Key Details on Bradley Manning’s Confinement Were Kept From Army Commander Who Visited Regularly
A company commander in Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Army chain of command, who made multiple visits to see Manning while he was imprisoned at Quantico Marine Brig, took the stand as a government witness today to provide testimony on Manning’s treatment. He did not initially appear to have any notion that Manning was mistreated while he was held there, but in the final moments of his testimony he indicated he did not agree with some of the decisions. He also had not been informed of the fact that mental health officers were recommending Manning be taken off prevention of injury (POI) status. And when he finished testifying, he stood up and walked over to shake Manning’s hand.
Cpt. Joseph Casamatta, who was then a company commander at Ft. Myer, said Manning came to his company in July 2010. While Manning was at Quantico, he visited him about ten times and tried to have someone from the chain of command visit him every other week, if possible, to “make sure” he was “being taken care of appropriately.”
When he visited, they would go through a checklist. He would sit in a non-contact booth. Manning would sit in restraints across from him on the other side of a glass window. These sessions would last ten to twenty minutes.
At first he was not “talkative,” but as weeks went on he opened up more. He was engaged and “always respectful.” He never indicated he would harm himself or try to harm others. He did not think Manning ever appeared withdrawn or reserved.
Cpt. Casamatta said he had a “good rapport” with Manning. They would speak not just about the items on the checklist that had to do with how things were going with his pretrial confinement. He would engage him in conversation about family, the area nearby in Maryland, and they talked a lot about sports (probably March Madness at times).
Manning never complained about the guards and how they were treating him. He said they were “professional,” according to Cpt. Casamatta. Manning also said the facility was treating him professionally as well. (This matches with his testimony on Friday, November 30.)
Cpt. Casamatta said he had asked if the facility “any library system for him.” Was he allowed to read magazines? What would be the process for purchasing those? This was typically what he and other lower-ranking officers in his command that visited Manning could do to ensure he was okay.
He would sometimes escort Manning to appointments. At no point did Cpt. Casamatta observe unusual behavior. [cont’d.]