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By Ray Fleming THERE have been rumours for months about the improper treatment of Bradley Manning by the US Army since he was arrested for his part in the WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic telegrams. However, details were hard to come by and media inquiries were met by blank stares -- until yesterday, when one of the most senior of Obama administration spokesmen suddenly blurted out that “what is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous, and stupid and counterproductive on the part of the Department of Defence”. The speaker was P J Crawley, Hillary Clinton's spokesman at State Department; he was addressing a seminar at Georgetown University, not an official press conference, but his words are certain to be regarded as a reflection of disagreement in the Administration over the handling of Manning's case. He is subjected to 23-hour solitary confinement, obliged to strip naked every night and shackled hand and foot whenever he is with a visitor. Manning, who has dual US/UK citizenship, is facing multiple charges of giving state secrets to an unauthorised party and of “aiding the enemy” (which enemy?); Hillary Clinton has called his actions “an attack on America”. There are already questions about the form his court martial will take. In a week when President Obama has had to give up his commitment to civil rather than military trials for remaining Guantanamo Bay suspects, Manning cannot expect any favours.