10 August 2012

PFC Manning's Unlawful Pretrial Punishment at Quantico

On 27 July 2012, the Defense filed a motion to dismiss all charges owing to the unlawful pretrial punishment to which PFC Manning was subjected while at Marine Corps Base, Quantico.  In addition, on 27 July 2012, the Defense also filed a motion for a continuance based on the late production by the Government of extensive documentation that is “obviously material to the preparation of the defense.”  The motions are found below:

2.  Motion for Continuance

The Order to Keep PFC Manning Subject to the Harshest Conditions Possible

In its Article 13 motion, the Defense argues that a decision had been made early on at Quantico to keep PFC Manning in MAX Custody and in Prevention of Injury (POI) status -- in effect, the functional equivalent of solitary confinement.  In January 2011, multiple Brig officials held a meeting where a senior officer ordered that PFC Manning would be held in maximum custody and POI indefinitely.  The senior officer stated that “nothing is going to happen to PFC Manning on my watch.”  He also said, “nothing’s going to change.  He won’t be able to hurt himself and he won’t be able to get away, and our way of making sure of this is that he will remain on this status indefinitely.”  At that point, a Brig psychiatrist became very upset and voiced his concerns, stating something to the effect of, “Sir, I am concerned because if you’re going to do that, maybe you might want to call it something else, because it’s not based on anything from behavioral health.”  In response the senior officer said, “We’ll do whatever we want to do.  You [the Brig psychiatrists] make your recommendation and I have to make a decision based on everything else.”  The psychiatrist responded, “Then don’t say it’s based on mental health.  You can say it’s MAX custody, but just don’t say that we’re somehow involved in this.”  The senior officer said, “That’s what we’re going to do.”  The senior officer made it clear to those present at the meeting that the decision to keep PFC Manning in MAX and POI was coming from those higher in the chain of command.  

Multiple Brig psychiatrists recommended for almost nine months that PFC Manning be downgraded from POI status.  The psychiatrists informed Quantico Brig officials that PFC Manning’s POI status was not warranted because he did not present a risk to himself and that the POI status was actually causing PFC Manning psychological harm.  The psychiatrists’ recommendations were outright ignored by Quantico officials.  

The Egregious Conditions of PFC Manning’s Confinement

The Article 13 motion also chronicles the conditions of PFC Manning’s confinement at Quantico.  PFC Manning was placed in a 6x8 cell with no window or natural light.  Owing to his classification as a MAX detainee, PFC Manning was subject to the following restrictions:
  • PFC Manning was placed in a cell directly in front of the guard post to facilitate his constant monitoring. 
  • PFC Manning was awoken at 0500 hours and required to remain awake in his cell from 0500 to 2200 hours. 
  • PFC Manning was not permitted to lie down on his rack during the duty day.  Nor was PFC Manning permitted to lean his back against the cell wall; he had to sit upright on his rack without any back support.  
  • Whenever PFC Manning was moved outside his cell, the entire facility was locked down.
  • Whenever PFC Manning was moved outside his cell, he was shackled with metal hand and leg restraints and accompanied by at least two guards.
  • From 29 July 2010 to 10 December 2010, PFC Manning was permitted only 20 minutes of “sunshine call.”  Aside from a 3-5 minute shower, this would be the only time PFC Manning would regularly spend outside his cell.  During this sunshine call, he would be brought to a small concrete yard, about half to a third of the size of a basketball court.  PFC Manning would be permitted to walk around the yard in hand and leg shackles, while being accompanied by a Brig guard at his immediate side (the guard would have his hand on PFC Manning’s back).  Two to three other guards would also be present observing PFC Manning.  PFC Manning would usually walk in figure-eights or some other pattern.  He was not permitted to sit down or stay stationary.
  • Initially, Brig guards provided PFC Manning with athletic shoes without laces which would fall off when he attempted to walk.  PFC Manning elected to wear boots instead because at least the boots would stay on when he walked.
  • From 10 December 2010 onward, PFC Manning was permitted a one hour recreation call.  At this point, the Brig authorized the removal of his hand and leg shackles and PFC Manning was no longer required to be accompanied by a Brig guard at his immediate side.  Although PFC Manning was technically “permitted” to use exercise equipment at the gym, most of this equipment was unplugged or broken down.  In addition, depending on the guards, they would not permit him to use certain types of equipment (e.g. the chin up bar).  So as to avoid any problems with the guards, PFC Manning would usually walk around the room as he had during his sunshine calls.  Three or four guards would be monitoring PFC Manning during his recreation call.
  • PFC Manning was only authorized non-contact visits.  The non-contact visits were permitted on Saturdays and Sundays between 1200 and 1500 hours by approved visitors.  During these visits, he would have to wear his hand and leg restraints.
  • PFC Manning was required to meet his visitors in a small 4 by 6 foot room that was separated with a glass partition.  His visits were monitored by the guards and they were audio recorded by the Brig.  The recording equipment was added by Army CID after PFC Manning’s transfer to the Quantico Brig.
  • PFC Manning was only permitted non-contact visits with his attorneys.  During these visits, he was shackled at the hands and feet.
  • PFC Manning was not permitted any work duty.    

Owing to PFC Manning being placed on continuous POI status, he was subject to the following further restrictions:
  • PFC Manning was subject to constant monitoring; the Brig guards were required to check on him every five minutes by asking him some variation of, “are you okay?”  PFC Manning was required to respond in some affirmative manner.   Guards were required to make notations every five minutes in a logbook. 
  • At night, if the guards could not see him clearly, because he had a blanket over his head or he was curled up towards the wall, they would wake PFC Manning in order to ensure that he was okay.
  • At night, only some of the lights would be turned off.  Additionally, there was a florescent light in the hall outside PFC Manning’s cell that would stay on at night.
  • PFC Manning was required to receive each of his meals alone in his cell.  He was only permitted to eat with a spoon.
  • There were usually no detainees on either side of PFC Manning.  If PFC Manning attempted to speak to those detainees that were several cells away from him, the guards would order him to stop speaking.  
  • PFC Manning originally was provided with a standard mattress and no pillow.  PFC Manning tried to fold the mattress to make a pillow so that he could be more comfortable when sleeping.  Brig officials did not like this, so on 15 December 2010 they provided him with a suicide mattress with a built-in pillow.  This built-in pillow was only a couple of inches high and was not really any better than sleeping on a flat mattress.
  • PFC Manning was not permitted regular sheets or blankets.  Instead he was provided with a tear-proof security blanket.  This blanket was extremely coarse and irritated PFC Manning’s skin.  At first, PFC Manning would get rashes and carpet burns on his skin from the blanket.  Eventually, his skin became accustomed to the coarseness of the blanket and he got fewer rashes.  The blanket did not keep PFC Manning warm because it did not retain heat and, due to its stiffness, did not contour to his body. 
  • PFC Manning was not allowed to have any personal items in his cell. 
  • PFC Manning was only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read.  If he was not actively reading, the book or magazine would be taken away from him.  Also, the book or magazine would be taken away from him at the end of the day before he went to sleep. 
  • For the last month of his confinement at Quantico, PFC Manning was given a pen and five pieces of paper along with his book.  However, if he was not actively reading his book and taking notes, these items would be taken away from him.
  • PFC Manning was prevented from exercising in his cell.  If he attempted to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he would be forced to stop. 
  • When PFC Manning went to sleep, he was required to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to the guards. 
  • PFC Manning was only permitted hygiene items as needed.  PFC Manning would have to request toilet paper every time he wanted to go to the bathroom; at times, he had to wait for guards to provide him with toilet paper.
  • There was no soap in his cell.  PFC Manning requested soap to wash his hands after using the bathroom; guards would sometimes get the soap, and sometimes not.
  • PFC Manning was not permitted to wear shoes in his cell.
  • PFC Manning was initially only permitted correspondence time for one hour a day; after 27 October 2010, this was changed to two hours per day. 
 The 18 January 2011 Incident

On two separate occasions, Brig officials elected to increase the special handling instructions on PFC Manning.  The first occurred on 18 January 2011, the day after a protest outside the gates of Quantico.  On that day, Brig guards harassed PFC Manning as they escorted him to his recreation call.  The first guard told PFC Manning to “turn left.”  When he complied, the second guard yelled, “don’t turn left.”  When PFC Manning attempted to comply with the demands of the second guard, he was told by the first, “I said turn left.”  PFC Manning responded, “yes, Corporal” to the first guard.  At this point, the third guard chimed in by telling PFC Manning that “in the Marine Corps we reply with ‘aye’ and not ‘yes.’”  He then asked PFC Manning if he understood.  PFC Manning made the mistake of replying “yes, Sergeant.”  At this point the fourth guard yelled, “you mean ‘aye,’ Sergeant.”  When PFC Manning arrived at the recreation room, he was told to stand still so the guards could remove his leg restraints.  As PFC Manning stood still, one of the guards yelled, “I told you to stand still.”  PFC Manning replied, “yes Corporal, I am standing still.”  Another guard then said, “you mean ‘aye’ Corporal.”  Next, the same guard said “I thought we covered this, you say ‘aye’ and not ‘yes,’ do you understand?”  PFC Manning responded, “aye Sergeant.”  Right after PFC Manning replied, he was once again yelled at to “stand still.”  Due to being yelled at and the intensity of the guards, PFC Manning mistakenly replied, “yes Corporal, I am standing still.”  As soon as PFC Manning uttered his response he attempted to correct himself by saying “aye” instead of “yes,” but it was too late.  One of the guards starting yelling at PFC Manning again, “what don’t you understand” and “are we going to have a problem?” Once the leg restraints were taken off of PFC Manning, he took a step back from the guards.  PFC Manning’s heart was pounding in his chest, and he could feel himself getting dizzy.  A Brig psychiatrist determined that this event was likely an anxiety attack due to the situation.  After his restraints were removed, PFC Manning sat down to avoid falling.  When he did this, the guards took a step towards him.  PFC Manning instinctively backed away from the guards.  As soon as PFC Manning backed away, the guards walked toward him as if to prepare to restrain PFC Manning.  PFC Manning immediately put his hands up in the air, and said “I am not doing anything, I am just trying to follow your orders.”  The guards then told PFC Manning to start walking.  PFC Manning complied with their order by saying “aye” instead of “yes.”  After recreation call, when he was back in his cell, PFC Manning was visited by a senior Brig official.  PFC Manning tried to explain what happened earlier in the day.  He also expressed his frustration at the conditions of his confinement.  The Brig official said “no one will tell me what to do.”  He also said that he was, for all practical purposes, “God.”  PFC Manning responded by saying, “you still have to follow Brig procedures.”  PFC Manning also said, “everyone has a boss that they have to answer to.”  The Brig official then placed PFC Manning in Suicide Risk status, over the recommendation of a Brig psychiatrist. This resulted in PFC Manning being subject to the following additional restrictions:
  • From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was forced to strip down to his underwear during the day. 
  • From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was forced to sleep naked at night.
  • From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning’s eyeglasses were taken away from him. 
  • From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was not permitted out of his cell and was on 24-hour suicide watch.
The 2 March 2011 Incident

The second incident where the special handling restrictions were increased arose on 2 March 2011.  On that date, PFC Manning was informed that no relief would be granted with respect to PFC Manning’s previously-filed Article 138 Complaint.  Understandably frustrated by this decision after enduring (at that point) over seven months in unduly harsh confinement conditions, PFC Manning asked a Brig official what he needed to do in order to be downgraded from MAX and POI.  The Brig official responded by essentially telling PFC Manning that there was nothing he could do to downgrade his detainee status and that the Brig simply considered him a risk of self-harm.  Out of frustration, PFC Manning responded that the POI restrictions were absurd.  PFC Manning sarcastically told the Brig official that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops. Later that day, Quantico officials increased the restrictions imposed upon PFC Manning under the pretense that PFC Manning was a suicide risk.  PFC Manning was not, however, placed under the designation of Suicide Risk.  In order to keep PFC Manning in Suicide Risk, Quantico would have needed a supporting recommendation from one of the Brig’s mental health providers (which Quantico did not have).  In response to this specific incident, a Brig psychiatrist met with the PFC Manning.  After speaking to PFC Manning, he assessed PFC Manning as a “low risk and requiring only routine outpatient follow-up [with] no need for ... closer clinical observation.”  In particular, he indicated that PFC Manning’s statement about the waist band of his underwear was in no way prompted by “a psychiatric condition.”  Rather it was part of his process of “intellectualizing” the conditions of his confinement.  The increase in the special handling instructions resulted in PFC Manning being subject to the following additional restrictions:
  • From 2 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning was forced to surrender all his clothing at night and sleep naked.
  • From 2 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning was forced to surrender his eyeglasses during the day and at night.  After 6 March 2011, his eyeglasses were returned to him during the day, but continued to be removed from him at night.
  • On 3 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning forced to stand naked at parade rest where he was in view of multiple guards.
  • From 7 March 2011 onward, PFC Manning was required to wear a heavy and restrictive suicide smock which irritated his skin and, on one occasion, almost choked him.
PFC Manning’s Transfer to Fort Leavenworth

On 20 April 2011, after enduring nearly nine months of solitary confinement, PFC Manning was moved to the Fort Leavenworth Joint Regional Correctional Facility.  After a routine indoctrination period, PFC Manning was assigned to Medium Custody (there is no designation of Minimum Custody for pretrial detainees).  The severe restrictions on PFC Manning’s liberty were lifted.  PFC Manning is now permitted to eat with other detainees, socialize with other detainees, walk around without metal shackles, have personal and hygiene items in his cell, etc.  PFC Manning has been held in this status for approximately the past 15 months.

11th Hour Revelations That Implicate Officers Much Higher in the Chain of Command 

PFC Manning was held at Marine Corps Base Quantico from 29 July 2010 to 20 April 2011.  During this time, PFC Manning was held in MAX custody and under POI status.  In the fall of 2010, the Defense raised the issue of unlawful pretrial punishment with the Government.  On 8 December 2010, the Defense made a discovery request for all documentation from Quantico pertaining to PFC Manning. The Government provided extensive documentation related to PFC Manning’s confinement at Quantico in October of 2011.  The Defense believed that this was the full extent of the information the Government had from Quantico. 

The deadline for the Defense to file the Article 13 motion was 27 July 2012.  On 26 July 2012, the Defense informed the Court and the Government that it would be sending the attachments for the Article 13 motion by Fed-Ex.  The attachments exceed 500 pages.  The Government did not indicate to the Defense not to mail the attachments. 

On the evening of 26 July 2012 (after the Defense’s attachments had already been sent), the Government informed the Defense that it had discovered 84 emails that had not yet been produced that were “obviously material to the preparation of the defense.”  At approximately 21:15, the Government sent the Defense the 84 emails.  The Government indicated that it received these emails from Quantico approximately 6 months ago.  However, the Government did not begin reviewing the emails until 25 July 2012. 

These emails reveal that the senior Brig officer who ordered PFC Manning to be held in MAX and in POI was receiving his marching orders from a three-star general.  They also reveal that everyone at Quantico was complicit in the unlawful pretrial punishment, from senior officers to enlisted marines. 

The Defense requested a continuance to file a supplement to the Article 13 motion based on the late production of the 84 emails.  In addition, the Defense filed a discovery request seeking more documentation from the numerous “players” that the Defense did not know were involved in PFC Manning’s custody classification.  The Government has indicated that it is currently looking into determining whether such documentation exists.  The Defense will likely be required to file a motion to compel discovery in order to obtain this documentation.

The filing deadline for the Supplement to the Article 13 motion is 24 August 2012.  The Defense believes that if it receives additional discovery, a further supplement to the motion will be necessary.  Further, the Defense will supplement its witness list based on the information in the 84 emails.  The Defense anticipates that approximately 10 more individuals will be added to the Defense’s witness list. 

The oral argument for the Article 13 motion is currently scheduled for 1-5 October 2012.


  1. They treat Whistleblowers worse than murderers, rapist and more... if Manning is found guilty it'll be one sad day for America. This country isn't what it says it is.

  2. Incidentally, your indictment of the treatment of Bradley Manning reads more like an indictment of the brutality that characterizes the Marine Corps than anything else-- you could be describing the experience of a recruit at boot camp, you know?

    In Bradley's case, it's becoming increasingly clear he appears to have got into a pissing contest with a guard, always a bad idea in prison, and I'm sure you'll agree.

    1. Really?
      How is that clear?

      I must be missing something.

      American soldier tortured and held in solitary for months and made to sleep naked?

      This is the first time I've heard of a U.S. soldier who volunteered to risk his life for his people back home, treated this way. So perhaps you know something I don't.
      Like I said, I have NEVER heard of this before. Manning's case looks to me to be absolutely unique.

    2. I refer to the incident described here:

      "PFC Manning sarcastically told the Brig official that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops. Later that day, Quantico officials increased the restrictions imposed upon PFC Manning under the pretense that PFC Manning was a suicide risk."

      See what he did there? You may say, "yeah, he's guilty of being a smartass," and you'd be right-- but this is behavior guaranteed to trigger the kind of retribution he endured. Look, you know how when you get pulled over by a cop, it pays to be excessively polite, because cops have extremely thin skins and bullying tendencies?

      That goes double for prison guards, and double again because it's a military prison.

      You may say that's not fair, but it's simple reality, and your saying it's the first time you've heard of this means nothing more than you haven't ever bothered to look before now.

      Now describe the nature of the torture you claim PFC Manning was subjected to, please.

      Chris Vosburg

    3. So you don't believe solitary confinement is torture---many disagree with you. Have you ever endured it yourself?

      I must have missed all those reports about American soldiers being imprisoned and subjected to solitary confinement. But maybe you can enlighten with a link to one of those stories.

    4. What you're saying there, is it's a bad idea to make a petty bastard with an inflated sense of his mental superiority sound like he doesn't know what he's talking about?

      Yeah, OK, I guess.

      I think you might want to be aware, though, of the difference between a practical argument and a moral argument. On a practical basis, it's not a good idea to enrage sadists with power over you. On an ethical basis, it's regarded as bad to be a sadist abusing one's power over someone.

      But of course none of that matters if society deems you deserving of sadism.

    5. It is basicly fascisme, which you are advocating for. So he is being a smartass for pointing out the ridicolous in the situation. His own ward and psychiatrist does'nt buy into the suggestion, that he should be a suicide risk and even if he where, how would that help him to endure a threatment, which resembles systematic torture for months?
      You sure read the story, as the Devil reads the Bible, Mr. Unknown. Until such a deggree, that I wonder, if you are here on this page on a job.

    6. Anonymous writes: So you don't believe solitary confinement is torture---many disagree with you. Have you ever endured it yourself?

      "Solitary confinement" is supposed to elicit visions of Andy DuFresne in the hole at Shawshank, but that is simply not the nature of Bradley's confinement at Quantico. And you fell for it.

      He actually simply had a cell all to himself, which in other prisons might be considered something of a luxury.

      And yes, I have been in jail, where I shared a cell with another guy, and the can we both shit in while the other averted his eyes and held his nose.

      I think I would have preferred to not share the cell; we really didn't have anything to say to each other.

      I'll tell ya something else. Bradley is a high profile prisoner, so no mishap is likely to befall him, but if not so, and in, say the L.A County lockup, somebody would have made a pet of the diminutive Bradley early on.

      That would have been far more humiliating to him, believe me.

      Yours in penitence,
      Chris Vosburg

    7. McDuff writes: But of course none of that matters if society deems you deserving of sadism.

      First, by way of reminder, "Society" is not trying PFC Manning or determining the nature of his confinement while awaiting trial. The military is. There's a difference.

      Second, as pointed out above, The Marine Corps is all about sadism and brutality, believing that it makes for more efficient killing machines who will not question orders or wonder why they are killing total strangers who probably kiss their children on the forehead each morning before going off to work that day to be bombed into oblivion. They endeavor to teach their soldiers to be oblivious to pain and hardship, by the way, so Bradley's complaints about a rough blanket make me wonder with a slight smile about the new delicacy of our warrior snowflakes.

      And lastly, a word about prisons, whether in or out of the military:

      Prison guards are brutal bastards and paid to be so, and justify much of the brutality in saying that it is necessary to maintain a very tight discipline over what is typically an extrememly undisciplined populace, by their nature, and I can see that side of the argument. "Gotta put 'em down and keep 'em down, that's the only way to do it", they'll say. It's not a soul-satisfying job, and they aren't perfect, they're human.

      And a last add on the role of the brig commander at Quantico. This guy has the unenviable task of delivering PFC Manning alive and unharmed to trial, and he's the guy who gets the heat if Manning should manage to do himself in, not the prison shrink. So the shrink can say what he wants and say oh well too bad if harm befalls Manning. Not the brig commander, who as is appropriate, ultimately has the last word on this.

      If you don't think PFC Manning was a suicide risk, then I think you do not appreciate the seriousness of the charges against him, or the nature of Manning himself. Call it "deeply troubled" if you feel "disturbed" is too strong.

      Chris Vosburg

    8. No, I don't AGREE! This poor kid must have enormous psychological reserves to have endured such sadistic treatment. What was done to him was strictly illegal; contrived to break him down so he would roll over on Julian Assange.

      This is what our government does to whistle-blowers, just as Big Business does it to whistle-blowers who protest unsafe conditions. They're both afraid of the truth.

      Remember what Pastor Niemoller said during the Nazi regime:

      First they came for the socialists,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

      Then they came for me,
      and there was no one left to speak for me.

      IF THEY CAN DO THIS TO BRADLEY MANNING, THEY CAN DO IT TO YOU! Don't kid yourself...if you let the military get away with this -- and Obama tactitly agreeing -- THEY CAN DO IT TO YOU!

      And there may be no one left to speak for you!


    9. Thanks for sharing situations in reality, but I am not agree with some of the points you made.

      1. Discipline is never the reason for brutality. ACLU just reported a case in a California prison, that two guards were kicking an inert inmate and still, the guards kept yelling "stop fighting" "stop resisting". I am wandering who should be the guy behind the bars? The guards were worse than basters and even worse than lots of the inmates.

      This is nothing but basically hire criminals to guard criminals. Don't like you, I cannot see why the extreme brutality will tighten the discipline. There are criminals all over other western countries but they are less brutal than US prison, and I don't hear they have serious discipline problem (please correct me if I was wrong).

      On the contrary, hiring basters to be the guard only make the effort for "correction purpose" being almost impossible. By the way, the infamous Standford experiment suggested that being a prison guard is actually a good way turning a good guy into a brutal monster. Using discipline or order
      as pretext for the brutality is baseless.

      You also said guards are human and they are not perfect, but remember, so do those inmates. We should at least hold the same standard on both of them. In my opinion, we should hold stricter standard for law enforcements. They are the people have incredible power and under the protection by the law and the administration which prevent them almost free from any serious punishments. For people having such a large power, they should hold larger responsibility and be examined by higher standards. However, people pay their tax for the salary and training and it turns out to be what we get is a person who is easily being irritated and overreacted, and they can be as asshole as they want depending on their mood while people should be really polite and "respect" them. They also have mostly unconstrained power. It's just like people pay to choke themselves.

      3. Brig psychiatrists verified several times he was not suicidal! If you want to use disturbed as a justification of suicidal then I guess there will be a lot more people identified as suicidal.
      One psychiatrist I know even said, even having melancholia does not mean you are suicidal.

      Delivering people alive and unharmed to trial does not mean harsh conditions. Under this logic, every single person under pretrial confinement should be treated exactly the same way as Bradley Manning received in the marine brig until the day they show up in front of the court. However you don't see that happens. It won't be hard to understand that those treatments are actually harmful to people who are not suicidal. I cannot stand even a minute that just imagine I were under POI watch.

      By the way, the rule said you need the psychiatrist's justification to apply or remove POI, and the rule also says POI is not a method to be applied for a long period, but the commander does not even care about the rule. Discipline? Ha! Rules? Whatever, they don't care.

      Also, if Manning did hurt himself, the psychiatrist will catch on fire also. The commander will not the the only one who suffers.

      However, new evidences showed the decision were came from a 3-star general so maybe I shouldn't blame the commander too much. Since he/she can be in trouble if not complying the general's order.

      4. For national defense, we need a soldier, not a killing machine. A killing machine is only needed for invasion or offense. I think this is clearly illustrated by the things that US army did to other country they invaded. Maybe you just want to share the real world to us, but I myself think the world you showed us is not the way to go.

      Wei-Ting Chen

  3. So the military is playing the same games they always have played. I don't understand why he isn't covered/protected by a "whistle-blower" status, he was/is a DoD employee, and the attack on the journalists alone qualified as a cover-up or crime. I thought he was in the Army, not the Marine Corps?

  4. It is a sad day that the American military does NOT follow the rules or laws of America.
    Is it any wonder that enlistments are so low.
    Is it any wonder that suicides are so high.
    Is it any wonder that respect for the military is so low.

  5. I don't understand why he isn't covered/protected by a "whistle-blower" status

    If you're looking for a constitutional protection for this, you're out of luck. As our host will tell you, he's a soldier, and being tried under a different court and a different set of rules.

    In fact, if you've been following the case, you'll know that the defense is nowhere saying that he is a hero, but instead is a deeply disturbed man who should never have been allowed into the military in the first place.

    My name by the way, which has not shown up in the header for this or the other three comments I left, is

    Chris Vosburg

    1. If the defense can't say he's a hero, then I disagree.

      If he's "disturbed" then I disagree with that assessment, as well. If Manning is "guilty" of bringing much-needed knowledge to the people that are funding this war, including myself, then he is a hero. He is not disturbed. He is a sane person. He is more sane than anything that went down in Iraq, PERIOD.

    2. If he's "disturbed" then I disagree with that assessment, as well.

      Tell it to our host, his attorney, who presented evidence at hearing arguing exactly that. He's doing an excellent job, by the way, and I'm confident that Manning is getting competent representation, but whew, tough case.

      Re the invasion of Iraq, well, no argument here. Dumbest idea ever.

      Chris Vosburg

    3. After NDAA we are ALL Bradley Manning, potentially.

      Mr. Coombs, thank you for defending Bradley Manning. I am sure you're doing a great job.

      But what person could see innocent children being killed --as two nearly were in that video----and not be disturbed? And that's just on video. He was living a nightmare.
      I would be disturbed too. C Burkey

    4. Well I would imagine the only defense to a court of lunatics would be just that, considering what has been done to him is illegal.

    5. I looked up some information about an year ago because of Bradley Manning's case and found that soldiers are under the protection of constitution at least for their judicial rights. Both supreme court and military high court admit that. In some verdicts that were not favor in soldiers were explained under the structure that why the military administration did not violate constitution. So yes, there's another set of rules for soldiers but constitution still applies.

  6. They treat Whistleblowers worse than murderers, rapist and more... if Manning is found guilty it'll be one sad day for America

    Guilty of what, exactly? You've apparently already made up your mind about what he's done [laughing].

    Chris Vosburg

  7. They don't give that kind of treatment to child molesters, as much as child molesters may deserve it. And child molesters are at least charged with something first before they go under lock and key....
    Sick and appalling...I'd be ashamed to be a part of that system.

    1. Unfortunately you ARE a part of that system. That system is the American military, which is torturing and persecuting a whistle-blower who tried to bring a war crime to the attention of his superiors. They blew him off, so he resorted to WikiLeaks to get the word out.

      The military tried to break him so he would roll over on Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. What incredible courage and inner resources this poor kid displayed, to resist their totalitarian persecution!

      Please wear Bradley Manning T=shirts; put signs on your car and lawn; contribute what you can to his defense; deluge Obama with protests (he just about declared Bradley Manning guilty - without trial1!!).
      In short, act as though this is you -- for next time, it could BE you, if we let this country slide into a totalitarian state!

  8. The Brig Officer and the three star general should face reprimands for behavior to Pfc Manning that was clearly just malicious. There is simply no other word for it. That no more senior officer has the strength of character to both reveal the officers responsible and to properly investigate this unprofessional behavior is very damning of the top brass. It's Lord of The Flies behavior from officers who should know better. Yet again the junior guy gets done over. The chain of command is there for combat, not so someone can call himself GOD. He's not the Almighty, and he's not above the rules either.

  9. If what was done to Bradley Manning by his own goverment and millitary,was viewed as right,ethical and moral,was acceptable by the rule of law.I am sure they would not be hiding,and disrupting the trail,with late evidence.So all know it was wrong and inhumane,they just don't want to be held accountable for such barbaric behaviour.Really,and this is a free country?

  10. I would like to write to PFC Manning but trying to follow your blog posts and figure where he is and where I should be writing to has become a little complicated. In a post dated 02-Aug-2012 you said that he was moved from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth on 20-Apr-2011, and in a post dated 03-May-2011 you confirm this by giving his address at that time as Subalu Road, Fort Leavenworth KS. In a further post dated 02-Mar-2012 you said his address was, Sheridan Ave, Bldg 417 JBM-HH, VA 22211, which I would assume is Virginia not Kansas, suggesting he has gone back to Quantico but you don't specifically say that. Then finally, on 28-Jun-2012 you said, "It has been a little over two months since PFC Manning was moved from Quantico to the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth" which is where you said he went in Apr-2011 and doesn't tally with the last stated address. Maybe I'm missing something, so can you please update his current location and address? Thank you.

    1. PFC Manning is currently at the JRCF. However, either address will result in your letter being received by him.

  11. Ever since it was revealed that George Bush lied to get us into a war, and the scandals were revealed at the Abu Ghraib prison, the public know the depth of depravity that officails are able to stoop to. This has sown the seeds of necessity for whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. These are the tools of democracy put into action by ordinary people who care about people. if Corporations can be people, than so can soldiers be people. Bradley Manning, like all of us, is not perfect, but he has done his best to protect truth. If the USA is not strong enough to take a step back from this vindictive madness they are engaged in and appreciate democracy in action, they will have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

  12. Ich weis nur dass dieser Mann der Welt einen Mord gezeigt hat.
    Die Mörder wollen natürlich nicht dass dies ans Tageslicht kommt.


  14. The moment the story broke about Bradley now Chelsea Manning being arrested for exposing US war crimes my heart went out to her. I began reading everything I could find out about this case. I grew up in the military. My dad was in military intelligence. I've now written a play, Whistle-blower about Chelsea. It was a semifinalist in the 2015 Eugene O'Neill Playwright Conference. It's still in development and I'm so hoping this play will continue the discussion Chelsea was trying to have and introduce her story to people that know nothing about her.


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