It was part of a fascinating few days in the history of the Manning story — resonating with implications for free speech, national security and the American military at war — but you wouldn’t have known much about it if your only source of information was The New York Times. The Times didn’t cover Mr. Coombs’s remarks and, far more important, did not send a staff reporter to the first eight days of a pretrial hearing in the case, including riveting testimony by Private Manning.
Bradley complained about the restrictive conditions, and psychiatrists said that they were detrimental to Bradley’s health, because they amount to solitary confinement. Bradley wasn’t able to speak to any other detainees, as his adjacent cells were empty, he only got 20 minutes outside of his 6′x8′ cell each day, and when he left the cell the entire brig was in “lockdown” and he had to wear metal shackles on his hands and feet and be escorted everywhere he went. Guards and officials have testified that Bradley is far and away the only detainee they’ve ever seen or kept on POI for this long – previously, the longest they’ve seen a detainee on POI was merely a few days, or two weeks at most, while Bradley was kept in isolation for nine months. Military psychiatrists say these conditions can be detrimental to a detainee’s mental health, especially as they last this long.
Questioned for several hours yesterday by defense lawyer David Coombs, MSGT Blenis said that Bradley’s previous history was cause for concern: in Kuwait, disoriented and isolated in what he called an “animal cage,” Bradley had considered committing suicide. Upon arriving at Quantico, Bradley wrote on an intake form that regarding suicide he was “always planning, never acting.” However, Bradley testified this week that he didn’t feel suicidal at Quantico, and that the intake remark wasn’t serious: he had guards standing over him who ordered him to “write something” and he knew that he’d be placed on Suicide Risk watch no matter what he wrote. Furthermore, brig psychiatrists Cpt. William Hoctor and Cpt. Kevin Malone testified this week that they didn’t consider those incidents to be long-term problems – they said that suicidal thoughts are frequently temporary, and by mid-August, Bradley posed no risk to himself and didn’t require these harsh conditions.
Chris Brown, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE), said Britain had been “mind-bogglingly stupid to raise the issue in the first place”, regardless of how it was worded.
“Anyone with Diplomacy 101, as the Americans call it, would know that it (the threat) would backfire,” he told AFP.
“If you asked a room of my first-year students about what Britain has done, I believe that even they would not have made such a fundamental error.”
Police are guarding the exits of the embassy in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district, but have so far made no move to enter it.
Brown said there was “no chance” that Britain would apply the law and enter the embassy to extract Assange, who Sweden wants to question over accusations of rape and molestation.
“All it did is deflect away from the main point, which is that Assange is wanted for questioning on a criminal charge,” he said. “The British government has bumbled into a pointless argument.
So this was submitted…
The situation in the UK will only cause a deteriation (sic) with the Ecuadorian people; not globally.
Have you heard where the word F.U.C.K. originated?
The UK, It means Fornication under control of the King.
Funny, I never heard/read that definition of fuck before.
UK threatened assault on Ecuadorian Embassy in London if Assange not handed over - Ecuadorian Foreign Minister on.rt.com/mqy04a— RT (@RT_com) August 15, 2012
UK FCO this morning threanted to violate the integrity of the Ecuadorian embassy to drag off Assange. (1/2)— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 15, 2012
In Ecuador FM press conf just now denounced this threat and called an emergency meeting of the OAS and UNASUR. (2/2)— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 15, 2012
We reviewed the “Diplomatic and Consular Premisis Act 1987” that the UK is claiming gives them the right to storm embassy. No such right.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 15, 2012
For a period of about eight months at Quantico, Manning was subjected to extraordinarily harsh conditions. This was done, the military claimed, for his own protection under a so-called “prevention of injury” order or POI.
The unidentified witnesses that Coombs wants to call include a military psychiatrist who consistently recommended to Manning’s captors at the brig at Quantico that the prisoner should be removed from restrictive conditions. But his advice was ignored and Manning continued to be subjected to solitary confinement, being stripped naked, held in a bare cell and made to wear a rough smock at night.
Witnesses will testify, the defense motion states, that when the psychiatrists objected to the conditions, they were told by the military chiefs in the brig: “We will do whatever we want to do.”
The defense also wants to call witnesses from Fort Leavenworth in Kansas where Manning was moved in April 2011 following an international outcry about his treatment.
After the move, the soldier was allowed much greater freedom under medium-security arrangements. The defense argues that his successful transfer shows “he was improperly held to begin with”.
The judge presiding over his trial at Fort Meade in Maryland has ordered the US government to hand over several confidential documents relating to the massive leak to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
In particular, the Obama administration must now disclose to Manning’s lawyers some of the damage assessments it carried out into the impact of the leak on US interests around the world.
Should those assessments reveal that the US government found that the fallout from WikiLeaks was limited, that could be used by Manning’s defence to argue his innocence against some of the charges he faces, such as aiding the enemy. If the soldier is found guilty, the information might then prove invaluable in reducing any sentence.
As a result of the ruling, Manning’s defence team was handed the main findings of a state department investigation into the impact of WikiLeaks on Tuesday evening.