinement as soon as possible as a first step in addressing his mental health needs.
We are also providing a copy of this letter to President Obama, as he and his administration bear the ultimate responsibility for PFC Manning’s treatment.
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.,
President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Trudy Bond, Ph.D.,
Psychologists for Social Responsibility Steering Committee
For the Psychologists for Social Responsibility Steering Committee