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Response to Luminous Animal (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 07:07 PM

2. Nathan Fuller, Day 3

Manning testifies.

What strikes me in this article, Nathan reports that Manning was being manipulated by his brig counselor Gunnery Sergeant Blenis... (see bolded excerpt)

Bradley answered questions from defense lawyer David Coombs for several hours in Ft. Meade, MD, for the defense’s motion to dismiss charges based on unlawful pretrial punishment. First he explained his traumatic experience in Kuwait, where he was brought to a military tent, forced to stay in a metal cell that he said felt like an “animal cage,” and was so disoriented and isolated that he felt suicidal. He thought he was going to die in Kuwait, felt “trapped” because no one told him what was happening to him, and when he was transferred he figured he would be sent to Guantanamo Bay.

When transferred to Quantico on July 29, 2010, Bradley was immediately put on Suicide Risk watch, which is effectively solitary confinement with guards checking on him every five minutes. Brig psychiatrists recommended that Bradley’s detention status be reduced to Prevention of Injury (POI) watch in seven days, but Quantico officials didn’t change the status for nearly two weeks. On Suicide Risk, Bradley saw only 20 minutes of natural light each day, interacted with almost no one else, and became increasingly anxious.

For the remainder of his nine-month stay, Bradley was then held on restrictive POI watch, which he described as nearly the same as Suicide Risk, though he was a model detainee and psychiatrists confirmed that he posed no threat to himself or others. Suicide Risk and POI watch aren’t technically referred to as ‘solitary confinement,’ but Bradley was segregated from the rest of the Quantico population. Seeing only the reflection of sunlight down the hall, Bradley was largely cut off from the world. The rooms adjacent to his were empty, and he wasn’t allowed to speak loud enough to communicate with the detainees much further down the hall.

On Suicide Risk, Bradley had to wear a coarse smock and sleep on a tiny uncomfortable mattress. He was never given a pillow during his entire time at Quantico, regardless of his custody status. Throughout his time there, a fluorescent light blasted into Bradley’s six-by-eight-foot cell, 24 hours a day. When he turned his face from the light when trying to sleep, brig officials woke him up to “make sure he was okay.” On Suicide Risk, this happened two or three times every single night, and it still happened a few times a week on POI.


More and more stressed out, Bradley desperately wanted to be removed from POI watch. Each time he met with brig psychiatrists and during most of his interactions with the brig counselor, he asked what he could do to get his status reduced. GYSGT Blenis, who met with Bradley at least once a week, and who frequently gave him an ‘A’ grade as a detainee, told Bradley that he was perplexed as to why the psychiatrists kept recommending he stay on POI status. However, brig psychiatrist Cpt. Hoctor testified yesterday that the exact opposite was true: Cpt. Hoctor recommended almost every single week that Bradley be removed from POI watch, and was exasperated that Quantico officials fully ignored his advice. He believed “they had made up their mind” to keep Bradley in isolated confinement.

Cpt. Hoctor told Bradley that he recommended normal treatment, and upon hearing the conflicting messages Bradley didn’t know whom to trust. Since GYSGT Blenis and other Quantico officials continued to praise him as a model detainee, with one of them saying he wished he had “100 PFC Mannings,” he thought Cpt. Hoctor might be deceiving him.

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