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Date: 07/05/11

Pulling Back

Those of you who have visited regularly in recent weeks may have noticed a sudden change in the front page, in that it no longer carries graphics relating to - or linking to websites about - the imprisonment and treatment of Edward Woollard and Bradley Manning.

The reasons why I have removed those items are slightly complex and slightly different in each case.

In the case of Bradley Manning, it now seems to be so that since the US Department of Defense was forced (by weight of public campaigning and some lingering sense of embarrassment) to transfer him from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth, his treatment has become much more in line with civilised values, and the justifiable sense of outrage at the torturous conditions in which he had been held is now a moot point.

As regards Edward Woollard, the reason for removing him from the front page is not due to the lad finally getting a sentence which is more just and proportionate than the one handed down to him by Judge Rivlin in January; in fact, the support site (on the rare occasions upon which it has been updated) has never stated whether there is even an appeal in the offing against that sentence.

No, the reason for taking that link down (and the same goes for Manning to a lesser degree) is an attempt at self-preservation.

I've referred before to the primary symptom of my Depression as 'the prisoner complex'. When in that state of mind, I imagine myself as being in prison, or about to be put in one, or having been let out of one yet still being subject to vindictive or degrading treatment. I can go through periods when this frame of thought - this ide fixe, this obsession - can be held at bay for a few days. But it comes back soon enough, and can be quite debilitating when it does.

I've come to the conclusion that if I made it more difficult - and less of a temptation - for me to go and look at the Woollard site, then I might find it easier to keep the cell door from slamming shut on me, as 'twere.

None of this should be taken as a sign of withdrawal of moral support from the campaigns on behalf of either of these young men; it isn't. I still think Manning is being set up to take the rap for the US government's embarrassment over the Wikileaks affair, and I still think that the thirty-two months sentence on Woollard is a fucking outrage (and look out Charlie Gilmour, it's going to be done to you, too!). But I need to see if, by distancing myself for a while, I can help ease my own problems.

Anything, at this stage, has to be worth a try.