35 arrested at pro-WikiLeaks rally

Police clad in full riot gear arrested 35 protestors rallying outside a US Marine Corp base in support of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

The soldier is currently being held in solitary confinement at Quantico for providing classified and sensitive data to WikiLeaks.

Unsurprisingly, Manning’s lawyer has frequently protested his conditions, terming them “punitive.”

For example, Manning’s clothes are forcibly confiscated every evening and exchanged for a suicide-proof smock.

However, the military insists Manning’s treatment is in full compliance with U.S. and Army regulations – claiming certain conditions are necessary to prevent the detained soldier from engaging in acts of self-harm.

David House, a friend who has visited Manning about 15 times since September, told protesters the soldier appreciated and looked forward to support from the outside world. 

“It’s stuff like this that gives Bradley hope,” said House.

“When I go in there, look him in the eyes and say, ‘Bradley, there are people on the outside that support you,’ his eyes light up.”

Meanwhile, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg was dragged away by law enforcement officials after telling protestors he identified with Manning more than “anyone else” over the last 40 years.

“[Solitary confinement is] a form of torture, and as such, it’s illegal internationally and domestically. It’s giving lie to President Obama’s promise to end torture. It’s happening right here to an American soldier in an American brig,” explained Ellsberg.

“[Yes], Obama could change [Manning’s treatment, but has] apparently been told by the Defense Department that this is appropriate… This [is] a terrible commentary on our standards, which means that they feel free to use illegal measures against someone in their custody.”

It should be noted that former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was recently forced to resign after publicly labeling the Pentagon’s treatment of Manning “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.”

[Via Politico and Associated Press]