Philippa Thomas Online

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The State Department spokesman and the Prisoner in the Brig


I just heard an extraordinary remark from State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. He was speaking to a small audience at MIT on “the benefits of new media as it relates to foreign policy”, an event organised by the Center for Future Civic Media.

Around twenty of us were sitting around the table listening to his views on social media, the impact of the Twittersphere, the Arab uprisings, and so on, in a vast space-age conference room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. And then, inevitably, one young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He paused. “None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place”. And he went on lengthening his answer, explaining why in Washington’s view, “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made”.

But still, he’d said it. And the fact he felt strongly enough to say it seems to me an extraordinary insight into the tensions within the administration over Wikileaks.

A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. “Are you on the record?” I would not be writing this if he’d said no. There was an uncomfortable pause. “Sure.” So there we are.


Author: philippathomas

I've been a BBC newswoman for 30 years: reporting from around the world. Currently to be seen anchoring BBC World News TV. Main interests - politics, psychology, reading, trekking, and all things American. I began this personal blog as a 2011 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard. You can also find me talking daily news on Twitter at @PhilippaBBC, coaching @positivecoachi3, and life & travel on Instagram at @philippanews. Thanks for reading!

203 thoughts on “The State Department spokesman and the Prisoner in the Brig

  1. Staggering – thank you!

  2. hi philippa

    i’d like to talk to you this morning if possible. i’m a guardian reporter in the new york office. could you email me a number or a way to reach you?



  3. Pingback: The State Department spokesman and the Prisoner - Southern Maryland Community Forums

    • That Mr. Thomas asked then State Dept Spokesman Crowley if his remarks were “on the record,” is one crystal clear indication that Philippa is a journalist.  In the several years I dealth with journalists at trade papers, NYT, (US) biz journals, local papers, etc., as a spokesman for a trade association based just outside DC, there was never an instance where if said that my remarks were “off the record,” did a reporter quote me from that conversation.  In attracting and organizing many reporters for a yearly Washington meeting, there was one specific instance where a Congressman (moving from minority on a committee to a Chairmanship) made a flippant remark to which a Dow Jones reporter asked, “are you sure you want to go on the record with…”  He said yes and there was momentary firestorm because what this congressman had said as a minority member of the committee did not mean a great deal in the overall sckeme of things, but as the presumptive chairman, his committees were much more scrutinized and by a larger audience.  My hats off to Mr. Thomas for observing the rules of just common decently and professionalism.  I am sure the vast majority of other news-oriented bloggers — not taking anything away from their efforts to shine more light on many areas — would have observed this time tested, valued, and crucial part of the newsmaker and journalist dance.   
      sent on Itouch

  4. He’s also said this:

    “These are not #Twitter or #Wikileaks revolutions. They belong to the people, but technology can expand and accelerate the pace of change.”

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  6. I am no one special, but thanks for your reporting and your ethics. So rare these days.

  7. I find this piece is a little contradictory.

    The reference to wikileaks and the mis-management of sensitive government information is obvious, but when you asked whether P.J.Crowley was on the record and suggested if he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be reading this

    Any journalist obeying an on or off-the-record comment, is just either siding for the government and the protection of sensitive opinion and information, or indeed siding with wikileaks (or at least the moral standpoint they are wishing us to believe).

    • Agreed. My understanding of how things should work is that the issue of being on or off the record is one that should be agreed upon before a conversation starts. Not after someone participating drops a bombshell statement. The fact that Ms. Thomas felt the need to seek permission to print Crowley’s admission speaks volumes about the relationship the press currently has with government.

      • Sometimes it’s just a matter of politeness when someone drops a comment that could endanger their job. It can also be a way to get more information by showing that you intend to release the information. For example, there could have been a pause, followed by, “Let me clarify my statement.”

        In the end, there’s nothing to stop someone from publishing that information, but it’s good practice if the source would elaborate. Especially since, if he does clarify, and all you publish is the first statement without mention of the further context, you’re violating your ethics as a reporter. (Not that it doesn’t happen all the time anyway.)

      • Sometimes people say things which aren’t official policy or even their own position. I would rather as a reader hear real beliefs articulated to the satisfaction of the speaker so that I know what their position is than a simple gaff.

        Reporting should be about discovering the truth, not just airing gossip and the daily embarrassing quote.

      • Not to mention that Crowley’s willingness to put it on the record is what makes this a story. Had that question not been asked and answered as it was, this would have been just another case of a spokesman caught airing a private opinion that’s off-message.

  8. Excellent work!

    Everything is on the record until you agree that it isn’t.

  9. That is extraordinary – so who sets policy and who is ultimately responsible for the treatment of Bradley Manning? The Tsunami is tragic, but this we can do something about – it should be the headlines.

    • I don’t think we’ll ever see an answer to the question, “Who is responsible.” Just as we never got any answers about who was responsible for Abu Ghraib. Of course, President Obama is ultimately responsible, but it’s probably some member of the staff of the National Security Council who is actually transmitting the orders to the Marine Corps. I don’t believe there’s any way this would be continuing unless it was approved at a very high political level — DoD or higher.

      • The problem is that the knowledge of the actual abuse is compartmentalized at a very low level of the chain-of-command providing the cover of, ‘They’re doing what? I didn’t authorize that!’

        This statement is almost always entirely true at some point in the chain-of-command.

  10. “The statements made by Mr. Crowley were made in a personal capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the State Department or this Administration”.

    I expect to see this statement being issued any moment now.

    And depending on how chicken-shit the people at the top are, “P.J. Crowley has been put on administrative leave.”

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  12. Could it be that Crowley is getting tired of constantly lying for the administration?

  13. Pingback: Crowley slams Defense on Manning | Daringminds

  14. Pingback: Chief State Department Spokesman: Pfc. Bradley Manning Being Mistreated

  15. Pingback: Chief State Department Spokesman: Pfc. Bradley Manning Being Mistreated | Daringminds

  16. Im better for hearing this report thanks
    Bollox to the hidebound comments re permission – you are operating as a humane being no problem with that.

    Young Bradley is being mistreated al la Guantanamo and such violence is institutionalised in the DoD – Shame on USAmerica.

    As Ghandi said you can tell all you need to know about a society from the way it treats its prisoners

  17. You’d be a bitch for not putting that up if he wasn’t on the record..

  18. He said it aloud in a public forum. Why would you effectively ask for his permission? Kinda weak.

    • Because that’s the way the world works, Rob.

      Try being a journalist for a year and printing every juicy bit of gossip you hear, then after that tell us if you have access to anybody worth listening to.

      • But is there any purpose of being a journalist if you have to be a back-patting “journalist”?

        I would prefer to rather be a real one, or no journalist.

        The need for media organs such as Wikileaks is exactly because of people that compromize their profession. To kick the sleeping watch-dog.

        I agree with OP: it was a weak sign. I hope she has learned for next time. Thanks for blogging this Crowley quote, though.

  19. Pingback: US treatment of Manning ‘stupid’ « UK4NET News

  20. Pingback: State Department Spokesman: Bradley Manning Is Being ‘Mistreated’ in Prison « Commentary Magazine

  21. Bradley “Jane Fonda ” Manning is accused of being a traitor to his country and his uniform. It won’t be easy, try as you might, and try you will, to make him into a martyr. Still, we need to be very nice to this chap don’t we. Wouldn’t want to muss his hair or anything.

    As for him being made uncomfortable for a while, it can’t possibly be any worse than basic training, which he has presumably already been through. Some, a few, of you will know what I’m talking about.

    • Can’t possibly be any worse than basic training? Read the recent Guardian article about the conditions Manning is currently enduring. Suicide watch for three days despite absolutely zero indications of being a danger to himself, stripped naked nightly, etc. The comparison to basic training is absurd, and your cutesy analogy to “mussing his hair” is either ignorance or complete lack of understanding of basic human rights.

    • You have never gone through basic training. In point of fact, basic training is almost entirely a social exercise and a test of mental stamina under stress. Severing an individual from human contact is completely the opposite of basic training, which is about getting along with people in a stressful situation.

    • What an idiotic comment. First of all, have you ever heard of the principle of the presumption of innocence? At this point, Manning hasn’t been convicted of anything whatsover, and the US government is obligated to treat him humanely both because of constitutional requirements, and because the US is bound by international treaty obligations to do so. Are you one of those “patriotic” Americans who couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about the Bill of Rights? Just checking…..

    • Accused. Accused. Not convicted. Accused. Apparently when you went through basic you got a concussion or two and lost the ability to tell the difference.

    • “Bradley “Jane Fonda ” Manning is ACCUSED of being a traitor to his country and his uniform.”

      Gee, Fred, thanks for reminding us that in the United States punishment is supposed to follow mere ACCUSATION of a crime . . . as opposed to TRIAL AND CONVICTION for it.

    • Here’s how Manning should be treated:
      UCMJ Espoinage and National Security:

      In a legal manner. This is a human rights issue. Your comment suggests that because Manning went through basic training, he should be able to endure solitary confinement and pre-trial punishment? I don’t follow your logic. How does your statement defend the unjust circumstances of his detainment?

  22. The fact that Ms Thomas asked if the speaker was on record is actually a very useful way to probe the speaker’s state of mind concerning Manning’s treatment. It is one thing for an official to denounce such a thing off the record and quite another to be willing to stand publically by such a comment. The fact that he went on record confirms his revulsion to the treatment of Manning.
    The information is now out there. Go pick fights elsewhere if you quibble with her way of working. In any event, Glen Greenwald has picked up the story and another blogger has confirmed what Crowley said:

  23. I am only going to make one comment. I don’t think I am the story. Mr Crowley knew that I was there. I introduced myself to him just before he spoke, and we had a very brief exchange about my previous contact with one of his colleagues about the State Department’s social media policies. We exchanged business cards. Mine identifies me as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, where I am currently on sabbatical from the BBC. As this was a small gathering and not a formal lecture, I took care to ask him explicitly at the end of the event whether he was on the record, and he confirmed that he was.

    • I don’t think anyone’s trying to make you the story. It’s being pointed out, and I agree, that conversations like this are presumed to be on-record if no one agrees that it’s not beforehand. You said if Crowley had said no, when you asked, you wouldn’t be reporting this. That idea, which seems disturbingly common among journalists, is excessively deferential to officialdom. I understand why you asked, nothing wrong with that, but even if he’d said no you and the other journalists would still owe the public an account of his groundbreaking comments which were not, at the time, off-record.

    • Miss Thomas,

      Mr. Crowley is an adult. He said what he said. You did an excellent job of presenting what he said in your presence.

    • Absolute rubbish, Philippa. A man is being tortured in prison to an extent that an experienced State Department spokesman — better schooled in the art of official mendacity than you can ever imagine — finds intolerable, and blows his top about it. In giving him the opportunity to — basically — “withdraw” what he’d said, did it occur to you that if he stood by his words, so much attention would be drawn to Manning’s torture that the “stupid” Defence Dept might stop doing it?

      Do you condone torture?

      Even if you did, would you condone torture by the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? If you’re a real journalist, don’t you remember how many times the USA has condemned Russia, East Germany, China, Albania — name them — of torture? And you get such a big story and all you could think of was, this State Dept guy has committed an indiscretion, and in deference to his office, I ought to draw his attention to it. What about the US torture story?
      He stood — and stands – much bigger than you when he refused to recant at yopur invitation. Next time, remember what your real job as a journalist is: discover, publish and be damned.

  24. There’s a small army of paid military trolls posting red herrings and smoke on every blog that says anything the DoD doesn’t like, I should ignore them.

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  26. Thank you..really informative!!

  27. Pingback: PJ Crowley: Bradley Manning’s treatment by US ‘stupid’ | Sidibouzid Report

  28. Pingback: State Dept Spokesman: Bradley Manning’s Treatment “Ridiculous and Counterproductive and Stupid.” — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

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  30. Yes, it is stupid for multiple reasons.
    It does to Manning physically what Manning did conceptually to the State Dpt administration : stripping him naked. Which is stupid for two reasons :
    1) it highlights how information theft is physically felt by people working in the State Dpt, which underlines a severe vulnerability – not a computer-related vulnerability, rather a psychological vulnerability.
    2) it sexes up the Manning case – as if the Assange case was not enough sexed up – which will make all the more very attractive to younger generations, those who are already much in sync with the two perpetrators (Manning with information, and Assange with women)

    It is most probably illegal and will ultimately backfire at little cost towards the administration.

    It’s kinda like Dame Hillary felt that putting a hand into her purse was like… hmmm… putting one’s hand into…. hmmm.. and that she then felt she .. would like – or unlike – it enough to … hmmm… undress the perpetrator. Sort of.

  31. Well, he is correct. The Department of Defense had to know that it would be under scrutiny as it pertains to the custody of Mr. Manning. But where this discussion often goes off the rails is when people forget that Mr. Manning is not a private citizen or a journalist. He is a member of the United States Army, and the non-disclosure agreements that he signed in order to acquire his security clearance necessitate that he be detained at a military brig.

    • True, he signed non-disclosure agreements. However, the oath he took when he joined the military required him to defend and protect the Constitution, not the U.S. Government or the Military IF they are engaged in War Crimes.

      He witnessed war crimes taking place and reported them. He was ignored, they continued. He did the right thing.

      What should a soldier do when his chain of command refuses to stop war crimes?

      He could have ignored them also, but that would have violated his oath.

      He had only one recourse left and that was to become a whistle-blower.

      As far as we know, those are the facts. If true, t hen he is a hero, and should be aquitted.

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  33. The more I hear about this guy the more I like him. Of course I wish he went further, but realistically if he came out against the party line vehemently and loudly he’d just be replaced.

    I hope he voices his opinions loudly behind closed doors, and I hope I’m right when I suspect his opinions are similar to mine.

  34. Wait, didn’t he just admit that the military is more powerful than the president of the United States? Because one phone call from Obama could restore Manning’s clothing and force dignified treatment. Just sayin’.

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  36. -Hahaha. I never attended Basic training? Norm, my friend, what was your MOS? Mine was 1542.
    -Nathan, I am stripped naked nightly. Of course I do it myself, but then I have never been accused of treason.
    -Nathan writes: “Read the recent Guardian article about the conditions Manning is currently enduring.” Where does the Guardian get this story of Manning’s harsh treatment, from interviewing Manning’s guards? Oh, from Manning’s lawyer, a completely unbiased source? I see.
    -Norman: “…basic training, which is about getting along with people in a stressful situation.” Really? Like Miss Manners’ ballroom dancing class? Some have the impression it is mostly about learning to do what you are told all the time, and most especially when you don’t feel like it. Of course the team theme is part of it.
    -niqnaq: “There’s a small army of paid military trolls posting red herrings and smoke on every blog that says anything the DoD doesn’t like…” Who pays them, the Koch Bros. one supposes? Most amusing. In any case I’m just a lone commenter trying to give the other side of so-called news stories.
    -Mike: “First of all, have you ever heard of the principle of the presumption of innocence?” Mike, you may want to reread my comment. I never said Manning was guilty of anything. I said he was accused. A lot of people every day are strip-searched, for example, and put in jail because they are accused of a serious crime. So?

  37. Pingback: US State Department condemns treatment of Manning: “ridiculous, counter-productive and stupid” at

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  40. The guy is a spokesman for the State Department, not some babe in the woods. Asking him whether he was on the record was typical media suck-up behavior.

  41. Now as I understand it some are a wee bit out of sorts because Manning is being striped and forced to sleep nude every night after he made comments suggesting he might hang himself with his clothing. O.K. return his clothing if he turns up at room temp no whining and narada you can indeed tell quite a bit by the way a society treats its prisoners. In a good many societies across the global Manning would not be a prisoner, he would be a corpse , telling indeed

    • There are plenty of corpses all round the world. The US doesn’t actually do it’s own dirty work. Google extraordinary transition and bear in mind that other countries around the world don’t actually engage in that.

      • Try “extraordinary rendition”…

        If you’re going to say that Googling “facts” is acceptable research, at least get your facts straight.

        As for the US not doing it’s own dirty work, again, stick to what you know, which apparently isn’t much.

  42. Note that the “it” that Crowley said was not “yes, he’s being tortured”, nor did he accuse the DoD of doing something illegal. Is it a good idea to read more into it?

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  45. On a matter of such import as this, asking *after the fact* whether the statement was on the record strikes me as a bit much. If he didn’t want it reported, he shouldn’t have said it in a meeting with a reporter. Duh.

  46. Bradley Manning is, as the man said, in the right place. He knew the rules and broke them. But it surely is pointless to make him suffer like that. His life, or a goodly stretch of it, is in the toilet anyway.

    But for sure some system administrators at SIPRNet should be fired. They had the requisite computers security tools to deal with the “insider threat” and neglected to use them.

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  48. I’d call his slipping that statement in a live leak! He wouldn’t have said it, even amid the rhetoric sandwich, if it wasn’t something he doesn’t have some consensus on if only around the water cooler. Congressman Kucinich’s recent words of warning to Secretary Gates on MSNBC are also telling. I think you’re suggestion of internal strife and grumbling over this entire Manning/WikiLeaks situation is accurate.

    The disgruntled are either fearful of what might be revealed if WikiLeaks’ Insurance File contents were released, not to mention Anonymous, of they are genuinely uneasy about the current administration’s furtherance of a generalized move away from democracy and toward fascism.

    More of these voices must be heard by the public. And in a form more substantial than an accidentally/on purpose sound byte.

    Or maybe the man has Tourette’s?

  49. Pingback: Obama Assured By Pentagon That WikiLeaks Detainee Not Mistreated « The Joe Lake Blog The Joe Lake Blog

  50. A few minutes later, I had a chance to ask a question. “Are you on the record?” I would not be writing this if he’d said no.

    Ummmm… Why not? Because you are a brain dead stooge of the Americam empire and the American elite? Bradley Manning is a hero of the human race for opposing the evil empire of our day. The Soviet Union collapsed and our leaders decided the” unipolar” moment was a great time to play Napoleon. The US empire is on borrowed time. The Muslim’s are throwing off their chains. They are smarter and wiser than the American elite and may be temporarily fooled from time to time during this process but it won’t be denied in the long run. The US has 20 years top before the Soviet style collapse… and thank God… The US federal Government is the greatest source of evil on the planet today. Just ask the Iraqis.

  51. So Manning signed a piece of paper that stated he was a slave to the US government and was no longer allowed to have a human conscience? No he didn’t. He was like every other public school educated kid. He thought his country was something good. Not an evil empire run by banksters and the military industrial complex. The arabs are thankfully throwing off their chains finally. The evil empire has 20 years top left. Thank God for Mannings bravery. You are just a pathetic tool of the empire. You are the “good German”. How much arab blood is enough for you?

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  53. Goldhoarder? Is that you, Norm. Goldhoarder makes reckless and baseless charges too. He sounds like New York’s King ought to be asking him some interesting questions.

    • Which charge(s) was/were baseless and reckless?

      • (1) “Why not? Because you are a brain dead stooge of the Americam empire and the American elite?”
        (2) “He thought his country was something good. Not an evil empire run by banksters and the military industrial complex. ”
        (3) “You are just a pathetic tool of the empire. You are the “good German”. How much arab blood is enough for you?”

        There are three. Enough, Susan?

  54. …the inchworm of diplomatic progress has been passed by the restoring
    to the mideast its peoples, in many cases for the first time since tribalism
    began in the upper stone age. secrets were the obstacle to that.
    once peoples knew the truth, propagated by wiki-leaks, they were free of their
    rented dictators and panjandrums. secrets are as much an obstacle to progress
    as the veil is for women in moslem states.

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  61. Ms Thomas is ethically right and reporting it correctly. I was present at the event. Good for her.

  62. Pingback: » Blog Archive » State Dept. Spokesman: Treatment Of Bradley Manning Is ‘Ridiculous And Counterproductive And Stupid’

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  65. There will be people forever looking for signs of the moral legitimacy of their masters, some sign that their rule is not in vain, that it is for the betterment of all Humankind, or at least proposes some reason, as they wait mute by the Door of the Law. Such is the enthusiasm for this spasm of P.J. Crowley. It signifies, for these hopeful onlookers, the redemption of the system they wish could redeem them. But it only redeems the rich and powerful. The rest are mere onlookers… looking for signs.

    Manning’s principled disclosure is the greatest piece of whistle-blowing in American history. Nothing the Mouth of Sauron has to say can obviate this fact! Manning is indeed in the right place: at the center of our thought and concern. The future belongs to the Bradley Manning’s of the world. Let the Secret Police tremble in their hypocrisy.

    Here is a an uncontroversial fact: All the American conflicts of the recent past have been orchestrated by the Secret Police. And to what end? Even today, it is the CIA at war in Pakistan, a fact everyone knows, but nobody acknowledges as a fact.

    The world is not at war against extremism. The People are at war against the Spooks who are busy destroying democracy in league with Corporations. I wonder what this dipshit at the DOJ has to say about that. Nothing since he is on their side.

    Others comment: “Asking him whether he was on the record was typical media suck-up behavior.”

    Yes. It is pathetic the opinion leaders of the great nation of the United States of America, which founded itself on a rejection of authority, and grounded itself on the greatest constitution ever created by human beings, should seat themselves grinning with glee, wide-eyed like little children, waiting for scraps from the Whitehouse Table.

    “Are you on or off record” is just a code for: can I come back, sir, if I report this? A begger for access, a coward with the truth.

    How unlike Bradley Manning! I suppose he should have emailed the President: “Are these cables on or off the record?”

    What a schism within journalism, between the old guard whose institutions are dissolving in the technological acid, who wait in line to be fed the White House line, and the new: the terabytal whistle blower who revenges himself on the evil of the Empire.

    And this Empire is evil, out of control, destroying itself and the future of its citizens, while the rich escape in their mega-yachts, and dream up new scams with which to deciminate the economy. It is controlled, clearly, in evidence, by Secret Police institutions, which drag the nation into pointless wars, murdering women and children and men for no reason.

    As far as any serious journalist should be concerned, everything is on the record, every little twitch of these deceivers at the top, these liars and warmongers who are gutting the nation and threatening the world.

    Have you forgotten Iraq, you Harvard man, and the endless deception, the media collusion that went into its manufacture?

    On the record, indeed! Hooray for you!

    • Hear hear! Can you imagine Woodstein asking Attonrye-General Mitchell, when he said, “You print that and I shall put Cathy Graham’s tits in a vice”, “Are you on the record, Sir”? Or “Mr Deep Throat, are these documents meant for our editor’s eyes only, or for Post readers?” Hahahaha. What has journalism come to?

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  67. Pingback: WikiLeaks suspect's treatment 'stupid,' US official says « The Joe Lake Blog The Joe Lake Blog

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  72. Two important things I learned in journalism school: 1.) Everything is on the record. 2.) Never ask if this is “on/off the record.”

  73. What’s the big deal? The man was giving his opinion. I happen to disagree with him. The US must be the only country in the world where prisoners are expected to be read bedtime stories, tucked in bed in their jammies, given a bottle of warm milk and a goodnight kiss. HELLO! Prisons are institutions that house criminals. This traitor doesn’t deserve sh++.

    • That the UN special rapporteur is investigating torture in a western democracy is an absolute disgrace and th US should be collectively ashamed of its government. Can you imagine this happening in Canada or the. If it happened her in the UK the prime minister would have to resign plus all the military officers involved and they would most certainly be prosecuted.

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  81. “…is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Hmm. Kind of like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

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  83. Pingback: Brainyloft / P.J. Crowley Resigning As State Department Spokesman: Report

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  92. Philippa,

    I think you handled this situation correctly. There is seldom a situation where the right path is clear.

    I commend Mr. Crowley for his honesty. I think he should not have quit, or be forced to quit his job. It would be better for someone like him, with a sense of what is appropriate, to be in that position.

    His statement, considering the situation, was balanced between recognition of a lawful requirement to detain Bradley Manning, and the equally human requirement to provide basic comforts to a prisoner. You’re not coddling someone if you provide them with a pillow and blanket, and nothing he did merits brutalizing.

    Some of the responses I’ve read are pure hyperbole. They are overwrought responses that obscure any balanced assessment with extreme verbiage, whether from the right or left.

  93. Pingback: Obama: Bradley Manning Treatment Appropriate | Blog Of The Year

  94. Scoops on sabbatical!
    I would expect nothing less from the super-talented PT.

  95. Pingback: Wikileaks row: US official quits |

  96. Pingback: Wikileaks row: US spokesman Crowley quits over gaffe « Social Justice Concerns

  97. Interesting. Neither Crowley nor Ms. Thomas are accountable for Manning’s safety, so they can shoot off their mouths all the want to about how those who are resonsible make sure he is safe. If he alluded to suicide, even as a joke, those who are accountable have to take it seriously, instead of treating him like the wise-ass juvenile he no doubt is. Ms. Thomas would be the first to scream bloody murder if he were returned the means to kill himself because officious intermeddlers like she got their way. He obviously doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation he’s gotten himself into. Neither do Crowley or Thomas.

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  99. The reporting of the item was Ok because it was newsworthy. However I find interesting the number of people who regard the punishment handed out to Bradley Manning…after all he didn’t actually sell military secrets. What he did do was send some interesting but militarily non-threatening pieces of info to wikileaks. Oh and he also sent a video of a military assasination of a reporter to wikileaks.

    Mr Crowley’s comments were very interesting because he seemed to effectively express the inability of President Obama to do anything…yes the Pentagon are the real power in this situation. Mr Crowley’s subsequent resignation was [I suspect] as a result of severe pressure from the Pentagon

  100. Pingback: The blog that spelled the end for PJ Crowley… Was it deliberate professional suicide? |

  101. SCOOPATHON !! Fine work !!

  102. “Ridiculous, counter-productive and stupid” is not a bad description of the security policies that allowed a junior corporal full access to the entire corpus of intelligence cables, and CD-burning rights to boot! Corporal Manning is in the right place but he’s only a very small pawn being used as a scapegoat. Perhaps his solitary confinement ought to be relieved by the company of whoever set such an accident-friendly security policy.







    1. PATRIOT ACT!!
    7. NO JOBS!!
    8. NO FOOD!





  104. Pingback: State Department Spokesman Resigns Over Manning Comments | FrumForum

  105. Pingback: Wikileaks row: US official quits | Abakwa Online

  106. Pingback: State Department spokesman quits after criticizing WikiLeaks suspect’s treatment « – Breaking News | Latest News | Current News

  107. I’ll be writing more on Monday about this story, why I blogged it in the way that I did, & how you’ve responded here. Thanks for engaging.

  108. Thanks for this. I wrote on my blog about the very issue that crowley stated, we need to understand our security in new terms and have a strategy consistant with our avoued values.
    The cold war is over, and in the age of Youtube, Twitter and facebook, we cannot be seen as we really are, unless we want to lose the information war. The only solution, it would seem, is to start to behave in the same way we expect of Iran and China. Considering the large number fo folks who have lost their jobs recently, for expressing their personal views, Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez, Stanley McCristal, Juan Williams, Schilling and Schilling, to name just a few, one wonders what ARE we fighting for?

    In this case, we have exposed Naked power, naked confinement, naked truth, and the military’s naked coverup of our true intent in all our endless wars.

  109. This is an interesting line: “Crowley didn’t stop to think.” But, of course, you did – or we are to assume you did. I wonder if you imagined this would happen. Your post sounds almost apologetic. Regardless, it seems to me that we have one less thoughtful person in government today.

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  112. Pingback: Wikileaks row: US official quits « UK4NET News

  113. Well, I am really conflicted about this. I wasn’t at the event so I don’t feel like I know how what was on the record (or not) was described. I do know that P.J. Crowley did excellent work and was a fine public servant. Further, he is/was a FAR better communicator than the current Sec. of State. I will miss him a great deal. Certainly, Ms. Thomas had to know this admission would end his career. How could it not? I sincerely hope everything was handled correctly.

    As for Bradley Manning, as much as I disagree with how Pvt. Manning did what he did, Crowley is right: the way he is being held is absurd. This has to end. I hope this ordeal moves that along.

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  115. Pingback: State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley Resigns

  116. I, too, find it very interesting that you asked Crowley whether or not he is on the record, and I agree with your decision to do so–though, it would have been a shame had he replied, “No, I certainly am not on the record.” The fact that he agreed to go on the record only makes his comments more powerful. I don’t believe he should have resigned for the mere “crime” of criticizing the government’s actions.

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  118. Pingback: Why Did The White House Take So Long Forcing P.J. Crowley’s Resignation? | therizzowire

  119. Pingback: State Official Quits over Manning Treatment » Politics Plus

  120. Pingback: How Open Is The Obama Administration? A Report Card « atlanticwireless

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  125. (A letter sent to the President and other Officials.)

    Mr. President,

    Please properly investigate the possible/probable inhumane treatment of PFC Bradley E. Manning, being detained in the United States Marine Corps Quantico Brig in Virginia.

    Common sense tells the conscience that possible/probable inhumane treatment must be fully investigated.

    Facts of the case, as reported by David Coombs, PFC Manning’s defense lawyer, indicate that:

    Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has stated that PFC Manning has been a model detainee.

    Brig forensic psychiatrists have continually stated that there’s no mental health justifications for the extreme conditions of PFC Manning’s detainment.

    Quantico Commander Colonel Daniel Choike has denied a fair request by PFC Manning to be removed from the medically unnecessary extreme current conditions of his detainment.

    Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes used a sarcastic remark made by PFC Manning, (referring to the waistband in his shorts), as an unfair convenient excuse to unjustifiably further increase the extreme conditions of PFC Manning’s detainment, with no contact of, nor recommendations from, the mental health staff to do so.

    The Brig (excluding mental health staff as they don’t recommend the extreme current conditions) is using loopholes in policies to unfairly increase the extreme conditions of PFC Manning’s detainment.

    These extreme conditions, inconsistencies between policies, and possible/probable abuse of authority, must be investigated.

    The communication and exercise and sleep of PFC Manning is being severely restricted to the viable concern of inhumaneness.

    Hence, to now rely on the sole assurance of those allegedly behind this alleged mistreatment, does nothing to justly bring the truth to light.

    Our country’s principles of conscientiousness, deserve to have a serious matter such as this be fully investigated by unbiased independent third parties.

    Again, please properly investigate the possible/probable inhumane treatment of PFC Bradley Manning.

    Anything less falls short of truth and justness, and hence the American way, as your words so often convey.


    S. K.

  126. It’s interesting to see this point of view. I can’t say fore sure if I agree or not, but it is something I will think about now.

  127. Pingback: What I did and What you said. | Philippa Thomas Online

  128. Pingback: What I did and What you said. | Philippa Thomas Online

  129. Pingback: P.J. Crowley Resigning As State Department Spokesman: Report | Blog Of The Year

  130. Pingback: Un inocente blog tiró a vocero del Departamento de Estado « Ciber reportera

  131. Pingback: Matt Kane: Crowley Forces Obama’s Hand, Obama Forces Crowley Out | News Feeds Blog

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  135. Congrats! This blog post lead to the resignation of PJ Crowley. Dissent in the government is quashed at all levels.

  136. Congrats! This blog post lead to the resignation of PJ Crowley. Dissent in the government is quashed at all levels.

  137. Pingback: BBC reporter’s postmortem of her role in US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley resignation over remarks « Kempton – ideas Revolutionary

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  139. Philippa –

    First, great job both breaking this and for your measured reporting. It was wise to request confirmation of being on the record and shows that you are not sensationalist at all. I’m also an MIT community member and glad to see this happening on our turf.

    Secondly, my strong impression is that his comments were based on information from media sources. For a gov’t official, this is dangerous and wrong, and IMHO does merit dismissal. I don’t think we really know what’s happening w/ Private Manning, but I would bet that Crowley didn’t have information from either a formal and open Defense dept source or a well run investigation that indicated there were specific problems with his treatment. If that was the case, he had no business making the statements he made to this or any audience.

    Whatever your take on Pvt Manning is, you shouldn’t want your gov’t officials to be reacting to media reports off the cuff without seeking genuine understanding of a situation.

  140. Pingback: People’s Blog for the Constitution :: Obama continues his war on whistleblowers

  141. Pingback: The Nation: Crowley’s Leave Is Obama’s Mistake | 2008 Movie Trailers

  142. Pingback: Datalove (:=~~~~ » Bradley Manning- Excuses for Torture

  143. Pingback: RightsBase » Blog Archive » Manning’s treatment ‘counterproductive & stupid’, says Clinton staffer

  144. Pingback: Matt Kane: Crowley Forces Obama’s Hand, Obama Forces Crowley Out | Blog Of The Year

  145. Pingback: African American Policy Forum » Blog Archive » P.J. Crowley Resigns As State Department Spokesman

  146. PJ put his long career on the line and ended in a fleeting moment. As a govt spokesperson he did not have the luxury of speaking from a ‘personal’ point of view in a public forum or in places other than his home.

    When the media pick up the pace and start asking the president who somewhat contradicts him, the fleeting moment became contritely career-ending.

    Humbly speaking, we have seen long careers either halted or ended by very simple, unwordly and even naive statements. These are perils that journalists also face everyday. Every word is weighed and calculated.

    I’m a student journalist. Am I allowed some breathing room here?

  147. Pingback: Punishment for Personal Opinion? « Media & Messages

  148. Pingback: ACLU Protests Manning’s Treatment in Letter to Pentagon | Dektau

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  150. Pingback: ACLU Protests Pfc. Manning’s Treatment In Letter To Pentagon | Newsnet 14

  151. Pingback: Rashtrakut » Blog Archive » Obama’s supine endorsement of Bradley Manning’s torture

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  156. Pingback: PJ Crowley talks to BBC Hardtalk – full transcript | Philippa Thomas Online

  157. Pingback: I have no regrets, says PJ Crowley after state department resignation Spokesman tells BBC he believes Pentagon treatment of jailed soldier Bradley Manning is ‘counterproductive’ to US interests | 2012indyinfo

  158. Pingback: I have no regrets, says PJ Crowley after state department resignation | The Citizen Journalist Association

  159. Pingback: US state dept condemns Bradley Manning treatment-Raw Story « FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

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  163. Pingback: Lessons from Manning’s transfer out of Quantico « Piazza della Carina

  164. Pingback: 2011-03-11: State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley denounces treatment of Bradley Manning UPDATE 2 « fresh horse

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  166. It’s a sad day when a spokesman for those lovers of truth and freedom, the people of the USA, has to stop and think before going on record with his frank appraisal of the facts.

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