Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages of secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they’ve meant a lot to him.
“I greatly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes during this time,” he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer.
“I’m also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense,” Manning continued. “I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions.
“Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family.”
In a recent conversation with Firedoglake’s David House, Manning claimed that military officials have kept him in solitary confinement for the last seven months. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald noted that the conditions in which Manning is held “constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.”
The next day, the Quantico information office disputed Greenwald’s allegations. “A maximum custody detainee is able to receive the same privileges that a detainee classified as general population may receive,” they said. “A maximum custody detainee also receives daily television, hygiene call, reading and outside physical activity without restraint.”
Manning also said he had not been outdoors in four weeks and was only allowed to walk indoors for one hour a day.
“When told of the Pentagon’s statement that he did indeed receive exercise, Manning’s reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise,” House wrote.
Firedoglake was also featuring an online petition asking supporters to demand an improvement to the conditions of Manning’s detention.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has suggested that US authorities want Manning to take a plea deal in exchange for claiming Assange was involved in the initial leak of sensitive information.
Assange claimed he had never even heard the soldier’s name until after he was arrested, and that WikiLeaks, by its very nature as a technology platform, protects the anonymity of its sources.
With prior reporting by Eric W. Dolan.
‘This was the smoking gun!’ MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains why Mulvaney ‘confession’ could end Trump presidency
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had offered "smoking gun" evidence in a stunning confession to the crime at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The "Morning Joe" host said Mulvaney had made a stunning "confession," but he said the president had on the same day endorsed the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish allies he had betrayed to Turkey.
"There's so much to talk about, we joke for a few minutes at the top of the show, Mika likes do that, me, I like to get straight into the news," said Scarborough, who frequently annoys his wife and co-host by bantering about sports at the start of the show. "But there's so much going on that if somebody just woke up this morning they might not think that yesterday was not one of the most significant news days in, during the Trump presidency, and I may even argue one of the most significant news days over perhaps the last decade, just in terms of volume."
Vote-splitting fears raised in final days of Canada election
In the dying days of what Justin Trudeau described as one of the "nastiest" election campaigns in Canadian history -- with plenty of mudslinging, attack ads and misinformation -- he played up fears on Thursday of vote-splitting handing victory to his rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.
Policy announcements gave way to calls to vote strategically to keep Trudeau's Liberals in power and prevent a rollback of his progressive policies by the Tories.
Pollsters predict a minority government -- either Liberal or Conservative -- resulting from the October 21 ballot.
Attack ads accused Liberals of seeking to legalize hard drugs and the Tories of allowing assault rifles on Canadian streets -- claims that are flat out wrong or exaggerated, respectively.
Japan emperor to proclaim enthronement in ritual-bound ceremony
Japan's new Emperor Naruhito will formally proclaim his ascension to the throne next week in a ritual-bound ceremony, but the after-effects of deadly typhoon will cast a shadow over proceedings.
Naruhito officially assumed his duties as emperor on May 1, a day after his father became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years.
But the transition will not be complete until his new role is officially proclaimed on Tuesday, in a series of events expected to be attended by foreign dignitaries from nearly 200 countries.
The event will come just over a week after Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan, killing nearly 80 people and leaving a trail of destruction.