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20 Dec

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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S Korea conducts live-fire drills

Controversial military exercise held off country’s west coast despite UN worries and threats from the North.
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2010 07:44 GMT
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Julian Assange like a hi-tech terrorist, says Joe Biden

US vice-president makes strongest remarks by any White House official over WikiLeaks founder and dipomatic cables

  • WikiLeaks cables: Yemen radioactive stocks ‘were easy al-Qaida target’
  • Tanzania official investigating BAE ‘fears for his life’
  • UN offered Robert Mugabe a lucrative retirement overseas

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Tanzania official ‘fears for his life’

Prosecutor investigating misconduct by BAE confided to US diplomats that ‘his life may be in danger’

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How US aims to foil nuclear threat

Diplomatic dispatches reveal world of smugglers, ex-military fixers and radioactive materials found in unlikely locations

Egypt ‘turned down’ black-market nuclear deal

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No naps, and no clothes in bed: Manning’s cell life

By Kim Sengupta, Defence Correspondent

Monday, 20 December 2010

Bradley Manning, 23, has been in solitary confinement for seven months

The harsh prison detention conditions endured by Bradley Manning – the US soldier who is alleged to have supplied classified government documents to WikiLeaks – have emerged.

For the last seven months, Private Manning, 23, has been kept in a cell six feet wide and 12 feet long, in solitary confinement at a maximum security military jail at Quantico, Virginia.

Lieutenant Colonel David Coombes, the lawyer defending him, pointed out that his client, who faces a 52-year sentence if convicted, is still being held on “Prevention of Injury Watch” for those deemed to be at risk of self-harm.

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Friends of Private Manning say that this has become a means by the authorities to pressurise him into giving evidence against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

A typical day for Private Manning begins with being woken at 5am in the cell, which has a drinking fountain and a toilet. He is then allowed to put on his clothes, which he surrendered on going to bed the night before.

Under the rules, Private Manning is not allowed to sleep at any time between 5am and 8pm; if he does so, he is made to sit up or stand by the guards. He is allowed just one hour of exercise a day, even then not in the fresh air, but an empty room where he can walk in figures of eight. Any attempt by him to keep himself busy by, for example, doing press-ups, or sit-ups, is forbidden.

He is not allowed to associate with his fellow inmates and has never seen them, although he does occasionally hear their voices.

Private Manning is allowed to watch local television channels, for up to three hours on weekdays; sometimes more at weekends. But he does not have access to wider news coverage. He is allowed one book and one magazine at a time, from an approved list of 15, and is allowed approved visitors at prescribed times. Lt Col Coombes said the guards have, at all times, behaved correctly towards Private Manning. But, under the regulations, their conversations with him must be minimal.

The guards have to check every five minutes that Private Manning is ok, and he has to verbally confirm that he is alright. The same checks are continued during the night, and, if the guards cannot see Private Manning because he has pulled a blanket over his head (he is allowed blankets but not sheets or pillows) then they wake him up.

When Mr Assange was released from British custody on bail last week, awaiting extradition to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault, he vowed to continue leaking classified documents on WikiLeaks.

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