Day Five at the Bradley Manning Pre-Trial

by JoHarrington

Conflicting commands meant that Manning could do nothing right; and guards removed from duty for intimidating him. More revelations from day five of the Fort Meade pre-trial.

Day five of the Manning pre-trial happened on December 1st 2012. It was to address issues ruled as torture by the UN and unconstitutional by American academics.

By the time the court convened on this day, it had already heard several damning testimonies. Notably Bradley Manning had taken the stand himself, for the first time since his arrest 921 days previously.

A lot of doubt had been cast upon the Prevention of Injury (POI) and Suicide Risk statuses, which had justified much of the conditions under which he'd been held.

Day Five: The Testimonies of Joshua Tankersley and Jonathan Cline

The two lance corporals were amongst the guards overseeing Bradley Manning at Quantico Marine Corps Base, in Virginia.

Lance Corporal Joshua Tankersley and Lance Corporal Jonathan Cline individually, via telephone link up, told their versions of an incident involving Bradley Manning.

On January 18th 2011, the two men had escorted Manning to an exercise room.  Both were later removed from active duty for what happened next.

For a while, it seemed that they simultaneously gave conflicting orders to the young private, who was standing to attention before them.  An example given was one lance corporal yelling, "Turn left!", while the other shouted, "Don't turn left!"

During the course of the session, Private Bradley Manning either fainted or fell.  Manning scrambled to his feet and raced behind a weights machine. He later claimed that it was because the guards were 'lunging' at him, as if to hurt him.

He apparently became very upset, crouched in the corner there and sobbing.  This incident was used to further prolong the restrictive POI status, under which Manning was held.

Tankersley and Cline both testified that Manning was acting agitated from the moment he was collected from his cell.  Cline explained the procedure.  First Manning's wrists would be handcuffed, then he had to turn around, while they fitted a restraining belt.  Finally, Manning had to kneel, as leg restraints were added. 

In this way Bradley Manning could leave the 6ft x 8ft cell, wherein he remained for all but an hour of his day.  He had a choice between an hour of exercise, in the indoor fitness facility, or 20 minutes of sunshine and 40 minutes of exercise.

But on this occasion, Cline testified, Manning had to keep being 'corrected', as he was 'moving his hands when we put on his restraints.'

This was supported by Tankersley, who maintained that '(when) we put him in restraints, he did not respond in a correct manner.'   Manning had to twice be told to stop moving, both in his cell and when the restraints were removed in the exercise room.

Cline stated that, "(Manning) fell down on his butt. We tried to catch him, he went hiding behind a weight machine and he began to cry."

Neither man could understand why they'd been stepped down on charges of intimidation.  Cline added, "I spoke to him basically like to a normal human being. They're in the facility, that's their punishment. They don't need to be screamed at or yelled at."

Outside Influences on Manning's Treatment

Lance Corporal Tankersley was asked, by David Coombs for the defense, whether Manning was an 'average detainee'.  Tankersley felt that he couldn't answer, as it was hard to define 'average' in such a 'high profile case'.  

Also there was a lot of interference from 'higher ups', who weren't based at Quantico.  Many of them simply popped in to 'check if everything is OK'.

Lance Corporal Cline also admitted that pro-Manning protesters, outside the gates of Quantico Marine Corps Base, did 'annoy' some of the guards. 

If Manning's guards didn't live on the base itself, then they would have to leave by a different exit. This gave them a circuitous route home.

Cline himself had no 'personal anger' towards Manning. He lived on the base.

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Day Five: The Testimony of Gunnery Sgt. William Fuller

Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant William Fuller was one of Bradley Manning's supervisors at Quantico.

Gunnery Sgt. Fuller defended the treatment of Bradley Manning at Quantico. 

He testified that he truly believed that Manning was suicidal, and that the restrictions placed upon him were 'not too punitive, it's protection for the detainee.'

Fuller added his own eye-witness account, to that already given by the lance corporals, about the January 2011 incident in the exercise room.  He inspected Manning later and found him to be 'shaken pretty bad'.

"He had a hard time breathing."  Fuller recalled, adding that Manning was, 'panicking' and 'looked scared'.  "He kept apologizing. I didn't figure out why he was sorry. I think he was frustrated with the staff in some way."

However, under cross-examination, neither Tankersley nor Cline recalled Manning ever saying that he was sorry during his distress.

Fuller also painted a picture of Bradley Manning losing his extrovert nature, as the months drew out in Quantico's cell.  Officers had told Fuller that Manning 'didn’t communicate as much later on in his confinement as he did in the beginning.'

This was seen as more evidence that Manning was becoming more suicidal, and therefore should be kept for longer on POI status.  Fuller didn't agree that it was the restrictive and isolated nature of POI that was causing Manning to become withdrawn in the first place.

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Removing People from his Visitor's List Made Manning a Suicide Risk

At least it did in the eyes of Gunnery Sergeant William Fuller!

The pre-trial hearing, at Fort Meade, had previously heard how Bradley Manning removed people from the list of those cleared to visit him at Quantico.

This had been done when individuals took those conversations straight to the media, even after Manning had asked them not to.  He'd been counseled that such awareness measures would harm his case.

He was also keenly aware that his conversations were being routinely recorded and turned into transcripts.  They could be used against him.

However, what Manning didn't realize was that he was in a Catch-22 situation.  If he removed names of individuals who might potentially damage his case, then that action was seen as him becoming more withdrawn and therefore prone to suicidal tendencies.

Fuller testified that eighteen people had been taken off the list of people allowed to visit Manning.  Fifteen of whom had never actually been to see him.  Fuller admitted that no attempt had been made to find out why Manning had requested the removal of the other three names.

The brig commanders already had a reason of their own.  It was because he had become withdrawn, thus suicidal.  It was justification enough, each week, to maintain his POI status.

Kindle eBooks about Wikileaks

Bradley Manning is accused of supplying information and top secret documents to Wikileaks. Learn more about it here.
THE AGE OF WIKILEAKS: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond)

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Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy

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Deconstructing Wikileaks

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Broken Family Relationships and Severity of Charges Factored into POI Status

The fact that one of the names removed was Brian Manning undoubtedly added to his son's restrictions.

Bradley Manning had expressed gratitude, during his father's visit, for none of his family going to the press.  His father left the base and promptly went to the press.  In response, Bradley took Brian's name off the visitor's register.

However, Gunnery Sergeant Fuller testified at Fort Meade that this showed further evidence of Manning's bad relationship with his family.  It was yet another reason to keep him on POI status.

Finally, Fuller added that the severity of the charges against Manning was also a factor.  Even if Manning displayed no other behavior to justify the restrictions against him, the reason for him being in that cell was reason enough for the close watch.

The Real News: Feature on Bradley Manning

There is a good overview of the case and pre-trial thus far in this report.

More on the Pre-Trial of Bradley Manning at Fort Meade

With the United Nations condemning the USA for torturing one of its own citizens, something had to be done. In November 2012, an American courtroom heard the charges.
A dentist provided the psychiatric report. Guards paraded to gawp at their naked detainee. A commander made up mocking Dr Seuss poetry. Just some of the pre-trial revelations.
One military psychiatrist judged Bradley Manning's treatment to be worse than at Guantanamo Bay. Another thought it worse than Death Row. They were both ignored.
Trapped in stifling conditions; denied information, even when moved in shackles on airplanes; kept blind and sleep deprived. Bradley Manning finally gives his testimony.
Updated: 12/22/2012, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 01/07/2013

And by which law. In international law, which the USA is party to, he's reported war crimes. That's covered too. Keeping quiet wouldn't have been a defense at Nuremburg.

Happy New Year, Hollie! <3

HollieT on 01/06/2013

Guilty of what is the real question; Bringing to light some shocking information which is in the public interest to know, or keeping quiet about what really goes in on the military. He's definitely not guilty of the latter. Happy New Year, Jo :)

JoHarrington on 01/06/2013

I had another conversation like this recently. The person I was talking to swore that Bradley Manning was definitely guilty. How did she know, when there hadn't been a trial? She'd read it in a newspaper...

LiamBean on 01/06/2013

So @Ed, because you think he's guilty he should be treated as if he is guilty whether or not he's actually been found guilty in judicial process. You know this is pre-trial right? Not even the actual trial?

JoHarrington on 12/24/2012

EdFisher - Oh no! Did they hold the actual trial and I missed it? I thought that we were in recess on the pre-trial!

EdFisher on 12/23/2012

Still , I still think he's guilty , an agregious act against the military , his country and the regulations and oath that he took to serve and protect his own country !...........He failed ......and for what, pop culture? . ! Sorry he's guilty !

JoHarrington on 12/21/2012

Thank you for reading it. I'm ridiculously behind on finishing the series. I have another six days to go! But I will get there. I think it's a very important issue to detail.

LiamBean on 12/21/2012

Just an outstanding series Jo. I, for one, really appreciate this series. I have never really forgotten about Manning. I was a soldier myself once. How any of them is treated, regardless of situation, is of interest to me.

JoHarrington on 12/14/2012

He's accused of handing top secrets video footage and documents to Wikileaks. They exposed torture and war crimes committed by the USA in the Middle East, amongst other things.

The most famous of all is the Collateral Murder video, which shows an Apache helicopter shooting and killing civilians, including a journalist and photographer. Two children were wounded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl...

Ragtimelil on 12/14/2012

What was he actually accused of doing? Maybe I missed it. I have tried to keep up.

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