House, Mitnick discuss Manning’s confinement with Australian Broadcasting
In a recent segment of the Australian Broadcasting Network’s investigative television show “Four Corners,” David House, Kevin Mitnick and others were interviewed about the circumstances surrounding Bradley Manning’s case and current confinement at US MCB Quantico, Virginia.
David House is a computer science researcher, friend of Manning’s, and member of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Kevin Mitnick is a computer security consultant, speaker and author who utilizes his experience as a former computer hacker and social engineer to enlighten companies and other organizations about information security issues.
The program, entitled “The Forgotten Man,” intended to reveal “the personalities at play in WikiLeaks and the cyber world,” according to an introductory statement by reporter Quentin McDermott. “The Forgotten Man” traces both the story of the Wikileaks organization since its release of the Collateral Murder video as well as those surrounding Bradley Manning’s arrest, detainment, transfer to the United States, and current treatment in confinement.
Both House, who is one of the few individuals allowed to visit Manning, and Mitnick were emphatic that Manning’s current treatment at the Quantico brig was both torturous and designed to break him.
“From meeting with Bradley, from getting to know him and from watching his state degrade over time, the only conclusion I can reach is that this is torture,” House said to McDermott in an interview featured on the program. He went on to say, “I went and saw him again in December, this last December, and it was completely alarming this transition that had happened to him. He was ashen faced, had huge bags under his eyes and he had trouble keeping up with topics of conversation, something that had never been a problem for him. So it’s this confinement, this solitary confinement has really taken a huge toll on him definitely.”
The program compared Manning’s case to that of Kevin Mitnick, who was famously held, on computer intrusion charges, for over four years in a federal prison in California without a trial during the late 1990s. The program interviewed Mitnick about spending time in solitary confinement during an earlier case, and the toll it takes; the following excerpt is taken from the program transcript:
KEVIN MITNICK: I was held in solitary confinement back in 1988/1989 by the Federal Government as a national security threat because a federal prosecutor had told a judge that I could whistle into a telephone and launch a nuclear weapon.
QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: Kevin Mitnick is another former hacker who fell foul of the law. He is under no illusions as to why he was held in solitary confinement – and what effect it had on his case.
KEVIN MITNICK: What the governent did is they stuck me in solitary confinement to one, punish me and two, get me to cooperate so they wouldn’t have to really try the case. And it was extremely effective and after eight and a half months of sitting in a room for 23 out of 24 hours a day, I just signed the deal.
House appeared to agree that Manning’s current treatment may be designed to solicit some kind of confession or deal. “It’s like a sledge hammer trying to crack a very small nut. The US Government is just trying to put immense pressure on him in order to get him to crack open.” But House is confident that Manning supporters in the U.S. will not allow that to continue.
DAVID HOUSE: I think that Bradley has a very large base of support in the US and internationally. Many Americans believe he’s a very principled young man and if the alleged leaks from him did happen, many Americans are willing to stand up and say this was something that was done with our best interests in mind. This was a move towards transparency, a move towards open government and we respect this young man. I think with all these voices joining in unison for his defence and support, there’s no way he’s going to be in prison the rest of his life.
The Four Corners webpage on this special program includes the full program video as well as extended video clips of interviews with David House and others who featured on the program. The program also includes a recording of Bradley Manning’s voice.
For more, visit abc.net.au/4corners.