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Response to Luminous Animal (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:01 PM

1. Nathan Fuller, Day 2:

Testimony of psychiatrists Captain Kevin Moore & Captain William Hoctor

Mental health professional Captain Kevin Moore took the stand in the second day of this week’s pretrial hearing for PFC Bradley Manning, explaining that Bradley’s isolated conditions that wore on his mental health were even worse than death row treatment he observed earlier in his career.

Cpt. Moore and another psychiatrist, Captain William Hoctor, testified that Quantico Brig officials ignored their recommendations to remove Bradley from Suicide Risk watch and then from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch for several months. They both said that this was completely different than previous brig officials they’ve worked for, who usually complied with their recommendations within days.

The military didn’t listen to Cpt. Hoctor’s concerns that holding Bradley on Suicide Risk watch when he was in no danger of harming himself was detrimental to Bradley’s mental health. A detainee earlier that year had killed himself at Quantico, and Cpt. Hoctor explained that officials were keenly aware of the high-level of media scrutiny in Bradley’s case and was exerting extreme caution. However, they had no psychiatric reason, he said, to keep him on POI watch or to remove his clothes, and that the restrictive treatment left Bradley isolated, stressed, and depressed.


Later, while Bradley was still on Suicide Risk, Cpt. Hoctor asked if Bradley could get more time to exercise, as his already-slim frame was dropping weight quickly. He recommended that Bradley be integrated into the prison population, as he was becoming withdrawn and hadn’t had contact with his peers in months. He also told officials that Bradley needed more time outside, since he was only getting 20 minutes each day. In addition to these specific requests, in his weekly reports on Bradley’s mental health, Cpt. Hoctor continually recommended that Bradley be removed from POI watch.

Unfortunately, “They had made up their mind” to keep Bradley on POI watch, Cpt. Hoctor said. Quantico officials refused each specific offer and continued to ignore his weekly calls for reduced confinement treatment, again giving no explanation.

Defense lawyer David Coombs asked Col. Hoctor if he thought Quantico was running the risk of of endangering Bradley Manning, and Col. Hoctor said yes, it was, as these conditions might have “unintended consequences.” Coombs asked how Col. Hoctor would describe officials who didn’t consider these effects, and he said, “callous.”


When Cpt. Hoctor expressed his concerns, and the fact that Bradley’s restrictive conditions should not be justified with mental health language, to Col. Robert Oltman, Security Battalion Commander in charge of Quantico, Col. Oltman told him that Cpt. Hoctor should continue to report weekly but that “we’ll do what we want to do,” and that Bradley would be on POI watch for the foreseeable future.

This made Cpt. Hoctor the “angriest [he’d] been in a long time,” as the treatment was “senseless,” had no psychiatric justification, and a Battalion Commander had never before said outright that such a confinement statues would continue indefinitely regardless of his recommendations. He also said that this treatment could harm Bradley, as “everyone has limits,” though “he’d been strong.”

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