Bradley Manning Takes the Stand: The Beginning of Confinement at Quantico
Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, testified yesterday. The defense cross-examined him on the confinement conditions he experienced.
In a previous post, I continued a presentation of the testimony from Manning on his detention in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan. I also described how he was transported from Kuwait to Quantico Marine Brig and how the brig began to process him. I’ll now continue the story of Bradley Manning’s detention and go as far as I can until court proceedings resume this morning with more testimony from Manning, who will be cross-examined by the government.
As Quantico Brig officers began to move Manning to his cell, they asked him if he wanted a shower. He was tired and just wanted to go to sleep because he had been in transit for two days.
Initially, Manning thought “it was great” to be in a “brick and mortar building” that had air conditioning, solid floors, running water and other amenities he had not had during his confinement in Kuwait. He was happy to be in the DC/Baltimore/Virginia area because he had lived in Maryland and knew that there was family who could visit him.
Manning was placed on suicide risk throughout the “indoctrination period.” He was a “maximum custody” detainee. He was not to have family visits but the brig made an exception and allowed his aunt to visit. He was also able to to meet now-Major Thomas Hurley as a temporary defense counsel.
After suicide risk, he was downgraded to Prevention of Injury (POI) status. This required Brig officers to check on him every five minutes. They would open the door to the observation booth and ask him if he was okay. Manning would always have to respond as a “courtesy.”
He had expressed interest in being assigned a work detail. Master Sgt. Blenis conveyed a job would be available if his custody level changed. He said, “I am more of a clerical guy. I work good with paper. I’m not very good with physical stuff.” And he expressed interest in working in the library and even indicated he would be willing to “implement” a “system to organize” the library if it “was not already in place.”
The cell Manning was assigned to was within sight of the observation booth. There were cells adjacent to him, which were kept vacant. [cont’d.]