Chelsea ManningCommunityThe Dissenter

Bradley Manning’s ‘Unlawful Pretrial Punishment’ Hearing, Day 3

12:10 AM EST Two reports on Manning’s testimony (more to be posted tomorrow) are here and here.
11:30 PM EST Here’s an update I did for HuffPost Live. (Drag the player to the 29:45 mark.)

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7:27 PM EST Manning mentioned how David House was going to a “particular blogger” to share details of his visits with him. He removed House because he was visiting the facility and he had told him he didn’t want to “stir up” the media. “We’re at level of trust where I just want you to talk to me if you want to be my friend.” He said they had mutual friend, Daniel Clark.

Manning realized over time he was going to this blogger.” He didn’t want him going to this particular blog immediately following visitation. (This was and had to be Firedoglake editor-in-chief Jane Hamsher, who was driving him to Quantico for visits. However, it is not specifically clear from testimony how Manning knew he was going to talk to a blogger. His lawyer, David Coombs, or David House could have told him at some point.)

He also said he removed his father because he had come by a few times and then, in early 2011, “he came by out of the blue.” He did an interview later on that day with PBS FRONTLINE. Manning said he had just had a conversation with him about being “glad nobody from his family was engaging in interviews and doing press.” He did the interview that same day.

When Manning found out, he didn’t want to have his father visiting anymore. And he found he had basically taken advantage of interview to get “plane tickets.”

7:25 PM EST David Coombs finished cross-examining Manning. I will be doing a full report that will go up very soon.

5:17 PM EST Manning is on the stand testifying:

Bradley Manning had one master sergeant who was his counselor who was telling him that Dr. Hochter was not actually sending representations to remove him from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch, so he thought for a while he could not trust his doctor.  (Hochter was sending recommendations to remove Manning from POI watch).

Manning liked hearing about current events: “It grounds me,” the big world, as opposed to my little cell

One guard wondered when Bradley Manning would get off “Manning watch”

Manning says there was very little difference between being on Suicide Risk & Prevention of Injury status at Quantico

He says he’s “more of a nonfiction book” person. Read philosophy. Authors he likes: Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins

Manning: ‘If I needed toilet paper I would stand to attention and shout: “Detainee Manning requests toilet paper!”’

Manning is smiling & energetic while giving testimony. Very intelligent. Really great to hear from him finally

He said in Kuwait he felt suicidal but didn’t want to die, wanted to get out of “animal cage” where he was being held

He thought when he left Kuwait military might move him to Guantanamo or Djibouti so was pleased to end up at Quantico

3:30 PM EST Bradley Manning takes stand to testify

1:30 PM EST Judge Army Col. Denise Lind accepted some of Bradley Manning’s proposed and anticipated pleas. She determined that eight of those pleas were proper pleas to lesser-included offenses in the charges and specifications.

He did not plead guilty to aiding the enemy, stealing an unclassified global address list or committing any computer crime offenses under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The judge found to be acceptable lesser-included offenses Charge 2, Specification 2, which was the unauthorized possession of video and willful communication of it to a person not entitled to receive it. She accepted lesser-included offenses of Specifications 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 15 of Charge 2

The judge accepted the plea to Specification 5 of Charge 3 as written.

Then, there were “irregular pleas” which the judge could not accept. I’ll get into this more later this afternoon. Court is coming back from recess.

UPDATE – 11:30 AM EST Col. Rick Malone, a psychiatrist who treated Manning from January 2011 until he transferred to Leavenworth, took the stand. He also worked with Dr. Hocter, who testified yesterday. He was aware of Manning’s condition when he came to the brig in July 2010.

More soon.

Original Post

Testimony from witnesses continues in the latest hearing in the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks. The defense is arguing Manning was subjected to “unlawful pretrial punishment” while he was held at the Quantico Marine Brig and has spent the past couple of days cross-examining commanding officers and psychiatrists.

Navy Captain Dr. William Hocter, a psychiatrist who was seeing Manning and making recommendations to remove him from Prevention of Injury status, gave testimony from the stand yesterday that indicated his recommendations had been consistently ignored by Quantico Brig officers. He stated at “other brigs and at civilian jails” he had worked at it had not been the case that his recommendations were mostly ignored.

Hocter suggested the belief among commanders that he was a “suicide risk” had more to do with security than his mental health. “We had been patient and we had watched and over time he had not been suicidal,” Hocter said. “It did not seem to make a lot of sense at the time,” to have him on POI.  “It was not something that would be helpful to Manning’s adjustment in Brig. It wasn’t very good use of personnel.”

Importantly, Hocter noted that someone who indicates suicide or takes action “contemplating suicide” is not necessarily someone who needs to be on POI for rest of detention. “People go into psychiatric hospitals and then they come out when they are no longer deemed to be a risk,” he noted. “If they get treatment, there is no reason to believe they would always be suicidal.”

Hocter provided a bit of an assessment of Manning for the judge. He explained that Manning had a “chronic mild depressive condition.” He had been anxious to begin with and had a “personality structure that was impulsive tending toward moodiness.”  He said of Manning being held in conditions that essentially amounted to solitary confinement, “By nature we’re social creatures. We all have times to be around people. And this was a difficult time in his life as he’s facing extended legal problems.”

It was not typical for a detainee to be held in POI for nine months. “That amount of time under precautions was unprecedented. Degree of concern for safety and security was beyond anything I had seen at the brig,” Hocter described.

And, in one of the more lighter moments of the proceedings thus far, Hocter said dancing in his cell did not bother him. “He’s sitting in his cell all day,” he said. He’s “got to do something to amuse himself,” he said smiling and leaning forward in his chair. He added Manning was “certainly not a Marine. And, “He had his own personality. There’s no doubt about it. He was a lot more free-spirited.” The gallery erupted into laughter and Manning’s defense lawyer, David Coombs, tried to hold back a laugh.

For more updates from yesterday’s proceeding, here’s the live blog for Day 2.


More media here today than yesterday. Press continues to anticipate Manning taking the stand. However, he is not scheduled as a witness, who will testify today. The defense may put him on the stand during rebuttal—after the prosecution witnesses testify.

I am here covering the proceedings. Check here and at the top of the post for updates throughout the afternoon/early evening. Also, follow @kgosztola for the latest developments in the court martial.


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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."